(The Hill) – Republicans are favored to flip the House this November given the national mood, as well as the historic headwinds the president’s party normally faces in a midterm election.
Yet Democrats still have a fighting chance, thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which has energized voters and given the party of President Biden hope that they can stave off a red wave.
Democrats are going on offense in California’s 22nd Congressional District, represented by pro-impeachment Republican Rep. David Valadao, and Nebraska’s 2nd District, represented by Rep. Don Bacon (R). Meanwhile, Democratic retirements in districts like Wisconsin’s 3rd District and Rhode Island’s 2nd District have fueled possible pickup opportunities for the GOP.
Here’s a look at 10 races to watch for in November.
California’s 22nd Congressional District
The race for California’s 22nd Congressional District will determine if another House Republican who voted to impeach former President Trump for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection will be defeated or if he will continue on for another term.
Rep. David Valadao is one of two House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump who is running for reelection in November. The other eight either lost their primaries to Trump-backed challengers or chose to not run for reelection.
Valadao is running against Democrat Rudy Salas, a California state assemblyman. Trump did not endorse anyone in the open primary for the seat, and Valadao placed second in the primary and advanced to the general election.
FiveThirtyEight considers the race to be a “toss-up,” with Salas having a slight advantage in its election simulation.
Michigan’s 7th Congressional District
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) represents one of the handful of districts that Trump and a Democratic House candidate both won in 2020. She was first elected in 2018 by a few points and won reelection in 2020 by about the same margin.
She is facing Republican Tom Barrett, a Michigan state senator and member of the state’s National Guard who has been a vocal opponent of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) use of emergency powers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Slotkin has campaigned on being a moderate who worked in the CIA under both Democratic and Republican administrations, while Barrett has criticized her for consistently voting in favor of Biden’s proposals.
The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the race as a toss-up.
Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District
Rep. Don Bacon (R) is fighting for reelection to represent Nebraska’s 2nd District against Democratic candidate Tony Vargas, a state senator. The three-term incumbent won his last election by over 4 percentage points despite the fact that it was the only district in the state to swing for Biden.
Vargas has leaned into issues like abortion in addition to lowering prescription drugs and affordable health care, among others. Bacon has focused on his record working with Nebraskans on issues and tackling issues like the infant baby formula shortage.
This race is expected to be no less competitive, given the district’s current Republican lean. The Nebraska Examiner reported last month that the top House leaders on both sides had visited the state, including House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).
New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District
A rematch of the 2020 contest will decide who will represent New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District for the next two years. Rep. Tom Malinowski (D) is running against Republican Thomas Kean Jr. for the second time.
The district has swung back and forth between voting for Democrats and Republicans in recent years and will likely be the closest House race this year in New Jersey, a state where most districts lean comfortably Democratic. For this reason, many see it as a bellwether for how Democrats will do across the country in November.
Malinowski defeated Kean in the 2020 race by only about 5,000 votes, or 1 percent. Malinowski served as an assistant secretary in the State Department during the Obama administration, while Kean, the son of a former governor, served as the minority leader of the state Senate for almost 15 years.
FiveThirtyEight’s election simulation states that Kean is slightly favored to win, but a poll from last month found the candidates tied.
New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District
New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District has been hotly contested in recent years, as no one has held the seat for more than two consecutive terms in almost two decades.
Rep. Chris Pappas (D) is running for his third term against Republican Karoline Leavitt, a 25-year-old former assistant in the Trump administration’s press office. Leavitt defeated Matt Mowers, the Republican nominee for the seat in 2020 who worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign and in the State Department, in the GOP primary last month.
Leavitt received endorsements in the primary race from far-right Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Rep. Lauren Boebert (Colo.). Pappas is potentially one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents as Republicans seek to retake the House.
A poll from last week showed Pappas leading Leavitt by 8 points, but one released Wednesday placed his lead at just 1 point, within the margin of error.
