By DONNA CASSATA
MCLEAN, Va. (AP) -- House Democrats' hopes of mitigating the damage in the midterm elections lie in the suburbs of Virginia, near the covered bridges of Iowa's Madison County and near New Jersey's Pine Barrens.
No one is suggesting that Democrats can net the 17 seats needed to capture control of the House from the Republicans. Democrats face the harsh political headwinds of traditional losses for the president's party in midterms, an unpopular health care law and President Barack Obama's low approval ratings.
The Democrats' loss in a competitive special election in Florida last week only added to the party's woes. Republicans were gleeful.
Yet Republican retirements in a half-dozen swing districts provide Democrats with an opportunity to grab a handful of seats this November.
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