Into the Great Wide Open-Seat Midterms

There are currently 50 open House seats.

Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., meets with reporters shortly after midnight Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in Baxter, Minn. before turning without knowing the results of his 8th Congressional District race against Republican Stewart Mills.
AP Photo/Jim Mone
Add to Briefcase
Kyle Trygstad
Feb. 13, 2018, 9:21 a.m.

The midterms hit a milestone Friday with Rep. Rick Nolan’s retirement: Barring any changes of heart, there will be at least 50 open House seats on Election Day.

That includes the seats of 30 House members who have announced they won’t seek reelection or any other office this cycle, 10 running for the Senate, and nine vying for governor, plus the vacant Michigan 13th District seat, which won’t be filled through a special election until November.

If 385 House incumbents seek reelection this year, it will be the fewest since 384 ran in 1996, according to Vital Statistics on Congress. But that number is likely to change. Nolan’s retirement and the news that Republicans are once again recruiting Rep. Kevin Cramer to run for the Senate in North Dakota are reminders that the House landscape is not set.

The open seats are for the most part helping Democrats plot their path to netting 24 seats. Cook Political Report rates 11 open GOP-held seats as competitive, including six that already favor Democrats. However, Democrats must defend five of their own vulnerable open seats.

Kyle Trygstad


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.