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Rothenberg’s Dangerous Dozen Open House Seats
Republicans find themselves more on the defensive as November looms

Former Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Patrick Meehan, seen here after being pulled from the Congressional Baseball Game in 2014, has left behinda an open seat that is the most likely to flip party control, Rothenberg writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Yes, it’s time for another of my “dangerous dozen open House seats” columns, which I have been writing since shortly after the establishment of the Jamestown Settlement (or so it seems).

This cycle’s version has a plethora of seats to choose from, given the 38 Republican and 19 Democratic seats where an incumbent is not seeking re-election, either because he or she is retiring or running for a different office. (The number does not include those districts where a special election has already filled a vacancy or will be held before November.)

Analysis: GOP Senate Targets Fade From View
Matchups fizzle in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, may seem like a sitting duck in Trump country, but Republicans don’t like their chances against him. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When this election cycle began, handicappers repeatedly pointed out that 10 Democratic Senate incumbents from states carried by Donald Trump would be on the ballot in 2018. That count was accurate, and the point behind it obvious — Republicans had a long list of opportunities.

But now even the most partisan Republicans are acknowledging that the list of serious targets is shrinking to five or six states. Indiana, Missouri, West Virginia, North Dakota and Florida are certainly in play, but how are the other competitive Senate races holding up?

Analysis: Trump Numbers Are Up. And Down. But Really Unchanged.
It’s still too early to read too much into recent polling shifts

National surveys of President Donald Trump’s approval and the generic ballot appear to be dramatically changing, but the truth is more complicated than that, Rothenberg writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New national polls show voters are more upbeat about President Donald Trump’s performance and more pessimistic about the Democrats’ chances of taking back the House. Or not.

An April 8-11 Washington Post-ABC News poll showed Trump’s job approval rating at 40 percent, while 56 percent disapproved of his performance.

Analysis: Can a President Preaching Change Lead a Party of Incumbents?
Trump ran as a disrupter, but that may not be enough to save House GOP this fall

President Donald Trump’s GOP currently represents the party of continuity, which does not bode well for its chances in November, Rothenberg writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

I have long argued that on the most fundamental level, all elections are choices between continuity and change.

The “in” party needs voters to believe that things are going well — or at least improving — while the “out” party needs to sell its message of change.

Podcast: Going Behind the Screen about Television Ad Reservations
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 7

The Capitol dome is seen in a reflection on a television news camera outside the Capitol on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Analysis: When History Overtakes a Campaign Promise
Nearly 20 years ago, the DCCC and NRCC pledged to play nice

Nearly 20 years ago, DCCC Chairman Martin Frost of Texas, left, and NRCC Chairman John Linder of Georgia, pledged to refrain from attacks of a personal nature in political campaigns. (Tom Williams/Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photos)

The press release from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was groundbreaking, if difficult to believe.

The chairman of the DCCC said his committee “will not fund any Democratic candidate who initiates attacks against their Republican opponents of an ‘intimate’ personal nature.”

Podcast: What Defines a Political Wave in the House?
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 6

MARCH 14: Speaker Paul D. Ryan holds a press conference with House GOP leadership in the Capitol on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, as a television displays election results from the special election in Pennsylvania. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With President Donald Trump’s mediocre job ratings, Democrats’ advantage on the national generic ballot and success in special elections in Pennsylvania, Alabama and elsewhere, there’s plenty of talk about a political wave. In this week’s Decoder, Roll Call elections analyst Nathan Gonzales, sitting in for David Hawkings, talks with Roll Call columnist Stuart Rothenberg about how many seats it takes to make a wave and which Republicans might survive.

Show Notes:

Pennsylvania 18: A Red Flag for the GOP
The margins in a strong GOP district signal November worries for Republicans

Democrat Conor Lamb, left, and Republican Rick Saccone fought to a virtual draw for Pennsylvania’s open 18th District seat. (Courtesy Conor Lamb/Rick Saccone/Facebook)

The results in the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District confirm problems for Republicans.

The size of the Democratic general election wave is still unclear, but something is happening. Districts won comfortably by President Donald Trump in 2016 are more competitive now, which suggests that districts won by Hillary Clinton are likely to go Democratic in the midterms.

Analysis: Why the Gun Issue Has Shifted (It’s Not What You Think)
When courting swing voters, gun rights crowd is less part of the equation

Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, seen here on the East Lawn on Feb. 21 with students who were calling for action on gun control, represents the kind of suburban district that was once reliably Republican, but no longer, Rothenberg writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The gun debate has shifted dramatically. Suddenly, it looks as if the issue will benefit Democrats in November, not Republicans.

The reason for the shift doesn’t rest primarily on the intelligence and commitment of the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, although many of them have been articulate and persuasive.

Analysis: Will the Suburbs Flip the House? Watch These Seats
If Trump keeps bleeding suburban support, GOP House majority could be at risk

Retiring Michigan Rep. Dave Trott’s 11th District is overwhelmingly suburban, offering Democrats a pickup opportunity. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If elections and national surveys over the past year have shown us anything, it is that suburban voters could well be the key to the 2018 midterm House elections.

Turnout among minority voters and younger voters could affect the result in a district here or there, but an increase in suburban turnout or a substantial shift by suburban voters (especially suburban women) from the Republicans to the Democrats could have a much broader impact on the fight for control of the House.