House Opens – A Growing List

By Jim Ellis

March 29, 2017 — Coming to the end of just the first quarter of the off-election year, already 31 open US House seats could potentially be on the docket for the impending election cycle. Of those, 12 are either in special election or the incumbent has announced his or her intention not to seek another term.

Five of the 12 are currently vacant, and, as we know, special elections have already been scheduled to replace resigned House members who have either accepted cabinet positions from President Trump or a state position (Xavier Becerra becoming Attorney General of California).

The remaining seven, including Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz (D-Mankato) who just announced that he will run for governor next year, have either declared candidacies for another office or will retire.

In addition to Walz, three other representatives have announced gubernatorial candidacies. Repesentatives Michelle Grisham Lujan (D-NM), Jim Renacci (R-OH), and Kristi Noem (R-SD) have all publicly declared their intention to run for their respective state’s top political position.

The three retirements come first from Representatives Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Sam Johnson (R-TX). Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) self-term limited himself when he first ran for office in 2012. It appears that he will keep his pledge and not seek re-election next year.

The remaining 19 members are reportedly considering running for other offices. Some are more likely to make the statewide jump than others, but the following list comprises the known members, to date, who have publicly confirmed they are considering an alternative 2018 candidacy.

They are:

AL-1: Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile) – Governor – Likely to run
CO-7: Ed Perlmutter (D-Golden) – Governor – Very likely to run
ID-1: Raul Labrador (R-Eagle) – Governor – Possible
IN-4: Todd Rokita (R-Brownsburg) – US Senate – Possible
IN-6: Luke Messer (R-Greensburg) – US Senate – Likely to run
KS-3: Kevin Yoder (R-Overland Park) – Governor – Possible
MI-5: Dan Kildee (D-Flint) – Governor – Likely to run
MN-3: Erik Paulsen (R-Eden Prairie) – Governor – Possible
MN-6: Tom Emmer (R-Delano) – Governor – Possible
MN-8: Rick Nolan (D-Crosby) – Governor – Possible
MO-2: Ann Wagner (R-Ballwin) – US Senate – Likely to run
NV-4: Ruben Kihuen (D-Las Vegas) – US Senate – Possible
NM-2: Steve Pearce (R-Hobbs) – Governor – Possible
D-AL: Kevin Cramer (R-Bismarck) – US Senate – Possible
PA-7: Pat Meehan (R-Chadds Ford) – Governor – Possible
TN-6: Diane Black (R-Gallatin) – Governor – Likely to run
TX-16: Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) – US Senate – Likely to run
TX-20: Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) – US Senate – Possible
WV-3: Evan Jenkins (R-Huntington) – US Senate – Possible

The impending special election schedule is as follows:

CA-34: Xavier Becerra – CA Attorney General – April 4 jungle primary; June 6 special general if no candidate receives a majority in the first election. With 23 candidates on the ballot, advancing to the secondary election is a virtual certainty.

GA-6: Tom Price – HHS Secretary – April 18 jungle primary; June 20 special general if no candidate receives a majority in the first election. With 18 candidates on the ballot, the secondary election is likewise a cinch.

KS-4: Mike Pompeo – CIA Director – April 11 special general election – Candidates: State Treasurer Ron Estes (R) vs. Attorney James Thompson (D).

MT-AL: Ryan Zinke – Interior Secretary – May 25 special general election – Candidates: Businessman Greg Gianforte (R) vs. Musician Rob Quist (D).

SC-5: Mick Mulvaney – Director, Office of Management and Budget – May 4 partisan primaries; May 16: the date for any necessary nomination run-off; June 20 special general election.

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