On the House side, Democrats are largely in retrenchment mode as they look to protect some incumbents they’d hoped would be in good shape and at this point are trying to hold any GOP gains to a minimum.
Democrats have largely given up on taking out early targets like Reps. David Valadao (R-Calif.) and Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), along with capturing open seats in suburban Detroit and Philadelphia.
Instead, Democratic outside groups are putting in resources to protect Rep. Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.), who few on either side expected would face much of a race, and an open seat in Maine they thought they had locked in after Republicans nominated a hard-right candidate. Freshman Reps. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), Ami Bera (D-Calif.) and Pete Gallego (D-Texas) are also in tougher fights than Democrats thought they’d be in early on.
“Democrats are coming to grips with the reality that they’ll be playing more defense than offense,” said David Wasserman, House editor for the non-partisan Cook Political Report.