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October 20, 2014
House Republicans are on track to make gains this cycle, but two weeks before Election Day, it’s still unclear whether the party will procure a wave of double-digit gains in their quest to extend the majority.
Members of Congress and operatives alike note this is a toxic time for Democrats on the ballot that should result in huge losses for the president’s party. But a race-by-race evaluation of the House map shows Republicans are more likely in a position to pick up a net of around six seats this cycle.
“After two successful cycles for House Republicans, the playing field confines the upper limits of pickups that can be had,” said Brock McCleary, a Republican pollster.
Public surveys show President Barack Obama’s unpopularity, as events in the Middle East and Ebola on the home front drag down Democrats coast to coast. House Democrats are defending more seats than Republicans this cycle.
But this midterm is shaping up to be one of the most perplexing in recent memory. Both parties are on offense, and both parties are on defense. In private polling, dozens of races are too close to call. Given the unpredictability, it’s also possible the next 14 days could exacerbate Democratic losses.
Here’s why most political operatives estimate Republican will have a net gain in the mid-single digits:
October 7, 2014
The lines separating gubernatorial and congressional candidates on the ballot could blur in several states this cycle, as the top of the ticket proves to be a driving force downballot in a half-dozen states.
Typically, competitive gubernatorial races impact one key factor for victory: turnout. As a result, state parties ramp up their efforts to turn out their base, which could also boost candidates all over the ballot, including congressional races.
Gubernatorial races have less of an impact on Senate contests, where candidates are similarly well known by voters. But they often can make a difference in a close House race.
In alphabetical order, here are six states where the impact of a gubernatorial race could drip down the ballot: Full story
October 2, 2014
With a month to go until Election Day, House Republicans are poised to add at least a handful of seats to their majority in the midterms.
Need proof? Look no further than this month’s list of Roll Call’s 10 Most Vulnerable House Members, plus the four incumbents who got honorable mentions: The majority of the names are Democrats facing slogs to re-election in tough districts.
What’s more, nearly all of the Republicans on the list made it due to isolated issues — like campaign problems, personal and legal missteps — instead of the national political environment.
The list does not include competitive open-seat contests, where Democrats could stave off major losses.
Since CQ Roll Call last published this feature in September, two incumbents — a Democrat and a Republican — dropped to the honorable mention category. Both are still as vulnerable as they were in September, but a few of their colleagues now face greater political peril than they do.
Roll Call will publish this list one more time, in the week before Election Day. For now, here is the updated list of the 10 Most Vulnerable House Members in alphabetical order:
September 10, 2014
BOULDER, Colo. — Long a flashpoint in the culture wars, marijuana’s growing legitimacy hasn’t yet turned it into a political weapon, even in the marquee races in the first state to legalize the drug.
In Colorado, the issue has barely gotten a mention as Rep. Cory Gardner takes on Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, and Republican Rep. Mike Coffman faces a challenge from Andrew Romanoff in one of the country’s hottest House races.
For now, the lawmakers still seem to find pot too hot to handle as a political weapon. Republicans in the state have shifted how they talk about the matter, but Democrats aren’t trying to capitalize on what could potentially become a new wedge issue in their favor this cycle — and in elections to come.
Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have legalized medical marijuana. Only Colorado and Washington have legalized recreational marijuana, but more are expected to vote on whether to change their laws, including Oregon and Alaska in November, as polls have shown surging support for legalization.
Udall, whose race could decide control of the Senate, said marijuana is now simply a business interest in Colorado.
“We are all together in urging the attorney general to let this experiment unfold,” Udall said in Greenwood Village, Colo., after an event with Denver business interests.
But he hasn’t attacked Gardner’s hard-line record on marijuana, something advocates for legalization call a missed opportunity.
“It seems that many elected officials … still haven’t come to terms with the fact that marijuana legalization is a mainstream issue that’s supported by a growing majority of the public,” said Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority, a legalization advocacy group. Full story
September 3, 2014
Welcome to the general election: Labor Day has passed, nearly every primary has finished, and Roll Call has revised its monthly list of the 10 most vulnerable House members.
Since this feature last published in August, Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich., lost his primary by a wide margin, while Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., barely survived his, defeating his primary foe by 38 votes.
That opened up two spots in the Top 10 — and there are a plethora of choices this cycle to fill their spots, plus more honorable mentions below.
House Democrats must net 17 seats to win the majority. But most of the names below are Democrats, symbolic of a cycle increasingly favorable to Republicans.
For now, here are the 10 most vulnerable House members in alphabetical order:
August 28, 2014
Aurora, Colo. — Outside the Cinema Latino as he campaigned against Rep. Mike Coffman, Democratic House hopeful Andrew Romanoff outlines his strategy for winning over Hispanic voters critical to his chances in the Nov. 4 contest.
Romanoff told CQ Roll Call he is optimistic turnout will be high, thanks in part to a state law passed last year to allow same-day registration and voting, as well as a requirement every voters is automatically sent mail-in ballots.
“Those two things — universal mail-in balloting, Election Day registration — will increase turnout and that’s good not just for my campaign…but I think for democracy,” said Romanoff, the former state house speaker.
To win here, Democrats need Latinos to vote. Romanoff, who speaks fluent Spanish, has been trying to win over the community as he battles Coffman in a race The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rate a Tossup.
