House Republicans view Democrats’ poor showings in Tuesday’s elections in Virginia and New Jersey as signs of a coming “red wave” and have expanded their list of targeted Democrat-held seats in next year’s midterm elections.
The National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign arm of the House GOP, was previously aiming to unseat 57 vulnerable House Democrats in marginal districts across the country. After Tuesday’s results, the list grew to 70.
The NRCC released the expanded battleground list on Wednesday.
Rep. Tom Emmer, chairman of the NRCC, argued that the GOP’s performance Tuesday in a series of off-year races in Virginia, New Jersey and other areas showed that Democrats were increasingly vulnerable.
“In a cycle like this, no Democrat is safe,” said Mr. Emmer, Minnesota Republican. “Voters are rejecting Democrat policies that have caused massive price increases, opened our borders, and spurred a nationwide crime wave.”
The new additions to the target list include some House Democrats representing seats that President Biden won handily last year. Republicans say the national electorate is souring on the president amid rising gas prices, skyrocketing inflation and the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The decision comes after Democrats faltered in two high-profile statewide races.
In Virginia, Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAullife in the gubernatorial election. Mr. McAullife, who previously served as governor from 2014 to 2018, attempted to nationalize the race in recent weeks.
On television and on the stump, Mr. McAullife lambasted Mr. Youngkin as a far-right extremist and tried to link him to former President Donald Trump.
The tactic backfired with Republicans not only winning the governorship but also sweeping all of the statewide races and possibly flipping control of the Virginia House of Delegates.
The result shocked lawmakers and pundits, who believed the state was safe. Mr. Biden won Virginia last year by around 10 percentage points.
In deep-blue New Jersey, which Mr. Biden won by 16 points in 2020, Democrats similarly fared poorly. Although the governor’s race remains too close to call, the Democratic incumbent, Gov. Phil Murphy, only holds a narrow thousand-vote lead.
The result buoyed Republicans, who only need to flip a handful of seats to retake the majority within the U.S. House of Representatives.
“The red wave is here, and things are only going to get worse for Joe Biden and the Democrats come November 2022,” said Ronna Romney McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee.