California could flip the House, and these 13 races will make the difference

California could flip the House, and these 13 races will make the difference

The stakes are high in the 2018 midterm elections: control of the U.S. House. For Democrats to reclaim power, they must forge a path through California. The party considers nine districts here to be battlegrounds and can’t win the House without winning at least a few of them.

Midterm elections tend to bring out the most reliable voters, and incumbents are reelected more than 90% of the time, meaning the status quo is the most likely outcome.

Taking multiple factors into account, The Times’ California politics editors have ranked the hottest races by the intensity of the fight ahead for the congressmen (and one congresswoman). We’ll be updating our rankings, and subscribers to the Essential Politics newsletter will be the first to learn what’s changed.

Factors we are considering in our rankings:

  • Reelection margins over time: How much have they won by?
  • Recent presidential results
  • Demographic changes over time
  • Voter registration trendsAre there more Democrats than there have been previously or more people who don’t want to identify with a political party?
  • Overall fundraising picture How much money the incumbent has in the bank versus the strongest challenger, the rate at which the challenger is raising money and the total amount of money raised by challengers
  • Terms in office Incumbency is a dominant predictor of election outcomes
  • Primary vote performanceAfter the June primary, we will look at how the incumbents performed in the overall vote
  • Wild cardsAmong the possibilities: Strength of challengers, scandals, controversial votes, unforeseen news events and Times reporting

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Credits: Boxing glove by Swetha Kannan

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