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The massive number of Democratic candidates for 2018

Source: Federal Election Commission; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

More Democratic congressional candidates have competed in the 2018 election cycle than either party attracted in any cycle since 1980, according to an Axios analysis of Federal Election Commission data.

Why it matters: The last time either party drew this many congressional candidates was in 2010, when Tea Party rallies and grassroots opposition to President Barack Obama brought a new generation of conservative Republicans to Congress.

By the numbers: 1,706 Democratic congressional candidates have spent or raised money during the current cycle. That breaks the previous record set in 2010, when 1,688 Republican congressional candidates registered with the FEC.

  • But the enthusiasm gap between parties was far larger in 2010. During that cycle, only 1,136 Democratic candidates ran for Congress, compared to 1,550 GOP candidates this time around.

The bottom line: The number of candidates in itself doesn't guarantee election victories. But it's one more sign of how motivated Democrats are this year, and that could lead to victories if it translates into high Democratic voter turnout.