The midterm elections are about a month away, but the Democrats have already nailed down 40 seats in the House of Representatives compared with the Republicans’ three, simply because no one from the other major party is competing for those seats.

In one way, these numbers don’t mean much. Uncontested races are just a small subset of the races that will end up being blowouts. The Cook Political Report considers 68 of the 435 races to be very competitive this year.

But the party disparity in the number of uncontested races does tell us something about the energy of the party that’s out of power.

In a normal year, there would be a fairly equal number of uncontested seats on both sides, nearly always in districts with a very popular incumbent and voters who are so reliably red or blue that no one from the other party bothers to run.

This year, Democrats are contesting nearly every race. In 2016, 27 Republicans ran unopposed.

“This is absolutely a reaction to Trump,” said Dave Wasserman, Cook’s House analyst. “… [I]t’s not a function of the party’s strategy, it’s a function of the grass-roots enthusiasm that’s leading candidates who don’t have realistic chances of winning to run in the first place.”

This cycle looks a lot like the inverse of 2010, the first midterm election after President Barack Obama took office. Then, the tea party movement helped Republicans lead the tally of uncontested seats, 24 to 5. Republicans flipped 63 seats in that election. Currently, they hold a 23-seat majority in the House.

So about those uncontested candidates ...

These 17 are truly unopposed

Terri Sewell

Alabama 7th

Val Demings

Florida 10th

Kathy Castor

Florida 14th

Alcee Hastings

Florida 20th

Lois Frankel

Florida 21st

Frederica Wilson

Florida 24th

John Lewis

Georgia 5th

Richard Neal

Mass. 1st

Joe Kennedy III

Mass. 4th

Ayanna Pressley

Mass. 7th

Stephen Lynch

Mass. 8th

Gregory Meeks

New York 5th

Eliot Engel

New York 16th

Mike Doyle

Pennsylvania 18th

Bobby Scott

Virginia 3rd

Mark Pocan

Wisconsin 2nd

Only one Republican will

not have anyone else

running against him

in the 2018 midterms.

Walter Jones

North Carolina 3rd

Terri Sewell

Alabama 7th

Val Demings

Florida 10th

Kathy Castor

Florida 14th

Alcee Hastings

Florida 20th

Frederica Wilson

Florida 24th

John Lewis

Georgia 5th

Richard Neal

Mass. 1st

Lois Frankel

Florida 21st

Joe Kennedy III

Mass. 4th

Ayanna Pressley

Mass. 7th

Stephen Lynch

Mass. 8th

Gregory Meeks

New York 5th

Eliot Engel

New York 16th

Mike Doyle

Pennsylvania 18th

Bobby Scott

Virginia 3rd

Mark Pocan

Wisconsin 2nd

Only one Republican will

not have anyone else

running against him

in the 2018 midterms.

Walter Jones

North Carolina 3rd

Terri Sewell

Alabama 7th

Val Demings

Florida 10th

Kathy Castor

Florida 14th

Alcee Hastings

Florida 20th

Frederica Wilson

Florida 24th

John Lewis

Georgia 5th

Richard Neal

Mass. 1st

Lois Frankel

Florida 21st

Joe Kennedy III

Mass. 4th

Ayanna Pressley

Mass. 7th

Stephen Lynch

Mass. 8th

Gregory Meeks

New York 5th

Eliot Engel

New York 16th

Mike Doyle

Pennsylvania 18th

Bobby Scott

Virginia 3rd

Mark Pocan

Wisconsin 2nd

Only one Republican will

not have anyone else

running against him

in the 2018 midterms.

Walter Jones

North Carolina 3rd

Terri Sewell

Alabama 7th

Val Demings

Florida 10th

Kathy Castor

Florida 14th

Alcee Hastings

Florida 20th

Lois Frankel

Florida 21st

Frederica Wilson

Florida 24th

John Lewis

Georgia 5th

Richard Neal

Mass. 1st

Joe Kennedy III

Mass. 4th

Ayanna Pressley

Mass. 7th

Eliot Engel

New York 16th

Stephen Lynch

Mass. 8th

Gregory Meeks

New York 5th

Mike Doyle

Pennsylvania 18th

Bobby Scott

Virginia 3rd

Mark Pocan

Wisconsin 2nd

Only one Republican will

not have anyone else

running against him

in the 2018 midterms.

