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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Wasserman: Dems Can Leverage GOP House Candidates ‘Risk Factors’

The Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman identifies 7 key “risk factors” for Republican House candidates in the Midterm elections, including:

  1. Sits in a district with a Cook PVI score of R+5 or less Republican.
  2. Sits in a district that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016.
  3. Received 55 percent of the vote or less in the 2016 election (or a 2017 special election).
  4. Voted in favor of the American Health Care Act in the May 4 roll call vote.
  5. Voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in the December 19 roll call vote.
  6. Raised less money than at least one Democratic opponent in the first quarter of 2018.
  7. Has a Democratic opponent with at least $200,000 in cash on hand as of March 31.

Wasserman notes, further, “Only one incumbent, Rep. Steve Knight (CA-25), has all seven risk factors. Eight incumbents have six risk factors, 23 incumbents have five, 23 incumbents have four and 32 have three. This is not a hard and fast list, and over the next quarter, many incumbents will add or subtract factors based on their own and their opponents’ progress. ”

In addition, Wasserman adds that “Democrats have a donor enthusiasm edge: in the first quarter of 2018, at least 43 sitting Republicans were out-raised by at least one Democratic opponent.”

According to Wasserman, “Our latest ratings point to 56 vulnerable GOP-held seats, versus six vulnerable Democratic seats,” along with 18 Republicans in “toss-up” territory.

One of the interesting things about the “risk factors” is that they aren’t linked to opinion polling, which may appeal to (ahem) armchair analysts. The names with the risk factors will change somewhat over the next six months, and it would be instructive to compare predictive value of this template to the opinion polls, and also how well it performs together with polls, compared to polls alone.

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