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CNN Key Races: Pennsylvania shakes up House map with 17 new race ratings

The results of Tuesday's special election in western Pennsylvania offer an ominous sign for Republican hopes of defen...

Posted: Mar 16, 2018 8:00 PM
Updated: Mar 16, 2018 8:00 PM

The results of Tuesday's special election in western Pennsylvania offer an ominous sign for Republican hopes of defending the House this fall. CNN is making changes to its rating of 17 House races -- all of them in the direction of the Democrats.

Democrat Conor Lamb is poised to deliver a stunning upset in a district that President Donald Trump won by 20 percentage points less than two years ago. That performance, combined with 2017 wins in Alabama, Virginia and New Jersey, and strong showings in previous special elections, all reflect the headwinds Republicans are facing in November's midterm elections.

Throw in Trump's historically low approval ratings and the Democratic Party's advantage on the generic congressional ballot and it's a recipe for the party to make significant gains.

In light of Tuesdays results, there are several districts that now appear more favorable for Democrats this year, with a similar mix of candidate quality, district composition and, in some cases, concerns about the Republican incumbent, or they represent open seats.

Of the 12 races CNN now rates Lean Democratic, 8 are currently held by Republicans. Of the 21 races CNN rates Tossup, 19 are held by Republicans. Democrats need to pick up 23 seats in order to take control of the House in November.

IL-12: Democrats have tried to recruit Brendan Kelly to run before, but he's held off until now. The St. Clair County prosecutor hails from a voter-rich part of the district and outraised GOP Rep. Mike Bost in the final quarter of 2017. Trump won this district by 14 points, but Barack Obama carried it by two points in 2012. This district has a history of voting Democratic, so it should offer an even better opportunity for Democrats than PA-18. Race moves from Lean Republican to Toss-up.

MI-08: This is another Midwest contest where Democrats have cleared the field for a top recruit, former intelligence official Elissa Slotkin. She's challenging Rep. Mike Bishop, who won this district that includes Detroit exurbs and Lansing by 17 points in 2016. Trump carried the district by six points, and Romney won it by just three points in 2012. Slotkin also raised $140,000 more than Bishop the last three months of 2017, though still trails in cash on hand by about $260,000. Race moves from Lean Republican to Toss-Up.

MI-11: Republican Rep. Dave Trott's retirement from this district -- home of Chrysler and many of the American auto giants' workers -- left it vulnerable to a Democratic takeover. Trump carried it by 4 points in 2016, but this district has several characteristics that suggest a strong shift is coming. Among them: It's suburban, and it's dominated by the auto industry, which means Trump's new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports (which make vehicles' components more expensive) likely won't be popular. Democrats still have a crowded primary to sort out, but they'll be watching the Detroit suburbs closely. Race moves from Toss-Up to Lean Democratic.

MN-03: Republican Erik Paulsen won this district comprising the suburbs west of the Twin Cities by 14 points in 2016 -- but Hillary Clinton bested Trump here by nine points. It also went narrowly for Obama in 2012. Democrats are touting Dean Phillips, the former CEO of his family's distillery company and former co-owner of Talenti Gelato. He's keeping close in fundraising, trailing Paulsen by about $90,000 in the fourth quarter of 2017, but has a cash-on-hand deficit of more than $900,000. Race moves from Lean Republican to Toss-Up.

NJ-02: With the retirement of GOP Rep. Frank LoBiondo, this seat is high up on the target list for Democrats. The party has put state Sen. Jeff Van Drew on its Red-to-Blue list. The moderate Democrat, a gun rights supporter, does have a primary against Tanzie Youngblood. There is a crowded field on the GOP side. This district, which includes Atlantic City and some Philadelphia exurbs, went for Obama by eight points and Trump by four. Race moves from Toss-Up to Lean Democratic.