Walter Jones

North Carolina 3rd

Terri Sewell

Alabama 7th

Val Demings

Florida 10th

Kathy Castor

Florida 14th

Alcee Hastings

Florida 20th

Lois Frankel

Florida 21st

Frederica Wilson

Florida 24th

John Lewis

Georgia 5th

Richard Neal

Mass. 1st

Stephen Lynch

Mass. 8th

Gregory Meeks

New York 5th

Eliot Engel

New York 16th

Mike Doyle

Pennsylvania 18th

Bobby Scott

Virginia 3rd

Mark Pocan

Wisconsin 2nd

Ayanna Pressley

Mass. 7th

Joe Kennedy III

Mass. 4th

Only one Republican will

not have anyone else

running against him

in the 2018 midterms.

Walter Jones

North Carolina 3rd

Sixteen incumbents and one surprise primary winner will have no opponent at all.

One of these is Democrat Mike Doyle, who has represented his Pennsylvania district since 1995, sort of. Doyle was first elected to the House in 1994, and the boundaries of his Pittsburgh-area district were drastically redrawn — and its number changed — in 2003. Its boundaries and number will change again in 2019.

That makes Doyle the dean of the state’s delegation and the longtime incumbent from the 18th-turned-14th District and the uncontested candidate for the 14th-that-is-back-to-18th District seat in 2019.

The lone unopposed newcomer is Boston City Council member Ayanna Pressley, who upset 10-term incumbent Michael E. Capuano in the primary for the Massachusetts 7th District. Capuano won in 2016 with 99 percent of the vote, because there was no Republican in the race then, either. Pressley is poised to become the first African American woman to represent Massachusetts in Congress.

North Carolina’s Walter B. Jones, who was first elected to represent the 3rd District in 1994, is the only truly unopposed Republican.

