As we’re still waiting to see how the Special Election in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District will end up, we can turn our attention to other districts around the country and start judging how the Ohio results may impact the races in November. There are many districts which mirror OH-12 in terms of demographics and urban/suburban makeup which means we could be in for several races in 2018 that come down to a 1 or 2 percent difference on election night.
First, as a reminder, Ohio’s 12th Congressional District is/was a heavily Republican-leaning district:
This should have been an easy win for Republicans, but it may be headed for a recount. What about other districts? There are plenty of districts with similar voter demographics and a similar opportunity for Democrats to make progress in deep-red enclaves which were previously untouchable.
NBC News put together a story covering a handful of these important districts:
Sometimes a close loss can be as telling as a surprise win, as the political world saw in the special election in Ohio’s 12th congressional district last week. Democrats failed to capture the seat, but the party’s near-miss may reveal something about the size of the wave brewing in the electorate and the House districts that could be in play this fall.
Going by the numbers, the Democratic nominee Danny O’Connor should never have been close in the solidly red 12th. President Donald Trump won the district by 11 points and the Republican incumbent last won it by 37 points in 2016.
But the 12th represents a specific kind of congressional battlefield, a district that straddles the line between suburban and rural America. It holds the edge of Franklin County, the near-in suburbs of Columbus, and wealthy, educated, exurban Delaware County — an area that is home to establishment GOP voters. And beyond that, the 12th contains all or some of five more counties that are more rural and blue-collar in nature.
Here is a breakdown, in table form, of the reliably-Republican districts around the country highlighted by the article:
|Missouri 2||+11 Trump||(R) Ann Wagner||Likely Republican|
|Washington 5||+13 Trump||(R) Cathy McMorris||Lean Republican|
|Kansas 2||+19 Trump||(R) Open||Toss-Up|
|Wisconsin 1||+35 GOP||(R) Open||Lean Republican|
The seats listed in Kansas and Missouri both became more competitive when the Republican incumbent decided to retire instead of seek re-election. There was a similar situation in Ohio, but the Ohio retirement came earlier and forced the special election last week.
All of these districts share the common element of bordering urban areas with a dense demographic makeup that has proven to be less forgiving toward President Trump. There are more like them around the country, but you get the idea of where Democrats hope to pickup seats in these districts that may be more favorable this year than is prior years.
We will be watching these races closely, along with several others, to understand what kind of wave election to expect come November.