Democrats need a net gain of 24 seats to flip the House in 2018, so all eyes are on potentially vulnerable Republicans. The other side of the equation is vulnerable Democrats whose potential inability to hold their seats makes the job of taking the House that much harder. In some cases this will mean strong incumbent Democrats in red districts who may decide not to run for relection.
It was believed that one such seat belonged to Minnesota Rep. Collin C. Peterson (MN-7th) who, Democrats are glad to hear, is in fact running for re-election next year, despite previously making noises that he might not.
The ranking Democrat on the Agriculture Committee, Peterson is one of the most conservative Democrats in the House, and he represents an agriculture-heavy 7th District that would likely flip to the Republicans if he ever called it quits. President Donald Trump carried the district by 31 points last fall, according to calculations by Daily Kos Elections.
The news is not all good for Democrats however. Democratic-Farmer-Labour (DFL) Rep. Tim Walz (MN-1st) is stepping down to run for governor. DFL Rep. Rick Nolan (MN-8th) may also join the field of gubernatorial candidates. Trump took both districts by substantial margins in November.
Of the 435 House seats, Charlie Cook recently rated 205 Republican and 173 Democrat as solid, 38 Republican and 19 Democrat as Likely/Lean, and 1 Republican and 2 Democratic seats as Toss up or Worse.
The 24 net pickup requirement for the Democrats only tells part of the story as the Minnesota example illustrates. Bottom line is that flipping the House is about playing offence and defence at the same time. Tough task.