The New York Times is reporting that some high-profile Republicans "have begun what amounts to a shadow campaign for 2020 — as if the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue weren’t involved." Courting of prominent donors, visits to Iowa and appearances at party-affiliated events are among the activities being undertaken. Names mentioned include Vice-President Mike Pence, Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Ohio governor John Kasich, and U.N Ambassador Nikki Haley.
At this point, most are indicating they would only be active in 2020 if President Trump declines to run for a second term. Of course, that could change pending the outcome of the Russia investigation, the results of the 2018 Midterms and the president's popularity. It is worth noting that election year nomination challenges to incumbent presidents have not been particularly successful. At the same time, they are indicative of a split and this usually portends the party's defeat in November.
While no date is set, the 2020 Iowa caucuses are about 900 days away.
Once a Republican, Jim Justice switched his registration to run for West Virginia governor as a Democrat in 2016. Now he's changing parties again. An announcement is expected Thursday night during a rally with President Trump, who won the state by 42 points last November.
Once the change is made, there will be 34 Republican governors, tying a mark set nearly a century ago.
August 3 Updates: Republican Diane Black (TN-06) announced she will run for governor of the state in 2018. Additionally, although no formal announcement has been made, it seems highly likely that Republican Lou Barletta (PA-11) will run for U.S. Senate. Neither of these are yet reflected in the table below.
We've updated the table of U.S. House members not seeking reelection to their seat in 2018. The list is up to 18, including 11 Republicans and 7 Democrats.
Over the past couple weeks, there have been three additions. In Indiana, Republican Luke Messer (IN-6) has announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate. Note that he may be joined in that race by his colleague, Republican Todd Rokita (IN-4). In Tennessee, 16-term Republican John Duncan Jr. (TN-2) has announced his retirement. Finally, as reported last week, Democrat John Delaney (MD-6), will be retiring from the House to run for president in 2020.
All three of these seats are currently rated as safe for the incumbent party, although there is some possibility that the Democratic-held seat in Maryland could become more competitive.
The House currently has 240 Republicans and 194 Democrats. Utah's 3rd district is vacant, to be filled by a special election on November 7th. All 435 House seats will be up for election in 2018.
Democrat John K. Delaney, who represents Maryland's 6th congressional district, has become the first formally declared challenger to a second term for President Trump. Delaney, who is in his third term, will not run for Congress in 2018 so that he can focus on the presidential bid. Delaney laid out his rationale for running in a Washington Post opinion piece and has launched his campaign website that includes this video:
There are just over 1,190 days until the 2020 presidential election, making Delaney's announcement the earliest one in recent history (probably longer). Delaney is not well-known nationally, so the novelty of going first will garner him some attention.
We've added Delaney as a candidate option (click or tap 'Democrat' above the electoral counter) on the 2020 interactive map.
The chart below shows how individual states have voted in each presidential election since 1900. For each state/year, you can view:
For more information, including a larger version, click/tap the chart, or see the state electoral vote history page.
New Mexico Republican Rep. Steve Pearce announced that he will run for governor of that state in 2018. Incumbent Gov. Susana Martinez, also a Republican, cannot run again due to term limits. Pearce's colleague in the House, Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham had previously announced her entry into the race. A poll from earlier this year gave Martinez just a 43% approval rating. The gubernatorial race is currently rated 'Lean Democratic' by Sabato's Crystal Ball.
14 current members of the House have announced they will not be seeking reelection in 2018. The list includes eight Republicans and six Democrats. Three of the Republicans are retiring, while the other eleven members are running for Governor or U.S. Senator. Five of the 14 seats are expected to have competitive races in 2018.
Two House seats are currently vacant. Democrat Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) is expected to be sworn in on Tuesday. UT-03, previously held by Jason Chaffetz, will be filled via a special election to be held on November 7th.
First-term Democratic congresswoman Jacky Rosen has formally announced her candidacy for U.S. Senate in 2018. Assuming she secures the nomination, she will take on Republican incumbent Dean Heller, who will be seeking reelection to a 2nd term in the Senate from Nevada. Rosen currently represents that state's 3rd congressional district, which encompasses most of the state south of Las Vegas.
A late June poll from Public Policy Polling showed Rosen and Heller virtually tied, with Rosen ahead 42% to 41%. This will be one of the most watched races of 2018 as it is one of the few realistic opportunities for a Democratic pick-up on a difficult map. Of the 34 seats to be contested in 2018*, 25 of them are already held by Democrats**. Of the nine Republican-held seats, Nevada is the only one in a state not won by Donald Trump in 2016. Aside from Nevada, of the ten races currently seen as most competitive for next year (tan on map below), only Arizona is currently in Republican hands.
To win control of the Senate, Democrats need a net gain of three seats. To do that, they would need to defend all 25 of their seats, win the two competitive Republican-held seats (Nevada & Arizona), and find one other pick-up in a deep red state. Click or tap the map above to create and share your own 2018 Senate forecast.
* Includes Alabama special election to be held on December 12, 2017
** Including two independents (Bernie Sanders, Angus King) that caucus with the Democratic Party
Republican Jason Chaffetz of Utah's 3rd congressional district resigned from Congress Friday morning. The five-term Representative, who was chairman of the House Oversight Committee announced back in April that he would not run again. That was then followed up by the decision to leave Congress before the end of his term. Chaffetz will join Fox News as a commentator. A special election will take place on November 7th. The seat is very likely to remain in Republican hands.
Republicans now have 240 House seats to 193 for Democrats. In addition to Chaffetz's seat, California's 34th District is currently vacant. Democrat Jimmy Gomez won a special election for that seat earlier in June and is expected to be sworn-in on July 11th.
Republicans Karen Handel (GA-06) and Ralph Norman (SC-05) were sworn-in and joined the House of Representatives on Monday. Both won their seats in special elections held on June 20th. This brings Republicans back to full strength, at 241 seats. Democrats currently hold 193 seats.
The one remaining House vacancy will be filled when Democrat Jimmy Gomez takes his seat for California's 34th District. That is expected to take place after the 4th of July recess.
Republican control, at 241-194 seats after Gomez is sworn-in, will match where the 115th Congress began back in January. All five special elections held during the first half of the year were held by the incumbent party.
2018 Ratings Changes
Prior to the Georgia and South Carolina special elections, those seats were rated toss-up and likely Republican, respectively. Looking ahead to 2018, those seats are now rated as lean and safe Republican, respectively. (Ratings courtesy of Sabato's Crystal Ball).
As of now, about 70 of the 435 House seats look like they could be somewhat competitive in 2018. Democrats will need to gain 24 seats to take control.
Republicans Karen Handel and Ralph Norman won congressional special elections Tuesday. In Georgia's 6th district, Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff and is the first GOP woman elected to Congress from the state. In South Carolina's 5th district, Norman bested the Democrat, Archie Parnell.
While the Georgia race drew far more attention, and became the most expensive House race in U.S. history, the Republican margin of victory there was actually slightly larger than in the South Carolina race. Handel won by 3.8%, while Norman won by 3.2%.
This completes a series of four races for seats vacated by Republicans who left to join the Trump Administration. All four seats were held by that party. A fifth 2017 vacancy, created when a Democrat became California's Attorney General, was held by that party.
Once all the winners are sworn in, Republicans will again hold a 241-194 majority in the House. Democrats will need to gain 24 seats in the 2018 midterm elections to wrest control from the GOP. At this very early point, the analysts at Sabato's Crystal Ball see Democrats picking up somes seats, but falling short of that objective.
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