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Conor Lamb reacts to winning the democratic nomination for District 18 Congressional in 2017. Photo: Jeff Swensen for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Democrats are feeling hopeful after two developments Tuesday: the redrawing of Pennsylvania's congressional map and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's record fundraising.

Why it matters: They have a few advantages heading into this year's election, although recent polling suggests the so-called "blue wave" coming for Republicans might not be as strong as predicted. But addressing gerrymandering, especially in a state that went for Trump in 2016, and raising millions for House candidates could help the Democrats in some targeted races.

Pennsylvania's new map tips several districts in Democrats' favor. Previously, Democrats have only won 5 of the state's 18 House seats in each election since 2011 when Republicans drew the last congressional district map.

  • Why it matters: Democrats could pick up at least three seats (some predict as many as 11) given the way the new map is drawn.
  • Big picture: "This coming on the heels of some really tough GOP retirements in California is a real hit to Republicans' hopes to hold the House," Democratic pollster Zac McCrary told Axios.
  • The other side: Federal and state GOP officials are planning to sue over the new map. "The suit will highlight the state supreme court’s rushed decision that created chaos, confusion, and unnecessary expense in the 2018 election cycle," said NRCC Communications Director Matt Gorman.

The DCCC announced that they raised over $9 million in January — almost $3 million more than what they raised in January of 2016.

  • Why it matters: DCCC also announced they've added six new candidates to their "red-to-blue" program, which includes financial support from the campaign arm. Through fundraising and candidate recruitment they're expanding their presence in a handful of battleground races across the country.
  • Big picture: The group also raised nearly $3.5 million just through online donations in January. This reflects the grassroots energy we've seen fueling other Democrats' efforts, like Randy Bryce in Wisconsin.
  • The other side: The NRCC raised over $10 million in the first month of 2018, setting a record for the Republican Congressional campaign arm.

One thing Democrats need to figure out: messaging. Numerous prominent Democrats are rebuking Nancy Pelosi for her tax cuts "crumbs" comment and that's only adding to the midterm migraines they're having months before the election.

Go deeper

36 mins ago - Health

FDA panel backs Merck's antiviral COVID pill

The Merck Cherokee Plant in Riverside, Pennsylvania. Photo: Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Tuesday voted 13-10 to endorse an antiviral pill developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to treat adults at high risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19, despite concerns over its effectiveness and safety.

Why it matters: Oral antiviral drugs designed to prevent or treat COVID-19 could be key pandemic-fighting tools, if proven effective, especially as new variants emerge. If authorized, the Merck drug, known as molnupiravir, would be the first treatment of its kind to be made available in the United States.

Shooting at Michigan high school leaves 3 dead, 6 wounded

Screengrab: CBSN

Three people dead and six others are wounded after a shooting at a high school in Michigan according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

Driving the news: The alleged shooter was a 15-year-old sophomore at Oxford High School and has been arrested, per police.

Fed signals it could yank economic support quicker as inflation sticks around

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell testifies during a hearing before Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee today. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve will consider pulling back economic support sooner "as the threat of persistently high inflation has grown," chair Jerome Powell said during a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

Why it matters: This is the biggest signal yet the Fed is backing away from its stance that soaring prices would be fleeting — a change that could shift its policies that underpin the economy.