Diary

The 2016 Battle For the House: July Happenings

News from around the US as House races are starting to shape up:

AZ-1:  Paul Babeau, the Pinal County Sheriff, has entered the race on the GOP side along with Ken Bennett and Gary Kiehne who ran in 2014.

CA-17: Democrat Mike Honda, who faces a challenge from Ro Khanna, also has to an answer an ethics violation as his Capitol Hill staff apparently participated in campaign activities.

CA-24: The GOP was happy when they nabbed state assemblyman Katcho Achadijan in this open Democratic-held swing district.  But a weak fundraising effort has dampened those hopes.  California uses a top-two primary system regardless of party.  If fundraising is any indication, it would be two Democrats at the top which is unfortunate since the GOP could take this seat.  The Dems would love for Helene Schneider to drop out and allow the district to be won by Salud Carbajal who is winning the money and endorsement wars.

CA-46:  Rumor has it that [mc_name name=’Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’S000030′ ] may re-enter this race to keep her seat.  Besides inappropriate remarks that went viral, her fundraising against Kamala Harris for the open Senate seat were less than impressive.  No Republican has entered the top-two primary as of yet, but there are four Democrats in the hunt.

CO-6: As predicted last month, state senate minority leader Morgan Carroll will run for the Democrats.  However, she will have to justify recent votes to increase taxes in Colorado, and another vote against a law that would target online child predators.  She already has the support of EMILY’s List.  However, wealthy physician Perry Haney will give Carroll a challenge in the Democratic primary setting up for some fireworks on their side.

FL-2: Last month I noted that the GOP may bide their time here and hope Democratic incumbent [mc_name name=’Rep. Gwen Graham (D-FL)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’G000575′ ] runs for statewide office in 2018.  However, a State department employee- Mary Thomas- looks like she will enter the race on the GOP side.  But wait…state Supreme Court-directed re-redistricting may make this seat redder and Steve Southerland was considering a run, but decided against it.

FL-9: Now that Grayson is leaving this seat for a Senate run, Darren Soto made good on his intentions and entered on the Democratic side.  He was followed by Ricardo Rangel and Valleri Crabtree.  This district went heavily for Obama in 2012, but the GOP could make a play for it.  Mike La Rosa and Kissimmee councilor Wanda Rentas are the two names mentioned most.  But, the drama continues as there are rumors that Grayson’s girlfriend may enter the fray which Grayson has denied.  Ooops.. Dena Minning, his girlfriend, filed papers with the FEC to run for her man’s seat.  The Florida Ninth- a regular Peyton Place.

FL-13: Democratic chances took a blow when St. Petersburg official Darden Rice announced they would not run against Republican incumbent Dave Jolly.  Instead, Eric Lynn and Mary Mulhern will battle it out on the Democratic side for now.  Lynn posted decent fundraising figures and will need it in the primary.  Lynn is running into some headwinds when it was revealed he received homestead rebates for out-of-state homes.  However, the Great Tanned One- Charlie Crist- announced he is running here and picked up the backing of another loser, Alex Sink.  And now that Dave Jolly has announced he will run for the Senate, things get real interesting here.  But wait!  Polls now show that Crist would have trouble against a variety of GOP possibilities and would lose should GOP St. Petersburg mayor Rick Baker enter the race.  Things just are not that easy for Crist who refuses just go away…like, forever.

FL-18: Jonathan Chane, a Democrat, becomes the fourth candidate in this open seat.  Chane has connections to Obama having worked on his 2012 campaign on legal matters.  However, local Democrats are rallying around Melissa McKinlay at this point, but the DCCC seems to be eyeing Randy Perkins.  On both sides, this should be an interesting race to watch as 2016 nears.

IL-12:  Rumor has it that the DCCC is not satisfied with Democratic candidate C.J. Baricevik and they are trying to recruit St. Claire County sheriff Rick Watson.

IN-9:  With Young vacating the seat, both Greg Zoeller and Brent Waltz have jumped in for the GOP with Zoeller likely having the inside track at this early point.  This is a fairly safe Republican seat.

IA-1  Vernon is consolidating support from the Democratic powers that be.  Pat Murphy, last year’s Democratic loser in the general election has now entered the race and signaled that he may go negative about Vernon.  However, Vernon grew first blood by inferring Murphy is an anti-woman Democrat for his prior pro-life stances.  In 2014, Murphy had the endorsements of both NARAL and Planned Parenthood.  It is nice Democrats start to eat their own.

IA-2: [mc_name name=’Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’L000565′ ] is the only Democrats from Iowa in Washington.  Mark Chelgren, a state senator for the GOP, may jump in as he is discussing matters with Iowa party leaders.  If Loebsack is in trouble in 2016 it may be good up the ticket for the GOP.

IA-4: The Democrats are looking at Kim Weaver, an AFSCME official and county party chair, to take on [mc_name name=’Rep. Steve King (R-IA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’K000362′ ].

