By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, April 4, 2023
HouseKY-5: Multiple Challengers Opposite Rep. Rogers — Eastern Kentucky US Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Somerset) is the Dean of the House of Representatives. First elected in 1980, he has rarely been challenged since, though already we see four Republican opponents lining up to do so next year. Last week, the fourth of these candidates, airline pilot David Kraftchak, announced his candidacy.
In 2022, physician Rich Van Dam challenged the congressman, along with three others, and together the group held Rep. Rogers to an 82 percent landslide victory. With the congressman turning 86 years old before the next election, it appears these challengers are anticipating a potential retirement announcement, since it is unlikely they will have much success at the ballot box.
NJ-7: A Budding Re-Match — New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District is a definable swing seat, and it is appearing more likely that in 2024 we will see the rubber match between current Rep. Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield) and ex-Rep. Tom Malinowski (D). The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat R+3 while Dave’s Redistricting App calculates a 50.8R – 46.6D partisan lean.
While Malinowski has not yet officially announced his 2024 campaign, reports coming from the region suggest he is laying the groundwork for another political contest. Kean and Malinowski traded 51-49 percent victories in the 2020 and 2022 elections. We can expect another close battle here next year should this candidate lineup again come to fruition.
NY-3: New Rep. Santos’ Opponent Announces — While clearly Rep. George Santos (R-Long Island) has attracted the most attention of any new member in the current Congress, individuals willing to challenge him in the next election haven’t been particularly quick to come forth. Late last week, however, college professor Will Murphy became the second Democrat to declare himself a candidate, joining Nassau County Legislator John Lafazen in the party primary.
It is likely that Rep. Santos will draw a strong Republican primary opponent, but many are waiting to see the ethics investigation results involving the new congressman that will be forthcoming at some point. Regardless of what happens or who decides to run, we are guaranteed of seeing a highly competitive 2024 congressional campaign in this Long Island CD.
OH-9: Legislator Won’t Return for a Re-Match — Veteran Ohio US Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) did not fare well in the 2021 redistricting plan; her new 9th District was made decidedly Republican, but she was still able to easily turn back Republican J.R. Majewski, who proved to be a weak opponent. One of the individuals who lost to Majewski in the Republican primary was state Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green). Sen. Gavarone announced last Thursday that she would not return to again run for Congress, but will seek re-election to the state Senate.
Many believed the crowded primary that allowed Majewski to defeat more established candidates through vote splitting cost the Republicans an opportunity of converting the western Ohio congressional district. This year, Majewski says he is planning to run again but hasn’t yet formally announced, and Republican leaders are looking for a stronger candidate to challenge Rep. Kaptur, who was first elected to the House in 1982. She is the longest serving Democratic member.
Earlier in the week, former Walbridge Mayor Dan Wilczynski announced his candidacy. State Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Waterville), the chairman of the Ohio House Ways & Means Committee, is also a potential candidate.