Category Archives: House

Developments in MS-1 Special,
Illinois Senate, Virginia Redistricting

April 1, 2015 — Candidate filing closed this past Friday for the MS-1 special election, which Rep. Alan Nunnelee’s (R) death made necessary. Twelve Republicans and one Democrat will be on the May 12 Mississippi jungle primary ballot. With so many candidates qualifying, a June 2 run-off between the top two finishers is a virtual certainty, since it would be very difficult for any one contender to attract a majority of the vote.

One prominent name missing from the list is former Rep. Travis Childers (D), who won the last special election held here, and then claimed a full term later in 2008. He was unseated in 2010, and then lost to Sen. Thad Cochran (R) last November in a statewide general election contest. Though it is always possible lightning could have again struck for him in a special election, the chance of Childers holding this strongly Republican northern Mississippi district for a long duration is an unlikely one, at best. Hence, his decision not to run.

The lone Democrat running is former Jackson mayoral aide Walter Zinn. His prospects of qualifying for the run-off are somewhat realistic because the Republican vote will be split literally a dozen ways. His prospects are thin, however, to capture the seat in the run-off. Aside from being a prohibitive underdog against a Republican in a one-on-one battle, Zinn’s Jackson political base is not even in the 1st District.
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Murphy Announces in Florida; Schilling on Radar

Florida Senate

As expected, Florida Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Jupiter) formally announced his US Senate candidacy. Accompanying the public pronouncement were targeted Internet ads to liberal political websites indicating that he is running to “stop the Tea Party”.

Murphy’s reach to the left is intended to secure the liberal base for purposes of capturing the Democratic nomination, thus beginning to pinch Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Orlando), another potential candidate. Murphy has to walk a tightrope, however, moving far enough left in the short term but not so far as to marginalize himself for the general election in what has become America’s quintessential swing state.

The congressman’s ad features a picture of conservative ex-Rep. Allen West (R-FL-22), who Murphy unseated in 2012, with the word “Stopped” stamped across his picture. Next to West’s image is a picture of Sen. Marco Rubio, with the word “Next” affixed to his photo. The final shot shows Murphy above a US Senate banner, and adjacent to a sign-up box. The inference is that Murphy defeating West “stopped” him, and ostensibly running against Rubio means the senator is next in line for defeat.

Rep. Murphy needs to cover his left flank largely because of his more centrist voting record. The National Journal ranks him as the 10th most conservative Democrat in the House. Though this positions him to the left of every Republican, twisting such a statistic before Democratic primary voters would likely portray him in an unfavorable light irrespective of how he votes in the aggregate.
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IL-18: Becoming Clearer … Maybe

Now that Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock’s (R) resignation announcement has been absorbed and understood, the list of those who may or may not join the replacement field of candidates is becoming clearer, but the election system itself is not yet finalized.

State Sen. Darin LaHood (R), son of former US Rep. and Transportation Department secretary Ray LaHood (R), is now officially running in the upcoming special election. He enjoys high residual name ID – largely his father’s recognition, because the younger LaHood represents only part of Peoria County and a total of three of the district’s 19 counties – and establishment Republican support.

State Sen. Bill Brady, a former Republican gubernatorial nominee who lost to then-Gov. Pat Quinn (D) by just a percentage point in 2010, will not run, but his brother, Ed Brady, who operates the family home building business, chaired his brother’s gubernatorial campaign, and who formerly worked for Jack Kemp’s 1988 presidential effort, is moving forward with plans to enter the race.
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The House Opens With Losses

Not even three months into the new Congress, and already 10 US House members have left office or announced that the current term will be their last.

Below is a re-cap of the seats that will feature no incumbent in the next election:

CA-44:
Rep. Janice Hahn (D-San Pedro) made formal her plans to seek a seat on the powerful Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in 2016. Hahn’s late father, Kenneth Hahn, was a member of that body for 40 years. The Los Angeles County Administration Building is named in his honor. Winning a seat on the local board requires more than one million votes, but few have as strong Los Angeles area name identification as the Hahn family. Identifying her successor appears to be a foregone conclusion. State Sen. Isadore Hall (D-Carson) has Hahn’s endorsement and many other Los Angeles political figures are following suit. No other potential candidate is even mentioned at this point. Safe Democrat

LA-4: Rep. John Fleming (R-Minden) has repeatedly said he plans to run for the US Senate in 2016 if incumbent David Vitter (R) is elected governor later this year. If Vitter becomes the new governor he will choose is own replacement. Rep. Fleming says he wants the appointment, but will run whether or not he is chosen. Nothing substantial will happen here until the governor’s race concludes late this year. Safe Republican
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Two More Open House Seats in 2016

A pair of House members just announced that they will not seek re-election next year. One is running for Senate, while the other is retiring. The two political moves mean there are now nine vacant or open House seats (6R; 3D) just two months into the 114th Congress.

MI-10

House Administration Committee chair Candice Miller (R) announced last week that she will not seek re-election to an eighth term. She originally won her seat in 2002, after serving eight years as Michigan’s Secretary of State.

Long mentioned as a possible statewide candidate, rumors are circulating that Rep. Miller may run for governor or potentially launch a future challenge to US Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D). Michigan will host an open governor’s race in 2018 because incumbent Rick Snyder (R) will be ineligible to seek a third term. At least for now, she is planning to return to private life at the end of the current Congress.
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In, Out, or Maybe in Maryland?

MARCH 5, 2-15 — A flurry of Maryland political activity has been unleashed after Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) delivered her semi-surprising retirement announcement earlier this week.

Below is a re-cap of who may enter the Maryland Senate race, according to several public sources and statements from the individuals themselves. Additionally, lists covering California open seat candidates and the two May congressional special elections are also updated.

MARYLAND SENATE

Democrats Considering
• Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-2)
• Rep. John Sarbanes (MD-3)
• Rep. Donna Edwards (MD-4)
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Feingold Returning to Wisconsin Senate Race? Special Set in the NY-11

FEB. 24 – Likely signaling a return to elective politics former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) late last week officially resigned his US State Department position, a necessary step for anyone planning to announce a political candidacy. It has long been surmised that Feingold would seek a rematch with the man who unseated him in 2010, first-term Sen. Ron Johnson (R).

Feingold was originally elected to the Senate in the Clinton presidential year of 1992, after spending 10 years in the Wisconsin state legislature. He defeated then two-term incumbent Sen. Bob Kasten (R) with a 53-46 percent victory margin. Six years later he faced then-Rep. Mark Neumann (R-WI-1) in what proved to be a much closer race than originally predicted. Feingold scored a close win over Neumann, 51-48 percent. He won a much easier 55-44 percent victory in 2004 before losing 47-52 percent to Johnson in the Republican wave year of 2010. President Obama then appointed him as a special US envoy to the African Great Lakes region.

Sen. Johnson has been commonly viewed as one of the more vulnerable Republicans standing for re-election in 2016. Wisconsin is a volatile political state, but historically has voted Democratic. Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) three consecutive wins and Johnson’s victory five years ago, however, suggest that the state is becoming highly competitive. In fact, since 2010, inclusive, Republicans have actually won four of the six Wisconsin statewide federal races. So, Feingold cannot expect an easy road back to the Senate.
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