There was sooooo much news in November as races start to take shape, that I had to split this article into two parts. Without further ado…
AL-1: Dean Young will challenge incumbent[mc_name name=’Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B001289′ ] (R-AL) 77% in the GOP primary in 2016. Being a safely red seat, there is no downside to Young, a Tea Party favorite, mounting a challenge here.
AZ-9: The chances of Krysten Sinema for reelection just improved somewhat when ex-GoDaddy CEO Christine Johnson (R) announced she will not challenge the Democratic incumbent.
CA-7: The GOP was having trouble recruiting a viable candidate to take on the vulnerable Democratic incumbent [mc_name name=’Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B001287′ ] (D-CA) 9%. Meanwhile, unions are lining up against Bera for his support of the TPP. In fact, many are said to be mulling staying out of this race altogether. This created a unique opportunity as this race is suddenly in play for the GOP since sheriff Scott Jones, who was recruited by the Republican Party, entered the race. This district lies entirely within Sacramento County so name recognition is not a problem.
CA-17: In 2014, Democrats largely stayed out of the fray between incumbent Mike Honda and opponent Ro Khanna. Not so this year with several weighing in on one side or the other. Because California uses a top-two system regardless of party to decide the final two in the general election, the point may be moot as far as the GOP is concerned. But, it may be intriguing for a Republican to get into this race just for the fun of it. The ongoing ethics inquiry of Honda is apparently scaring some Democrats away. This is a really interesting race since Republican Ron Cohen has entered the race. There is no way the GOP can win this deep blue seat. However, he can damage a Democrat, most likely Khanna by sucking up all the GOP votes in the primary and a few moderate Democratic voters who would have gone to Khanna thereby sneaking into the general election. Although he would likely lose to Honda, they’d be stuck defending an ethically challenged incumbent candidate.
CA-20: Democrat [mc_name name=’Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’F000030′ ] (D-CA) 9% announced he will not run for reelection next year. There is no shortage of Democrats considering a run. As far as the GOP is concerned, this is a strong Democratic district.
CA-21: As hard as it is for the GOP to recruit a viable candidate in the 7th, the Democrats are having an equally hard time in this district.
FL-2 (or 5th): Democratic incumbent [mc_name name=’Rep. Gwen Graham (D-FL)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’G000575′ ] (D-FL) 15% will decide on whether to run after the new district map is officially finalized. As it stands now, she may be drawn into the 5th represented by [mc_name name=’Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B000911′ ] (D-FL) 15% (a Democrat). Graham promised not to vote for Pelosi as Minority Leader and she fulfilled that promise twice. That may be a leg up if the district is more moderate, but if not then it is a serious drawback.
FL-10: Democrat Bob Poe, who was Charlie Crist’s campaign treasurer in the 2014 gubernatorial campaign, will decide in January whether to run in this district. Again, that damn Florida supreme court and their redrawing of the map, is holding things up. It is possible that the aforementioned Corrinne Brown can end up in this district which would make things more difficult for Poe.
FL-11: Republican incumbent Rich Nugent announced his retirement. Although court-ordered redistricting made the landscape tougher for Nugent, his retirement announcement sounded more as if he wanted more time with his family. His chief of staff Justin Grabelle immediately announced his candidacy and Nugent endorsed him.
IL-1: [mc_name name=’Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’R000515′ ] (D-IL) 14% confirmed that he is running for reelection, but he faces a primary fight against Chicago alderman Howard Brookins. The GOP has no chance in this district, but it might be nice to see these two go at it. Rush has not faced any serious primary opposition since he defeated an upstart named Barack Obama.
IL-8: Raja Krishnamoorthi is the heir-apparent in this open Democratic seat and has been killing it on an order of 10:1 in fundraising over Mike Noland, his nearest opponent. However, Nolan received the endorsement of 75 local state officials all at one time which is a little unusual. Under the right circumstances, this could be a GOP pick up district.
IA-3: US Attorney Nick Klinefeldt- a Democrat- recently resigned from his position leading to speculation he would take on GOP incumbent Dean Young. He has made no indication he will do so and the local news reports he will be joining a private law firm. The Democrats view this seat as a viable pick-up in 2016.
KS-1: Establishment Republicans may be targeting [mc_name name=’Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’H001057′ ] especially after he upset some local agricultural interests with his votes for fiscal sanity. And they may have found their man in Roger Marshall who posted impressive fundraising numbers. This is a safely GOP district.
ME-2: Emily Cain, who received some important early endorsements, increased her fundraising in the last quarter, but she faces a tough primary on the Democratic side. Republican incumbent [mc_name name=’Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’P000611′ ] continues to impress with the donors. The drama is on the Democratic side as far as the nomination goes and how much is left over or who sustains the least damage will decide the fate of this district.
MD-8: EMILY’s List has officially endorsed Kathleen Matthews in the Democratic primary. The deciding factor was Matthews’ eye-popping $564,000 fundraising haul in the last quarter. Of course, being married to MSNBC talking head Chris Matthews helps.
MI-1: Tom Casperson (R) has entered the race to succeed Dan Benischek in this district. He lost to Bart Stupak back in 2008, but remains a well-regarded name in GOP circles. However, Scott Hagerstrom, the former director of the Michigan chapter of Americans for Prosperity, formed a PAC opposing Casperson over tax policy.
MI-7: Democrat Gretchen Driscoll is off to a good fundraising start in her effort to unseat Tim Wahlberg. They have roughly equal cash on hand totals, so we’ll see how this race goes.
MI-8: Likewise, Democrat Melissa Gilbert of Little House on the Prairie fame, is also off to a good fundraising start against Republican Tim Bishop. However, unlike the 7th, Bishop has a considerable bankroll.