Democrats are planning to ramp up efforts to win additional seats in the November midterms, expanding target districts to include more than 100 Republican seats, according to NBC News.
At the House Democrats’ annual conference on Thursday, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is expected to announce that the midterm battleground will be widened to include 101 seats, making it the largest in years.
With the new campaigns, Democrats hope to move further into Republican states, including Texas, Wisconsin, and South Carolina. Democrats are now running candidates in all but 12 of the 238 Republican-controlled districts.
The battleground expansion comes as President Donald Trump’s poll numbers rise and Democrats’ advantage narrows. In key ballot tests for congressional races, Democrats have seen their numbers drop by more than 50 percent since December.
“It seems like Republicans are rallying to their president and party a little bit in recent weeks, leading to an improvement for the president’s standing and the GOP standing in the House generic ballot,” said Kyle Kondik, an analyst at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, according to NBC News.
With continued strong economic results and after the success of the massive tax reform bill, Republicans are hoping they will maintain control of Congress despite aggressive Democratic tactics. GOP leaders have responded by encouraging candidates to sell tax reform and buckle down for a season of intense campaigning, even in districts where representatives have long run with little opposition.
And while some Democrats remain cautious after the upset of the 2016 presidential election, many look forward to significant gains as the party hopes to win the 24 seats needed to gain control of the House.
At the Democrats’ conference on Wednesday, former Vice President Joe Biden pledged his support for the party’s candidates and voiced his optimism regarding the November midterm elections.
“Go out and holler, guys, go out and holler, you are going to win back the House!” Biden said in a speech at the conference. “Others who have been around as long as I have, sometimes you just feel it, you can taste it, there is something out there if we don’t miss this opportunity — we have a great opportunity.”