As the 2016 election approaches its end, Republican control of the House isn’t in much doubt, but the final makeup of the chamber remains a mystery. The GOP holds a 247-to-188 seat majority, and our outlook at the Cook Political Report (where I’m House editor) is a Democratic gain of between five and 20 seats. That’s not enough to flip control, but the final seat count matters: It could affect the viability of the next president’s agenda and even Speaker Paul Ryan’s job security.
The Cook Political Report rates 37 races as competitive, including 30 Republican-held seats and seven Democratic seats. Want to know how Ryan’s and Nancy Pelosi’s night is going? Use the matrix below to keep score of how the most competitive races are breaking and look for surprises. The categories I’m using below loosely correspond to Cook’s ratings.
|VERY BAD||BAD||GOOD||VERY GOOD|
|TIME (ET)||IF THEY’RE LOSING …||IF THEY’RE WINNING …|
|New York-3||Minnesota-8||New York-19||New York-22|
Democrats are having a very bad night if they’re losing …
Florida’s 13th District — Rep. David Jolly (R) — In one of the weirdest races of the year, a Republican incumbent who has disavowed Trump is attacking his Democratic challenger, former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, for previously accepting Trump contributions. Under newly redrawn lines, this St. Petersburg seat should favor Crist.
New Hampshire’s 1st District — Rep. Frank Guinta (R) — Guinta and Democrat Carol Shea-Porter are facing off for the fourth straight time, and Shea-Porter looks likely to even their series to two wins apiece. Guinta was fined by the Federal Election Commission last year for an improper campaign loan and barely survived his primary in September.
Arizona’s 1st District — no incumbent running (Democratic-held) — This district, which covers much of northern Arizona, is a sprawling mix of Flagstaff liberals, rural conservatives, Native Americans, Latinos and Mormons. But Democrat Tom O’Halleran, a former Republican and police officer, is a favorite over Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.
New York’s 3rd District — no incumbent running (Democratic-held) — Former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, a Democrat, is the favorite to replace retiring Rep. Steve Israel in this district on the North Shore of Long Island. But Trump has improved his standing on Long Island recently, and GOP state Sen. Jack Martins hopes to capitalize on Suozzi’s high negatives from his time leading county government.
Nevada’s 4th District — Rep. Cresent Hardy (R) — Hardy won this northern Las Vegas seat in a 2014 fluke when Latino turnout collapsed. Now that Nevada Democrats are voting in larger numbers, Democratic state Sen. Ruben Kihuen is the clear favorite to unseat Hardy and become the state’s first Latino member of the House.
California’s 7th District — Rep. Ami Bera (D) — Bera survived the 2014 GOP wave by less than 2,000 votes and is a top target again — especially after Bera’s father was sentenced to prison for orchestrating illegal campaign contributions. But Democrats have seized on sexual harassment allegations against the GOP nominee, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, neutralizing Bera’s baggage.
California’s 24th District — no incumbent running (Democratic-held) — Republicans insist that businessman Justin Fareed has a great shot at this Central Coast open seat, especially after Santa Barbara Supervisor Salud Carbajal, a Democrat, called the city of Lompoc an “armpit.” But Trump, and the Democratic tilt of the area, may be too much for Fareed to overcome.
Democrats are having a bad night if they’re losing …
Florida’s 7th District — Rep. John Mica (R) — Mica has served the Orlando area in the House for 24 years, but this year, his campaign fell asleep at the wheel. Democrat Stephanie Murphy, whose family fled Vietnam when she was 6 months old, may be a slight favorite because of the district’s changing boundaries and demographics.
Illinois’s 10th District — Rep. Bob Dold (R) — Dold sits in the most Democratic district of any Republican incumbent in the House and has compiled a moderate voting record. But with a boost from presidential-year turnout, Democrat Brad Schneider may be a slight favorite to win this rematch on Chicago’s wealthy North Shore.
New Jersey’s 5th District — Rep. Scott Garrett (R) — After 14 years in the House, Garrett is suddenly in deep trouble after a behind-closed-doors refusal to support gay Republican candidates. Democrat Josh Gottheimer, a former speechwriter for Bill Clinton, may be the favorite in this wealthy, Bergen County-dominated seat.
Texas’s 23rd District — Rep. Will Hurd (R) — Hurd stunned Democrat Pete Gallego in 2014, unseating him by about 2,000 votes in a heavily Hispanic border district, and Gallego is running again. Hurd, an African-American former CIA officer, has run a strong campaign, but a surge in Hispanic turnout in South Texas could overwhelm him.
