New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, announced Monday that he will not seek reelection. Politico notes that "[he] is the eighth Republican committee chairman to forgo reelection in the House ahead of a midterm cycle that’s building against the GOP. But Frelinghuysen, whose district grew increasingly competitive in 2016, only served one full year as appropriations chairman and was not term-limited in his position, unlike other retiring lawmakers."
While Frelinghuysen easily won a 12th term in 2016, Donald Trump only bested Hillary Clinton by 0.8% in the district, and the race was shaping up to be highly competitive this year even with the incumbent running. Three Democrats outraised Frelinghuysen in the 3Q of 2017.
Sabato's Crystal Ball has moved the race from 'Leans Republican' to 'Toss Up'. It is one of five New Jersey districts that are likely to be competitive in 2018. Four are held by Republicans.
Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Meehan (PA-7) has announced his retirement from Congress at the end of this year. The four-term Republican has been under scrutiny in recent days after it became public that inappropriate behavior with an aide led to a settlement paid by Congress. Meehan was subsequently removed from his seat on the House Ethics Committee.
Meehan's path to reelection in November was further clouded this week as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered the state's congressional district lines to be redrawn for the 2018 midterms. The Court found that the lines established by the General Assembly back in 2011 violated the state's constitution. If the decision survives appeal, Meehan's suburban Philadelphia district will likely be significantly altered. That district is among the most gerrymandered in the entire country.
Based on the retirement, Sabato's Crystal Ball has updated their rating from 'Leans Republican' to 'Toss-up'. It is likely that any acceptable redrawing of the district's borders will move the race in the Democrat's favor.
Meehan is the 46th current House member, and 32nd Republican, to forego reelection in 2018. See the full list of retirements, which now includes the 2016 margin of victory within the district for both the House and presidential races. In terms of those on the list, Pennsylvania's 7th district is one of six Republican-held districts that were won by Hillary Clinton in 2016. There were 23 such districts nationwide that year. Three of the retirements are in Democratic-held districts won by Donald Trump in 2016. There were only 12 such districts in 2016.
In a split decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the state's Congressional Redistricting Act of 2011 violates the state's Constitution, ordering the General Assembly to submit a revised plan to the governor by February 9th. Failing that, or if the governor doesn't approve the plan submitted, the Court will develop a plan for redistricting. The Court further directed that the new districts will be effective for the May 15th primary. The changes will not affect the March 13th special election in the 18th congressional district.
The decision is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to this AP article. Providing some background, the article states that "Republicans who controlled the Legislature and governor’s office following the 2010 census broke decades of geographical precedent when redrawing the map...they shifted whole counties and cities into different districts in an effort to protect a Republican advantage in the congressional delegation. They succeeded, securing 13 of 18 seats in a state where registered Democratic voters outnumber Republicans 5 to 4."
Here's a map of the current district boundaries for the entire state, colored by party of the current incumbent, with the 18th currently vacant (was Republican-held).
This 2nd map is the Southeastern corner of the state, the districts in and around Philadelphia. This is where some of the worst gerrymandering took place. District 7 (shown in tan) is sometimes referred to as "Goofy Kicking Donald Duck"; it is one of the most oddly-shaped districts in the country.
Any approved redrawing of the lines will almost certainly benefit Democrats in November. In an already very competitive year, this will provide additional opportunities for that party to gain the 24 seats they will need to take control of the U.S. House.
There are elections for governor in 36 of the 50 states this year. 26 of those offices are held by Republicans and nine by Democrats, with one independent in Alaska. Only half of the Republican incumbents are running; all the departing governors, except for Idaho's Butch Otter, are term-limited. On the Democratic side, five of the nine incumbents are running; two of the four departures are due to term limits.
Overall, as of January 16th*, Republicans hold 33 governorships and Democrats 16, with one independent. This year's gubernatorial elections will take on more national importance than usual as the governors elected this year will be in office^ when redistricting occurs after the 2020 Census. In most states, the legislature draws the district lines, while the governor has veto power.
New Feature: Save and share maps
With heightened interest in these gubernatorial races, we've begun a process of upgrading the Interactive 2018 Governor Map. The first part of that, saving and sharing maps via social media, is now live. As with the presidential and Senate maps, click the 'Share Map' button that will be visible below the map (after you make one or more changes). Once you click that, the social media buttons below the map will become active, and you can share your specific projection via social media or email. The map image can also be embedded on a web page via the rightmost button.
These are the default projections when you reset the map. We'll be adding other starting views in the weeks ahead.
The Cook Political Report
Inside Elections uses a 'tilt' rating between 'toss-up' and 'lean'. Illinois is 'tilt Democratic', while Ohio is 'tilt Republican'. We show these as 'lean' on the map below. Alaska is 'lean' independent.
* Democrat Phil Murphy replaced Republican Chris Christie on this date.
^ Assumes no early departures due to death or resignation. New Hampshire and Vermont have two-year terms; those seats will be contested again in November, 2020. It is a moot point with Vermont, as the state has one at-large congressional district.
