The 2018 Congress Races To Care About Right Now

by Cate Carrejo

This year's election revealed a lot of interesting and troubling political realities in the United States, but one of the most disturbing is the general complacency of the American people. Many people were active and engaged in trying to shut down the harmful and divisive rhetoric of the campaign, but millions more sat back and watched it happen. To reverse the course of increasing division and anti-diversity sentiment, the country needs more politically engaged people to fight for the equality and causes they believe in, and needs to help elect representatives who will conscientiously do the same. While you can't do much to change what other people do, you can control what you do, which is why you should start working on these nine potentially close 2018 Congressional races as soon as possible.

These races are all potentially flippable from Republican incumbents in the 2018 midterm elections. Congressional races are a very different beast than presidential or even Senate elections — the races come down to just a handful of votes, incumbents are known and difficult to beat, and fundraising for down ballot races can be really hard. Midterm elections also come with their own challenges, like achieving strong voter turnout without the up-ballot effect and fighting for media coverage and general interest. That's why it's extra important for you to get involved this year and next to make sure the Democrats can take back these nine vulnerable districts.

California 10th

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This district was Democratic for most of the last 20 years, and only flipped in the 2012 election. Incumbent Jeff Denham won by less than 5 percent of the vote, so his seat should still be vulnerable in two years.

California 25th

Incumbent Steve Knight is the only remaining Republican to represent part of Los Angeles County, but most of the district is actually more rural than urban. Knight actually beat his challenger Bryan Caforio by nearly 10 points, but the race was extremely competitive until the end. With changing demographics, this seat could be Democratic in 2018.

California 49th

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Darrell Issa, the richest member of Congress, retained his district by just two points this year. He's held the position since 2002, but before that, the California 49th was solidly Democrat. This could be one of the easiest districts to flip in two years' time.

Colorado Sixth

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Five-term representative Mike Coffman won the district by a little less than nine points, but Colorado's growing Latinx population is turning even the rural and suburban areas more blue. Challenger Morgan Caroll had a great resume and fantastic record in the Colorado State Senate, making her a strong option to run again in 2018.

Florida 26th

This district was only just created during 2012 redistricting, so there's not too much information on voters' preferences or why Republican incumbent Carlos Curbelo has won the last two elections. However, the large Cuban population from Miami and Key West, which historically voted Republican for their support of free markets and fierce anti-Communism, became more disillusioned with the party under Donald Trump, so there may be new ground to flip the district in 2018.

Nebraska Second


The district around Omaha just flipped back from the Democrats after just one term. Rep. Brad Ashford served just one term in the House before being ousted by Don Bacon, a retired Air Force Brigadier General and professor at a conservative university. It will be an uphill battle since Ashford was the first Democratic representative from Nebraska since 1994, but at least there's a recent precedent for electing a Democrat in that district.

New York 22nd

This district includes a large swath of upstate New York, including the big college town of Binghamton. It was held by the Democrats from 2003 to 2013, so flipping back blue might not prove too difficult. A good place to start would be voter turnout — according to the New York State Board of Elections and The New York Times, just a little over half of the district's registered voters came out to the polls.

Texas 23rd

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This majority-Hispanic district has flipped back and forth from blue to red several times, and it shouldn't be too hard to make it happen again in 2018. Representative Will Hurd only won by a little over 2,000 votes against his Democratic opponent Pete Gallego, so reversing that margin could be relatively easy.

Virginia 10th

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Incumbent Barbara Comstock barely held on to her seat with a less than 5 percent margin, meaning this race could be a toss-up in the next midterm. Challenger LuAnn Bennett suffered from low donations so a great way to help from near or far is by donating to the Virginia Democratic party so they can give more money to close races like this one in the future.

A lot could change between now and the next midterm election, but for now, these nine races are a great place to concentrate your efforts. Social media advocacy, financial donations, or in person volunteering will all help flip the House back to blue in 2018.