October 24, 2017
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has set March 13, 2018, as the date for a special election to fill the vacant 18th Congressional District seat. That seat was previously held by Republican Tim Murphy, who resigned earlier this month after text messages surfaced of him urging a woman with whom he was having an affair to seek an abortion.
There are now two vacancies in the U.S. House. The other is in UT-03, vacated earlier this year by Republican Jason Chaffetz. That seat will be filled in a special election on November 7th. The current U.S. House has 239 Republicans and 194 Democrats, along with the two vacancies.
At this point, those two seats are expected to remain in Republican hands. That said, Pennsylvania Democratic governor Wolf's scheduling of the vote on a different date than the state's general 2018 primary (May 15) could benefit his party as turnout is often much lower in one-off special elections.
Nearly 30 House members have announced they will not seek reelection to that body in 2018. Visit our retirements page for the latest information.
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October 19, 2017
Updating an earlier story, nine term Republican Pat Tiberi of Ohio announced he would not seek reelection in 2018 and would resign Congress no later than January 31, 2018.
Tiberi represents Ohio's 12th Congressional District, which includes areas to the north and east of Columbus. The interestingly shaped district is drawn favorably for Republicans and Tiberi easily won a 9th term last November by nearly 40 points. That said, Sabato's Crystal Ball has moved the seat from 'safe' to 'likely' Republican. This is due to the overall political environment coupled with the uncertainties (e.g., low turnout) often associated with special elections.
Governor John Kasich will set the date for a special election to fill the seat for the remainder of Tiberi's term. The seat, as with all 435 House Districts, will be contested again in the midterms on November 6, 2018.
October 19, 2017
The New York Times reports that nine-term Republican Pat Tiberi (OH-12) may resign from Congress to take a position with a business consortium in Ohio. Tiberi is an influential member of the House Ways and Means Committee and was a close ally of former House speaker John Boehner.
An announcement is possible as soon as this week.
As of this morning, 28 House members have announced they are not seeking reelection to that body in 2018.
October 17, 2017
A new poll from Fox News finds the Alabama Senate race a dead heat. Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones are both at 42%, with 11% unsure. The special election is about seven weeks out, on December 12th. The poll surveyed 801 registered voters, with a margin of error of 3.5%. The full topline for the poll can be found here.
This is the first poll to show the race this competitive; the last two polls have had Moore up 8% in a state that Donald Trump won by about 28%. Whether the poll marks a shift in voter sentiment or is an outlier remains to be seen.
October 13, 2017
Maine Senator Susan Collins announced Friday that she will forego a run for governor of her state in 2018, and (presumably) run for reelection in 2020. The four-term moderate Republican had been considering this decision for many months. Current governor Paul LePage cannot run again due to term limits.
If Collins had run, she could have remained in the Senate during the campaign. However, winning the race would have required her to step down. A replacement would have been named by LePage.
Without Collins, the 2018 gubernatorial race in Maine is currently seen as a toss-up.There are a total of 36 governorships to be contested next year, in addition to those in New Jersey and Virginia next month.
October 12, 2017
Republican Roy Moore continues to hold an 8 point lead over Democrat Doug Jones in the Alabama Senate special election race, according to a new poll by Cygnal, an Alabama-based firm. Moore leads 49% to 41%. The 8 point margin matches that of a poll released earlier this month.
The election is in two months, on Tuesday December 12th.
October 9, 2017
Carol Shea-Porter, a Democrat representing New Hampshire's very competitive first congressional district, announced she will not seek reelection in 2018. The move was unexpected. According to the Boston Globe:
"Her decision is a political bombshell with national implications. At a time when Democrats are looking to win back a majority in the House, Shea-Porter is one of [only 12] Democrats holding office in a district that Republican Donald Trump won last year."
This is one one of the most competitive House districts in New England, which can be seen by looking at the results here since 2006, when Shea-Porter first ran:
While Shea-Porter is now serving her 4th term in the House, the seat has rotated between parties since 2010. Shea-Porter has faced Republican Frank Guinta in all four of those elections. Guinta earlier announced he will not run again in 2018.
2016 was the closest of those four races. Shea-Porter defeated Guinta by one point, while Donald Trump won the District over Hillary Clinton by roughly the same amount.
There are now 28 House members retiring or seeking another office in 2018. This excludes Republican Tim Murphy (PA-18) who will now resign from Congress effective October 21st.
October 5, 2017
Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn announced her bid for U.S. Senate, becoming the front-runner to replace retiring Sen. Bob Corker in Tennessee. The move came just after termed-out incumbent Gov. Bill Haslam passed on a run for the office.
Blackburn is in her 8th term. She represents a safe Republican district in west-central Tennessee, winning reelection by nearly 49 points this past November. She (or whomever emerges as the Republican nominee) will start out as a large favorite in the 2018 Senate race. The Volunteer State last elected a Democratic Senator in 1990 (former VP Al Gore).
Blackburn becomes the 28th House member to pass on reelection in 2018. Included in that are now three of Tennessee's nine Representatives.
October 4, 2017
10/5 UPDATE: Murphy has resigned from Congress effective October 21st.
Republican Tim Murphy, in his 8th term representing southwestern Pennsylvania in the U.S. House, will not seek reelection in 2018. The pro-life congressman ran into trouble earlier this week when text messages surfaced of him urging a woman with whom he was having an affair to seek an abortion.
Murphy met with Republican leadership who apparently told him that he either had to resign or announce his retirement at the end of the current term.
Murphy is the 27th Member to announce they are not seeking reelection in 2018. There are 18 Republicans and 9 Democrats. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee is expected to join this list in the days ahead. She is expected to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Bob Corker.
October 3, 2017
Republican Roy Moore leads Democrat Doug Jones by 8 points in Alabama's upcoming U.S. Senate special election, a new poll finds. The vote, to be held December 12th, is to elect a replacement for former Sen. Jeff Sessions, who vacated the seat earlier this year to become U.S. Attorney General. Moore became the Republican nominee by defeating incumbent Sen. Luther Strange in a party runoff last Tuesday.
This topline result is similar to the first post-runoff poll released late last week. That survey gave Moore a 5 point margin over Jones.
The New York Times provides a nice overview of the party dynamics of the unfolding campaign, which has echoes of the Georgia U.S. House special election from earlier this year.
“It’s a very tricky pass for national Democrats,” said David Axelrod, the Democratic strategist and former adviser to President Barack Obama. “Jones is a very, very good candidate, but Alabama is a very, very tough state, maybe the toughest state. And you want to avoid the trap that you fell into in Georgia by building expectations for a race that’s going to be difficult to win.”
Recent statewide elections highlight the long odds facing Jones: The last Democrat to win a U.S. Senate election in Alabama was Richard Shelby, who was reelected to a 2nd term in 1992. Shelby, now in his 6th term, switched to the Republican party in 1994. The state has also voted Republican in the past 10 presidential races, with that party's nominee winning by more than 20 points in the most recent four elections. The last Democrat to win here was Jimmy Carter in 1976.
The winner of the special election will face the voters again in November, 2020, coinciding with the next presidential election.