Candidate filing deadlines have now passed in three more states, Virginia, South Carolina, and Colorado, meaning that official candidates exist in 29 states. The Colorado candidate list will become final in the next few days.
In the Senate race, Sen. Mark Warner (D) has drawn four opponents, including former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie. Delegates will meet in convention to choose the nominee, which will be Gillespie.
In House races, Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA-3), Randy Forbes (R-VA-4), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA-6), and Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9), all have no major party opponent in the general election. Minor primary or Independent candidates do await the incumbents, however.
Representatives Rob Wittman (R-VA-1), Goodlatte, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA-7) have drawn Republican primary challenges, but none are viewed as serious.
The big action will be in the state’s two open northern Virginia seats. A crowded 11-person Democratic primary will identify the successor to retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA-8). In the adjoining district, state Delegate Barbara Comstock (R) and Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust (D) are the leading contenders in their respective party nominating processes. Republicans will have the general election advantage in the battle to replace Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA-10), who is retiring after serving 17 terms.
Traditional Democrat vs. Republican campaigns against consensus party incumbents will occur in District 2 – Rep. Scott Rigell (R) vs. retired Navy Commander Suzanne Patrick (D) – and CD-5 where sophomore Rep. Bob Hurt (R) will face the winner of a contested Democratic primary.
Gov. Nikki Haley (R) drew a surprising last-minute Republican primary challenge from former Circuit Judge Tom Ervin. After winning the nomination in what should be a nuisance primary, Gov. Haley will again face state Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D) in a re-match of the 2010 campaign. Haley won a closer than expected 51-47 percent victory four years ago, suggesting that this 2014 contest could become hotly contested despite the state’s strong Republican nature.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) has drawn six Republican opponents, but none appears strong enough to deny him renomination. The sheer volume of names on the ballot could force the incumbent into a run-off, but South Carolina’s short two-week secondary election period makes it highly unlikely that any candidate can muster a majority coalition against the senator in such a short period of time.
Appointed Sen. Tim Scott (R) stands for his first election. He has one minor Republican primary opponent, while two local Democratic officeholders, Richland County Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson and former York County Councilman Sidney Moore are the two leading Democratic candidates. Sen. Scott appears to have a safe run before him. If victorious, he will serve the remaining two years on the current term, and then stand for a full six-year stint in 2016.
Five of the seven current House incumbents have attracted general election opponents, but no race appears particularly competitive.
Representatives Mark Sanford (R-SC-1) and Trey Gowdy (R-SC-4) face no major party opposition in November. In fact, Rep. Sanford is running completely unopposed throughout the election cycle.
Representatives Joe Wilson (R-SC-2) and Jim Clyburn (D-SC-6) have primary opponents, but neither will result in a serious challenge.
In the new 7th District, created in the 2011 redistricting plan, first-term Rep. Tom Rice (R) will again face former Georgia state Rep. Gloria Tinubu (D) in a re-match of the 2012 campaign. Rice notched a 55-44 percent victory in that year. His victory percentage should increase this year.