Battleground looks evenly split in first House ratings for 2024

Biden would have won nine of 10 districts with Toss-up races

As it was in 2022, the seat held by Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Calif., is part of the 2024 House battleground in initial ratings by analyst Nathan L. Gonzales.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
As it was in 2022, the seat held by Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Calif., is part of the 2024 House battleground in initial ratings by analyst Nathan L. Gonzales. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted March 14, 2023 at 5:00am

ANALYSIS — While it took more than a year for the 2022 House battleground to come into focus because of redistricting, this cycle is less complicated. With district lines in place in the vast majority of states and one cycle worth of election results, it’s easier to identify most of the competitive seats where both parties will be spending their resources this cycle. 

But Republicans’ narrow 222-213 majority means there’s still plenty of uncertainty about which party will control the House in 2025.

The initial House battleground comprises 66 competitive races, with each party defending 33 of the vulnerable seats. The symmetry is unintentional, and not necessary for nonpartisan analysis (remember the imbalance of the Senate battleground, where Democrats are defending eight seats and Republicans none). Rather, it’s more the result of an evenly divided Congress in an evenly divided country.

Technically, Democrats need a net gain of five seats for a majority. But that number obscures the added disadvantage Democrats will have if Republicans are able to draw new, friendlier congressional maps in Ohio and North Carolina. (Individual ratings in those two states’ 29 districts will be done after there’s more clarity on the redistricting situation and new maps.)

Joe Biden carried 11 of the 12 initial toss-up races in 2022, giving Democrats a path to the majority assuming the Democratic presidential nominee can match or exceed Biden’s 2020 performance. Democratic House candidates will likely need to replicate 2022, when they overperformed and won the vast majority of toss-up races. 

It looks like Republicans have a narrow initial advantage to hold the House, but the top of the ticket will matter once again. In 2020, only 16 districts voted for a presidential candidate from one party and a House candidate from another. And just 23 of 435 seats voted for one party’s presidential nominee in 2020 and then the other party’s House nominee in 2022. 

Republicans are also running against a bit of history. In the modern era (going back to 1946) the GOP has never gained House seats in three consecutive election cycles. (Democrats have done it three times in that time period.) It’s possible for Republicans to lose seats and maintain the majority, but the GOP doesn’t have a lot of margin for error.

Republicans start out with 172 races with a “solid” rating, while Democrats have 168. Here’s how the 66 competitive seats break down: 

Toss - Up 

  • California’s 13th District (John Duarte, R)
  • California’s 27th District (Mike Garcia, R)
  • Colorado’s 8th District (Yadira Caraveo, D)
  • Michigan’s 7th District (Open; Elissa Slotkin, D)
  • New Jersey’s 7th District (Thomas H. Kean Jr.,  R)
  • New Mexico’s 2nd District (Gabe Vasquez, D)
  • New York’s 3rd District (George Santos, R) 
  • New York’s 4th District (Anthony D'Esposito, R)
  • New York’s 17th District (Mike Lawler, R)
  • New York’s 22nd (Brandon Williams, R)
  • Oregon’s 5th (Lori Chavez-DeRemer, R) 
  • Washington’s 3rd District (Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D)

Tilt Democratic

Lean Democratic

  • Alaska’s At-Large District (Mary Peltola, D)
  • Connecticut’s 5th District (Jahana Hayes, D)
  • Illinois’ 17th District (Eric Sorensen, D)
  • Maine’s 2nd District (Jared Golden, D)
  • Michigan’s 3rd District (Hillary Scholten, D)
  • Minnesota’s 2nd District (Angie Craig, D)
  • Nevada’s 1st District (Dina Titus, D)
  • Nevada’s 3rd District (Susie Lee, D)
  • New Hampshire’s 1st District (Chris Pappas, D)
  • New York’s 18th District (Pat Ryan, D)
  • Oregon’s 6th District (Andrea Salinas, D)
  • Pennsylvania’s 17th District (Chris Deluzio, D)
  • Virginia’s 7th District (Abigail Spanberger, D)
  • Washington’s 8th District (Kim Schrier, D)

Likely Democratic

Tilt Republican

  • Arizona’s 1st District (David Schweikert, R)
  • Arizona’s 6th District (Juan Ciscomani, R)
  • California’s 22nd District (David Valadao, R)
  • Iowa’s 3rd District (Zach Nunn, R)
  • Michigan’s 10th District (John James, R)
  • New York’s 19th District (Marc Molinaro, R)
  • Virginia’s 2nd District (Jen Kiggans, R)

Lean Republican

  • California’s 41st District (Ken Calvert, R)
  • California’s 45th District (Michelle Steel, R)
  • Colorado’s 3rd District (Lauren Boebert, R)
  • Nebraska’s 2nd District (Don Bacon, R)
  • New York’s 1st District (Nick LaLota, R)
  • Texas’ 15th District (Monica De La Cruz, R)

Likely Republican

  • California’s 3rd District (Kevin Kiley, R)
  • California’s 40th District (Young Kim, R)
  • Florida’s 13th District (Anna Paulina Luna, R)
  • Florida’s 27th District (Maria Elvira Salazar, R)
  • Iowa’s 1st District (Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R)
  • Iowa’s 2nd District (Ashley Hinson, R)
  • Montana’s 1st District (Ryan Zinke, R)
  • Pennsylvania’s 1st District (Brian Fitzpatrick, R)
  • Pennsylvania’s 10th District (Scott Perry, R)
  • South Carolina’s 1st District (Nancy Mace, R)
  • Wisconsin’s 1st District (Bryan Steil, R)
  • Wisconsin’s 3rd District (Derrick Van Orden, R)

Nathan L. Gonzales is an elections analyst with CQ Roll Call.