Who Are the Most Vulnerable House Members?
Historically, the president's party loses a bunch of seats in the House, often 20-30 or more. That is
somewhat less likely this time because there aren't 30 Republican-leaning seats currently occupied by a
Democrat. Nevertheless, in a major red wave, Democrats in light blue seats could be swept out to sea. Roll
Call has a
of the 10 most vulnerable members of the House, six Democrats and four Republicans, as follows, from most
vulnerable to least vulnerable.
- Tom O'Halleran (D) in AZ-02 (R+6): Redistricting put this venerable
Democrat into a Trump+8 district. He is well known in the new district, but his opponent, former Navy SEAL Eli
Crane, has Trump's endorsement. Kari Lake is also popular in the district and may have coattails for Crane.
- Tom Malinowski (D) in NJ-07 (R+1): Malinowski is facing a rematch with Tom Kean
Jr., son of the former governor of New Jersey. Only this time the district has become redder than it was.
Malinowski also has some ethics problems: He failed to disclose stock trades as required by House rules.
Still, Malinowski has more money than Kean, which always helps. Lean Republican.
- Cindy Axne (D) in IA-03 (R+3): This race has become a referendum on Biden
because the Republican, Zach Nunn, talks about nothing else than Axne's support for the President. She talks
about abortion access. The district has been redrawn since last time and made redder than it was last time.
- Elaine Luria (D) in VA-02 (R+2): Like Axne, Luria was elected in the 2018 blue
wave. She is facing a top GOP recruit, Jen Kiggans. Luria is on the Select Committee, which has given her some
publicity, but for Republican voters, that may work against her. Kiggans has harped on Luria's support for
Biden, but Luria has 10x as much money as Kiggans. Outside groups are helping Kiggans plug the money hole.
- David Valadao (R) in CA-22 (D+5): Valadao has won and lost in the district
before. He lost to T.J. Cox in 2018 and beat Cox in 2020. Since then, the district has been made much more
Democratic. Valadao voted to impeach Trump, which in a D+5 district is probably a plus. Republicans regard
Valadao as the only Republican who could possibly hold the seat against state Assemblyman Rudy Salas. Outside
groups have already spent $15 million for Valadao, a huge amount for a House race, especially in a rural area.
- Steve Chabot (R) in OH-01 (D+2): Chabot is a regular on the "most vulnerable"
lists. He even lost in 2008 but came back as a tea partier in 2010. The Democrat is time is Cincinnati City
Councilman Greg Landsman. Chabot is trying to depict him as too liberal for the district. Landsman is pointing
out that Chabot voted against certifying Biden's win in 2020. Toss-up.
- Angie Craig (D) MN-02 (D+1): Craig is again facing Marine veteran Tyler
Kistner, whom she beat by 2.2 points last time. A third-party candidate who is on the ballot died last month,
making it head-to-head. Craig has $1.9 million to Kistner's $420,000. Toss-up.
- Yvette Herrell (R) in NM-02 (D+1): Herrell is a former state representative who
moved up to the U.S. House in 2020, on her second try. She has managed to get some high-profile Republicans to
campaign for her, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL). The Democrat is Gabe Vasquez, a
first-generation American and former member of the Las Cruces City Council. He is running as a moderate. She
has twice as much money as he does. Toss-up.
- Don Bacon (R) in NE-02 (EVEN): Bacon is a retired Air Force brigadier general
who was first elected in 2016. He is facing state Sen. Tony Vargas in an Omaha-area district that Biden won in
2020. The race is considered a bellwether of how competitive Republicans are in the suburbs. Toss-up.
- Susan Wild (D) in PA-07 (R+2): Like some of the others on this list, she is
facing a rematch. The Republican is Lisa Scheller, who Wild beat by 4 points in 2020. However, the district
became more Republican this cycle. Wild is attacking Scheller because her business shipped jobs abroad. That
won't play so well. Also, Wild has $921,000 on hand vs. Scheller's $320,000. Toss-up.
In a red wave, the six Democrats are likely to drown but in a blue one, it will be the Republicans. In any
case, the chance that more than half of these members are back in January is quite small. (V)
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