Democrats’ 2022 midterms map is rapidly dwindling

Democrats are trying to unseat only about half as many Republican House members next year as they did in 2020, trimming their target list from 39 to 21.

Why it matters: The narrowing map — which reflects where Democrats see their best chance of flipping seats — is the latest datapoint showing the challenging political landscape the party faces in the crucial 2022 midterms. The once-a-decade redistricting process, Donald Trump’s exit from the White House and a razor-thin House majority that requires more focus on protecting incumbents are among the factors at work.

A smaller map makes candidate recruitment even more important.

What they’re saying: Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told Axios his party must be "flexible and nimble" and that the districts in play remain subject to change — based on redistricting and the extent of Republican overreach. "What’s going to determine the size of the battlefield is how far down these dark paths of racism and denying a woman’s reproductive freedom the Republican Party goes," he said.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison told Axios if Dems pass their infrastructure and spending bills: "It’s very simple. Two words: Democrats deliver."

Tom Davis, the former Republican congressman from Virginia who chaired the National Republican Congressional Committee through the first midterms under President George W. Bush, said Dems’ should focus on protecting the seats they have. "Democrats are on defense, there’s no question about that," Davis said. "In 2002, we had a five-seat majority in the House, and I was campaign chairman. I didn’t get aggressive, I just wanted to take seats off the table. We ended up picking up eight seats. That ought to be their strategy."

"Biden was elected because people didn’t want Donald Trump in their living rooms for four more years," Davis said. "But they didn’t vote for all this other stuff that’s coming with him, and they’re gonna react, they’re gonna pump the brakes."

Details: Democrats are targeting Arizona’s 2nd (open seat) and 6th districts; California’s 21st, 25th, 39th and 48th districts; Florida’s 26 and 27th districts; Iowa’s 1st and 2nd districts; Indiana’s 5th district; Missouri’s 2nd district; Nebraska’s 2nd district; New York’s 2nd, 22nd and 24th districts; Ohio’s 1st district; Pennsylvania’s 1st and 10th districts; Texas’ 23rd and 24th districts; and Utah’s 4th district.

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