The Battle for the House- 2016- Part 1: January News

There was a lot of news on the House front in January, so I am splitting this into two articles.

CA-21: Emilio Huerta, the son of a United Farm Workers co-founder, has entered the race on the Democratic side to take on GOP incumbent David  Valadao.  He joins Daniel Parra on the Democratic side, no doubt inspired by Parra’s weak performance thus far.

FL-05: Democrat Gwen Graham is waiting for final litigation over the redrawn map to play out before she makes a decision, but she says that if the 5th ends up an open seat, she will run there.  However, she will not primary incumbent Corinne Brown.  Hence, Graham will likely run in the 5th IF (1) Brown runs in the redrawn 10th, or (2) if Brown retires.

FL-06:  Lots of activity in this race on the GOP side.  State senator David Santiago entered the race and since 71% of the voters hail from Volusia county, as does Santiago, he starts with name recognition.  He joins Navy veteran Brandon Patty.  However, Adam Barringer, who also hails from Volusia county, dropped out of the race.  He was quickly replaced by state representative Fred Costello who immediately received the endorsement of Barringer.  Ex-representative Sandy Adams was in the race, but suspended their campaign in December due to illness.  This month, her exit from the race became official as she decided she needed time to recover from surgery.  Thus, we have a three-way race between Patty, Costello and Santiago.

FL-10: Val Demings, the former Orlando police chief, gained the endorsement of EMILY’s List and Nancy Pelosi in the Democratic primary.

FL-26:  Steny Hoyer recently held a fundraiser for Annette Taddeo who is seeking to challenge GOP incumbent Carlos Carbuelo.  This was a not-too-subtle warning to Joe Garcia and Andrew Korge to stay out of the Democratic primary.  Garcia immediately responded that he is considering nevertheless.

IL-08:  Hot off his endorsement of Nancy Rotering in the 10th, Dick Durbin weighed in and endorsed Raja Krishnamoorthi in his Democratic primary battle.

IL-10: Nancy “Blinky” Pelosi endorsed Brad Schneider in his primary bid against Nancy Rotering which is interesting because Dick Durbin endorsed Rotering.  It is good to see that Democrats also don’t see eye-to-eye.

IL-15:  The Club for Growth and their deep pockets are aligning in favor of GOP challenger Kyle McCarter against GOP incumbent John Shimkus.  However, the most recent poll out of this district shows Shimkus winning in a cakewalk, 61-13.

KY-06:  The Democrats would like to take out GOP incumbent Andy Barr, but their best chance- popular radio show host Matt Jones- decided against a run.  Instead, they may be joining ranks behind Nancy Jo Kemper, who is said to be close to ex-Lt. Governor Crit Luallen.

MD-08:  Kathleen Matthews, wife of Chris Matthews, picked up the endorsements of Barbara Boxer and Ed Markey- two out of state US Senators- in this open Democratic seat.

MI-01: Ex-state senator Jason Allen entered the race on the GOP side to succeed retiring Republican Dan Benishek.  Allen lost the 2010 GOP primary to Benishek by just 15 votes.  On the day Allen announced, Benishek threw his endorsement behind Tom Casperson in an apparent attempt to take some of the zing out of Allen’s announcement.  It is obvious that there are still some hard feelings here.  Democrats believe that with the right candidate and heavy turnout in a presidential year, they have a chance to flip this district.

MN-2:  Mary Lawrence dropped out of the Democratic primary in this open GOP seat race.  She said that she likely would not get the endorsement at the state convention and did not want to hurt Democratic chances in a protracted primary fight.

MS-04: Incumbent Republican Steve Palazzo will not face any primary challenge this year, unlike 2014 after he narrowly defeated Gene Taylor (a former Democrat).  Biloxi councilman Robert Demming, citing bad fundraising, decided against a run.

MT-AL:  The Democrats believe they have a reliable challenger in state education superintendent Denise Juneau.  And now EMILY’s List has endorsed her.  Not that they play identity politics, but they note she would be the first female Native American voted into Congress should she win.

NV-03:  The Democrats have had a hard time recruiting a candidate for this open GOP seat.  Some of it has because of Harry Reid who seems to be behind Jackie Rosen, a local synagogue leader.  She is reported to have met with DCCC members.  And sure enough, she has entered the race.  The GOP seems to be coalescing around state senate president Michael Roberson in the crowded GOP primary.

NY-3:  In a major surprise, Steven Israel has decided to retire to write a novel.  He is a strong Pelosi ally and former Chair of the DCCC.  His district on Long Island is not a bastion of stalwart liberals and holding down the 2nd while winning the 1st again this year, the GOP has a chance to make Long Island Republican-held territory. One such Republican is state senator Jack Martins who has won races in a district that sent a Democrat to Congress and voted for Obama illustrating he has some cross-over appeal among voters.

Among Democrats, lobbyist Brad Gerstam is one name being mentioned although nothing is official.  However, he has drawn the ire of building trade unions in New York and is likely to meet some opposition within the party.

NY-19: Assemblyman Pete Lopez, citing his father’s cancer diagnosis, dropped out of the race leaving two GOP candidates. The Democrats have failed to land a candidate although far-left law professor Zephyr Teachout, who lost to Andrew Cuomo is the 2014 gubernatorial primary, is said to be considering here.

Tomorrow: Part 2 and updated ratings