2020·10 min read

The seats Dems want to win...

Empty seats with blue background
Nov 6, 2018

Updated 11/7/2018 with race results

The Story

To reclaim a majority in Congress, Dems would need to hold on to everything they've got – plus flip two seats in the Senate and at least 23 seats in the House. Of those, a bunch are considered competitive. Dems are expected to have an easier time winning back the House than the Senate. Here are some of the seats they’re going after:

Senate - Arizona | Kyrsten Sinema (D) vs Martha McSally (R)

Say 'hi' to GOP Sen. Jeff Flake’s open seat.

Flake is tired of the DC drama and is calling it quits. Now two candidates are pitching themselves as moderates to try to win over the Arizona independent vote. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) is pro-choice and all about ensuring Americans have access to affordable health care. Rep. Martha McSally (R) is a former Air Force fighter pilot and is focused on things like fighting for good jobs and securing the border. Fun fact: both of them finished an Ironman triathlon...so endurance is not an issue. This one could be a toss-up.

Senate - Nevada | Jacky Rosen (D) vs Dean Heller (R)

Dems see this as one of the biggest opps to turn a red Senate seat blue. Meet Sen. Dean Heller (R). He won the seat back in '12...by one point. And is the only GOP senator up for re-election in a state that Hillary Clinton won in '16. He’s flip-flopped on things like health care. Now, he's up against Rep. Jacky Rosen (D) – who isn’t as well known. Rosen’s pitching herself as a legislator who can reach across the aisle...but isn’t afraid to criticize President Trump on things like his relationship with Russian President Putin. Polls show this one could be real tight.

Senate - Tennessee | Phil Bredesen (D) vs Marsha Blackburn (R)

Sen. Bob Corker (R) is retiring and former governor Phil Bredesen (D) is hoping to

turn the seat blue

. It's been decades since Tennessee’s had a Dem senator. But Bredesen’s a moderate and he’s still Mr. Popular in the state for focusing on things like jobs. He's up against Rep.

Marsha Blackburn

(R) – who's a loyal Trump supporter. She's all-in on strict immigration reform (hello, border wall) and repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Senate - Texas | Beto O’Rourke (D) vs Ted Cruz (R)

Texas hasn’t elected a Dem senator in three decades. But Sen. Ted Cruz (R) is playing defense. He’s one of the Senate’s most conservative members (think: pro-gun rights, a hardliner on immigration, and very anti-big government). Now, he’s trying to protect his seat from challenger Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) from El Paso. O’Rourke’s offering Texans a progressive platform that involves everything from protecting women’s access to abortions to legalizing undocumented immigrants to supporting football players who #TakeAKnee. TBD if that platform is enough to get O’Rourke to upgrade his House seat to a Senate one.

House - California 39th District | Gil Cisneros (D) vs Young Kim (R)

Navy vet Gil Cisneros (D) is facing off against former assemblywoman Young Kim (R) to fill retiring Ed Royce (R)'s seat. Cisneros got into politics after winning the lottery. And has given away some of his ka-ching (hi, $266 million) to help pay for students’ college tuitions. Now he’s hoping to get lucky again and win your vote. Kim’s pitch? Let’s make money moves (as in: more jobs, less taxes).

House - Iowa 1st District | Abby Finkenauer (D) vs Rod Blum (R)


Rod Blum

(R) is trying to keep his House seat away from state Rep.

Abby Finkenauer

(D). But this district has voted Democrat in the past. And now that there’s a backlash to the Trump admin’s tariffs and trade policies, the district miiiight be ready to turn blue again.

House - New Jersey 11th District | Mikie Sherrill (D) vs Jay Webber (R)

Longtime Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R) is peacing out. Dems see this district as one they could flip because President Trump barely won it

in 2016


Mikie Sherrill

(D) – a former Navy pilot and federal prosecutor – is hoping to bring the home the W. She’s a big supporter of Social Security and Medicare. Her opponent is

Jay Webber

(R) – who’s all for tax cuts and currently serves in the NJ general assembly.

House - New Mexico 2nd District | Xochitl Torres Small (D) vs Yvette Herrell (R)

Incumbent Rep. Steve Pearce (R) is leaving this seat open now that he’s running for governor. And lawyer Xochitl Torres Small (D) is hoping to snag it. She's running on a platform to give everyone affordable health care and quality education. And up against State Rep. Yvette Herrell (R) – who has described herself as pro-life, pro-business, pro-Second Amendment.

House - Texas 7th District | Lizzie Pannill Fletcher (D) vs John Culberson (R)

Incumbent Rep.

John Culberson

(R) is facing lawyer

Lizzie Pannill Fletcher

(D) in a district that Hillary Clinton just barely won in 2016. He says he should keep the job because of his role on a House committee that decides how federal dollars are spent on things like disaster relief. She says she should take it because of her support for things like abortion rights.

House - Virginia 10th District | Jennifer Wexton (D) vs Barbara Comstock (R)

Incumbent Rep.

Barbara Comstock

(R) is on pretty thin ice. The district is pretty diverse and liberal – and voted for Hillary Clinton by a lot back in ‘16. It’s looking like state Sen.

Jennifer Wexton

(D) has a good shot at kicking Comstock out.

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