The Battle for the 2016 House- August Edition

Happenings, observations and musings from around the country in US House races for 2016:

AZ-01: Democrat Tom O’Halleran has entered the race setting up a Democratic primary challenge against Barbara McGuire.

AZ-02: Former state representative Matt Heinz will take on Victoria Steele in the Democratic Party’s primary to challenge Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) 49%.

AZ-09: The House’s resident bisexual witch- Krysten Sinema- has decided to stay put now that her district’s lines are set and some have said she would only consider a run if McCain is not the Republican choice.

CA-24:  Blinky Pelosi has endorsed Salud Carbajal to succeed Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) 13% in this open race.  Their opponent, Santa Barbara mayor Helene Schneider, is finding it difficult to pick up any major Democratic endorsements or donors.

CA-44:  Democrat Isadore Hall is consolidating support to succeed Rep. Janice Hahn (D-CA) 12% in this very blue district although Nannette Barragan just picked up the endorsement of EMILY’s List.  That may give her some staying power through the primary and get her to the general election.

CA-46: The race for this open Democratic seat is getting busier with two new candidates entering the fray on the Democratic side- Bao Nguyen and Joe Dunn.  Nguyen is close with labor and openly gay- a stark contrast to another Democratic candidate, Lou Correa.  Meanwhile, Dunn is well-connected, but involved in a lawsuit over the California Medical Association firing him last year.  Jordan Brandman, a fourth Democrat, is coming under fire for allegedly using school district resources for a local political campaign.  Stay tuned next month for another edition of “As the 46th Turns.”

CO-06: EMILY’s List endorsed Democrat Morgan Carroll in her bid to unseat GOP incumbent Coffman who seems to be a perennial target, but always seems to win.

FL-02: Neal Dunn’s past donations to Democrats has rankled many conservatives in his GOP primary bid against Mary Thomas.  That is not stopping the Florida GOP establishment from endorsing and consolidating support behind him.

FL-13: Democrat Eric Lynn is not going anywhere if the great tanned (orange) one- Charlie Crist- jumps in the race as he recently hired some key operatives.  Could Crist be facing some more rejection from Florida voters?

FL-26: The Sunshine state is replete with political intrigue and skullduggery.  Local former Obama finance chair Freddy Balsera has endorsed the GOP incumbent here leading to complaints from the DCCC crying to the Clinton campaign to reign this guy in.  Balsera fired back by bad-mouthing Democratic challenger Annette Taddeo’s fundraising.  Meanwhile, ex-Democratic representative Joe Garcia intimated he may get in the race which would be an unwelcome event for the Democrats.  But, EMILY’s List endorsed Taddeo which may scare away Garcia.

IL-08:  Democrat Tom Cullerton, who picked up some decent endorsements, has dropped out of the race.  But, Deb Bullwinkel has entered the race complicating the picture to succeed Duckworth in this blue district.  Noland vs. Krishnamoorthi vs. Bullwinkel… I think the Democratic caucus in the House needs a Bullwinkel more than a Krishnamoorthi.

IL-12: Last month I reported that St. Claire County sheriff Rick Watson was being recruited by the DCCC.  After a meeting in Washington, he decided against a run.

IL-15: Republican state senator Kyle McCarter is considering a run against GOP incumbent Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) 49% in the primary.  Shimkus is a 10-term incumbent which may be a drawback despite his voting record in a conservative district.  McCarter is very close to a socially conservative PAC: Family PAC.

IN-04:  If true, this would be surprising, but there are rumors that GOP incumbent Rokita may leave his post to run for state attorney general since Greg Zoeller is leaving that position to run in the IN-9.  Its strange because a US House member, if they are to run for a statewide office, usually seek a Senate or Governor’s seat.  Maybe he just doesn’t like the House any more (if the rumors are true).

IA-03: Jim Mowrer, who was defeated by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) 77% in the neighboring 4th two years ago, will be running in the Third this year.  Mowrer is known as a good fundraiser and he has already invoked the specter of his good friend, Beau Biden.  Local Democrats are holding out hope US Attorney Nick Klinefeldt will run which shows they do not have much confidence in Mowrer…or Beau Biden’s ghost.

ME-2: One doesn’t think of too much intrigue out of Maine, but Joe Baldacci, the brother of a former Governor and Congressman, is seeking the Democratic nomination to take on Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) 45%, the Republican incumbent.  Baldacci, with the name recognition, will have to get by 2014 loser Emily Cain who was highly recruited by the DCCC for a rematch.  She also has the backing of EMILY’s List.  What caused Baldacci to enter the race?  In the last quarter, Cain raised a disappointing $152,000 while Poliquin hit it out of the ball park ($1.2 million).

MI-01: Democrat Jerry Cannon, who ran and lost in 2014 against Benischek, is seeking a rematch although local Democrats are not too keen on his entry into the primary.

MI-08: Democrat Melissa Gilbert has entered the race.  Name sound familiar?  It should- its the same Melissa Gilbert of Little House on the Prairie fame.  Well, she was head of the Screen Actors Guild so I guess that is good practice for the House.

NH-01: Carol Shea-Porter, who Frank Giunta defeated in 2014, is apparently back for a rematch making this the 4th consecutive match up between the two.  If results hold true to form, Guinta would be out.

NV-02: Republican Amodei is running for reelection, probably his last as all indications are that his eyes are on the Governor’s race in 2018.  He said, however, he would not seek that office if Heller runs for the job which comes as news to many.

NV–03: We have a Democrat- Jesse Sbaih.  Exactly!  Who?  Way to go, Democrats…  In fact, there is much consternation among Democrats in Nevada regarding their inability to recruit a viable candidate in a potentially winnable district.

NV-04: Six unions representing 23,000 employees have endorsed Ruben Kihuen in the Democratic primary.

PA-02: Of course the big news is the indictment of Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA) 15% who insists he will seek reelection.  Even Democrats are calling this an open and shut case of corruption.  But, the GOP has absolutely no chance in this heavily Democratic district- one of the strongest in the entire country.  Instead, the intrigue will be on the Democratic side with no shortage of Philadelphia cronies…er, politicians willing to jump in.  All are deflecting questions right now.  His trial is set to open after the April primary which can be good or bad.  Regardless, this district is SO Democratic, they would probably reelect Fattah even if he was indicted for having sex with a goat on the steps of the Art Museum.  Hey- black (political) lives matter…

PA-08:  Intrigue among the Democrats in this open GOP seat as rumors are that the DCCC is trying to push Steve Santasiero out.  This could turn into an ugly cat fight.

TN-01: Former Congressman David Davis is mulling a bid against Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) 76%.  Apparently there is still animosity between the two dating back to 2006 when Davis barely beat Roe in the primary only to lose two years later.  Davis or Roe: this district has not had a Democrat representative since the 19th century.

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