The Battle for the House 2016- December News

AZ-01: Outgoing [mc_name name=’Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’K000368′ ] has endorsed Tom O’Halleran to succeed her.  He is, if one remembers, the Republican-turned independent- turned Democrat.  Put another way, he is the political opportunist.

DE- At Large:  Iraqi War veteran Sean Barney is the latest Democrat to get into the race and immediately received the support of VoteVets, an increasingly active outside spender.

IL-01:  In what has become an annual tradition, the signature-on-petition challenging season has begun in Illinois.  [mc_name name=’Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’R000515′ ] is a target this year where his opponent claims he has only 700 valid signatures- way short of the required number.  Of course, Rush could run as a write-in candidate.  But it does illustrate some stupidity.  Think: Thad McCotter.

IA-01: Polls from Iowa indicate a potentially close race for GOP incumbent [mc_name name=’Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B001294′ ] who is being targeted by the Democrats.  They believe they have a chance and a recent poll shows him up by 3-5 points against potential challengers.  However, the polls asked residents, not voters which makes the poll rather worthless.

IA-02: Republican challenger Mark Chelgren recently endorsed the death penalty for illegal immigrants who re-enter the country once deported.  That is quite a drastic position to take and the state GOP has distanced themselves from the remarks.

KS-01:  Rumor has it that the Chamber of Commerce is gearing up to take on [mc_name name=’Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’H001057′ ], the incumbent Republican who has been a pain in the butt to the GOP establishment.  He has two primary opponents thus far and Huelskamp’s fundraising leaves something to be desired.

NJ-02: For the fifth cycle in a row now, Democrats have failed to recruit state assemblyman Jeff Van Drew to run against GOP incumbent [mc_name name=’Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’L000554′ ].  Now 62, Van Drew’s refusal this year may preclude future recruitment efforts.  Van Drew’s decision to stay put in Jersey moves LoBiondo into the probably safe category.

NY-19: This open GOP seat is ripe for the pickings and Democrats would like Ulster County Executive Mike Hein to run.  He will make a decision after the holidays.  Regardless, this remains a battleground race.

NY-22: RINO [mc_name name=’Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’H001051′ ] has decided to call it quits and good riddance.  He would have faced a tough primary against Claudia Tenney.  He performed weakly against her in 2014.  But, it does put this seat in play now.  Thus far, two Democrats are likely in with one describing himself as a conservative (does that make him a DINO?).

NC-02:  [mc_name name=’Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’E000291′ ] may find herself on the short end of some major conservative group spending.  The Club for Growth is endorsing Chatham county GOP chair Jim Duncan is his primary bid to unseat her.  They are upset about her votes on TPP fast track and the Import-Export Bank.  Personally, her succumbing to the war on women meme is justification enough to unseat her.  The district is conservative enough; they deserve someone better than her.  However, two points: (1) Duncan’s fundraising has been feeble thus far and (2) with two other Republicans also in the primary, the anti-Ellmers vote may be split allowing her to slip through.

PA-06:  Apparently, Democratic strategists are bailing on their man here- businessman Mike Parrish.  His fundraising has been atrocious and what started off with high hopes has now descended into despair.  Their back-up, Joe Denham, terminated his campaign committee earlier.  That leaves basically no one.  Katie McGinty was once thought to be a viable candidate, but no one expects her to end her bid for the Senate.  Hence, Costello’s- the GOP incumbent- chances just improved.

PA-08: With the official nature of Republican Scott Petri’s entry into the race in an open GOP district, Republican chances of keeping the seat got a little better.

TX-15: EMILY’s List is said to be targeting this open seat and may have found someone to back- Hidalgo County party chair: Dolly Elizondo (a Democrat).  The problem is she hasn’t said she will run thus far.

VA-10: Democrats are trying to recruit LuAnn Bennett to run against GOP incumbent [mc_name name=’Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’C001105′ ].  If so, she has a personal fortune to self-fund a race and could potentially scare off some other Democrats, although they admit knocking off Comstock may prove difficult.

WA-07: This Seattle-based district is represented by [mc_name name=’Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M000404′ ] who will be 78.  Thus, the retirement watch is on.  He is drawing a primary opponent in Brady Walkinshaw who fits the Democratic demographic- a Latino gay.  Washington uses a top-two primary system like California so the general election may be a rematch of the Democratic primary.

Worst case scenario for GOP at this point remains 9-10 seat loss in seats.

Probably safe Keep Close Eye On Battleground
F. Hill- AR02 M. Coffman- CO6 M. McSally- AZ02
J. Denham- CA10 (T. Benischek-MI01)open S. Knight- CA25
(R. DeSantis-FL6)-Open T. Wahlberg- MI07 (D. Jolly- FL13) Open
R. Davis- IL13 M. Bishop-MI08 C. Curbelo- FL26
F. Upton- MI06 (J. Heck-NV3) open B. Dold- IL10
F. LoBiondo- NJ02 E. Stefanik- NY-21 M. Bost- IL12
S. Garrett- NJ05 R. Costello- PA06 R. Blum- IA01
G. Holding- NC13 W. Hurd-TX23 D. Young- IA03
V. Comstock-VA10 B. Poliquin- ME02
D. Trott- MI11
(J. Kline-MN2) Open
F. Guinta- NH1
L. Zeldin- NY1
(C. Gibson- NY19) Open
(R. Hanna-NY22)Open
J. Katko- NY24
(M. Fitzpatrick- PA8) Open
Probably Safe Keep Close Eye On Battleground
R. Grijalva- AZ03 A. Bera- CA7 (A. Kirkpatrick-AZ-2) Open
J. Garamendi- CA03 (L. Capps-CA24) Open K. Sinema- AZ09
M. Takano- CA41 P. Aguilar- CA31 J. Costa- CA16
E. Esty- CT5 R. Ruiz-CA-36 G. Graham- FL02
(M.Grayson-FL09) Open S. Peters- CA52 (S. Murphy-FL18) Open
(T. Duckworth-IL08)Open J. Delaney- MD6 B. Ashford- NE2
B. Foster- IL11 T. Walz- MN01 S. Maloney- NY18
D. Loebsack-IA2 R. Nolan-MN08
L. Slaughter- NY25 (R. Hinojosa-TX15) open