Oregon’s 6th Congressional District
The newly drawn 6th Congressional District in Oregon features a matchup between Democratic candidate Andrea Salinas, a state representative, and Republican candidate Mike Erickson, the founder of a consulting firm focused on supply chain and logistics.
On the surface, there are signs that the seat should be more favorable for Democrats given that the data website FiveThirtyEight gives the new district a partisan lean of 7 points for Democrats.
But the nonpartisan election handicapper Cook Political Report this week moved its rating from “lean Democrat” to a toss-up, noting that “both parties’ surveys continue to show Republican supply chain consultant Mike Erickson tied or leading Democratic state Rep. Andrea Salinas, an avowed progressive policy wonk who was endorsed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the primary and hasn’t lived in the 6th CD.”
The race is also likely complicated by the fact that Gov. Kate Brown (D) is seen as an unpopular governor within her state, which could add to headwinds for Democrats.
Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District
Democrats have held the seat representing Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District for more than 20 years, but Republicans have a decent chance to win it this year.
Rep. Jim Langevin (D) announced earlier this year that he would not seek reelection after holding the seat for two decades, and Democrats nominated Seth Magaziner, the general treasurer of Rhode Island. Magaziner is running against Republican Allan Fung, the former mayor of the city of Cranston.
A Suffolk University-Boston Globe poll released Tuesday showed Fung leading Magaziner by 8 points, 45 percent to 37 percent, while 13 percent said they were undecided. Five percent said they would support an independent candidate. Cook Political Report rates the contest as a toss-up, indicating it could be a key pickup opportunity for Republicans in retaking control of the House.
“Magaziner’s opponent’s a quality opponent,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer admitted while speaking to reporters last month before the House recess. “I think Magaziner’s going to beat him. But, you know, he’s the mayor of a town, he’s pretty popular, and he’s not an extremist. Not every Republican is an extremist, don’t get me wrong. But in the Republican Party, it’s a dwindling number.”
Texas’s 34th Congressional District
Rep. Mayra Flores (R-Texas) made headlines earlier this year after she won a special election in the state’s 34th Congressional District over Democrat Dan Sanchez, filling the remainder of Rep. Filemon Vela’s (D) term.
But the district Flores currently represents and the 34th Congressional District she’s vying for in November are not the same, and she’s now gearing up for a competitive reelection against Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas), whose current House seat pertains to the 15th Congressional District.
The data website FiveThirtyEight gives the seat a partisan lean of plus 17 points Democrat and Politico notes that Biden handedly carried the area in 2020 under the redistricted lines by 16 points.
Washington’s 8th Congressional District
Two-term incumbent Rep. Kim Schrier (D) is fighting for reelection in Washington’s 8th District against Republican candidate Matt Larkin, who once worked in the George W. Bush administration as a speechwriter, according to The Seattle Times.
The district comprises parts of or all of the counties of Snohomish, Chelan, Kittitas, King and Pierce. Despite the fact that Biden won the district in 2020 by 7 percentage points, the data website FiveThirtyEight gives the seat an even partisan lean. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report also rates the seat as a toss-up.
Still, Schrier is not to be underestimated: Her first election in 2018 made headlines given that the district had been under Republican control for decades before she flipped the seat that year.
Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District
Rep. Ron Kind (D) announced last year that he would not be seeking reelection, leaving the 3rd Congressional District seat in Wisconsin open after serving in the House for 25 years. He was among a group of Democrats who won their seat in a district that was also carried by former President Trump in 2020.
The open seat is now considered one of Republicans’ best pickup opportunities in the House, which features a head-to-head between state Sen. Brad Pfaff (D) and retired Navy SEAL Derrick Van Orden (R), who lost against Kind in 2020 as the GOP nominee.
The data website FiveThirtyEight gives the district a partisan lean of plus nine points Republican and coupled with the fact that Van Orden has an endorsement from Trump, Van Orden has a competitive shot at taking the seat this cycle.
The seat is rated as “lean Republican” by the Cook Political Report, and FiveThirtyEight says Van Orden is favored to win in the election.
Mike Lillis contributed.