Minnesota’s 2nd District — no incumbent running (Republican-held) — Democrat Angie Craig, a health-care executive, is a slight favorite to take over a GOP seat in the southern Twin Cities suburbs after Republicans nominated talk radio host Jason Lewis, whom fans have called “America’s Mr. Right” and detractors have labeled Minnesota’s “mini-Trump.”
Minnesota’s 8th District — Rep. Rick Nolan (D) — Both parties agree that Trump is running ahead in Minnesota’s blue-collar, populist Iron Range. But Nolan, a liberal who returned to Congress in 2012 after a 32-year hiatus, may still survive because Democrats have once again cast Republican Stewart Mills as an out-of-touch millionaire.
Nebraska’s 2nd District — Rep. Brad Ashford (D) — In 2014, Ashford became the first Nebraska Democrat to win a House seat since 1992 by defeating unpopular Republican Lee Terry. Now he’s in a tight race against retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Don “Bits” Bacon. The Trump and Clinton campaigns are contesting this Omaha district for its lone electoral vote.
Iowa’s 1st District — Rep. Rod Blum (R) — Blum rode a GOP wave in Iowa to victory two years ago but now must prove that he can win re-election in a presidential year, when turnout will be higher. Monica Vernon, who was the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 2014, began the general election as the favorite, but her lead has eroded as Trump has gained ground in the state.
Nevada’s 3rd District — no incumbent running (Republican-held) — Democrats are hoping to beat GOP Rep. Joe Heck in the state’s U.S. Senate race and pick up his House seat at the same time. With a strong Democratic early vote, Democratic software developer Jacky Rosen may be the slight favorite over perennial GOP candidate Danny Tarkanian in the southern Las Vegas suburbs.
California’s 25th District — Rep. Steve Knight (R) — Knight, a freshman, is the only remaining Republican representing a House district anchored by Los Angeles County, and he’s in trouble. Knight is contrasting his family’s deep roots in the district with Democratic attorney Bryan Caforio’s carpetbagging, but Caforio stands to benefit from huge Latino growth in the Antelope Valley.
California’s 49th District — Rep. Darrell Issa (R) — Issa, the lead inquisitor of the Obama administration in the House, is in a treacherous position: He is a Trump defender in a highly educated coastal seat that doesn’t like Trump and declined to use his personal fortune to attack retired Marine Doug Applegate, a Democrat. Now it may be too late.
Democrats are having a good night if they’re winning …
Florida’s 26th District — Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R) — Trump will probably get crushed in this heavily Cuban, suburban Miami district, and a redrawn map helps Democrats slightly. But private polls show Curbelo, who doesn’t support Trump, hanging tough against the Democrat he unseated in 2014, Joe Garcia.
Virginia’s 10th District — Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) — Trump is hugely unpopular in this wealthy, highly educated Northern Virginia seat and could drag Comstock down. Democratic real estate executive LuAnn Bennett has benefited from a barrage of ads from friendly outside groups.
Maine’s 2nd District — Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R) — Poliquin surprised analysts in 2014, becoming the first Maine Republican to win a House seat in 20 years. But he faces an extremely competitive rematch against Democrat Emily Cain. In a twist, both presidential campaigns are targeting this northern Maine seat for its lone electoral vote.
Pennsylvania’s 8th District — no incumbent running (Republican-held) — Former FBI agent Brian Fitzpatrick, a Republican, hopes to succeed his popular retiring brother, Mike Fitzpatrick, in this Bucks County House seat. Fitzpatrick will have a big advantage if a lot of voters don’t notice the difference. Democratic state legislator Steve Santarsiero only has a chance if Hillary Clinton wins huge margins in the Philadelphia suburbs.
Colorado’s 6th District — Rep. Mike Coffman (R) — The Denver suburbs haven’t been kind to Trump in recent polls, and Democrats hope that state Sen. Morgan Carroll will finally defeat Coffman. But Coffman has disavowed Trump, played up his newly acquired Spanish-speaking skills, and portrayed Carroll as a reflexive liberal. He could defy the top of the ticket.
New York’s 19th District — no incumbent running (Republican-held) — Law professor Zephyr Teachout, a progressive who ran unsuccessfully against Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial primary, is an even bet to win this open seat in a district that covers parts of the Hudson Valley and upstate. Republican state legislator John Faso, who also lost a governor’s race, in 2006, is calling Teachout a carpetbagger, while Democrats are attacking him as an Albany insider.