KY-5: Hal Rogers, the GOP incumbent, will have to step down as Chairman of the Appropriations Committee if reelected due to the three-terms limit on Chairmanships in the House.  He also stated he would not seek a waiver.  Some have interpreted this as the 77-year-old is considering retirement.  If so, don’t fret: this is a safe GOP seat.

MD-4: This safe Democratic open seat is turning into a feeding frenzy and getting crowded real quick now that Howard University’s Alvin Thornton has entered the race.

MI-10: Wealthy businessman Paul Mitchell entered the race to succeed retiring GOP [mc_name name=’Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M001150′ ].  This is an important swing district the GOP needs to retain, yet no Democrats have declared their candidacy yet.

MN-8: Democrat [mc_name name=’Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’N000127′ ]’s daughter has cancer leading many to believe he will not seek reelection.  However, he dismissed those beliefs and announced he will run for another term.  And it appears the Republican Brad Pitt- Stewart Mills- will seek a rematch against Nolan.  Stewart barely lost in 2014.

NJ-5: The Democrats think they have their person in former Clinton aid Jeff Gottheimer to take on the GOP’s Garrett  whom they always target and always lose to.  As for Garrett, Goldman-Sachs and other Wall Street firms are distancing themselves from him over recent comments about gays.  Get a bail-out and be a wimp…

NV-3:  With GOP [mc_name name=’Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’H001055′ ] announcing that he will run for Reid’s seat in the Senate, state senate majority leader Mike Roberson will run on the GOP side.  He immediately picked up the endorsement of Sandoval and the Nevada GOP is closing ranks behind him.  We do know that Bob Beers will not run for this seat and instead will seek reelection to the Las Vegas City Council.  On the Democratic side, state senate minority leader Aaron Ford was being mentioned, but he announced he is out.  Oh- and Danny Tarkanian entered the race on the GOP side.

NV-4: Oh oh!  Republican Crescent Hardy’s chances of reelection in 2016 were questionable, but now Nevada newspapers are running stories about tax liens and taxes owed by Hardy and his business partners to the tune of $5.3 million.  A fourth Democrat, Jose Oceguera who lost in the neighboring Third last time, has entered the race.

NH-1: Although no one is saying it, it would appear that the GOP in New Hampshire is looking for an alternative to [mc_name name=’Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’G000570′ ] who is continuing to be dogged by campaign finance “irregularities.”

NY-2: In the “Thank God for small favors” department, [mc_name name=’Rep. Peter King (R-NY)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’K000210′ ] announced he will not run for President.

NY-19: This is an open Republican seat and there may finally be some movement.  Ex- New York assemblyman John Faso has formed an exploratory committee and current assemblyman Pete Lopez has expressed interest.  This is a key district that the GOP must keep.  Only one Democrat has entered the race: John Patrick Kehoe who said he “want(s) to be the Justin Bieber of Congress.”

NC-3: Taylor Griffith is back for another primary run against incumbent GOP Jones.  In addition, another candidate- Phil Law- is also in the mix which is good news for Jones.  Griffith and Law may just split the anti-Jones vote and allow Jones to win the primary.  Thing to watch out for here: outside spending by GOP establishment to oust Jones.

PA-2: The big news out of this district is the indictment on 29 corruption charges of [mc_name name=’Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’F000043′ ], the Democratic incumbent who insists he is running in 2016 nevertheless.

PA-6: “Democrat” Mike Parrish has entered the race against GOP incumbent Costello. Parrish immediately received the endorsement of former Governor Ed Rendell.  However, he will have to explain why as recently as last cycle he regularly donated to Republicans in the Keystone State.

PA-9: This is a safe GOP district represented by [mc_name name=’Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’S001154′ ].  He recently came under some fire for fast tracking a bill through the Transportation Committee, which he chairs, after heavy lobbying.  Any threat to his incumbency will likely come from within the party.  The news got a little better for him when wealthy businessman Tom Smith opted out of a challenge.  However, Shuster may not be out of the woods as Art Halvorson, who threw a scare into Shuster in 2014, was awaiting a decision by Smith.  With Smith out of the picture, expect Halvorson to get in now.

SC-1:  State representative Jenny House gained some notoriety when she led an impassioned effort to remove the Confederate flag.  Now there are rumors she may challenge [mc_name name=’Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’S000051′ ] in the primary for this seat.  This is a safe GOP seat.

TN-4: The ethically challenged DesJarlais  is a GOP survivor, but he may have a primary battle on his hands against former Romney aid Grant Starrett who raised $507,000 to Desjarlais’ $52,000.  However, the scandal is now four years old and the the possibility of another Republican entering the fray could split the anti-Desjarlais vote.  Throw in the fact that Starrett is a recent transplant from California and Desjarlais may yet survive again.  But keep an eye on this one.

UT-4:  Doug Owens is back for a rematch against [mc_name name=’Rep. Mia Love (R-UT)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’L000584′ ].

WI-7: The Democrats found a challenger to GOP incumbent Duffy in the form of Kirk Bangstad, a political neophyte.  Duffy has been a elusive target for the Democrats.