It's Not All About the NRA

In the aftermath of an unspeakable tragedy, like the school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida last week, anguish needs to find an outlet. Students have taken to the streets and the halls of political power demanding an end to the violence. Parents, in their darkest hour, talk of their pain to cable TV hosts and even to the President of the United States. There are so many questions about why and how this could happen. The natural human reaction is to try and answer them.

New Pennsylvania Map Is a Major Boost for Democrats

On Monday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopted a new congressional map for 2018 that's close to a best-case scenario for Democrats. The map, drawn by a court-appointed special master, doesn't just undo the gerrymander that's produced a 13-5 seat GOP edge since 2012. It goes further, actively compensating for Democrats' natural geographic disadvantage in the state. Under the new lines, Democrats have an excellent chance to win at least half the state's 18 seats.

Battle for the House: Are Crowded Democratic Primaries a Blessing or a Curse?

Katie Hill, 30, is a first-time candidate who may be one of the most impressive Democratic contenders of 2018. The daughter of a nurse and a police officer, she studied nursing herself before shifting to the non-profit sector, and by 29 she was running the largest anti-homelessness non-profit in California, with an annual budget over $40 million. But her ability to navigate a tricky primary may hold the key to Democrats' chances of flipping a critical district.

Nolan Retirement Doesn't Change Toss Up Rating in MN-08

Today, Minnesota Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan announced he would retire at the end of his second three-term stint in the House (his first was between 1974 and 1980), giving Republicans fresh optimism in an Iron Range district that voted for President Trump 54 percent to 38 percent in 2016. But Nolan was already the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent in the country, and we're keeping our Toss Up rating for now.

Ratings Changes in 21 Districts

The first two months of 2018 have given both parties reasons for optimism. Republicans have cut Democrats' lead in the FiveThirtyEight average of generic congressional ballot polls in half, from roughly 12 points in December to about six points today. As debates over unpopular health care and tax bills have subsided, news of strong economic data and record-high stocks (at least until late last week) has likely aided the GOP.

Frelinghuysen Retires, NJ-11 Stays in Toss Up

It's not often that a newly installed chair of the House Appropriations Committee calls it quits, but GOP Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen's decision not to seek a 13th term confirms months of rumors that he wasn't in the mood for his first ever truly competitive reelection race. Democrats were in prime position to cast him as the face of the House GOP agenda, and they'll have an excellent opportunity to pick up the seat without him on the ballot.

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