In the 2022 election cycle we learned a lot about how to identify and target the most competitive House races around the nation, and focusing our resources accordingly. It can mean the difference between, say, losing a close race by two points and winning it by a point. The Democrats went 23-10 in the “toss up” House races that we targeted in 2022, and we think it’s a part of why the Democrats had a historically strong performance in the midterms.
Of the various nonpartisan election-rating sites, Cook Political Report has had the most accurate track record over the past few cycles. Cook just released its preliminary House race ratings for 2024, which gives us a starting point for the competitive races we’re looking to target.
It’s important to understand that of the 435 House races each election cycle, about 350 of them are either so blue or so red that no amount of individual work that we might put in is going to change the result. Another couple dozen House races are listed as “Likely Democrat” or “Likely Republican” which means that our efforts are unlikely to impact the outcome. This really just leaves us with Lean Democrat, Toss Up, and Lean Republican races.
Even as we keep an eye on the Lean Democrat and Lean Republican races to see how they shape up going forward, for the moment we’re going to focus solely on the Toss Up races. For that matter, because the nine Toss Up races with Republican incumbents don’t yet have any Democratic challengers (that comes later), we’re initially only looking at the eleven Toss Up races with Democratic incumbents.
What we want to do for now is help build up these eleven incumbents. You should all start following them on Twitter, Facebook, or whichever social media platform you use. You’ll want to retweet or share everything they post that you agree with. And you’ll want to go to their official websites and sign up on the “volunteer” page. There is nothing to volunteer for yet, of course. But by signing up now, it’ll ensure that when these campaigns do get up and running, you’ll be notified about ways you can help. Remember, volunteering can be done in various ways, from going door to door locally in that district, to phone banking or text banking from your home on the other side of the country. You can also donate directly to their campaigns, if you’re in a position to do so. Small amounts add up when everybody donates!
Here’s how much of a difference we can make by focusing our resources strategically. If all the Lean and Likely races go as expected, the Democrats will only have to win 14 of the 20 toss-up races in order to win the House majority. And we expect some of the “Lean Republican” races to shift into toss-up races as House Republicans continue to make fools of themselves, so the current “14 out of 20” ratio should become more favorable over time.
Again, we’ll be adding more competitive House races to this list as the year goes on. But for now these are the eleven Democratic House incumbents who are projected to be running in “Toss Up” races and therefore need your help:
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report