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.)
Those 57 total retirements are the second largest since 1930, surpassed only by 1992, which had a total of 65 open seats.
Here is my list, in descending order of vulnerability.
The first 10 districts on the list look very likely to flip party control.
After that, things get a bit murkier.
1. Pennsylvania’s 5th (Patrick Meehan, R)
Meehan’s suburban Philadelphia district has been completely redrawn by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, going from a very competitive district that voted for Hillary Clinton by 2 points in 2016 to one that would have backed her by 28 points under the new lines.
Meehan, who recently resigned from Congress, had his own problems anyway, but the new lines guarantee the Republican will be replaced by a Democrat.
2. Pennsylvania’s 14th (Conor Lamb, D)
Pennsylvania’s old 18th District has been chopped up a number of ways. Lamb has decided to run in the redrawn 17th District, where Republican Rep. Keith Rothfus will also be seeking re-election.
That means that the redrawn 14th, much of which is in now in Lamb’s district, won’t have an incumbent on the ballot in the fall.
The redrawn seat went for President Donald Trump by 29 points, making it an almost certain Republican takeover in the fall.
3. Florida’s 27th (Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R)
Ros-Lehtinen proved her political appeal in 2016 when she won re-election while Clinton was carrying her district by 20 points. But now that the Republican congresswoman is retiring, the heavily Hispanic district looks poised to flip party control.
4. Pennsylvania’s 6th (Ryan A. Costello, R).
Costello went back and forth about seeking re-election under the new lines. Clinton carried the old district by a single point but took the redrawn seat by 9 points.
The congressman finally announced that he would not seek re-election, and that almost certainly ended GOP chances of holding this suburban Philadelphia seat.
5. New Jersey’s 2nd (Frank A. LoBiondo, R)
LoBiondo’s district is a contradiction. Trump carried it by 5 points, but President Barack Obama carried it twice, by 8 points each time.
The Republican incumbent lost his first bid for Congress in 1992 but hasn’t had a close contest since he won the open seat in 1994.
The favorite for this year’s open seat is Democrat Jeff Van Drew. National...