These 19 have opponents, barely

Rubén Gallego

Arizona 7th

Mike Thompson

California 5th

Barbara Lee

California 13th

Jimmy Panetta

California 20th

Jimmy Gomez

California 34th

L. Roybal-Allard

California 40th

Rashida Tlaib

Michigan 13th

Bennie Thompson

Mississippi 2nd

Grace Meng

New York 6th

Nydia Velázquez

New York 7th

Nita M. Lowey

New York 17th

Hakeem Jeffries

New York 8th

Earl Blumenauer

Oregon 3rd

Al Green

Texas 9th

Joaquin Castro

Texas 20th

Henry Cuellar

Texas 28th

E. Bernice Johnson

Texas 30th

Rick Larsen

Washington 2nd

Austin Scott

Georgia 8th

Rubén Gallego

Arizona 7th

Mike Thompson

California 5th

Barbara Lee

California 13th

Jimmy Panetta

California 20th

Jimmy Gomez

California 34th

L. Roybal-Allard

California 40th

Rashida Tlaib

Michigan 13th

Bennie Thompson

Mississippi 2nd

Grace Meng

New York 6th

Nydia Velázquez

New York 7th

Nita M. Lowey

New York 17th

Hakeem Jeffries

New York 8th

Earl Blumenauer

Oregon 3rd

Al Green

Texas 9th

Joaquin Castro

Texas 20th

Henry Cuellar

Texas 28th

E. Bernice Johnson

Texas 30th

Rick Larsen

Washington 2nd

Austin Scott

Georgia 8th

Rubén Gallego

Arizona 7th

Mike Thompson

California 5th

Barbara Lee

California 13th

Jimmy Panetta

California 20th

Jimmy Gomez

California 34th

L. Roybal-Allard

California 40th

Rashida Tlaib

Michigan 13th

Bennie Thompson

Mississippi 2nd

Grace Meng

New York 6th

Nydia Velázquez

New York 7th

Nita M. Lowey

New York 17th

Hakeem Jeffries

New York 8th

Earl Blumenauer

Oregon 3rd

Al Green

Texas 9th

Joaquin Castro

Texas 20th

Henry Cuellar

Texas 28th

E. Bernice Johnson

Texas 30th

Rick Larsen

Washington 2nd

Austin Scott

Georgia 8th

Rubén Gallego

Arizona 7th

Mike Thompson

California 5th

Barbara Lee

California 13th

Jimmy Panetta

California 20th

Jimmy Gomez

California 34th

L. Roybal-Allard

California 40th

Rashida Tlaib

Michigan 13th

Bennie Thompson

Mississippi 2nd

Grace Meng

New York 6th

Nydia M. Velázquez

New York 7th

Nita M. Lowey

New York 17th

Hakeem Jeffries

New York 8th

Earl Blumenauer

Oregon 3rd

Al Green

Texas 9th

Joaquin Castro

Texas 20th

Henry Cuellar

Texas 28th

Eddie Bernice Johnson

Texas 30th

Rick Larsen

Washington 2nd

Austin Scott

Georgia 8th

Rubén Gallego

Arizona 7th

Mike Thompson

California 5th

Barbara Lee

California 13th

Jimmy Panetta

California 20th

Jimmy Gomez

California 34th

Lucille Roybal-Allard

California 40th

Rashida Tlaib

Michigan 13th

Bennie Thompson

Mississippi 2nd

Nita M. Lowey

New York 17th

Grace Meng

New York 6th

Nydia M. Velázquez

New York 7th

Hakeem Jeffries

New York 8th

Earl Blumenauer

Oregon 3rd

Al Green

Texas 9th

Joaquin Castro

Texas 20th

Henry Cuellar

Texas 28th

Eddie Bernice Johnson

Texas 30th

Rick Larsen

Washington 2nd

Austin Scott

Georgia 8th

Nineteen major-party candidates — 18 Democrats and a Republican — will be opposed only by minor-party candidates. Former Michigan state legislator Rashida Tlaib almost certainly will become the first Muslim woman in Congress, as her only opponents on the 13th District ballot are candidates from the Green and Working Class parties.

Tlaib’s big hurdle came in the Democratic primary, which she won so narrowly that she waited to celebrate until every single vote was counted. She will occupy the seat vacated by John Conyers Jr., who was the longest-serving House member until he resigned in December amid sexual harassment allegations.

History and political realities are not on the side of independents or third-party candidates. They usually lack financing and name recognition, and they don’t get the benefit of straight-ticket voters who choose everyone with an “R” or “D” beside their names.

For those reasons, nearly all members of Congress come from one of the major parties, including all current House members. The Senate has two notable Independent exceptions: Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and Angus King (Maine), who both caucus with Democrats.

These are a few strange cases

The idiosyncrasies of election procedures in various states make for some unusual situations. In four California districts and one more in Washington, we know which party will win — but not which candidate.

