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As Republicans prepare to hold their annual retreat in Philadelphia, they’ll have a lot of time to reflect on the 2016 presidential race.
With Donald Trump still a popular choice among many Republicans, the party’s top candidates for 2018 are facing a daunting array of primary challenges.
Here are some of the biggest challenges facing Republicans this fall.
The party’s most vulnerable House candidates.
The 2018 midterm election will be one of the first midterm contests for Republicans in more than two decades.
With President Trump’s approval rating hovering near 40 percent, and Vice President Mike Pence’s approval ratings in the mid-50s, Republicans will be battling to keep control of the House.
The party has already been hammered by the rise of Trump and his allies, who have targeted several vulnerable Republicans for their support of the president.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Texas Republican who’s been a favorite of Trump for months, is up against former Indiana Gov.
Mike Pence, a conservative Republican who has consistently flirted with the presidency in recent years.
The most vulnerable GOP candidates for reelection.
In 2016, Republican incumbents lost their re-election bids by a combined 18 percentage points.
It’s possible that 2018 will be even tougher, with the party in the midst of a string of deep recessions and a national economy still struggling with the fallout from the pandemic.
There are also several potential GOP challengers in 2018 who could win reelection by narrow margins, including former Florida Gov.
Charlie Crist, who lost a primary challenge to incumbent Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in 2018.
Former Sen. Evan Bayh, the Democratic incumbent from Indiana who served four terms, has been a top contender for 2020, and former Ohio Gov.
Ted Strickland is in a strong position to defeat his party’s two Democratic challengers in 2020.
Former Rep. Chris Gibson, a Michigan Republican, is a potential top pick in 2018, but his record and support for Trump in the 2016 election make him a difficult prospect for Republicans to pick up seats.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who has been one of Trump’s most vocal supporters, is in danger of losing her seat in 2018 if the Democratic Party loses the White House.
In the wake of Trump, Democrats could face a primary fight with former Rep. Joaquin Castro, who had served as a key surrogate for Trump during the 2016 campaign.
The GOP’s most popular House candidates, by district.
House Republicans have a chance to pick off their most vulnerable incumbents, but it’s not all roses.
The GOP’s congressional map has been heavily skewed toward Democrats, and many of its candidates are in deep red districts.
If the party loses its majority in the House in 2018 — a tall order — Republicans could find themselves at the mercy of the party that held the majority in 2018 and in many other states.
Republicans will face tough challenges picking up the seats of the 10 GOP-held seats in 2018 in states that Trump won in 2016.
Republican Rep. Dan Boren, for example, lost his seat in Utah in the 2018 midterms to Democrat Alex Padilla, who was a strong supporter of Trump.
Boren will need to fight hard to win his district, and he’ll need to show some signs of his 2016 success in Utah to earn a Democratic challenger.
House Minority Leader Kevin Cramer, who’s also a potential 2020 presidential candidate, lost a bid for reelection in Nebraska, and Rep. Michael Burgess, a Republican who was an ardent supporter of the Trump administration, lost to Democratic Rep. Mike Kelly in Utah’s 5th Congressional District.
The Republican Party’s most competitive congressional district.
The state’s 4th Congressional district has traditionally been a safe Republican seat.
In 2016, Rep. Rodney Davis, a Democrat, won a strong victory over incumbent Rep