The Battle for the House in 2016- May News (Part 1 of 2)

With deadlines looming and actual primaries held, May and June look to be important months.  So without further ado-

CO-05:  Incumbent Republican Doug Lamborn barely survived making it to the primary ballot at the state convention garnering 35% of the vote.  He needed 30% to make it.  Legislative aid Calandra Vargas managed 58% of the vote.  What makes this extra interesting is that a candidate can make the primary ballot without that 30% if they get enough signatures on a petition.  Lamborn decided to forego that route and can thank his lucky stars.

FL-05:  A recent poll shows that Corrine Brown, the Democratic incumbent, leads former state senator Al Lawson by only 5 points in the Democratic primary.  The newly drawn 5th district represents only about 38% of Brown’s former district, although she is well-known within the new lines.  Further, she has a 48% approval rating which is slightly higher than Lawson’s 41% rating.

FL-10: National Democrats are all in for ex-Orlando police chief Val Demings in her primary battle and she picked up the endorsement of the Orlando mayor.  However, the Central Florida PBA announced they were backing her main primary foe, Bob Poe.

FL-13:  Redistricting has converted this district into a more Democratic-friendly one.  Based in Clearwater, their mayor- George Cretekos- has suggested that the GOP incumbent, Dave Jolly who is running for Senate, drop out of that race and defend his House seat in the 13th.  If so, he would likely oppose Florida’s version of the Great Tanned One- Charlie Crist- in November.  Jolly is a terrible fundraiser by his own admission and his haul thus far in the Senate race- expected to be very expensive- is more in line with a House race.  For his part, Jolly has not exactly torpedoed the idea of dropping out of the Senate race.

On the Democratic side, Eric Lynn dropped out of the race in their primary against Charlie Crist.  Although Lynn was well-funded and putting up a battle, his withdrawal makes the chances of a Crist victory more likely.  Instead, Lynn will run for a state house seat.

GA-09:  Paul Broun’s political comeback ended in an ugly 61-22% defeat on May 24th.  The former Congressman from the 10th District who came in 5th in the 2014 GOP Senatorial primary, was no friend of House leadership when in the House which is why Paul Ryan likely endorsed the incumbent, Doug Collins.

GA-11:  Freshman GOP incumbent Barry Loudermilk easily defeated rich guy Dan Cowan in the primary on May 24th.

HI-01:  Freshman Democrat Mark Takai announced his retirement from the House after it was discovered that his pancreatic cancer had spread.  With a June 7th filing deadline, candidates will have to make up their minds soon.  Takai won the seat in 2014 defeating Republican Charles Djou by only four points in a district carried by Obama in 2012 by over 40 points.  Democrats seem to be waiting to see if Colleen Hanabusa will seek her old seat after losing a close Senatorial primary in 2014.  She has reportedly told The Honolulu Star that she will seek her old seat which should clear the Democratic field.

IL-10:  Brad Schneider ran an expensive Democratic primary campaign against Nancy Rotering to win the right to take on Republican incumbent Bob Dold in the fall.  As a result, he has $547,000 in the bank compared to Dold’s near $2 million.  Still, he should be able to tap into some donors in an effort to win this seat for the Dumbocrats.

Indiana primary outcomes: In races of interest, Jim Banks defeated Kip Tom in the Third District in a race that became nasty towards the end of the campaign.  The Democrats believed they had a decent candidate in the 8th District, but their man- David Orentlicher- went down to defeat.  And in the 9th, Trey Hollingsworth won the GOP primary after recently moving here from Tennessee.  State attorney general Greg Zoeller came in third.  It remains to be seen whether the Democrats with their nominee- Shelli Yoder- will target this seat.

IA-01:  In advance of the Democratic primary, Pat Murphy is pounding his opponent Monica Vernon over the fact she was a Republican until 2009.  She has countered that Murphy has received a whopping $2,900 from the Koch brothers in the past indicating that the Murphy attacks may be gaining traction.

IA-04:  First Grassley endorsed Steve King for reelection and now Joni Ernst has done the same.  However, Governor Branstad, who opposed Ted Cruz in the February caucuses, has decided to endorse neither King nor his GOP primary challenger, state senator Rick Bertrand.  Several ethanol businessmen (including Branstad’s son) have made noise about opposing King for his support for Cruz who is for phasing out ethanol subsidies.

KS-01:  Alan LaPolice dropped his GOP primary bid against Tim Huelskamp and will run as an independent instead.  This comes as good news to his other challenger, Roger Marshall, who has the support of local agricultural concerns and has received their endorsement.  Keep an eye on this primary race.

KS-03:  Democrats have recruited Jay Sidie to run against GOP incumbent Ken Yoder.  Sidie immediately linked Yoder to Governor Sam Brownback.  The Governor actually lost the territory that comprises the 3rd District in Kansas so it may not be a bad strategy.

Kentucky primary outcomes:  In the GOP held open 1st District, James Comer who lost a close primary against Matt Bevin in the 2015 gubernatorial race, easily won his primary against Mike Pape.  In the 3rd, Harold Bratcher will take on Kentucky’s lone Democrat, John Yarmuth, in the fall.  And Democrat Nancy Jo Kemper eaily won her primary to take on Andy Barr, the GOP incumbent.

LA-03:  The race to succeed Republican Charles Boustany (who is running for the open Senate seat being vacated by David Vitter) looks to be an expensive one.  Scott Angelle, who ran for Governor and has the name recognition, also has $602,000 to date.  Other candidates are proving to be good fundraisers when they are not loaning their campaigns money.

MI-08:  Democratic candidate Melissa Gilbert, formerly of SAG and Little House on the Prairie fame, ended her campaign citing health issues.  At this late stage in the game, it is unlikely any Democrat of stature will step forward.  The Democratic Party can apparently select a candidate after the August 2nd primary.

MN-01: Democratic incumbent Tim Walz will most likely face his 2014 GOP opponent again this year as Jim Hagedorn won the party’s endorsement at the Minnesota convention and does not face much serious competition in the Republican primary.  This seat can be in play with the right set of circumstances.

Filing deadlines in June- Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin.

Congressional Primaries in June- California, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York,  North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah.