In the midterms, Democrats captured nearly 40 seats previously held by Republicans, but those losses weren’t spread evenly across the country. California, New Jersey and Pennsylvania each flipped four seats to the Dems, and Virginia delivered three. These results reflected the flawed, flailing candidates at the top of the ticket: gubernatorial nominees in California and Pennsylvania both lost by more than 17 percentage points, the U.S. Senate candidate in Virginia lost by sixteen, and even scandal-tarred Democrat Senator Bob Menendez crushed his New Jersey challenger by 11.
Such non-competitive statewide races discourage loyal Republicans from bothering to vote, dooming down-ballot candidates. To take back the House in 2020, the GOP needs not only a strong race by the President, but credible, energetic nominees for Governor and Senate in every state, to give House candidates a shot at success.