Wave Watch: A look at potential upsets in the 2022 midterms

5. New York’s 18th District

Amid all the GOP aggravation over the extreme Democratic gerrymander in New York, one detail about the map got overlooked: The one Democrat that didn’t benefit as much as his colleagues was Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Sean Patrick Maloney. His Hudson Valley district got a little more favorable, going from Biden plus-5 to plus-8, also taking in the liberal town of Peekskill in the process. While it’s hard to predict the party chairman losing his reelection, any seat where Trump won 45 percent of the vote should be seen as competitive in this political environment. (Rep. Cheri Bustos, last cycle’s DCCC chair, only won her reelection by 4 points in 2020 and is now retiring.)

Maloney has also taken a surprisingly progressive posture for a campaign committee chairman this cycle, from endorsing the elimination of the Senate legislative filibuster to embracing controversial parts of criminal-justice reform. That flavor of progressivism was a major handicap for New York Democrats in last year’s elections, contributing to the defeat of a popular Nassau County executive in a solidly Democratic suburban county. Maloney has typically run ahead of the national ticket, but his outspoken advocacy and growing worries about spiking violent crime in the New York City region could change that dynamic.

Maloney also is facing a credible Republican opponent in state Assemblyman Colin Schmitt, who also serves as a sergeant in the Army National Guard. But Schmitt only raised $136,000 in the last fundraising quarter, a pace he’ll need to improve on if he has a shot at an upset.