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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Blue Edges: D Recruitment, R Retirements

In Defying the Odds, we discuss congressional elections as well as the presidential race

Harry Stevens at Axios:
More Democratic congressional candidates have competed in the 2018 election cycle than either party attracted in any cycle since 1980, according to an Axios analysis of Federal Election Commission data.

Why it matters: The last time either party drew this many congressional candidates was in 2010, when Tea Party rallies and grassroots opposition to President Barack Obama brought a new generation of conservative Republicans to Congress.

By the numbers: 1,706 Democratic congressional candidates have spent or raised money during the current cycle. That breaks the previous record set in 2010, when 1,688 Republican congressional candidates registered with the FEC.

But the enthusiasm gap between parties was far larger in 2010. During that cycle, only 1,136 Democratic candidates ran for Congress, compared to 1,550 GOP candidates this time around.
The bottom line: The number of candidates in itself doesn't guarantee election victories. But it's one more sign of how motivated Democrats are this year, and that could lead to victories if it translates into high Democratic voter turnout.
Elena Schneider at Politico:
A glut of GOP retirements has House Republicans defending a record number of open seats this fall — further fueling the odds of a Democratic takeover.
Of the 44 districts left open by incumbents who are retiring, resigning or seeking higher office, Democrats are targeting almost half of them. They need to gain 23 seats to win the House majority.

The open seats may be an overlooked factor in an election season dominated by GOP angst over a potential voter backlash against President Donald Trump. Recent history explains why Republicans are so concerned: In the past six midterm elections, the president’s party has not retained a single open seat he failed to carry two years prior, according to an analysis by the Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman.
“Retirements and open seats could be our biggest problem right now,” said Brian Walsh, a Republican consultant who leads the pro-Trump outside group America First, which will spend on a handful of House races in 2018. “New candidates have to fight their way through a primary and don’t have the same fundraising ability and built-in name recognition [as incumbents]. That’s a huge challenge.”