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The 10 Most Vulnerable House Members in 2018 List Remains All-Republican

Iowa Rep. Rod Blum is once again in the top spot

Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, remains at the top of the list of vulnerable House members. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, remains at the top of the list of vulnerable House members. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With Election Day two months away, all 10 of the most vulnerable House members are Republicans, with one new addition.

Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida has been replaced on the list by Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder, who even some Republicans acknowledge is in a more tenuous position given his district, voting record and Democratic challenger.

The list includes otherwise familiar names, with Iowa Republican Rod Blum remaining in the top spot. Blum represents a blue collar district that former President Barack Obama carried twice, but it swung to Trump in 2016. He faces a well-funded Democratic opponent, and he’ll be dogged by an ethics investigation.

[The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators in 2018: Heidi Heitkamp Moves to Top Spot]

These lists are compiled after consultation with strategists from both sides of the aisle and the race ratings from Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales. We look solely at vulnerable incumbents and do not include open seats that are likely to flip.

1. Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa

Operatives in both parties believe Blum ranks among the most vulnerable House Republicans, with the combination of a tough district and a formidable challenger in Democratic state Rep. Abby Finkenauer. And Blum is also facing an Ethics Committee investigation relating to his failure to disclose his role as CEO of a company. Trump carried the district by 3 points in 2016 after it backed Obama in 2008 and 2012. Race Rating: Toss-up

2. Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Pa.

Rothfus moves up a spot due to a tough situation that hasn’t gotten better for him in the last few months. Congressional redistricting shifted his district outside of Pittsburgh to one that Trump would have carried by just 2 points. He’s still facing Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb, who won a special election in a neighboring district in March. Lamb and Rothfus both had nearly $2.1 million in the bank at the end of June, but Lamb also benefits from high name recognition due to the high-profile special election. Race Rating: Leans Democratic

3. Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va.

The Virginia sophomore moves down a spot, but remains one of the most vulnerable incumbents in a district that backed Hillary Clinton and Gov. Ralph Northam by double digits in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Comstock overperformed Trump in 2016 and has worked to distance herself from her party and the president on some issues. But Democrats are attacking her over her support for the GOP tax plan and A rating from the National Rifle Association. She’s facing a well-funded and well-known Democratic opponent in state Sen. Jennifer Wexton. Comstock’s suburban district is just the kind that Democrats think can help them win the House. Race Rating: Tilts Democratic

4. Rep. Jason Lewis, R-Minn.

The Minnesota freshman is locked in a rematch with 2016 Democratic nominee Angie Craig, who ended July with more cash on hand in a district Trump narrowly carried. Past controversial comments Lewis made on his radio talk show have resurfaced in recent months, reopening an issue from the 2016 campaign. Craig lost that race by less than 2 points, with a third-party candidate taking 8 percent of the vote. That candidate isn’t on the ballot this year, and Craig is running in a more favorable national environment with the help of a new campaign team. Race Rating: Toss-up 

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5. Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y.

Tenney moves up a spot as outside groups on both sides have poured money into her race against Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi. Their involvement signals that Republicans view the freshman lawmaker as vulnerable, and Democrats see the 22nd District as a top pickup opportunity even though Trump carried the seat by more than 15 points. Tenney has also continued to underperform in fundraising, with Brindisi surpassing her in cash on hand. Race Rating: Toss-up

6. Rep. John J. Faso, R-N.Y.

Faso’s district may be tougher for Republicans, but he’s considered a stronger incumbent than Tenney and moves down one spot on the list. Democratic lawyer Antonio Delgado has proven to be a strong fundraiser, but he weathered a costly primary and Faso had twice as much cash on hand at the end of June. Delgado has faced ads from outside groups highlighting controversial lyrics from his time as a rapper, but Democrats still like their chances in the district that also flipped from Obama to Trump in 2016. Race Rating: Toss-up

7. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.

Rohrabacher moves up two spots now that he is officially facing Democrat Harley Rouda, a proven fundraiser. Rohrabacher could continue to be dogged by reports tying him to Russia, including a potential link to an indicted Russian spy. Clinton narrowly carried this traditionally Republican Orange County district, and Democrats are optimistic about its shifting demographics. Rouda still has to appeal to moderates, and is expected to frame the longtime congressman as out of touch with the district. Race Rating: Toss-up

8. Rep. Steve Knight, R-Calif.

Knight is still viewed as one of the most vulnerable Republicans in California in a district that Clinton carried by 7 points. He now faces nonprofit executive Katie Hill, who was cast as the more moderate of the Democrats running in the June primary. She’s proved to be a strong fundraiser with help from EMILY’s List. Race Rating: Tilts Republican

9. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo.

Republicans believe Coffman is one of their strongest incumbents, but the dynamics of the district, which Clinton carried by 10 points, could mean Coffman gets caught up in a Democratic wave. He faces Army veteran Jason Crow, whom Democrats have touted as a top recruit and counter to Coffman’s own military service in the Marines. Race Rating: Toss-up

10. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan.

Yoder is a new addition to the list. Clinton carried his district by 1 point, and he now has an opponent in lawyerand former MMA fighter Sharice Davids. She is looking to become the first gay person to represent Kansas in Congress and the first Native American woman in the House. Yoder has called his opponent too liberal for the district, but he acknowledges this could be a tough cycle for Republicans. Davids is looking to cast the incumbent as out of touch, and focus on issues such as health care and education. Yoder had more than ten times as much cash on hand as Davids shortly before the primary, but outside groups on both sides are already spending in this race. Race Rating: Tilts Republican  

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