Battle for the House: Are Crowded Democratic Primaries a Blessing or a Curse?

Katie Hill, 30, is a first-time candidate who may be one of the most impressive Democratic contenders of 2018. The daughter of a nurse and a police officer, she studied nursing herself before shifting to the non-profit sector, and by 29 she was running the largest anti-homelessness non-profit in California, with an annual budget over $40 million. But her ability to navigate a tricky primary may hold the key to Democrats' chances of flipping a critical district.

Ratings Changes in 21 Districts

The first two months of 2018 have given both parties reasons for optimism. Republicans have cut Democrats' lead in the FiveThirtyEight average of generic congressional ballot polls in half, from roughly 12 points in December to about six points today. As debates over unpopular health care and tax bills have subsided, news of strong economic data and record-high stocks (at least until late last week) has likely aided the GOP.

Frelinghuysen Retires, NJ-11 Stays in Toss Up

It's not often that a newly installed chair of the House Appropriations Committee calls it quits, but GOP Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen's decision not to seek a 13th term confirms months of rumors that he wasn't in the mood for his first ever truly competitive reelection race. Democrats were in prime position to cast him as the face of the House GOP agenda, and they'll have an excellent opportunity to pick up the seat without him on the ballot.

McSally Senate Bid Moves AZ-02 to Lean Democratic

Arizona GOP Rep. Martha McSally (AZ-02) uncorked one of the worst kept secrets of 2018 by announcing her bid for Senate today. Over her two terms, McSally has cultivated a popular profile as a trailblazing fighter pilot and moderate Republican who fought for Pentagon funding for Tucson's A-10 Warthog. It allowed her to win reelection with 57 percent in 2016 while Hillary Clinton carried the district 49 percent to 44 percent.

Issa Retirement Moves CA-49 from Toss Up to Lean Democratic

GOP Rep. Darrell Issa's retirement makes him the fourth Republican from a district carried by Hillary Clinton to not seek reelection in 2018. It's not as much of a game changer as Rep. Ed Royce's was yesterday because Issa was already highly vulnerable after winning by fewer than 1,700 votes in 2016, but it does put Democrats in the driver's seat to pick up the district.

Royce Retirement Moves CA-39 from Lean Republican to Lean Democratic

Democrats got a boost they desperately wanted when GOP House Foreign Relations Chair Rep. Ed Royce announced his retirement from California's 39th CD. Royce has held the northern Orange County seat easily since 1992, in part because he's built a deep relationship with immigrant communities in a district that is 29 percent Asian and just 31 percent white. But without Royce, Republicans will struggle to hold the seat.

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