The Dallas Morning News reports that Republican "Rep. Joe Barton, whose private life came under national scrutiny after sexual images he shared in an extramarital relationship were made public, won’t seek re-election." Now in his 17th term, Barton is the longest-serving member of the Texas congressional delegation. Barton serves the 6th congressional district, which sits mostly south of Dallas, but also includes parts of Arlington and other suburbs situated between Dallas and Forth Worth. Donald Trump won here by 12 points in 2016; as of this writing the seat remains 'Safe Republican'.
The Barton announcement means 37 members of the House will forego reelection to that body in 2018. The full list can be found here. Three of these open seats have seen their 2018 rating shift as of today, all in the direction of being more competitive. AZ-9 has gone from Safe to Likely Democratic, while TX-21 has moved from Safe to Likely Republican. KS-2 has moved from Likely to Leans Republican. Overall, there were 25 ratings changes made by Sabato's Crystal Ball. They are now categorizing the 2018 race for House control as a coin flip.
Related: 2018 House Interactive Map
Republican Roy Moore leads Democrat Doug Jones by 5 points in the Alabama Senate race, a new poll from JMC Analytics finds. This is a 9 point reversal from their last survey, which had Jones up by 4. That survey was taken November 9-11, just as the most serious charge leveled against Mr. Moore, an encounter with a 14 year old girl, was becoming public. To that end, a rebound for Moore was not unexpected. JMC Analytics notes that:
"Since the last poll, both Republicans in general and Roy Moore specifically have regained their plurality leads, and this arguably can be attributed to existing partisan preferences’ reasserting themselves: in the last poll, Moore was tied 47-47% among male voters and trailed 42-48% among women. While he still trails by a similar 44-50% among women (leaners included), he has rebounded among men and leads 54-37%. Similarly, among self-identified evangelicals, the 57-34% support he had in the last poll is now 64-29%. The numbers barely changed among non-evangelicals, where his 22-73% poll deficit is now 23-72%."
This is the third poll in recent days to find Moore with a small lead. Emerson College had Moore ahead by 6 points*, while Change Research has Moore up 49-44%, the exact same finding as JMC Analytics. (Both these 49-44 results included those leaning to one candidate or the other). This article discusses those results in a bit more detail.
The special election will be held in about two weeks, on Tuesday December 12th.
* Given a 53-47 result, it does not appear as though 'undecided' was available as an option.
Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a longtime advocate for immigration reform and a senior member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus will not seek reelection in 2018, Fox News reports. The announcement comes early in the state's short filing period, where candidates for Congress, governor and other offices submit their nominating petitions for 2018. The deadline* to file is December 4th, with the Illinois primary scheduled for March 20th.
The 13-term Democrat represents one of the bluest districts in the country; Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump by 68 points in 2016. It is also an outstanding example of gerrymandering. Per Wikipedia, "The northern portion [of the district] is largely Puerto Rican, while the southern portion is heavily Mexican-American. The two sections are on opposite sides of the city and are only connected by a piece of Interstate 294 to the west; the highway is in the district while the surrounding areas are not."
By packing a district this way, the election of a representative associated with a specific group - Hispanics in this case - becomes highly likely. At the same time, it can reduce the influence of that group of voters in adjacent districts.
Gutierrez is the 36th member to announce they will be leaving the House to run for another office or to retire. The full list is comprised of 24 Republicans and 12 Democrats.
* Illinois has the earliest filing deadline, followed by Texas on December 11th. The remianing states have a filing deadline in calendar year 2018.
We've rolled over our interactive gubernatorial map to reflect the 36 states holding elections in 2018. New Jersey and Virginia, both of whom elected new governors earlier this month, have been removed.
While most 2018 focus is on which party will control the House and/or Senate in Congress after the midterm elections, these gubernatorial races will greatly influence which party controls the House over the next decade. That's because almost all the 2018 winners will be in office when redistricting begins after the 2020 Census. In most states, the legislature redraws congressional districts, while the governor wields veto power.
This first map shows the incumbent governor's party for each 2018 race. For the 14 states not holding elections, 7 are held by Republicans, 7 by Democrats. This brings the current^ party composition to 33 Republicans, 16 Democrats and one independent.
Looking at the 2018 races, Republicans are favored in 20, Democrats 8, with 8 toss-ups. At this point, only New Mexico favors the out-party, as that race leans Democratic. Of the eight toss-ups, five have Republican incumbents (FL, IL, ME, MI, NV), while CO and CT are in Democratic hands. AK, home to the nation's lone independent governor, is also seen as a toss-up.
Click or tap the map below to create your own forecast. The table on the landing page also lists all the incumbents. Note that 14 of them are unable to run in 2018 due to term limits, while three more are retiring. Just under half of these 36 states - more if any running incumbents lose - will have new governors in 2019.
