Already, several individuals have announced, or will likely announce, challenges to certain incumbent House members for the 2014 election cycle. As in the early part of all election cycles, the political moves are very fluid, but the ones listed below appear concrete:
- CA-35: Ex-Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA-43), defeated in 2012 by then-state Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D), will seek a re-match with the woman who ousted him from the House. Under California’s top-two election law, both Democrats qualified for the general election, and will likely do so again. It was a bit of a surprise that Baca decided to run in new District 35 back in 2012, when his home and political base (city of Rialto: population 100,662) was placed in new District 31, represented by Rep. Gary Miller (R). Though he could opt to challenge Miller in a district that contains 44 percent of his former constituency, the former congressman appears committed to running another race against freshman Rep. Negrete McLeod.
- CO-6: Rep. Mike Coffman (R), winning a close 48-46 percent victory in a new Democratic district where President Obama recorded 52 percent, will face another difficult re-election contest. Former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D), a defeated 2010 Senatorial candidate, is formally in the 2014 6th District congressional race. State Sen. Linda Newell (D) and former state Rep. Karen Middleton (D) both said they were considering their own candidacies, but are stepping aside to give Romanoff a clear shot at the Democratic nomination. This will be a major 2014 race.
- IA-3: Investor Michael Sherzan (D) announced that he will challenge Rep. Tom Latham (R) next year. Sherzan’s move may be strategically motivated in order to help push the congressman into the open Senate race, thus providing the former an easier run for the House (Obama ’12: 51 percent). Latham has publicly said he is considering running for the Senate, but has not yet made any final plans. Knowing that he faces another well-funded re-election opponent could well help tip the balance in favor of Latham running statewide. IA-3 is a potential open seat.
- NY-11: Though neither man has said unequivocally that he will challenge sophomore Rep. Michael Grimm (R), it is a sure bet that the congressman will face a top-tier opponent in 2014. Both former Rep. Mike McMahon (D-NY-13), who Grimm defeated in 2010, and New York City Councilman Domenic Recchia are seriously considering entering the race.
- NY-19: Investor Sean Eldridge (D) announced last week that he will challenge sophomore Rep. Chris Gibson (R), in a district that gave President Obama 52 percent of its votes. Eldridge has the ability to command serious financial resources, so Gibson will face another competitive battle in less than two years.
- NC-7: Rep. Mike McIntyre (D) won his 2012 re-election by just 654 votes in what proved to be the closest of all House campaigns. Former state Sen. David Rouzer (R), says he will make an early decision about running again, meaning within weeks, but it is likely that he will do so. The reduced mid-term election turnout could be a positive factor for Rouzer, but improving his campaign implementation over the 2012 effort is a prerequisite if he is to topple the veteran Democratic incumbent.
- OH-7: Former Rep. John Boccieri (D-OH-16), who lost to sophomore Rep. Jim Renacci (R) in 2010 after just one term in office, says he will likely be on the ballot again in 2014. Though not yet committing to a congressional race, Boccieri says if he does run for the House it will not be in a re-match with Renacci. Instead, he will challenge sophomore Rep. Bob Gibbs (R) in a 7th District that contains about 44% of Boccieri’s previous constituency.
- TN-4: When an extra-marital affair scandal hit Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R) right before the 2012 election, the late publicity had little effect upon his re-election campaign; he won, 56-44 percent. This time, however, his road to victory will likely be much rougher. Already, two state legislators have announced Republican primary challenges to the second-term incumbent. Both state Sen. Jim Tracy and state Rep. Joe Carr say they are in the nomination race. Without a run-off law, a simple plurality of the vote nominates candidates in Tennessee. A multiple candidate field will help DesJarlais survive.
- GA-10 (Obama ’12 – 36 percent): Rep. Paul Broun’s (R) run for the Senate opens this Augusta-area congressional district. The eventual Republican nominee will replace Broun.
- IL-2 (Obama ’12 – 81 percent): Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s (D) resignation means that the special Democratic primary scheduled for Feb. 26 will determine the identity of the next House member. The special general is April 9.
- IA-1 (Obama ’12 – 56 percent): Rep. Bruce Braley’s (D) senatorial campaign leaves this northeastern Iowa seat open for the 2014 election. Democrats will be favored, but expect a competitive race.
- MO-8 (Obama ’12 – 32 percent): Rep. Jo Ann Emerson’s (R) resignation leads to a June 4 special election. Republicans have already caucused and nominated state Rep. Jason Smith. Democrats meet this weekend to choose their standard bearer. Smith is heavily favored to become Emerson’s replacement.
- SC-1 (Obama ’12 – 40 percent): Rep. Tim Scott’s (R) appointment to the Senate necessitates a replacement special election. Sixteen Republicans vie for the party’s nomination in a primary scheduled for March 19. A run-off election, assuming no candidate receives an outright majority, will occur April 2. Democrats are on the same nominating schedule. The special general election is May 7. The eventual Republican nominee is viewed to be the prohibitive favorite.
- WV-2 (Obama ’12 – 38 percent): Rep. Shelley Moore Capito’s (R) Senate run will vacate the Charleston-based 2nd District in 2014. Candidates are slow to come forward here, but we can expect a competitive campaign with the future Republican standard bearer beginning the race tabbed as a slight favorite.