Filings Close in Several States

Alabama (Primary: June 3; Run-off: July 15)

The most notable point from the Alabama candidate filings is that four of the state’s six House members seeking re-election will be running unopposed this November. Only representatives Martha Roby (R-AL-2) and Mike Rogers (R-AL-3) have Democratic opposition, but both appear headed for little trouble in securing re-election.

Representatives Robert Aderholt (R-AL-4), Mo Brooks (R-AL-5), and Terri Sewell (D-AL-7) all drew primary opponents. Rep. Sewell’s challenger seems to be the strongest intra-party candidate. Former Birmingham city attorney Tamara Harris Johnson filed in the Democratic primary, but the incumbent remains the heavy favorite for renomination. In all three of these cases, once the individuals win their respective party primaries, the political opposition ends.

The governor’s race yielded an interesting political twist. Former Rep. Parker Griffith, who was elected to the 5th District in 2008 as a Democrat but became a Republican and then lost his first GOP primary, has surfaced yet again. Now, Griffith is running for governor, after returning to the Democratic Party. In 2012, he again ran for the 5th Congressional District, but as an Independent. Gov. Robert Bentley (R) will have little trouble in the general election. The only other Democrat to file in the gubernatorial contest is former minor league baseball player and businessman Kevin Bass.

As an aside, freshman Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL-1), who won the December 2013 special election to fill the vacancy is running unopposed in the 2014 Republican primary and in the general election.

Indiana (Primary: May 6)

With no gubernatorial or Senate election in the Hoosier State this year, three constitutional offices and the congressional races highlight the ticket. All nine House incumbents are seeking re-election, and all have general election opposition. Six of the nine drew primary challengers – representatives Marlin Stutzman (R-IN-3), Todd Rokita (R-IN-4), Susan Brooks (R-IN-5), Andre Carson (D-IN-7), Larry Bucshon (R-IN-8) and Todd Young (R-IN-9) – but none seem significant at this time.

In terms of the general election, freshman Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN-2) will likely face a strong challenge from University of Notre Dame official and former state representative Joe Bock (D), who has already raised a touch over $200,000 for the race. In southeast Indiana, Rep. Todd Young will likely find himself running against ex-state Rep. Bill Bailey (D) in the general. Young is a strong favorite for re-election.

New Mexico (Primary: June 3)

The New Mexico ballot features Gov. Susana Martinez (R), who will likely be a highly touted potential 2016 vice presidential candidate if she is re-elected. She will probably face Attorney General Gary King (D) in November.

Sen. Tom Udall (D) has drawn two opponents, former New Mexico Republican Party chairman Allen Weh and Dona Ana Republican County chairman David Clements. Weh is favored for the nomination. This is a second-tier Republican challenge at best, but Weh does have an ability to self-finance. Serious action could occur here if the Senate majority comes down to one state.

All three congressional delegation members, representatives Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM-1), Steve Pearce (R-NM-2), and Ben Ray Lujan Jr. (D-NM-3) have November opponents, but each is a prohibitive favorite for re-election.

Ohio (Primary: May 6)

As usual, Ohio politics will be competitive in a number of races this year. Already the statewide contests are set for the general election. Gov. John Kasich (R) will face Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald (D) in what will likely be a close contest.

State Treasurer Josh Mandel (R), who challenged Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in 2012, draws state Rep. Connie Pillich (D). Attorney General and former US Sen. Mike DeWine (R) seeks a second term in this office, and is opposed by former Hamilton County Commissioner and Cincinnati City Councilman David Pepper (D).

In the congressional delegation, all incumbents drew general election challengers with the exception of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH-4), who will run unopposed for a fifth term, and Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), though he will face a minor Democratic candidate in the primary.

In all, six of the incumbents have primary opposition. In particular, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH-8) is opposed by three Republicans, two of whom are Tea Party activists. It remains to be seen whether, particularly after the Speaker’s decision to move the debt ceiling bill without any spending parameters, this race will attract national opposition.

The general election campaigns most likely to develop feature Reps. Bill Johnson (R-OH-6) against former state House Majority Leader Jennifer Garrison (D), David Joyce (R-OH-14) against state Rep. Matt Lynch in the Republican primary and former Cuyahoga Port Authority chairman Michael Wager (D) in the general, and Jim Renacci (R-OH-16) who will face former state Rep. Pete Crossland (D).

The 16-member Ohio delegation breaks down to 12 Republicans and four Democrats. Even though President Obama carried the state 51-48 percent in the 2012 election, Republican Mitt Romney carried all dozen districts that elected a Republican congressman. That being the case, all incumbents are in strong position for re-election.

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