^ As of January 16, 2018, when Republican Chris Chrstie leaves office in New Jersey and is replaced by Democrat Phil Murphy. Until then, there are 34 Republicans, 15 Democrats and one independent.
While still facing long odds, a Democratic win in Alabama next month would create a viable path for the party to win back control of the Senate in the midterm elections. As controversy swirls around Republican nominee Roy Moore, that race is now seen as a toss-up by The Cook Political Report and Inside Elections, while Sabato's Crystal Ball has it as Leans Democrat. The most recent poll of the race, from Fox News, has Democrat Doug Jones up by 8 points. That said, Alabama is a deeply red state, where Donald Trump won by 28 points in 2016. Given that the December 12th election is still several weeks out - there is no early voting here - a Jones win is by no means a sure thing.
Democrats need a net gain of 3 seats to take control in 2019. Their problem, as we've noted before, is that 25 of the 34 seats up for election are currently held by the party. They would need to defend and hold all 25 of those seats - including 10 in states won by Trump in 2016 - and flip the more competitive Republican-held seats in Arizona and Nevada, just to get to 50-50. That's not enough, however, as VP Mike Pence would break the tie, keeping the Republican majority. All the other seats were presumed to be safe for the GOP, making Democratic control in 2019 just about impossible. However, an Alabama win next month, coupled with the above, would give the party 51 seats and the majority. Clearly, a lot has to go right (or wrong, depending on your point of view), for that to happen.
Click or tap the map to game it out:
Here is a summary of the Battle for Control, based on the aforementioned pundit ratings for each race:
Politico reports that "Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine is urging the Democratic National Committee to end its tradition of using superdelegates, which activists say diminish the influence of regular voters at the expense of party bigwigs in the presidential nominating process."
Superdelegates are party insiders that can cast their vote for whomever they wish, regardless of the will of the voters in their state. In 2016, Hillary Clinton - with Kaine as her running mate - received the support of almost all of these superdelegates, pushing her across the 2,383 total delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination.
While Clinton likely would have ultimately prevailed over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in a nominating process without superdelegates, their existence gave the impression that the party favored the Clinton ticket, depriving Sanders supporters of a fair fight. This, in turn, likely dampened enthusiasm among some of them to turn out for Clinton on Election Day. To that end, it is not unreasonable to hypothesize that the existence of superdelegates in the Democratic nominating process is one of the reasons Donald Trump won the election.
Former Provo mayor John Curtis became the newest member of the U.S. House on Monday. He was seated less than a week after winning the special election in Utah's 3rd congressional district. Curtis won by over 30 points. This keeps the seat, vacated earlier this year by Jason Chaffetz, in Republican hands.
There are now 240 Republicans in the House, 194 Democrats. The one remaining vacancy, in Pennsylvania's 18th district, will be filled via special election on March 13, 2018. That seat was held by Republican Tim Murphy, who resigned last month. The race is currently rated 'Likely Republican'.
At least one additional vacancy is expected prior to the Pennsylvania election. Republican Pat Tiberi (OH-12) has announced he will leave Congress by January 31, 2018. Additionally, Republican Jim Bridenstine (OK-1) is awaiting confirmation as NASA administrator. Timing is unclear, but if/when it occurs, Bridenstine will need to resign.
Democrat Gene Green, one of the longest serving members of the Texas congressional delegation, will not run in 2018, according to a spokesperson:
ANOTHER TX RETIREMENT: U.S. Rep. Gene Green, Houston Democrat, is retiring, per his spokesman.— Abby Livingston (@TexasTribAbby) November 13, 2017
Much like his Republican colleague Ted Poe (TX-02), who announced his retirement last week, Green represents a highly-gerrymandered district surrounding Houston. Hillary Clinton won over 70% of the vote here in 2016, besting Donald Trump by about 46 points.
There are now 35 House members not seeking reelection in 2018. Green is the 11th Democrat on the list.
Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, will not seek reelection in 2018. Goodlatte is in his 13th term, and is another in a string of long-serving House Republicans to announce their departure in recent weeks.
Goodlatte represents a safe Republican district in the western part of the state. Donald Trump won here by 25% in 2016, and the area voted for Ed Gillespie by a 22% margin in the gubernatorial race just completed. The updated list of 2018 House retirements can be found here.
Rep. Ted Poe, a 7-term Republican from Texas, said he will retire at the end of this term. He is the 3rd long-serving Texas Republican, after Jeb Hensarling and Lamar Smith, to make such an announcement since late October.
Poe represents a safe, highly gerrymandered Republican district in the Houston metropolitan area.
There are now 33 members not seeking reelection in 2018.
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