WASHINGTON − The campaign arm for House Democrats is targeting 33 House districts in an effort to win back the chamber in 2024 after Democrats held off a predicted “red wave” in last year’s midterms.
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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee compiled a list released earlier this year of districts for Democrats to flip blue in 2024. The committee estimates only 6,675 votes separated the party from holding onto the chamber.
The 33 districts are viewed as key battleground races − 18 of them ones that Republicans won in 2022, but President Joe Biden carried in the 2020 presidential election. Some home in on races in swing states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin while others target vulnerable Republicans who are serving their first term or barely cobbled enough wins to flip their district last year.
“Vulnerable Republicans – especially those representing the 18 districts President Biden won in 2020 – have worked hand in hand with Speaker McCarthy to pursue an extreme MAGA agenda that defunds federal law enforcement, restricts reproductive freedoms, and guts investments in good-paying jobs,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s spokesperson Viet Shelton told USA TODAY in a statement. “It’s a radical, out-of-touch agenda that will cost them the majority and stands in clear contrast with House Democrats’ track record of lowering costs and growing the middle class.”.
The National Republican Congressional Campaign, the campaign arm for House Republicans, released their own list earlier this year of 37 districts held by House Democrats that pose pick-up opportunities for Republicans to expand their majority in the House. Five Democrats won in 2022 in districts that former President Donald Trump carried in the 2020 presidential election.
“Extreme Democrats destroyed the American dream, leaving families desperate for a change. Republicans continue to race toward growing our House majority with a diverse slate of candidates running strong campaigns that reflect the experiences and challenges of the people in their districts,” the campaign’s national press secretary Will Reinert said in a statement to USA TODAY.
Here’s a breakdown of which “Districts In Play” the committee has identified ahead of 2024:.
New York, California see most districts in play
The committee identified six races in New York it plans to target to reclaim the House majority in 2024. Democratic party candidates didn’t fare well in the state last year with Republicans flipping four seats and paving the way for Republicans to capture the House.
One district on the list is represented by embattled Republican Rep. George Santos, who pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he ran a fraudulent scheme to finance his campaign, defrauded the unemployment insurance program and made false statements on his financial disclosures to Congress.
The freshman lawmaker announced his reelection campaign last April. He flipped his district red, which includes Queens and Long Island, and defeated his Democratic opponent by around eight points last year.
The committee also labeled several districts in play that current freshman New York lawmakers hold like Reps. Marc Molinaro, Brandon Williams and Nick LaLota. Both Molinaro and Williams won their districts by narrow margins in 2022.
Other districts listed include those Republicans flipped red last year including those of Rep. Anthony D’Esposito and Rep. Mike Lawler, who won by fewer than 2,000 votes.
Democrats have already started targeting New York to avoid a repeat of the midterms next year. The Democrat-led House Majority PAC launched the New York Fund program last April to funnel $45 million to the state in hopes of a better outcome for the party.
The committee identified the most number of districts − seven − in play in California, including one seat that’s vacant.
Rep. David Valadao represents a district on the committee’s list. He held onto his seat by just 3,000 votes after becoming one of 10 Republicans who supported the second impeachment vote of Trump.
In another close race, freshman GOP Rep. John Duarte won by 500 votes, defeating his Democratic opponent in the San Joaquin Valley and flipping the district red, earning a spot on the committee’s list.
Other districts listed include those of Republican Reps. Kevin Kiley, Mike Garcia, Ken Calvert and Michelle Steel who all won their races by single-digit percentage points.
Additionally, the committee identified California districts that went blue for Biden in the 2020 presidential election but flipped red last year for congressional races. These include the districts of Valadao, Duarte, Garcia, Steel and Rep. Young Kim, whose district encompasses Orange County.
More:Republican stumbles with independents contributed to midterm woes and losses.
Committee lists districts in key swing states
The committee has identified several districts in play in swing states like Arizona, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
One district in Arizona is held by Republican Rep. David Schweikert, who is serving his seventh term and defended his seat by less than one point in 2022.
Another Arizona district listed is one that Biden won in 2020 but flipped red in 2022 after freshman Republican Rep. Juan Ciscomani won by less than two percentage points.
In Michigan, the committee is focused on one open district encompassing Lansing and one currently held by GOP Rep. John James, a freshman lawmaker who won by a narrow margin of 1,600 votes last year. He defeated former Michigan Judge Carl Marlinga, a Democrat, who announced he will be running again in a rematch bid for the seat.
The committee labeled two Pennsylvania districts in play for 2024: one led by Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick and the other led by House Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Scott Perry.
Fitzpatrick carried his district, which Biden won in 2020, by a nearly 10-point margin to serve his fifth term. Perry also won by a wider margin, carrying his district by 6 points to defend his seat and serve his sixth term.
Wisconsin has two districts the committee included on their list. Rep. Bryan Steil defended his district last year by nearly 10 points and freshman Rep. Derrick Van Orden flipped his district red by nearly 4 points.
But things may be changing in favor of Democrats in the swing state. Wisconsinites in April gave control of the state’s Supreme Court to Democrats for the first time in 15 years, backing abortion-rights judge Janet Protasiewicz in a race that served as a referendum after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion.
Other districts in play
The Florida district of Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, a member of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus and a Trump loyalist, is a target for the committee. Luna won in 2022 by 30,000 votes and flipped the district red.
The committee also wants to oust Florida Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, who is serving her second term and defended her seat also by 30,000 votes against a Democratic challenger.
In other states, the committee is turning to districts where Biden won in 2020, but Republicans won in the midterms. New Jersey freshman Rep. Tom Kean and Virginia Rep. Jen Kiggans both won their respective races by 10,000 votes and flipped their districts red. In Oregon, freshman Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer won by around 7,000 votes, flipping a long-time Democratic seat red.
Rep. Lauren Boebert’s Colorado district also made the committee’s list. Boebert is running in 2024 against Colorado businessman Adam Frisch who almost unseated her last year with just 550 votes separating the two candidates. Frisch, a Democrat, recently released a poll showing him with a 2-point lead over the incumbent.
In Iowa, the committee identified the districts of Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Zach Nunn. In Nunn’s race, the freshman lawmaker won by just 2,000 votes defeating the Democratic incumbent Cindy Axne.
The district of freshman Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke, the former interior secretary under Trump’s administration, is also on the committee’s radar. Zinke defeated his Democratic opponent by 3 points.
One district in Nebraska, held by Rep. Don Bacon, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, made the list. Bacon defended his seat by nearly 3 points against a Democratic challenger to serve his fourth term.
Lastly, the committee identified one Texas district where freshman Rep. Monica De La Cruz, a Trump-backed candidate, saw a larger win last year with a nearly 10-point margin that flipped the district red.