Election News

Ratings Update: More Republican-Held House Races Seen Competitive in 2018

May 11, 2017

Passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and President Trump's unpopularity are combining to make many more Republican House seats look competitive in the 2018 midterm elections, according to a new analysis from Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball. They have moved the ratings of 18 seats in the direction of Democrats, including 13 that have moved into the lean/toss-up category. 

 

All but two of these Republicans voted for the AHCA. See how your/any Representative voted for AHCA alongside the competitiveness of their race here.

With six seats being moved to the toss-up category, Republicans remain favored in 230 House seats, 12 more than the 218 needed to hold control. The party currently holds 238 seats, with three previously Republican-held seats now vacant, to be filled in special elections by mid-year.

For more, see the 2018 House Interactive Map.



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Labrador to Run for Idaho Governor; 12th House Retirement in 2018 Cycle

May 10, 2017

Raul Labrador, in his 4th term representing Idaho's first congressional district, has announced he will run for governor of the state in 2018. He will be the 8th person to join the race to replace retiring incumbent Butch Otter. Idaho is one of 36 gubernatorial seats to be contested next year. In addition, Virginia and New Jersey will elect a new state chief executive in 2017. Check our 2017-18 interactive gubernatorial map for more details.

Labrador becomes the 12th House retirement this cycle. This includes eight Republicans and four Democrats. Four of these (all Republicans) are retiring (or have not announced other plans), while six are running for governor and two for the U.S. Senate. All eight of those elections will take place in 2018. Only two of the 12 House seats are seen as highly competitive in 2018, one from each party.

 

Not included in the list above is Oklahoma Republican Jim Bridenstine. He announced in late 2015 that a third term would be his last. He won that third term in 2016. However, as best as we can tell, no official announcement has been made.

All 435 House seats will be contested in the 2018 midterms. Follow along with our 2018 House interactive map.


Two Polls Show Single Digit Lead for Republican in Montana Special Election

May 9, 2017

Two recent polls of Montana's upcoming U.S. House special election show a single digit lead for the Republican. The seat became vacant after Ryan Zinke resigned March 1 to become Secretary of the Interior.  

The most recent poll, from Gravis Marketing, gives Republican Greg Gianforte an 8 point lead over his Democratic challenger Rob Quist. A late April poll from Democratic pollster Garin-Hart-Yang showed a similar 6 point Gianforte lead. 

This is a statewide race, as Montana has a single congressional district. The seat has been in Republican hands since 1997. Zinke won re-election by 16% last November, while Trump did even better, outpacing Hillary Clinton by 20%. 

The two major party candidates will be joined on the ballot by Libertarian Mark Wicks. Absentee ballots went out on May 1st. The election will take place on Thursday, May 25th.


A Long List of Possible Democratic Challengers to Trump in 2020

May 9, 2017

The Hill notes that "The 2020 presidential election could feature the most crowded Democratic primary in decades, with scores of Democrats rumored as potential contenders." They've come up with a list of 43 possible candidates, including many from outside the political sphere, as Trump's success essentially opens the playing field to just about anyone with name recognition and money.

Here are the 43 grouped into categories, some within a section may no longer be in that role. Some names are much more realistic than others, but at this early date the article has cast a very wide net.  

  • Vice-Presidents (2):  Biden, Gore
  • First Ladies (1): Obama
  • Senators (14): Booker (NJ), Brown (OH), Duckworth (IL), Feingold (WI), Gillibrand (NY), Franken (MN), Harris (CA), Kaine (VA), Klobuchar (MN), Murphy (CT), Sanders (VT), Warner (VA), Warren (MA), Webb (VA)
  • Representatives (4): Ellison (MN), Gabbard (HI), Maloney (NY), Moulton (MA)
  • Governors/Lt. Gov (10): Brown (CA), Cuomo (NY), Dayton (MN), Dean (VT), Hickenlooper (CO), Inslee (WA), McAuliffe (VA), Newsom (CA), O'Malley (MD), Patrick (MA)
  • Mayors (3): de Blasio (NYC), Garcetti (Los Angeles), Landrieu (New Orleans)
  • Other Politicians (3): Castro, Newsom, Perez
  • Business/Entertainment (6):  Cuban, Johnson, Sandberg, Schultz, Steyer, Winfrey, Zuckerberg

The article does not delve into possible 2020 primary opponents for Trump. Whether any serious intra-party challengers emerge for the president will, of course, be largely dependent on his popularity and performance. This op-ed discusses some of the history around sitting presidents who have had to face a competitive primary.


Georgia Special Election Breaks Spending Record; New Poll Finds Handel Slightly Ahead

May 6, 2017

The special election in Georgia's 6th congressional district will be the most expensive House race in U.S. history. Meanwhile, a new poll finds a very competitive battle for the June 20th runoff.

Nearly $30 million has been spent on television ads for the battle between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel. That, in and of itself, breaks the previous record for money spent on a House race*. However, the record is shattered when adding in the millions more being spent on mailers, radio, etc. So much money is coming into this race that the Atlanta NBC station has added an additional news broadcast to enable them to run all the ads that have been purchased. 

A new poll from Landmark Communications gives Handel 49.1% to Ossoff's 46.5%, with slightly under 5% undecided. This result is well within the poll's 4% margin of error. The Republican vote, split across multiple candidates in the April 18th special election, has consolidated behind Handel. While she has a small lead, the poll found that "nearly 6 in 10 independents – a crucial voting bloc in Georgia that typically breaks for the GOP – backs Ossoff’s campaign." The survey included 611 likely voters.

 

* For those interested, $29.6 million was spent (in total) in the 2012 race between first-term Republican Alan West and Democrat Patrick Murphy in Florida's 18th congressional district. Murphy prevailed by less than 1%.


