Sept. 22, 2017 — Seeing three Republican House members last week announce they won’t be running for re-election next year – Reps. Charlie Dent (R-PA; retiring), Tom Marino (R-PA; appointed Director of the Office of Drug Control Policy), and David Trott (R-MI; retiring) – obviously increases the number of House open seats, thus becoming a good time to analyze the early political trends for this important political category.
For Democrats to have a legitimate chance of actually winning the net 24 seats they must convert to dethrone the House Republican majority, the number of GOP competitive opens must climb. While the three aforementioned seats were just added to the now growing open seat category, one could still arguably point to only one open Republican seat (FL-27; Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen) residing in the toss-up category at this early campaign stage.
Currently, and not counting the UT-3 special election that will be decided on Nov. 7 (Republican Mayor John Curtis vs. Democratic physician Kathryn Allen), the election cycle is yielding 26 open seats – 18 Republican-held as compared to just eight for the Democrats.
Sept. 6, 2017 — US House action occurred during the three-day holiday weekend both on the Democratic and Republican sides of the aisle. A new open Democratic House seat was announced because the incumbent has decided to run for governor of her state, and President Trump chose a GOP House member to become the new NASA administrator meaning seeing yet another special election is distinctly possible.
Last month, stories surfaced that Hawaii Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Honolulu) was seriously considering challenging Gov. David Ige in next year’s Democratic primary. Over the weekend, she made public her intentions to again run statewide.
Rep. Hanabusa was originally elected to the House in 2010. She served two terms and then ran unsuccessfully for the Senate, attempting to deny appointed Sen. Brian Schatz the Democratic nomination. Then-Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) appointed then-Lt. Gov. Schatz to the Senate seat left vacant when long-serving incumbent Daniel Inouye (D) passed away in 2012. Hanabusa claimed the late senator wanted her as his successor, prompting her to run. In the succeeding primary, Sen. Schatz secured his victory by slightly more than one percentage point, a margin of 1,782 votes from just under 234,000 ballots cast.
Money is flying in House races right now, and the respective party and outside organization spending is indicative about how the races are unfolding. Republicans are on the offensive in some obscure districts; Democrats, with the exception of their operations against Reps. Lee Terry (R-NE-2), Steve Southerland (R-FL-2), and Michael Grimm (R-NY-11), are generally retreating to protect endangered incumbents.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) just reported adding money to some existing media buys. They are increasing their presence for Reps. Brad Schneider (D-IL-10), Bill Enyart (D-IL-12), Rick Nolan (D-MN-8), Dan Maffei (D-NY-24), and Nick Rahall (D-WV-3). This clearly suggests Republican challengers in each of those districts are legitimate upset contenders.
The following is a list of the latest action in what can be described as emerging races. All of the predictions in these campaigns originally favored the incumbent or the incumbent party in an open seat situation.
• AR-4: Rep. Tom Cotton’s (R) open seat is now yielding a competitive contest between Republican state Rep. Bruce Westerman and Democrat former Federal Emergency Management Agency director James Lee Witt. Westerman had the early lead, but a new Hendrix College Talk Business poll (Oct. 15-16; 410 likely AR-4 voters) shows the Republican advantage dwindling to 44-42 percent. Continue reading >