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10 Endangered House Democrats
Rep. Tom O’Halleran
|2||Rep. Tom Malinowski||NJ 07|
|3||Rep. Jared Golden||ME 02|
|4||Rep. Cindy Axne||IA 03|
|5||Rep. Elaine Luria||
|6||Rep. Marcy Kaptur||OH 09|
|7||Rep. Susan Wild||PA 07|
|8||Rep. Susie Lee||NV 03|
|9||Rep. Elissa Slotkin||MI 07|
Rep. Kim Schrier
Tom O’Halleran, Arizona, 2nd District (R+6)
Race FORECAST: Leans Republican
Tom O’Halleran is one of the most endangered incumbents this year. He is currently the incumbent for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District, which was changed to the 2nd District following the state’s redistricting effort. This is a very rural, conservative-leaning area where the Republicans are licking their chops. Their lead candidates are both right-wing extremists who both want Arizona to join the eight states where abortion is banned and make voting as hard as possible.
O’Halleran is really the only candidate the Democrats have who could win this one. He was a former Chicago cop, former Republican, and former popular radio host. Although he was a Republican during his time in the Arizona state legislature, he was known for being a moderate and reaching across the aisle—much to the ire of the Arizona GOP. By committing the cardinal sin of working with Democrats, O’Halleran lost his primary for his state Senate race.
In 2015, Nancy Pelosi and the state Democratic party came knocking. They wanted him to run for our side. He announced on his radio program that his beliefs on education and child welfare no longer matched the increasing radical beliefs of the GOP, and that he was switching parties. He ran as a Democrat for Congress in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District, and won. Although in the moderate camp, Democrats have been very happy with O’Halleran. He has been a force for voting rights, health care, and immigrants. He received a 100% score from the League of Conservation Voters and has been endorsed by the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL). Although the Cook PVI rating puts this race at “Likely GOP,” Politico gives him a better chance with a “Lean GOP” rating based on O’Halleran’s popularity. He’s the best possible chance we can have in this red district, and if he manages to win this race, the Republicans will likely fail in their quest to recapture the House.
Tom Malinowski, New Jersey, 7th District (R+2)
Race FORECAST: Leans Republican
Representative Tom Malinowski (D-NJ)
Last year’s close gubernatorial race scared the bejeezus out of Democratic incumbents, who decided that in order to stave off a potential red wave, they would shore up their districts a little bit by pulling from a blue district. Representative Tom Malinowski drew the short straw, and his district went from D+3 to a much redder R+1. He only won his race in 2020 by less than one point. Malinowski’s opponent in that race, Thomas Kean Jr., jumped at the chance to take him on again with the new lines.
Although the race has been forecasted as a likely flip for the Republicans, New Jersey insiders aren’t so sure. Malinowski’s conservative opponent decided to remake himself into a self-described “culture warrior,” jumping on the GOP bandwagon to bash gays, trans folks, and migrants in order to fend off several right-wing challengers. Worst of all, as Senate minority leader in the state legislature, Kean opposed legislation to codify the right to reproductive freedom in New Jersey, as the state had no protection at all for women’s rights.
Kean knows that his stance on this subject isn’t popular, which is why he has been trying to avoid any discussion on the topic. The problem is that Malinowski hasn’t let up on him—pointing out his vast support from anti-choice groups and his multiple votes against women and pregnant people’s health. New Jersey’s 7th District still has tons of suburbs, and suburban women have been among the loudest critics of the Supreme Court’s decision to take away their rights.
Republicans point to the fact that the last Republican to hold this district was anti-choice, but Democrats counter that that was over a decade ago when abortion rights were considered safe and secure. New Jersey voters no longer have the luxury of ignoring Republican attempts to ban abortion, or even birth control. The right to have control over your own body can only work if Democrats like Tom Malinowski can hold onto their seats and keep the GOP from taking over the House. Fortunately, Malinowski has a real shot of holding on if we can give him a little help.
Jared Golden, Maine, 2nd District (R+6)
Race FORECAST: Toss Up
Representative Jared Golden (D-ME)
This race shouldn’t be competitive, but Democratic Rep. Jared Golden makes it so, which is why he is at the top of the GOP’s hit list. They are furious he won what should be a safe Republican district in Northern Maine. Not only did he win, but he won by six points in a district that Trump carried by eight points.
