Now that redistricting and recent primaries have given shape to the battlefield for the nation’s competitive House races, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Tuesday is adding four incumbents to its Frontline incumbent-protection program.
The House Democrats' campaign arm is also putting an additional 11 candidates in its Red to Blue program, which highlights races pivotal to helping the party keep control of the House after this year’s midterm elections. The DCCC shared the details first with CQ Roll Call.
The DCCC’s executive director, Tim Persico, told CQ Roll Call that Frontline and Red to Blue candidates get the campaign arm’s “undivided attention,” including help with their field programs, among other things.
Redistricting made four incumbent Democrats more vulnerable, and the Frontline additions are a reflection of that: Reps. David Trone in Maryland’s 6th District, Ann McLane Kuster in New Hampshire’s 2nd District, Teresa Leger Fernandez in New Mexico’s 3rd District and Frank J. Mrvan in Indiana’s 1st District. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates all four races as Likely Democratic.
The additions highlight how much the political landscape has changed since 2020. Among the districts of the four new Frontline members, Mrvan’s, as configured after redistricting, would have had the smallest winning margin for President Joe Biden, at 8 points. Biden would have won Kuster’s district by 9 points, Trone’s by 10 and Leger Fernandez’s by almost 11. Yet they each are slated to get extra help from the DCCC, along with 33 other House Democrats previously named as Frontline members.
“Democrats have a deep bench of talented, committed, and fired-up public servants who have a record of service and accomplishment that voters across the country deserve fighting for their families in Washington,” DCCC Chairman Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney said in a statement. “Extremist MAGA Republicans’ disastrous agenda for America is on the ballot this November and voters are going to reject it.”
The DCCC also expanded the Red to Blue program. Typically for Democrats who are challenging GOP members, or running in districts currently held by Republicans, the program now includes some Democratic candidates who are running in open seats that are currently held by Democrats, especially if redistricting shifted the seat’s partisan lean.
The 11 new candidates in Red to Blue are:
- Jevin Hodge, who leads the Booker T. Washington Child Development Center and is seeking to oust GOP Rep. David Schweikert in Arizona’s 1st District. Inside Elections rates that race as Lean Republican.
- Florida state Sen. Annette Taddeo, who is challenging GOP Rep. María Elvira Salazar in Florida’s 27th District. This is the one district being added to the designation that Biden lost in 2020, and Inside Elections rates the race as Likely Republican.
- Don Davis, a veteran and minister, who is running against Republican Sandy Smith in North Carolina’s 1st District, an open seat. Inside Elections rates it Lean Democratic.
- Wiley Nickel, an attorney running against Republican Bo Hines in North Carolina’s open 13th District, which Inside Elections rates as a Toss-up.
- State Sen. Jeff Jackson, who is running against Pat Harrigan in North Carolina’s new 14th District. Biden would have won this district by more than 16 points, the biggest margin of any of the new additions to the Red to Blue list. Inside Elections rates the race as Likely Democratic.
- Bridget Fleming, a county legislator, who is running in an open-seat race for New York’s 1st District, currently held by a Republican. Inside Elections rates that race as Tilt Republican. The DCCC had a previous candidate in the 1st, Jackie Gordon, but redistricting shifted her to a different district.
- Francis Conole, an Iraq War veteran, who is seeking the open seat in New York’s 22nd District, which after redistricting covers some of what is currently the 24th District of retiring GOP Rep. John Katko. Inside Elections rates the race as Tilt Democratic.
- Oregon Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle, who is seeking to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Peter A. DeFazio in Oregon’s 4th District. She is running against Republican Alek Skarlatos, who served in the Oregon National Guard, and is best known for helping stop a terrorist attack on a train headed for Paris in 2015. Inside Elections rates that race as Likely Democratic.
- Jamie McLeod Skinner, who ousted Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader in a recent primary and is facing Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer, a former Happy Valley mayor, in a race that Inside Elections rates as Lean Democratic.
- Andrea Salinas, who won a costly and contentious primary for Oregon’s new 6th District and is now running against Republican Mike Erickson in a race that Inside Elections rates as Likely Democratic.
- Chris Deluzio, an attorney and Navy veteran, who is running for Pennsylvania’s 17th District, an open seat currently held by Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb, who lost a Senate primary bid.
Some of the GOP candidates, Persico said, have ethical baggage or, in Smith's case, supported overturning the 2020 presidential election.
“Even if the political environment is tough for Democrats, I don’t see voters picking somebody like Sandy Smith,” Persico added.