The Battle for the House in 2016- April News, Part 1

There is a lot to get to and a lot that happened in April.  This is part 1 of a 2 part series on House races of interest.

AZ-02:  Surprisingly, the DCCC has not listed this race as a priority to unseat GOP incumbent Martha McSally.  Perhaps they are waiting for their primary to decide, but McSally has an impressive $2.2 million war chest at the ready.

CA-10:  To show how Trump can affect these races, GOP incumbent Jeff Denham holds a district won by Obama in 2012.  Michael Eggman is back for another shot for the Democrats and the DCCC has listed this race as a possibility.  However, 41% of the district is Hispanic and with Trump at the top of ticket, Eggman may make this race closer than what it rightfully should be, or he may actually win.

CA-21:  The same could be said about the Bakersfield-based 21st District held by Republican David Valadao.  Even though the two Democrats vying to take him on are not setting the world on fire, the district is 74% Latino and a Trump presidential candidacy could put this seat at risk.

CA-32:  Assemblyman Roger Hernandez is challenging Democratic incumbent Grace Napolitano and he has run into some problems.  In the first quarter of 2016, he managed to raise a paltry $2,500.  Then a judge issued a restraining order against him over an argument with his estranged wife.  She had accused him of domestic violence.  Since the top two in the primary advance to the general election, there is a great chance one of them will be the lone Republican taking on Napolitano in the fall.

CA-46:  A recent report from the California Bar Association described former state senator Joe Dunn in a not-so-nice light.  Even still, the Democrat has picked up some hefty union endorsements.

CA-48: Ex-Orange County Republican chair Scott Baugh filed papers with the FEC in this district against incumbent GOP Dana Rohrabacher, but is not an official candidate since the filing deadline has passed.  However, Rohrbacher is unsure how much longer he will remain in the House, so this allows Baugh to raise funds in anticipation of Rohrbacher eventually stepping down.

CO-03:  Democrats believe they have landed their man…er, woman in this race to challenge Republican incumbent Scott Tipton- former state senator Gail Schwartz.  They thought the same thing in 2014 when they ran Sal Pace against Tipton and the race was not even close.  Still, Democrats believe this race is now on the radar.  This writer doesn’t.

CO-05:  Although safely red, Republican incumbent Doug Lamborn lost to Calandra Vargas 58-35 at the GOP state convention.  Had he fallen below 30%, he would not make the primary ballot.  Lamborn is not a particularly good fundraiser, so watch this primary race.

FL-02: Redistricting has made this district more favorable to the GOP and Democrats would have a difficult time.  Even still, termed out state representative Michelle Rehwinkle Vasilinda (who has a really cool name) is considering giving it a chance.  Even still, don’t expect the DCCC to throwing any support behind her.  She recently told a newspaper that she supports some of Donald Trump’s ideas.

Additionally, Democratic incumbent Gwen Graham, who briefly considered running in the neighboring 5th, will not now that Corrine Brown lost her legal challenge against the map.  That caused Graham to announce her retirement after one term.

FL-04: Republican incumbent Ander Crenshaw decided to call it quits in the House.  In 1992, he became the first Republican to become president in the state senate since Reconstruction and two years later lost to Jeb Bush in the gubernatorial primary finishing fourth.  This is a safely Republican district based in the Jacksonville area.

FL-05:  A federal appeals court has rejected Democratic Party representative Corrine Brown’s lawsuit against Florida’s new congressional district map.  As a result, she will most likely run again in this district.

FL-07:  Democrat Bill Phillips dropped out of this race to take on Republican John Mica in the fall.  However, the Democratic Party is not too upset given his paltry fundraising efforts thus far.  This may allow them the chance to find someone better.

FL-11: After redistricting made his old district less hospitable to the GOP, Dan Webster decided to run in the open 11th, but his old district barely covers any territory from his new district.  To add to his woes, local politicians are endorsing his primary foe Justin Grabelle, and Grabelle’s old boss, the retiring Richard Nugent, is also endorsing him over Webster.

FL-23: Law professor Tom Canova is challenging Debbie Wasserman-Schultz in this district in the Democratic primary.  Summoning forth his best Bernie Sanders, he posted a very impressive $557,000 from 15,300 donors in the first quarter of 2016.  Seems there are some people upset with Ms. Wasserman-Schultz.

IL-10:  A recent poll sponsored by the DCCC unsurprisingly found Democratic challenger Brad Schneider with a nine-point lead on Republican incumbent Bob Dold.  That mirrors a previous Democratic poll.  An independent poll, however, finds Dold with a 4-point lead on Schneider.

IA-04:  Chuck Grassley has endorsed incumbent Republican Steve King in his primary against state senator Rick Bertrand.  Some members of the ethanol industry are not happy about King’s endorsement of presidential candidate Ted Cruz who took on the ethanol industry in Iowa.  Although that may have drawn the ire of some Iowa Republican power players, they seem content to stay with King for now.

IN-03:  The race here among the GOP hopefuls turned negative over the month and a poll shows state senator Jim Banks leading rich farmer Kip Tom and state senator Liz Brown in a fairly close race.  Tom recently released a series of attack ads against Brown and Banks which caused them to retaliate.  Banks is backed by the Club for Growth.

KS-01:  Alan LaPolice ran a decent campaign in 2014 against GOP incumbent Tim Huelskamp, who has been a thorn in the side of the House leadership.  In fact, the Chamber of Commerce has been making noises against the incumbent.  However, LaPolice recently noted that he may run as an independent and drop out of the GOP primary leaving Roger Marshall to challenge Huelskamp.  The filing deadline is June 1st so we shall see.  Incidentally, no matter who wins the primary, this is a safe Republican seat.

MN-02: David Gerson lost miserably to retiring GOP representative John Kline in 2012 Republican primary and then was denied again at the state convention in 2014.  Some left him for dead meat this time out in an open race, but some political pundits in Minnesota think otherwise as he seeks the party’s endorsement, which holds considerable weight, at the state convention.  There are four candidates in the GOP race.  Besides Gerson, Jason Lewis said he will drop out of the race if they do not get the endorsement while a third, John Howe, said he will support the endorsement only if the other three do.  A fourth, Darlene Miller who has Kline’s blessing, said she will proceed to the primary no matter what happens at the convention.

More tomorrow…