House Democrats are adjusting battle plans for defending their vulnerable majority as the decennial redistricting process puts previously safe incumbents in the Republican Party’s crosshairs.

On Thursday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee revealed it was moving Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader and Nevada Rep. Dina Titus to the party’s “Frontline Program” for politically endangered incumbents. Frontline members, who now number 26, are set to receive extra attention and resources from the House Democratic campaign as they move to fend off Republican challengers.

As reapportionment and the drawing of new district boundaries head toward the finish line, the DCCC also announced that it was paying close attention to open seats in Oregon and Texas. Incumbent Democrats in Oregon’s Fourth Congressional District and Texas’s 15th chose to retire in 2022 rather than seek reelection — moves viewed as an acknowledgment that their party’s five-seat House majority is hanging by a thread.


But in a statement accompanying the changes to the Frontline Program, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, the DCCC's chairman, attempted to spin the moves as positive and offensive in nature. “We move into the on-year delivering a highly popular agenda for the American people, record-breaking fundraising, and the truth about Republican extremism in offensive opportunities across the country,” he said.

The party that controls the White House typically loses seats in Congress in midterm elections.

With a slim five-seat majority in the House and a 50-seat “majority” in the Senate that rests on Vice President Kamala Harris’s tiebreaking vote, defying this trend was always going to be difficult for the Democrats. But since the summer, public and private polling has signaled that Democrats could be swept from power by a big red wave. The GOP leads in the generic ballot, and President Joe Biden’s job approval is stuck near 40%.

Redistricting made the Democratic Party’s hope for a political miracle even more remote.

In most states with the most significant changes to the House map, where seats were added or lines were significantly redrawn, Republicans are in control and maximizing their opportunities. Still, some incumbent Democrats are benefiting from reapportionment. Among them are a few who ousted Republicans from suburban swing seats in the 2018 midterm elections under former President Donald Trump and survived difficult GOP challenges to win reelection last year.

They include Texas Reps. Colin Allred in suburban Dallas, Lizzie Fletcher in suburban Houston, and Vicente Gonzalez, who held a border-adjacent seat that stretched to San Antonio but is running for reelection in a different district.


As such, the DCCC removed them from the Frontline Program. In Georgia, Democratic Reps. Lucy McBath and Carolyn Bourdeaux were also dropped from Frontline, although they were both redistricted into the same Democratic-leaning district in suburban Atlanta and are expected to run against each other in the May primary.

Meanwhile, the National Republican Congressional Committee has yet to make any changes to the “Patriot Program,” its Frontline equivalent, based on alterations to district boundaries brought about by redistricting. However, an NRCC spokesman said the committee expects to see additional opportunities to flip Democratic seats by the time reapportionment is complete.