Health Care Passes House on Party Line Vote; Bill Repeals, Replaces Obamacare

May 4, 2017

From the New York Times: "The House on Thursday narrowly approved a bill to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act, as Republicans recovered from their earlier failures and moved a step closer to delivering their promise to reshape American health care without mandated insurance coverage.

The vote, 217-213, on President Trump’s 105th day in office, keeps alive the Republican dream to unwind the signature legislative achievement of former President Barack Obama. The House measure faces profound uncertainty in the Senate, where the legislation’s steep spending cuts will almost certainly be moderated. Any legislation that can get through the Senate will again have to clear the House and its conservative majority."

The measure needed 216 votes to pass (not 218, as there are 4 vacant seats), and it achieved that via a straight party-line vote. Of the 193 'no' votes, 20 were from Republicans.

Curious how your (or any) Representative voted?  Today, we introduce a new feature that shows the House Roll Call for a specific bill alongside the current 2018 ratings for each race. You can request the vote for your specific Rep (location services must be enabled), see the votes for competitive 2018 races and/or look at how the entire Member delegation of any state visited (by clicking or tapping that state on the map).  Here is that map for the American Health Care Act of 2017.

   

Related Content: 2018 House Interactive Map


Republican Ros-Lehtinen to Retire From Congress; 2018 Race Shifts to Favor Democrats

April 30, 2017

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) is retiring at the end of the current term, according to the Miami Herald. The Republican is in her fifteenth term, making her the longest-standing member of Florida's congressional delegation. (Democrat Alcee Hastings (FL-20) is next; he is in his 13th term.

The retirement makes the seat much more likely to flip Democratic in the 2018 midterm elections.  Per the Herald: "Ros-Lehtinen, 64, was elected last November to Florida’s redrawn 27th district, a stretch of Southeast Miami-Dade County that leans so Democratic that Hillary Clinton won it over Donald Trump by 20 percentage points. It was Clinton's biggest margin of any Republican-held seat in the country." 

Sabato's Crystal Ball has moved the race from likely Republican to leans Democratic. 

We have updated our 2018 House Interactive Map accordingly. Note that we've also added a new tab on the page to allow for a look at the current Congress. We are working on additional enhancements to make the map easier to use, as control of the House is likely to be where the action is in 2018. 


Jason Chaffetz Not Running for Reelection

April 19, 2017

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (UT-03), chairman of the powerful House Oversight Committee has announced he will not seek a 6th term in the 2018 midterm elections. The congressman made the announcement on his Facebook page, stating "Since late 2003 I have been fully engaged with politics as a campaign manager, a chief of staff, a candidate and as a Member of Congress. I have long advocated public service should be for a limited time and not a lifetime or full career. Many of you have heard me advocate, “Get in, serve, and get out.” After more than 1,500 nights away from my home, it is time. I may run again for public office, but not in 2018."

Chaffetz went on to say that he has no ulterior motives here. However, in his Oversight role, he is now in the uncomfortable position of leading possible investigations against a Republican president. Additionally, Chaffetz had already gotten a primary challenge for 2018. Looking beyond that, he may have been up against a Democratic opponent in the general election that has significantly outpaced him in fundraising thus far in 2017. Some consideration might also have been given to the fact that Republican control over the House may be in jeopardy next year.

Chaffetz is the 9th House member (5th Republican) to pass on a reelection campaign. 

 


Ossoff, Handel Advance to Runoff for Georgia Congressional Seat

April 19, 2017

From the New York Times: "Jon Ossoff, a Democrat, and Karen Handel, a Republican, advanced to a June 20 runoff in the special election for the [Georgia 6th Congressional District] U.S. House seat vacated by Tom Price, the new health and human services secretary." Ossoff received 48% of the vote, just short of the 50% threshold to avoid the runoff. Handel came in 2nd, her 20% tally outpacing a large group of Republicans on the nonpartisan primary ballot.

 

The election was seen as an early referendum on Donald Trump's presidency, thus drawing national attention. Democrats pinned their hopes on Ossoff, a filmmaker and former congressional staff member. He raised over $8 million, far above anyone else in the race. In the end, all that money and energy helped Ossoff slightly outperform Hillary Clinton in each of the three counties making up the district (see Vote by County in above graphic). However, it was not enough to avoid the June runoff. 

Republican vote was split primarily between four candidates. Handel, the former Georgia Secretary of State, bested businessman Bob Gray and two former State Senators to achieve the 2nd spot in the runoff.  Total vote across all eleven Republicans in the field was 51%, vs. 49% for the five Democrats. 


Alabama U.S. Senate Special Election Moved to 2017

April 18, 2017

Alabama has moved up the date for its U.S. Senate special election to December 12, 2017, following a primary on August 15th, Politico reports. The special election was previously scheduled for November 6, 2018, to coincide with the midterm general elections. The winner of the special election will serve out the six-year term of this seat, next up for election in 2020.

The Senate seat became open when Jeff Sessions resigned after being confirmed as U.S. Attorney General in February. Then governor Robert Bentley, appointed Luther Strange to the seat. Bentley subsequently resigned on April 10th to avoid felony charges and likely impeachment. The Lt. Governor at the time, Kay Ivey, took over for Bentley that day. She pursued the date change after discussions with state officials.

As reported back in January, Bentley set the special election for 2018 to - he said - avoid the significant cost of an off-cycle election. However, Strange, in his former capacity as the state's Attorney General, was in charge of investigating the governor. Some believed Strange's appointment to the Senate was a way to derail the investigation, and/or perhaps a 'thanks' for dragging it out for so long. 

As a practical matter, these machinations will likely have little effect on Senate control. While Strange is likely to get some primary competition, the Senate seat in this deep red state is expected to remain in Republican hands regardless of who the party's nominee is. 



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