The Battle for the House 2016- Part 2: January News

This is part 2 of January’s US House news and happenings.

NY-22:  With RINO Richard Hanna now departing, this may be Claudia Tenney’s year on the GOP side.  She will have a primary opponent. The Democrats landed David Gordon, a one-term Oneida county official who also ran on the Conservative Party ticket in the past.

NC-09: GOP incumbent Robert Pittinger recently revealed that his his family’s real estate business is the target of an FBI investigation.  However, this district is reliably Republican although he has drawn a primary opponent in little known George Rouco.  Rouco received the endorsement of former representative Sue Myrick who also endorsed Pittinger’s primary opponent in 2012.  Regardless, most of the North Carolina contingent is hanging with Pittinger and we will have to wait and see how this FBI investigation issue affects the general election.

OR-05:  The GOP has traditionally gone after this seat with little success.  This year it looks like Colm Willis, a former lobbyist for Oregon Right to Life, will take up the torch.  One poll shows that Democratic incumbent Kurt Schrader leads by only six points.

PA-6: Democrat Lindy Li- all of age 25- quietly switched out of the 7th District race to the 6th District as both are in the Philadelphia suburbs.  The reason is threefold.  First, Democrats are aligning behind Bill Golderer in the 7th.  Second, Li has raised an impressive $264,000 so far.  Third, Democrats have all but given up on Mike Parrish in the 6th.  Li may be the de facto fallback option here.

PA-08:  The GOP was somewhat dismayed when popular incumbent Mark Fitzpatrick announced his retirement, but they found another one…Fitzpatrick, that is.  His younger brother Brian, a former FBI agent, has decided to run for this seat.

TX-29: Gene Green may have been taken by surprise when Adrian Garcia announced a primary challenge stating that the district needed a Hispanic representative.  As a former sheriff, he has the name recognition, if not the money.  However, most of the Hispanic big wigs have come out for Green, the Democratic incumbent.

WV-02:  We don’t hear too much out of this state, but Democrat Mark Hunt has dropped out of the race for state attorney general and will instead run here against freshman GOP incumbent Alex Mooney.  If the Democrats have any hopes in West Virginia, it is in the Second District.

VA-02:  The big news here is the retirement of GOP representative Scott Rigell.  The older version of this district slightly favored the Democrats and Rigell easily won in the past despite this.  The new court-drawn map slightly favors the Republicans, but not by much.  No doubt, the Democrats will be eyeing this seat based in Hampton Roads.

VA-5:  With the retirement of Robert Hurt, the race to succeed him is taking shape.  Jim McKelvey joined state senator Tom Garrett in the GOP primary.  Jayne Ditmar and Erick Cage were already in on the Democratic side.  State agriculture secretary, who was appointed by GOP Governor Bob McDonnell and who described himself as an independent may soon enter the race as a Democrat.

VA-7: GOP incumbent Dave Brat, the man who knocked off Eric Cantor, will be getting a primary opponent in the name of Mike Wade, the Henrico county sheriff.  The GOP establishment would like some payback against Brat for taking out Cantor in 2014.  If so, although there are no Democrats yet in the race (the filing deadline is March 31st), it could potentially put this seat in play, so stay tuned…  NOTE: Apparently not expecting a primary challenge, Brat had only $233,000 on hand.  To make matters worse, the new 7th District is missing Hanover county, a Brat stronghold in the 2014 primary.

Complicating matters is Randy Forbes who represents the 4th district. The new court-drawn map makes the 4th much more favorable to the Democrats, but 17% of the old 4th is now in the new 7th district.  Although nothing is heard is from the Forbes camp, it would make better political sense for him to run in the 7th.  This could potentially help Brat.  No one doubts Forbes’ socially conservative credentials, but he has served since 2001 making him a more logical competitor for voters who might swing to Mike Wade.

WA-7:  Long time representative Jim McDermott (he has served since 1988) has decided to call it quits.  This district is basically Seattle which means the GOP has 0% chance of putting the seat in play.  One name that will be speculated is Seattle mayor Ed Murray who expressed interest previously.  But that was before he became mayor.  This writer just cannot see him going from mayor to someone low on the totem pole in a Democratic House minority.  Instead, look for Brady Walkinshaw- a gay Latino state senator to emerge here.  But, he’ll have some competition from another gay candidate- Joe McDermott (no relation to the outgoing Communist).

WY-AL:  State senator Leland Christensen has entered the race to succeed Cynthia Lummis in this race on the Republican side.  Lummis has not made an endorsement yet, but Lummis’ daughter is on Christensen’s staff.

Updated ratings (a worst case scenario remains a 9-10 seat GOP loss):

Probably safe Keep Close Eye On Battleground
F. Hill- AR02 M. Coffman- CO6 M. McSally- AZ02
J. Denham- CA10 D. Young-IA03 S. Knight- CA25
(R. DeSantis-FL6)-Open M. Bishop- MI-08 (D. Jolly- FL13) Open
R. Davis- IL13 E. Stefanik- NY-21 C. Curbelo- FL26
(T.Benischek-MI01)Open (R.Hanna-NY22) Open B. Dold- IL10
F. Upton- MI06 R. Costello- PA06 M. Bost- IL12
T. Wahlberg- MI07 W. Hurd-TX23 R. Blum- IA01
F. LoBiondo- NJ02 (R. Hurt-VA5) OPEN B. Poliquin- ME02
S. Garrett- NJ05 V. Comstock-VA10 D. Trott- MI11
A. Mooney- WV2 (J. Kline-MN2) Open
(J.Heck-NV03) Open
F. Guinta- NH1
L. Zeldin- NY1
(C. Gibson- NY19) Open
J. Katko- NY24
(M. Fitzpatrick- PA8) Open
Probably Safe Keep Close Eye On Battleground
R. Grijalva- AZ03 (L. Capps-CA24) Open (A. Kirkpatrick-AZ-2) Open
J. Garamendi- CA03 P. Aguilar- CA31 K. Sinema- AZ09
A. Bera-CA7 R. Ruiz-CA-36 J. Costa- CA16
M. Takano- CA41 S. Peters- CA52 G. Graham- FL02
E. Esty- CT5 (S. Murphy-FL18)Open B. Ashford- NE2
(M.Grayson-FL09) Open J. Delaney- MD6 S. Maloney- NY18
(T. Duckworth-IL08)Open T. Walz- MN01
B. Foster- IL11 R. Nolan-MN08
D. Loebsack-IA2 S. Israel-NY3-open
L. Slaughter- NY25 (R. Hinojosa-TX15) open
K. Schrader-OR5