Republicans fear Democratic "blue wave" spreading to once-safe districts

Voters such as Sneed and Lesser are a significant reason why Democrats now believe that in the Nov. 6 congressional midterm elections, the party can win more than the 23 seats they need to seize control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Some predict Democrats could take as many as 40 seats by flipping districts like Brat’s in Virginia.

Earlier this year, Brat’s seat was considered safe. But if a so-called “blue wave” materializes, it would roll through a district like his, which includes pockets of suburban voters who increasingly have been turning away from Republicans.

“Republicans are playing defense in more and more places,” said Doug Heye, a former official at the Republican National Committee. “The Democrats’ map continues to get bigger. The Republicans’ map continues to get smaller. That’s a real problem.”