California’s 10th District — Rep. Jeff Denham (R) — Denham beat Democratic bee farmer Michael Eggman 56 percent to 44 percent in 2014 in this Central Valley district, but the race — which is a rematch — looks much closer this time. Democrats have portrayed Denham as a multimillionaire who helped Trump broker a deal to open his new Washington, D.C., hotel. Denham may have a slight edge, but it’s close.
Democrats are having a very good night if they’re winning …
Indiana’s 9th District — no incumbent running (Republican-held) — GOP venture capitalist Trey Hollingsworth is the favorite thanks to the strong GOP lean of this southern Indiana district. But he moved to the state from Tennessee last fall, and Democrat Shelli Yoder, a Monroe County Council member with deep roots in the state (she’s a former Miss Indiana), has portrayed him as an out-of-touch carpetbagger.
Florida’s 18th District — no incumbent running (Democratic-held) — Republican Brian Mast, a veteran who lost both legs in Afghanistan, has emerged as the narrow favorite in this Treasure Coast district over wealthy Democrat Randy Perkins, the CEO of a disaster recovery company.
Kansas’s 3rd District — Rep. Kevin Yoder (R) — This highly educated suburban Kansas City seat is normally very Republican-leaning, but Yoder is only a narrow favorite over Democratic investment firm owner Jay Sidie this year. Trump’s unpopularity hurts, but reviled GOP Gov. Sam Brownback is the real plague on Republicans here.
Michigan’s 1st District — no incumbent running (Repblican-held) — This open seat encompassing Michigan’s rural Upper Peninsula could go big for Trump. But conservative Democrat Lon Johnson, whose wife was a top Obama campaign fundraiser, has outspent the Republican, retired Marine Corps general Jack Bergman, and has a chance to buck the top of the ticket.
Michigan’s 8th District — Rep. Mike Bishop (R) — Bishop, a freshman, sits in a competitive seat that takes in both the city of Lansing and highly educated Detroit exurbs. He won easily in 2014, but this time, Democrats are making a last-minute push for their candidate, prosecutor Suzanna Shkreli.
Pennsylvania’s 16th District — no incumbent running (Republican-held) — Republican Lloyd Smucker, a state senator, once looked like a lock in this Lancaster-area seat, but Democratic nonprofit consultant Christina Hartman has given him a tougher-than-expected challenge. Trump may drive up Democratic turnout in the heavily Latino city of Reading, a concern for Smucker.
Minnesota’s 3rd District — Rep. Erik Paulsen (R) — Trump is badly underwater in this wealthy, suburban Minneapolis district, but Paulsen has built a reputation as a mild-mannered moderate. Democratic state Sen. Terri Bonoff has attacked Paulsen for waiting a long time before disavowing Trump but is still behind in private polls.
New York’s 22nd District — no incumbent running (Republican-held) — Republican state legislator Claudia Tenney is the favorite in a wacky three-way race against Democrat Kim Myers and millionaire Martin Babinec of the Upstate Jobs Party. Tenney supports Trump, while retiring GOP Rep. Richard Hanna broke ranks to endorse Clinton. But Trump is polling well in this working-class Upstate seat, which includes Binghamton and Utica.
Iowa’s 3rd District — Rep. David Young (R) — Young, a freshman, faces Iraq veteran Jim Mowrer, a Democrat, in a competitive seat that includes Des Moines and Council Bluffs. President Obama narrowly won the district in both 2008 and 2012, and Mowrer should carry Des Moines. But Trump is performing relatively well in rural Iowa, which probably lifts Young.
Utah’s 4th District — Rep. Mia Love (R) — Love won this suburban Salt Lake City seat by a much narrower-than-expected margin in 2014, defeating Democratic attorney Doug Owens 51 percent to 46 percent. Owens is running again and hopes to benefit from Utah’s hostility to Trump.
California’s 21st District — Rep. David Valadao (R) — This Central Valley seat is in the most Latino and least college-educated district held by a Republican in the House. It voted for President Obama twice, but Valadao’s profile as a dairy farmer makes him a good cultural fit. Democrat Emilio Huerta, son of labor icon Dolores Huerta, could win if there’s a huge anti-Trump wave.
Alaska’s (at-large) district — Rep. Don Young (R) — Young, who was first elected in 1973, is the longest-serving Republican in Congress. But Alaska is weirdly close in the presidential race (by Alaska standards), and Democrat Steve Lindbeck, the former CEO of Alaska Public Media, has attacked Young’s colorful remarks and ties to oil companies. A Young upset would qualify as a late-night shocker.