Telling the national GOP to "grow a pair of ovaries", Rep. Martha McSally joined the U.S. Senate race in Arizona Friday. She will compete against former State Senator Kelli Ward and former Sheriff Joe Arpaio for the Republican nomination. The winner will likely face McSally's Democratic House colleague Kyrsten Sinema in November. Incumbent Senator, Republican Jeff Flake is retiring.
California Republican Darrell Issa will not seek reelection, he announced Wednesday. Issa narrowly won reelection in 2016. His roughly 0.5% margin of victory over Democrat Doug Applegate was one of the five closest congressional races in 2016. Hillary Clinton won the district by 7.5%, one of only 23 districts nationwide (7 in California) that elected a Republican to the House while supporting Clinton over Trump in the presidential election.
Sabato's Crystal Ball has moved the 2018 race for the 49th district from Toss up to Leans Democrat.
Serving #CA49 has been the privilege of a lifetime. From the bottom of my heart - thank you - to everyone for your support and the honor of serving you all these years. My full statement on my decision not to seek reelection: https://t.co/zjlkeiqnzs
Issa is the 2nd California Republican to retire this week. Ed Royce announced his retirement on Monday. That race moved from Leans Republican to Toss Up.
Worth Noting: Ratings for these races assume a Democrat vs. a Republican face off in November. However, California has a non-partisan primary, where all candidates compete on a single ballot, with the top two, regardless of party, moving on to November. Depending on the composition of the ballot it is possible for two candidates from the same party to advance to November, even in swing districts like Royce's 39th and Issa's 49th.
45 members of the House are retiring or seeking another office in 2018. Arizona Rep. Martha McSally will be added to this list Friday if, as expected, Rep. Martha McSally (R, AZ-2) announces her candidacy for U.S. Senate in Arizona. Ohio's Pat Tiberi (R, OH-12) will be removed from the list when he resigns on January 15th.
A new poll from OH Predictive Insights shows a very competitive 3-way race for the Republican nomination in the Arizona U.S. Senate race. Rep. Martha McSally leads with 31%, just ahead of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio at 29%. Former State Sen. Kelli Ward is in 3rd at 25%. In a mid-November poll by the same firm, Ward held an 8 point lead over McSally; Arpaio was not included in that survey.
McSally is the establishment favorite, and her number is little changed from November. Arpaio's share came primarily from Ward; this makes sense in that they both will appeal to many of the same voters. It is also notable that Arpaio & Ward's combined share exceeds 50%, well ahead of McSally. This indicates that a three-way race all the way to the August 28th primary may make McSally's path to the nomination easier than if Arpaio or Ward drop out at some point and endorse the other.
Arpaio just announced his entry to the race yesterday, with McSally expected to officially join the race Friday.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that North Carolina's congressional districts must be redrawn in advance of this year's U.S. House elections. The court ruled that "Republican state legislators, seeking to address a racial gerrymander the court struck down in a previous map, put too much partisan intent into their redraw, drawing the lines to guarantee Republican victories in U.S. House races despite North Carolina's more purple political hue."
The court ordered the General Assembly to redraw districts by January 24th, indicating that it would issue its own map if the revision was unacceptable.
The case is likely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
North Carolina's current congressional districts can be seen on the map below, which is a partial preview of a state page from our soon to be launched updated House map. Each state will have its own map, and there will be a national map that can be zoomed and panned to view any desired region of the country. All the maps will be interactive and will work in conjunction with each other.
Included on the state pages will be information on the incumbent and a race rating for 2018. Additionally, they will show each district's margins from 2016, both from the race for Congress and the presidential election. The results in North Carolina highlight how effective the state legislature's gerrymander was --- none of the 13 districts was decided by less than 12%.
The Republican field in the Arizona U.S. Senate race is expected to add two prominent names this week: Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Rep. Martha McSally. Both present a challenge to the current front-runner, former State Senator Kelli Ward. The incumbent Republican Senator, Jeff Flake, is retiring.
The Washington Examiner reports that "Arpaio, a close ally of President Trump and former sheriff known for his provocative approach to combating illegal immigration, is running for Senate in Arizona." Meanwhile, Politico's Kevin Robillard tweets that Arizona Republican Rep. Martha McSally has "special announcements" set for Friday. It is likely that she will enter the race at that time.
McSally has events scheduled beginning in Tucson then moving on to Phoenix and Prescott. Her 2nd district covers the Southeastern corner of Arizona, including much of Tucson. It was reported in early November that McSally was planning to join the race, so her expected announcement will not be a surprise.
The new entrants set up a three-way battle for the Republican nomination. McSally, in her 2nd term in Congress, is the preferred candidate of the establishment. The conservative Ward has received support from President Trump and an endorsement from Steve Bannon, although she's distanced herself from Bannon in recent days. Arpaio is likely to appeal to many of the voters drawn to Ward. This could actually ease McSally's path to the nomination.
Whomever emerges as the nominee will likely face Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema in the general election. That contest is seen as a toss-up at this time.
McSally's district is also seen as a toss-up. While she won reelection by 14% last November, Hillary Clinton won the district by 5%. It is one of just 23 districts nationwide that elected a Republican to Congress and voted for Clinton over Trump.