U.S. House Races: A Preliminary Look, Part 1

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The GOP would have to win 18 seats in November to regain control of the House.  Using a system that this writer developed based on (1) the last two Presidential election results and (2) the last Congressional race result specific to each district and then “tempered” those results by the most recent Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI) which considers only Presidential results, a list was derived of potential Republican and Democrat seats as targets by the opposing party.  My list was then compared against race ratings compiled by the Cook Political Report, Insider Politics (which is used by The Hill) and Sabato’s Crystal Ball.  The final list is composed of the Very Vulnerable to Defeat (if they show up on all four lists) and the Somewhat Vulnerable to Defeat (if they show up on three of four lists).

The result is 20 Democrats on the Very Vulnerable list and 6 Republicans nationally.  If they were all to go down to defeat in November, that would give the GOP a net gain of 14 seats.  However, on the Somewhat Vulnerable list, there are nine Democrats and 10 Republicans.  It should be noted at this point that many states have yet to hold primaries, caucuses, or conventions to determine actual candidates meaning that things could change.  For example, when Dan Lipinski (D-IL-3) lost his primary, it did not create a change in the rating.  Conversely, the announced retirement of William Hurd (R-TX-23) did have a huge impact.

Another factor indicating that a seat is in serious play is the amount of money flowing into the race.   The amounts listed are for both parties. The list will be presented by geographical location in two parts.  Today, the northeast and southeast are presented.

The Northeast


  • Jared Golden (ME-2)- most likely opponent is Erik Brakey.  $2.3 million raised.  A beneficiary of the new Maine ranked preference system in 2018, the GOP looks better prepared this time out.
  • Andy Kim (NJ-3)- Andy Kim won in 2018 by less than 4,000 votes.  His opponent will likely be Katie Gibbs and shaping up to be an expensive race.  $3.5 million raised.
  • Max Rose (NY-11)-  situated in Staten Island, this is traditional GOP territory.  His most likely opponent is Nicole Mallitakis.  $4.5 million raised.
  • Anthony Brandisi (NY-22)- he defeated Claudia Tenney in 2018 by less than 4,000 votes and it looks like there will be a rematch this year. $2.7 million raised.


  • Jeff Van Drew (NJ-2)- unknown opponent at this time but most likely some relative of a Kennedy.  Van Drew won in 2018 as a Democrat (against a certifiable nutcase), then switched parties.  Hatred of Van Drew among Democrats runs deep here and they are gunning for him.  $1.9 million raised.
  • Peter King (NY-2)- an open seat as King is retiring.  This district encompasses parts of Long Island and it may be a matchup between Jacqueline Gordon (D) versus Andrew Garbarino (R). $667,000 raised.
  • Scott Perry (PA-10)- after court-mandated redistricting, this district went from +22 GOP to +9 GOP according to the Cook PVI.  Perry won in 2018 against an unknown, underfunded opponent by 8,000 votes.  Eugene DePasquale will be the Democrat opponent who is known and funded. $1.9 million raised


  • Chris Pappas (NH-1)- no known viable opponents, this one is looking out of reach. $1.2 million raised.
  • Antonio Delgado (NY-19)- with no known viable opponent, this Catskills-based district is also looking out of reach.  $2.8 million raised.
  • Susan Wild (PA-7)- there are two viable Republicans in Dean Browning and Lisa Scheller, both of Lehigh County.  Wild prevailed after the state supreme court redrew the map in 2018.  $2.3 million raised.
  • Matt Cartright (PA-8)- His most likely opponent is Ted Daniels.  Given his 23,000 vote winning margin in 2018, Daniels has his work cut out.  $1.3 million raised.


  • Joe Katko (NY-24)- In 2018, he prevailed by 13,000 votes over Dana Balter.  Balter is up for a rematch but has to make it by Francis Conole in the primary.  Actually, the GOP might be better off without Katko, the consummate NeverTrumper. $2.6 million raised.
  • Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1)- In 2018, he won by less than 9,000 votes over Scott Wallace in a very expensive race.  With no big name opponents, perhaps the Democrats have given up on this seat.  $1.9 million raised.

The Southeast


  • Lucy McBath (GA-6)- She won this seat in 2018 from Karen Handel by less than 4,000 votes and Handel is poised for a rematch.  This was an expensive race two years ago and will be again in 2020 except Handel has Trump at the top of the ticket this time.  $3.8 million raised.
  • Joe Cunningham (SC-1)-  Cunningham defeated Jodie Arrington after Arrington unseated Sanford.  Still, he won by less than 4,000 votes.  This year it is looking like either Kathy Landing or Nancy Mace for the GOP.  Democrats are spending heavy to keep this seat.  $4.3 million raised.
  • Elaine Luria (VA-2)- she won this seat in 2018 by about 6,000 votes over Scott Taylor who is seeking a rematch.  Another possible GOP opponent is Ben Loyola, a Navy veteran in a district with a strong Navy presence.  $2.3 million raised.
  • Abigail Spanberger (VA-7)- she won this district over Dave Brat in 2016 by less than 6,000 votes.  Brat is in the mix in 2020 along with three other viable Republicans.  Some believe the Seventh is a tougher haul than the Second District since this one is the DC suburbs.  This writer is not so sure…  $3.3 million raised.






  • Ross Spano (FL-15)- will likely face off against either Alan Cohn or Adam Hattersley.  This district is the eastern suburbs of Tampa.  He won easily in 2018 and may be an even tougher opponent in 2020.  $1.1 million raised.
  • Rob Woodall (GA-7)- this is an open race as Woodall is stepping down.  He survived 2018 by about 400 votes against Carolyn Bourdeaux who will likely be the Democrat candidate again this year.  There are four good GOP possibilities given their strong fundraising numbers thus far.  Most pundits see this as a toss up.  $5.1 million raised.

Tomorrow:  The Midwest and the West