NJ-07: A once-crowded primary field for Democrats has started to narrow, and Tom Malinowski is the beneficiary. The former assistant secretary of state in the Obama administration saw two primary opponents drop out last month and endorse him -- that after he more than doubled GOP Rep. Leonard Lance in fundraising during the final quarter of last year. Hillary Clinton won this north central New Jersey district by a single point in 2016 while Lance won it by 11 points. Race moves from Lean Republican to Toss-Up.

NC-09: This is a tough district for Democrats. But so was Pennsylvania 18. Democrat Dan McCready is a top recruit who has outraised GOP Rep. Robert Pittenger for three consecutive quarters and has $600,000 more in the bank. Pittenger also faces a primary challenge from Mark Harris, who he defeated in the 2016 GOP primary by a single percentage point. The district includes South Charlotte and shares a border with South Carolina -- a similar dynamic to what Democrats were facing in PA-18. Race moves from Likely Republican to Lean Republican.

NC-13: Freshman GOP Rep. Ted Budd won this north central North Carolina district by 12 points in 2016 as Trump was carrying it by nine. Democrats are lining up behind Kathy Manning, a philanthropist and former lawyer, who crushed Budd in fundraising in the fourth quarter of 2017 and has roughly $220,000 more cash-on-hand. Race moves from Likely Republican to Lean Republican.

PA-17: The dust hasn't settled from Tuesday's special election, but regardless of the result it shows Democratic strength in southwestern Pennsylvania. This newly-drawn district is a much more competitive seat for GOP Rep. Keith Rothfus to defend. Assuming Conor Lamb decides to run in this district that includes suburbs west of Pittsburgh, it will be one of the most closely-watched contests come November. Race moves from Lean Republican to Toss-Up.

VA-07: This district that includes Richmond suburbs has been trending Democratic in recent years. Trump's performance here dipped from Romney's showing four years earlier. Republican Ed Gillespie won it by less than four points in last year's gubernatorial contest. GOP Rep. Dave Brat stunned the political world when he knocked off Eric Cantor in the GOP primary in 2014. Now he's poised for a challenge of his own from one of two Democrats who outraised him at the end of last year -- former CIA officer Abigail Spanberger or Marine Corps veteran Dan Ward. Race moves from Likely Republican to Lean Republican.

WI-01: This is House Speaker Paul Ryan's district, and it's likely to stay that way in November. Ryan can raise as much money as he wants, is universally known in his district and won't make the mistake of sleeping on Democratic challenger Randy Bryce. But Bryce has some things going for him, too. He's branded himself effectively (the mustachioed ironworker and Army veteran's Twitter handle is @IronStache). His longshot bid against Ryan will make him a small-dollar fundraising star. And southeastern Wisconsin is actually friendlier territory to Democrats than southwestern Pennsylvania was. Race moves from Solid Republican to Likely Republican.

In addition to those moves, we are shifting FL-06 and TX-21 from Safe Republican to Likely Republican. In Florida, GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis is leaving his seat to run for governor -- and Democrats believe former ambassador Nancy Soderberg gives them a chance in this open contest. While in Texas, Rep. Lamar Smith's retirement creates an open seat with May runoffs for Republicans and Democrats to determine who will face-off for this district that includes parts of Austin and area north of San Antonio. Smith won the district by 21 points; Trump won it by 10.

Given the current national environment we are also moving several Democratic-held seats to more favorable positions. Two open seats -- NV-03 and NH-01 -- go from Toss-Up to Lean Democratic. Democrats are happy with the candidates running in those districts, and in the case of New Hampshire, no Republican candidate seems to have caught fire.

Two other seats with Democratic incumbents seeking reelection move from Lean Democratic to Likely Democratic: FL-07 and NJ-05. For Republicans, the name of the game in 2018 is defense, not offense, with two open Democratic seats in Minnesota representing the GOP's best pick-up opportunities.