California 6th

Jrmar Jefferson

Doris Matsui

Incumbent

California 27th

Bryan Witt

Judy Chu

Incumbent

California 44th

Aja Brown

Nanette Barragán

Incumbent

Withdrew from the race

but she will still be

on the ballot

Washington 9th

Sarah Smith

Adam Smith

Incumbent

California 8th

Tim Donnelly

Paul Cook

Incumbent

California 6th

California 27th

Judy Chu

Incumbent

Doris Matsui

Incumbent

Jrmar Jefferson

Bryan Witt

California 44th

Washington 9th

Adam Smith

Incumbent

Sarah Smith

Nanette Barragán

Incumbent

Aja Brown

Withdrew from

the race but she will

still be on the ballot

California 8th

Paul Cook

Incumbent

Tim Donnelly

Calif. 6th

Calif. 27th

Calif. 44th

Wash. 9th

Calif. 8th

Paul Cook

Incumbent

Doris Matsui

Incumbent

Judy Chu

Incumbent

Nanette Barragán

Incumbent

Adam Smith

Incumbent

Bryan Witt

Aja Brown

Sarah Smith

Jrmar Jefferson

Tim Donnelly

Withdrew from the race

but she will still be on the ballot

California 6th

California 27th

California 44th

California 8th

Washington 9

Doris Matsui

Incumbent

Judy Chu

Incumbent

Nanette Barragán

Incumbent

Adam Smith

Incumbent

Paul Cook

Incumbent

Jrmar Jefferson

Bryan Witt

Aja Brown

Tim Donnelly

Sarah Smith

Withdrew from the race

but she will still be on the ballot

In the state’s jungle primary system, which began in 2012, the top two vote-getters advance to the ballot for the general election regardless of party. So voters in the 6th, 27th and 44th California districts and those in Washington 2nd district will choose between two Democrats on the ballot; 8th District voters will choose between two Republicans.

Two other races are included on our list of 42 even though the two incumbents technically have major-party challengers — because those challengers were write-ins. In primaries for the California 19th and 32nd districts, the candidates who finished second got less than 1 percent of the vote.

One of those is Joshua Scott, a 25-year-old Republican, who is challenging 10-term Democratic incumbent Grace Napolitano in the 32nd District general election.

Some states allow write-in candidates for the general election as well, so it’s possible that a few votes could land in the Republican or Democratic columns that way.

The Michigan 1st isn’t included among the 42 shoo-ins but could be because of a technicality.

Yes, the challenger to Republican incumbent Jack Bergman is a write-in candidate, Democrat Matt Morgan. But that’s because Morgan was booted from the primary because of a paperwork mistake. More than 29,000 people wrote him in, far more than the 3,781 he needed to get onto the general election ballot.

FiveThirtyEight’s House forecast as of Oct. 11 gives him a 1 in 6 chance of beating Bergman, a former three-star general in the Marine Corps who is finishing his first term in office. Those are still long odds, but the race will almost certainly be tighter than any on the uncontested list.

The takeaway: Energy is good

The sheer number of Democrats willing to invest the time, effort and money to run longshot races, Wasserman said, indicates an energy that was missing when the party was in power — and it is a sign of a wave.

“What we’re seeing,” he said, “is that Democrats are ready to walk through fire to get on the ballot this year even in districts where they have no chance.”

Vote margins in 2016, by district

Pennsylvania 18th not included because the congressional map of the state was recently redistricted.

District
Candidate
House
Presidential

Dan Keating contributed to this report.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Democrats lead 39-3 in the House before any votes are counted. The right number is 40-3.

About this story

Alaska and Hawaii are not on the maps because no districts there are uncontested. Data from Associated Press and Ballotpedia. Photos by Alex Wong/Getty Images (Val Demings), Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images (Alcee L. Hastings), Marvin Joseph/The Post (Lois Frankel), Carolyn Kaster/AP (Frederica S. Wilson), Matt McClain/The Post (John Lewis, Grace Napolitano), Elise Amendola/AP (Joe Kennedy), Scott Eisen/Getty Images (Ayanna Pressley), Marlon Correa/The Post (Gregory W. Meeks), Lucas Jackson/Reuters (Eliot L. Engel), John McDonnell/The Post (Robert C. “Bobby” Scott), Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images (Mark Pocan, Bennie Thompson), Will McNamee/Getty Images (Walter B. Jones), Michael S. Williamson/The Post (Barbara Lee), Phillip Faraone/Getty Images (Jimmy Gomez), Rebecca D’Angelo/The Post (Lucille Roybal-Allard, Doris Matsui), Al Goldis/AP (Rashida Tlaib), J. Scott Applewhite/AP (Nydia M. Velázquez, Joaquin Castro), Astrid Riecken/The Post (Hakeem Jeffries), Ron Edmonds/AP (Nita M. Lowey), Pete Marovich/The Post (Earl Blumenauer), Eric Gray/AP (Henry Cuellar), Damian Dovarganes/AP (Judy Chu), Justin Sullivan/Getty Images (Zoe Lofgren), Mark Wilson/Getty Images (Adam Smith). Official portraits and campaign images are used for the rest.

Originally published Oct. 12, 2018.

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