Examining Competitive US House Races in the Northeast
Elections & Politics Policy Brief #99 | By: Ian Milden | October 3, 2023
Photo taken from: keystonenewsroom.com
Democrats lost their majority in the House of Representatives in the 2022 mid-term elections. However, the small size of the Republican majority leaves Democrats with a path to re-take the House majority. This brief will take an early look at some of the races in the northeastern United States (outside of New York, which I already previewed).
Republicans shocked many pundits by only winning a four-seat majority in the House of Representatives during the midterm elections. While Democrats control a lot of seats in the northeast (including every seat in New England), there are still important races in the region that can affect the balance of power in the House of Representatives.
The clearest target in the northeast outside of New York is New Jersey’s 7th district, which Tom Kean Jr. won in 2022 by defeating Congressman Tom Malinowski (D-NJ). Kean Jr. is the son of a former governor of New Jersey and served in Republican leadership in the New Jersey state legislature, so he is well-connected within the New Jersey Republican Party. Democrats will need to recruit a very good candidate if they are going to defeat him in 2024.
In Pennsylvania’s first district, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) holds a seat that often votes for Democrats for other offices. His family is well-respected in the district. The district is located in the suburbs near Philadelphia, which have voted for Democrats by increasingly large margins. It would take an exceptional candidate and a bad year for Republicans for Democrats to win this seat.
One long-shot district that Democrats should keep an eye on is Pennsylvania’s 10th district, which is represented by Scott Perry (R-PA). The district is near Harrisburg. In normal circumstances, Perry’s district is a district where Democrats should only expect to compete when Republicans are having a really bad year. However, this race could develop into a competitive race if Perry is further engulfed in the scandals related to Trump’s attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential Election. Congressman Perry’s phone has been seized by the FBI as part of this investigation.
There are a pair of Democrats in Pennsylvania who have districts that have become increasingly difficult for Democrats to win in. Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA) represents the 8th district based in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. Congresswoman Susan Wild (D-PA) represents the 7th district, which is based in Allentown, which is directly south of Cartwright’s district. These two districts have blue-collar union towns, which Democrats have struggled to win in the last few election cycles. If Democrats continue to lose more voters who live in areas like these, these districts will eventually be represented by Republicans.
Another district in Pennsylvania that Democrats will have to defend is the 17th district, which is represented by Chris Deluzio (D-PA). This district is northwest of Pittsburgh. Deluzio is in his first term. He won the seat that was vacated by Conor Lamb (D-PA). Before Lamb won a special election, Republican Tim Murphy represented the district for nearly two decades before resigning due to a scandal.
Democrats will also have to defend an open seat in New Jersey’s 3rd district since Congressman Andy Kim (D-NJ) decided to run against Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) after Menendez was indicted on federal corruption charges. Kim won the seat he now represents in 2018 by defeating incumbent Tom MacArthur (R-NJ). While Kim has done well in the past few elections, his seat is still in competitive territory.
The other major concern for Democrats defending seats in the northeast is Maine’s second district, which is represented by Jared Golden (D-ME). Maine’s second district does have a recent history of supporting Republicans including Trump in 2020. Golden was re-elected in 2020 when facing an underfunded opponent.
Both of New Hampshire’s seats could become competitive if Democrats are having a difficult election cycle. Chris Pappas and Ann Kuster are the current representatives of New Hampshire’s two congressional districts. Republicans have indicated that they will focus on trying to defeat Pappas since his district is less difficult for them to win in. However, New Hampshire Republicans have not had a good track record in recent years of recruiting and supporting candidates who can win federal offices.
- DCCC Website, Official Campaign Arm of House Democrats https://dccc.org/