Crowded Fields Remain in California Ahead of June Primary
Candidates have also chosen how to define themselves on the ballot

Crowded primary fields remain in California, leading the DCCC to contemplate openly playing in primaries. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With the filing deadline behind them, congressional candidates in California are gearing up for contested primaries — and providing early indications of how they plan to define themselves on the ballot.

Democrats continue to have an issue with crowded fields in key pickup opportunities in the Golden State, and they’re still attempting to narrow some of the fields ahead of the June 5 primary.

Insiders See Democratic House Gains of 30-45 seats
Polling, election results, fundraising tend to point in one direction

President Donald Trump continues to define the landscape for this year’s midterms, which insiders predict will be favorable to Democrats in the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Seven and a half months before the midterm elections, the combination of attitudinal and behavioral evidence leads to a single conclusion: The Democrats are very likely to win control of the House in November.

Just as important, Republican and Democratic campaign strategists also agree that an electoral wave has already formed. The attitudinal evidence begins with national polling.

Capitol Ink | Trump Country Mile

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.

Trump Says He Needs Rick Saccone Ahead of Pennsylvania Special Election
Thousands of steelworkers live in 18th District, site of Tuesday’s contest

President Donald Trump spoke Saturday night at a rally for Republican Rick Saccone in Pennsylvania’s 18th District. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a wide-ranging speech Saturday night outside Pittsburgh, President Donald Trump touted his agenda and plugged supporters to vote for Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone in next week’s special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, telling voters he needs more GOP lawmakers in Congress to support his agenda. 

“The other opponent, his opponent, is not voting for us,” Trump said in Moon Township, referring to the Democrat nominee Conor Lamb. “He can say all he wants, there’s no way he’s voting for us ever, ever … Rick is going to vote for us all the time, all the time.”

Can Unions Push Conor Lamb to an Unlikely Victory in Pennsylvania?
Organized labor has deployed ground operation to boost 18th District Democrat

A campaign sign for Democrat Conor Lamb outside a painters union training center in Carnegie, Pa. The center is one of four union buildings where volunteers gather to campaign for him. (Bridget Bowman/CQ Roll Call)

PITTSBURGH — After a Tuesday rally for Pennsylvania Democrat Conor Lamb at the Carpenters Training Center here, Preston Sparks stood outside, holding a clipboard as he filled out a form.

But he wasn’t signing up with the House candidate’s campaign. Instead he’s volunteering with local unions, who have launched a coordinated ground game to support Lamb ahead of the March 13 special election in the 18th District.

Biden Rallies the Troops for Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania
Former vice president hits campaign trail a week before House special election

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., seen here at a 2016 campaign event for Hillary Clinton in Scranton, Pa., returned to the Keystone State on Tuesday to rally support for Democratic House candidate Conor Lamb. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

MOON, Pa. — Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. traveled to the Pittsburgh suburbs one week before the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District with a message aimed squarely at the middle class.

At separate events before a crowd of union workers in Pittsburgh and then a packed room of supporters here at Robert Morris University, Biden said Democrat Conor Lamb understands the people of the southwest Pennsylvania district. Invoking a military slogan, he said a Lamb victory would send a message across the country.

How Vulnerable Senate Democrats Have Pushed to the Center
Of the 10 running in Trump states, four stand apart for siding with the president

Joe Manchin III voted with the president 71 president of the time last year when his wishes were clear in advance. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If you’re wearing a blue uniform but your game is in a stadium where most of the crowd usually roots for the reds, try accessorizing with as much purple as possible.

That bit of fashion advice is one cheeky way of describing the politically pragmatic behavior of most, but not all, of the 10 Democratic senators hoping to hold their seats this fall in states that went for President Donald J. Trump.

Rating Change: Special Election for Pennsylvania’s 18th Moves to Toss-Up
Democrat Conor Lamb is still standing despite continuous GOP attacks

Democrat Conor Lamb, left, and Republican Rick Saccone will face off March 13 in the special election for Pennsylvania’s 18th District. (Courtesy Conor Lamb/Rick Saccone/Facebook)

Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

“While the Pennsylvania race isn’t getting much attention now, that should change next year, considering all of the 2017 special elections eventually became national stories,” my colleague Leah Askarinam wrote in the Dec. 15 issue of Inside Elections. “By the numbers, the 18th District special election shouldn’t be particularly competitive. But the 2017 slate of special elections demonstrated that every race could turn into a struggle for Republicans, even in favorable territory.”

Ratings Changes: 15 Races Shift Toward Democrats, 1 Toward Republicans
Democratic chances have improved beyond Pennsylvania

From left, Democrats Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey and Stephanie Murphy of Florida are looking more secure in their re-elections this fall, while, from right, Republicans Ted Budd and Mimi Walters may be more vulnerable. (Bill Clark/Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photos)

Less than eight months before Election Day, the midterm landscape is still taking shape. It’s still not clear whether Democrats will have a good night (and potentially fall short of a majority) or a historic night in the House that puts them well over the top. But mounting evidence nationally and at the district level points to a Democratic advantage in a growing number of seats.

Democratic prospects improved in a handful of seats in Pennsylvania, thanks to a new, court-ordered map. And the party’s successes in state and local elections over the last 14 months demonstrate a surge in Democratic voters, particularly in blue areas, that could be problematic for Republican candidates in the fall. GOP incumbents in districts Hillary Clinton carried in 2016 might be particularly susceptible to increased Democratic enthusiasm.