New Hampshire Democrat Chris Pappas unseated a House Republican in 2018. Taking office two months later, Pappas joined that year’s historic freshman class, along with other upstart Democrats like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Since then, no Republican has represented a New England district in the House. Only one Republican — Maine’s Susan Collins — has represented a New England state in the Senate.
But over the summer, the deep blue parts of New England have shown serious cracks.
From April to June, pollsters at Politico/Morning Consult surveyed at least 435 registered voters in each state, and asked these voters about the job performance of their own governors.
In this poll, Republicans made up 15 of the 20 most popular governors in the country. The top seven were all Republicans.
Republican governors remained popular in red states (Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon placed first). Yet, Republicans also appealed to their constituencies in more liberal states, like the New England states.
In the governors’ popularity ranking, Vermont Republican Phil Scott was tied for first. Scott was enjoying an approval rate of 74 percent… in the same constituency represented by Democrat Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist.
Massachusetts Republican Charlie Baker was following close behind, with 73 percent approval. Baker has enjoyed wide popularity despite the representing same constituency as firebrand Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
New Hampshire Republican Chris Sununu placed sixth with 60 percent, although New Hampshire has become known as New England’s most Republican state.
The New England Democrats varied wildly in terms of popularity. Connecticut’s Ned Lamont ranked eighth, the highest of any Democrat governor. Meanwhile, Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee finished dead last, and Maine Gov. Janet Mills ranked in the middle, given Maine’s policy of ranked-choice voting.
“In states across the country, Republican governors are delivering real results for people they are physically more proximate to than federal officials,” Republican strategist Liz Muir wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times earlier this year. “Lots of Republicans — some with high public profiles, and some who fly below the radar — are excelling.”
Pappas represents an R+1 district, according to the Cook Partisan Voting Index. He ranks as one of the House’s more vulnerable Democrats.
Connecticut contains two D+2 districts, flippable for Republicans in this environment.
Meanwhile, Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., is facing strong headwinds.
Hassan won her last Senate race by a measly 0.1 percent. Since then, Republicans have flipped both chambers of the state legislature, the only state legislature to change hands in the 2020 election.
In 2016, national Democrat Hillary Clinton suffered embarrassing losses across the Midwestern states.
If current trends continue, the Democrats may be heading for a 2016-style loss in New England.
Read more: Ocasio-Cortez colleagues won’t like this midterm trend…
The Horn editorial team