Golden is truly the Golden Child, and one who Democrats really want to clone in other red districts. He’s a moderate who doesn’t always go along with Democratic spending priorities, but he votes progressive on the bills that really matter, such as voting rights, immigrant rights, and women’s rights. The former Marine Corps officer has managed to get many cross-over votes, which he needs if he’s going to win this year. He faces off against Trumper Bruce Poliquin, whom Golden ousted in 2018.
Poliquin, like Trump, refused to concede despite his obvious loss. Poliquin was humiliated to be the first incumbent to lose this district and decided to sue. He demanded that the Trump-appointed judge declare him the winner, despite the fact that that would go against the wishes of the voters. He also demanded that ranked-choice voting be declared unconstitutional. Surprisingly, the judge rejected his lawsuit, and said ranked-choice voting was “motivated by a desire to enable third-party and non-party candidates to participate in the political process, and to enable their supporters to express support, without producing the spoiler effect.” I would love for sore loser Poliquin to lose to Golden one more time.
Cindy Axne, Iowa, 3rd District (R+3)
Race FORECAST: Toss-Up
Representative Cindy Axne (D-IA)
Cindy Axne is the businesswoman who successfully defeated an entrenched Republican incumbent in 2019 in this red-leaning district. She is the sole Democrat in Iowa’s delegation, and the only woman.
In 2020, this district went for Donald Trump by only .1% of the vote. Axne outperformed Joe Biden to finish with a very small lead of a few thousand votes out of about half a million.
The Republicans desperately want this seat back, and have poured millions into very deceptive ads attacking her for anything they can think of. They even ran a ridiculous ad campaign at the Iowa State Fair.
Axne hasn’t been taking this lying down. She is very engaged with her constituents, and was named by the Town Hall Project as the most accessible freshman member of Congress by holding 28 town halls during her first six months in office. She has done many things popular with her constituents. She ensured farmers impacted by Trump’s former trade wars received financial help, created the Rural Equal Aid Act, secured billions to help flooded communities in the Midwest, worked to get rural communities broadband, voted to lower prescription drug costs, and wrote the bill that holds corporations accountable for shipping jobs overseas called the Outsourcing Accountability Act. Despite the red hue of the district, she has unabashedly supported progressive causes, such as reproductive rights and LGBTQ equality.
There are currently three Republicans fighting for the right to face off against her. Although this is the swingiest district in Iowa, all three are running far, far to the right to win the GOP primary. All three say abortion should be completely illegal in all cases. (Abortion is still legal in Iowa.) All three oppose aid for Ukraine. Even worse, all of them have decided to whitewash the insurrection. One candidate, Zach Nunn, falsely claimed no one had been charged, while another, Nicole Hasso, claimed there was “no evidence that any of those people have done anything wrong.” The other candidate, Gary Leffler, was actually at the Capitol on Jan. 6. All three also oppose voting rights and fully embrace Trump’s election conspiracy theories.
Elaine Luria, Virginia, 2nd District (R+3)
Race FORECAST: Toss Up
In 2020, Trump endorsed scandal-plagued Republican Scott Taylor in this district, who was—ironically—indicted for election fraud. This Tidewater district instead went for retired Naval commander Elaine Luria by six points in 2020. She outperformed Joe Biden, who took the district by only three points.
You’d think the GOP would learn to stay away from scandal-plagued candidates for this district, but they can’t help themselves. The Virginia Republican establishment strongly pushed state senator Jen Kiggans for this seat, who won the GOP primary in late June. She was recently caught plagiarizing Elaine Luria’s own Wall Street Journal op-ed “down to the very word” for a fundraising email.
The GOP base cares little about plagiarism, but they have plenty of problems with Kiggans. She foolishly accepted and even promoted Scott Taylor’s endorsement, which is proving problematic. In typical Trump fashion, once Taylor was branded a “loser,” he became a “RINO” and persona non grata in the party. Jarome Bell, the extremist GOP candidate who lost to Kiggans this year, pushed the narrative that Kiggans is a RINO and showed photos of Taylor with the “evil” Liz Cheney. I should also mention that Kiggans was recently booed at Mar-a-Lago.
Bell was too extreme for this district, but Kiggans is still hated by the MAGA base who she needs to show up. Kiggans is trying to walk a fine line. She needs to be just extreme enough, but not too extreme. She applauded the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which is not popular in a district that went for Joe Biden. Luria has a very good shot of retaining her seat in this light red district, but only if Democrats show up.
Republicans console themselves by pointing out this district went for Republican Gov. Glenn Younkin by eight points last year. However, Youngkin has proven to be much further to the right than he promoted himself. Also, Luria has remained popular, as she has managed to expand broadband coverage thanks to the infrastructure bill she supported. Also, lead pipes and service lines are now finally getting the badly needed repair thanks to her efforts.
A veteran herself, Luria wrote and passed legislation that provided a critical pay raise for disabled veterans. Luria has also been at the forefront of red flag laws to fight gun violence, which took on new meaning for this district after the shooting massacre in Virginia Beach last year. This contrasts with the Republicans, who don’t have a platform outside of promising not to ban assault rifles while promising to ban all reproductive care.
Marcy Kaptur, Ohio, 9th District (R+3)
Race FORECAST: Toss Up
Rep. Marcy Kaptur
Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur’s deep blue seat was devastated by illegal Republican gerrymandering. Essentially, Ohio voters created a bipartisan redistricting commission to get fair representation. Unfortunately, the Republicans on the panel refused to support any non-gerrymandered GOP map. Republican legislators committed substantial political malpractice—and sadly, it was successful.
The state Supreme Court declared the GOP-drawn maps unconstitutional multiple times. Unfortunately, Ohio law does not give the high court the authority to redraw fair maps no matter how many times the legislature ignores them, which they did. Finally, the Supreme Court threw up its hands and surrendered. The extremely gerrymandered map went into effect, and it targeted the Democratic-held seats for annihilation. One of the district casualties belongs to Marcy Kaptur. Her once blue district is now red.
Naturally, however, Republican primary voters may squander their chance at flipping this district. The MAGA candidate who won the GOP primary ran on a campaign of breaking away from the Republic. J.R. Majewski proclaimed on a live-stream app that “every state that went red should secede from the United States!”
Marcy has been popular with her constituents. She has proven to be a veteran’s champion by getting major federal investments at Ohio’s defense bases, and was the congresswoman who led the 17-year crusade to build the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. She serves as chair of the Energy and Water subcommittee, and when Trump zeroed out the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Kaptur managed to get funding restored. That’s a much better track record than anything an avowed secessionist could possibly do.
Susan Wild, Pennsylvania, 7th District (R+2)
Race FORECAST: Toss Up
Representative Susan Wild (D-PA)
Rep. Susan Wild is the congresswoman in the infamous photo taken on Jan. 6, 2021, where she took shelter from Trump insurrectionists. She defeated Republican Lisa Scheller in 2020 by four points, but her Lehigh Valley seat was made more competitive this year. In fact, it’s the one Democratic seat made more conservative in Pennsylvania through redistricting.
Wild has so far made all the right moves. She is very engaged with helping her constituents. She led the charge to get the bill passed in the House that capped insulin at $35, and took on the supply chain issue to fight inflation. I invite anyone to compare someone like this to her right-wing challenger.
Wild faces a rematch with Lisa Scheller, who won her GOP primary. Scheller comes with a ton of baggage. She argued against investing in infrastructure in her own hometown, and even turned it into an odd attack on Wild for supporting the investment. It was a very interesting position to take since Scheller’s company literally teamed up with the Chinese Communist Party to build roads and a factory in China. So infrastructure is fine for China, but not in her own Pennsylvania district?
In addition, according to Labor Department records, Scheller’s company had a bad habit of outsourcing jobs overseas. This was very problematic during her primary, and despite the Pennsylvania Republican establishment pouring money and support into her campaign, Scheller barely won her race. Pennsylvanians don’t take too kindly to outsourcers.
Wild can win this one, but it won’t be a cakewalk. With the right amount of support, Pennsylvania’s 7th District can keep the representative who has constantly been fighting for them, as opposed to the one who seems to be more interested in fighting against them.
Susie Lee, Nevada, 3rd District (D+2)
Race FORECAST: Toss Up
Representative Susie Lee (D-NV)
Democrats are simply not good at gerrymandering. We don’t have a proclivity for it, and certainly don’t have as much expertise or experience as the GOP, which is running a master class on extreme disenfranchisement in Texas, Ohio, and Florida. When we do try it, like here in Nevada, it’s so laughable that it has been called the “fairest unfair map” in this cycle.
