Rep. Barbara Comstock, first elected in 2014, is probably the single most vulnerable GOP incumbent in the House. In 2016, she won reelection by six points while her Northern Virginia district voted for Hillary Clinton 52 percent to 42 percent. In the 2017 governor's race, Democrat Ralph Northam annihilated Ed Gillespie 56 percent to 43 percent in the 10th CD. Down-ballot in the 10th CD, the "blue wave" swept out six incumbent GOP state delegates.
Republicans badly need a few lucky breaks to hold their House majority in November. So far in 2018, it's been the opposite story — from an unfriendly new Pennsylvania map to Speaker Paul Ryan's retirement and bleak special election results. But with five weeks to go before California's June 5 primary, Democrats are at risk of squandering several seats that would otherwise appear to be golden pickup opportunities.
Less than a week before Ohio's May 8 primary, uncertainty surrounds both primaries for the August 7 special election to replace GOP Rep. Pat Tiberi, who resigned in January to lead the Ohio Business Roundtable. Republicans remain locked in a bitter air war between state Sen. Troy Balderson and Liberty Township Trustee Melanie Leneghan, while Democratic Franklin County Recorder Danny O'Connor is seeking to stave off a late surge from the left.
Every day, it seems, another warning light goes off on the GOP’s dashboard, a blinking reminder of their ensuing troubles for 2018. There are a record number of GOP retirements — including that of House Speaker Ryan. Democratic challengers are outraising GOP incumbents. And, of course, there's the most recent under-performance of a GOP candidate in Arizona’s 8th district special election.
Speaker Paul Ryan's retirement plans could complicate the House GOP's fundraising math. In 2017, Ryan's joint fundraising committee brought in $44 million and transferred $32 million to the NRCC. His exit could leave GOP donors skittish. But even before last week, Democratic donors had been demonstrating far more enthusiasm on a race-by-race basis, a fact reflected in the newest House fundraising reports.
In the wake of Speaker Paul Ryan’s announcement this week that he was retiring from Congress, many have argued that President Trump’s take-over of the GOP is now complete. Ryan, it’s argued, decided it was easier to cede the party to Trump’s populist and nationalist ideology rather than try to fight it.
Speaker Paul Ryan's announcement that he will not seek reelection to his southeastern Wisconsin district in 2018 (though he will serve out the rest of his term) is a deep blow to his party's morale in its uphill efforts to hold the House majority. It's also not entirely a surprise: when he reluctantly took the speaker's gavel in 2015 under heavy pressure, he couldn't have imagined he would have to deal with a President Donald Trump.
If it were up to congressional Republicans, President Trump would spend the next eight months relentlessly focusing on tax cuts and the growing economy. After all, the tax cut legislation is the only substantive piece of legislation the GOP-controlled Congress has passed, and the economy is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise chaotic and divisive year.