Those are today's moves, but there are a number of other races we're watching closely to see whether they inch in Democrats' direction. In Utah, Ben McAdams (challenging GOP Rep. Mia Love in the 4th District) has run well with Mitt Romney on the ballot before. In central Arkansas' 2nd District, Clarke Tucker was Democrats' dream recruit to take on two-term Rep. French Hill. Two Ohio races -- the 1st District, where Aftab Pureval is challenging Rep. Steve Chabot in what used to be solidly Republican Cincinnati suburbs, and the 12th District, where voters will replace retired Rep. Pat Tiberi in an August special election -- bear watching. In KY-06, we're waiting to see whether Lexington Mayor Jim Gray or veteran Amy McGrath wins the primary. And in KS-02, Democratic challenger Paul Davis is worth keeping an eye on, in part because he's already made clear that, like Lamb, he's opposing Pelosi. Democrats had struggled to recruit a strong challenger to Rep. David Valadao in CA-21, a Central Valley district, businessman TJ Cox - who'd been running in the 10th District against Rep. Jeff Denham - changed his mind and said he'll move from Modesto back home to Fresno and run against Valadao in this district Hillary Clinton won by 15 percentage points.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32078

Reported Deaths: 2004
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9268539
Lake3320168
Cass15826
Allen130966
St. Joseph120534
Hendricks113067
Hamilton111592
Johnson1086104
Elkhart105728
Madison58258
Porter49021
Bartholomew48133
Clark46138
LaPorte41522
Tippecanoe3753
Jackson3671
Howard36519
Delaware35735
Hancock32127
Shelby31521
Floyd31438
Boone28835
Morgan26224
Vanderburgh2482
Montgomery23117
White2268
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Grant19121
Noble18921
Harrison18721
Dubois1852
Greene16724
Warrick16426
Dearborn16421
Henry1619
Monroe16011
Vigo1477
Lawrence14423
Miami1391
Putnam1337
Jennings1274
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
Kosciusko941
Carroll922
Daviess8216
Steuben802
Marshall761
Newton7410
Wabash722
Wayne715
Fayette684
LaGrange602
Jasper581
Washington521
Fulton471
Rush452
Jay440
Randolph433
Jefferson411
Whitley402
Pulaski390
Clay391
Owen341
Brown331
Sullivan321
Starke313
DeKalb311
Perry260
Huntington262
Knox250
Tipton251
Benton250
Wells240
Crawford230
Blackford211
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Spencer171
Posey170
Parke170
Gibson142
Ohio130
Warren121
Adams121
Vermillion90
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0154

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33006

Reported Deaths: 2002
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin5414239
Cuyahoga4060221
Marion262323
Hamilton2492128
Lucas2152229
Pickaway204635
Mahoning1347171
Summit1277159
Butler81725
Stark69790
Columbiana65750
Lorain65358
Montgomery60915
Trumbull54045
Belmont40212
Miami35130
Warren34020
Tuscarawas3212
Portage31657
Medina30719
Delaware30213
Ashtabula28332
Lake28212
Wood27745
Geauga25829
Wayne25250
Fairfield2463
Clark2256
Licking21410
Mercer2003
Clermont1935
Allen19131
Richland1873
Erie1595
Darke15616
Madison1417
Washington11718
Crawford1063
Morrow1041
Greene945
Ottawa927
Putnam8714
Monroe7311
Sandusky7010
Hocking694
Ross662
Auglaize643
Jefferson632
Huron551
Williams521
Hancock481
Union460
Muskingum450
Clinton430
Hardin410
Shelby402
Logan370
Fayette370
Wyandot362
Fulton350
Guernsey320
Defiance322
Preble301
Lawrence280
Holmes281
Carroll282
Champaign271
Coshocton260
Brown251
Knox231
Seneca192
Highland191
Vinton191
Ashland190
Athens181
Perry181
Henry150
Scioto150
Paulding130
Jackson120
Harrison100
Adams81
Gallia71
Van Wert60
Meigs60
Pike60
Noble50
Morgan50
Unassigned00
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