There are four congressional districts in Nevada. Instead of guaranteeing two safe seats, the Democrats decided to slice up Vegas voters to create three very slightly leaning Democrat seats. This is a very high-risk, high-reward scenario. The Democrats are going for three out of four, but in a red wave election, it could potentially lose all of them. I guess if you are going to roll the dice, Vegas would be the place. The weakest district for Team Blue is definitely Nevada’s 3rd District, currently held by Rep. Susie Lee, which is now only D+2. The GOP smells blood.
Susie Lee won’t be easy to knock off. Her record in education and youth extends for decades, even before she got involved in politics. In 1993, when she moved to Las Vegas, Lee became the founding director of the After-School All-Stars, which conducts after-school programs for children. Beginning in 2010, Lee became president of Communities In Schools of Nevada, a dropout prevention organization. Lee has continued to be a champion for public education in Congress, and has voted for affordable health care and veteran’s care.
Fortunately for us, every one of the Republican challengers have campaigned almost entirely on one thing: Trump’s conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. This is not a winner in a Democratic-leaning district. In a “normal” election, this district wouldn’t even be in play. Yet this is one of those that is frustratingly close. Also, despite their wacky candidates, Republicans note that Lee underperformed Joe Biden, and they are counting on historic low midterm turnout to put them over the top. The Republicans are targeting this district for a flip this year and spending accordingly.
Bottom line: if Democrats show up, we win. This is one case where apathy can really destroy us.
Elissa Slotkin, Michigan, 7th District (R+3)
Race FORECAST: Toss Up
Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-MI)
Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin is the rare case where the district is actually slightly more favorable than in 2020, but because she won by only four points last time, the GOP has made this a top target.
Before her time as a representative, Slotkin had quite the resume. After growing up on a farm, she was recruited by the CIA to serve as a Middle East analyst, and served three tours in Iraq with the CIA and then as a national security expert for both Democratic and Republican administrations. She is most known in Congress for her work in protecting Michigan’s water systems from the “forever-chemical” known as PFAS. Her bill, the PFAS Monitoring Act, passed into law in 2020. She also wrote and introduced the Real-Time Benefits Act, which tackled out-of-control prices of prescription drugs. It passed the House with bipartisan support.
Yet since this is a Republican district in what the GOP believes will be a red wave year, they are sparing no expense in flipping this district. Unfortunately for them, they don’t have much of a candidate. While local media has praised Slotkin for “shining in nearly every aspect of her job— policy knowledge, public engagement, competency, and fundraising,” they have condemned the Michigan GOP for failing to put up a quality candidate. Republicans settled on television host Paul Junge to go against Slotkin. He is best known for spreading COVID-19 misinformation. Again, it’s disheartening that this race should even be considered close.
Kim Schrier, Washington, 8th District (D+1)
Race FORECAST: Toss Up
Representative Kim Schrier (D-WA)
Democratic Rep. Kim Schrier won reelection in 2020 by only four points, underperforming Biden. The Republicans are dumping a lot of money to flip this district, which is frankly one of their only chances in this deep blue state.
This is a slight Democratic-leaning district, but like the rest of the state, this district is solidly pro-choice. The lead Republican candidate is named Reagan Dunn. Dunn made his position on reproductive rights very clear by saying the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade was a “win” for state rights.
Rep. Schrier takes the opposite approach, saying, “As a doctor and a woman, I trust women to make their own personal decisions about health and family planning.” She also believes contraception should be widely available and covered by insurance. Health care is personal for Schier. She has suffered from Type 1 diabetes since she was a teenager, which led her to become a pediatrician. Although she has worked on legislation in Congress to lower the cost of prescription drugs, expand Medicare coverage, and make primary care more accessible and affordable, she is probably the strongest proponent of a public option for health care in Congress. She outlined her plan on her website.
Like all the other races, the choice here is clear. Your support will help keep quality candidates in Congress while keeping the QAnon election deniers, COVID misinformation spreaders, gun massacre enablers, and reproductive health attackers as far away from the halls of power as possible.
Hey! Let’s get to work, people!