That’s one reason why on this summer day his campaign has reached out Cinema Latino’s management team for a tour. He lauded the business owners as working to “maximize their connection to the community.” Romanoff has visited a few dozen small- and medium-sized businesses as he tries to win over voters in the 6th District in the central part of the Centennial State. Full story
July 30, 2014
A Republican group reserved $2.6 million in Denver television time for a House incumbent’s wife who is running for Colorado Attorney General.
The Republican Attorneys General Association Colorado PAC reserved the air time from Oct. 7 through Election Day to boost Colorado Chief Deputy Attorney General Cynthia Coffman. She is the wife of Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., who faces one of the most competitive House races of the cycle.
June 17, 2014
The National Republican Congressional Committee has reserved $30 million in television airtime this fall, signaling it is preparing to go on offense in 17 districts and defend nine more.
The NRCC has put its marker down in many of the same House districts as its counterpart, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It’s a good indicator of which races both parties think will be most competitive in November.
But there are a few competitive districts not included in the NRCC’s initial reservations, such as Iowa’s 3rd District — an open seat currently held by a Republican that is one of this cycle’s few Tossup races.
Also, the NRCC’s television reservations total $13.5 million less than what the DCCC has already reserved for this fall. The committees will likely shift and add more airtime as individual races develop during the rest of the cycle.
But the DCCC has raised more money than the NRCC this cycle. As of the end of April, the DCCC had $43.3 million in the bank, while the NRCC had $32.3 million.
Here are the districts where the NRCC has already reserved airtime for this fall:
June 13, 2014
Fundraising reports filed Thursday by candidates running in the June 24 primaries revealed eleventh hour insight into the financial viability of embattled incumbents and their challengers.
The reports, covering campaign finances from April 1 to June 4, show whether campaigns have money, how quickly they are spending it and how much cash they had for the final stretch.
May 29, 2014
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved $43.5 million in television airtime in dozens of targeted House districts this fall — a signal the party is attempting to play defense and offense in a challenging midterm cycle.
The money is split across 36 districts, including 17 pickup opportunities, according to a DCCC aide. More districts and more money could be added to the reservations as the cycle progresses, the aide said.
The DCCC had $43.3 million in the bank at the end of April and has raised more than its Republican counterpart by large margins this cycle. The committee ended April with an $11 million cash-on-hand advantage over the National Republican Congressional Committee.
These ad reservations give insight into which members Democrats see as vulnerable, and which seats the DCCC sees as the best possibility to take in November. They also signal to outside groups where the the party might need help on the airwaves this fall.
However, parties can cancel or change these reservations until shortly before the advertisements air in most cases.
Here are the districts where the DCCC has reserved airtime:
April 18, 2014
House Majority PAC, a super PAC with the aim of electing House Democrats, announced its first round of television reservations for the fall.
The reservations, totaling about $6.5 million, are for “the final weeks of the election in 24 districts,” a news release stated.
The super PAC during the 2012 cycle made its first round of reservations in early July in partnership with the Service Employees International Union.
“By placing these reservations early, we will make our dollars go further and ensure we have the air time to effectively fight back against the flood of Koch brothers’ dollars,” House Majority PAC Executive Director Alixandria Lapp said in a statement.
The super PAC is on offensive in six Republican-held districts and on defense in 18 Democratic districts. Often, releasing ad reservations to the press is a means to telegraph to allies, like the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, how outside groups intend to spend money.
Below is a breakdown of the buys, categorized by offensive and defensive targets:
April 9, 2014
Colorado Democrat Andrew Romanoff raised $600,000 in the first quarter of 2014 and ended March with nearly $2.1 million, his campaign announced Wednesday.
In a top pickup opportunity for Democrats, Romanoff, a former state speaker and Senate candidate, is challenging Republican Rep. Mike Coffman.
The third-term incumbent’s fundraising numbers from January through March were not immediately available. Both candidates started the year in similar financial position, with Romanoff ahead in cash on hand, with $1.7 million to Coffman’s $1.5 million.
Between these fundraising numbers and Denver’s relatively pricey media market, the race for Colorado’s 6th District is shaping up to be one of the most expensive House races in the country.
The race is rated Tossup by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
March 3, 2014
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rolled out the first 35 districts of its “Red to Blue” program Monday, highlighting the GOP-held seats the party believes it can flip and open seats it hopes to keep in the Democratic column in the 2014 midterms.
Needing to net 17 seats to win back the House majority, the announcement makes clear where the party believes its most important fights will take place.
“This is our initial roll out,” DCCC Chairman Steve Israel said Monday morning on MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown.” “There will be more, and we will have a very competitive battlefield as we go deeper into the cycle.” Full story
October 3, 2013
House Majority PAC, a super PAC that aims to elect House Democrats, announced Thursday it will unleash a major advertising campaign against nine House Republicans over the shutdown.
The total buy is for a “mid-six figure” sum, according to the political action committee’s spokesman. It will run web and TV ads against Republican Reps. Mike Coffman of Colorado’s 6th District, Steve Southerland II of Florida’s 2nd, Joe Heck of Nevada’s 3rd and David Joyce of Ohio’s 14th.
The buy will also include a “Google and Bing search advertising campaign,” according to a news release, that will target those four Republicans members plus five more:
- Rep. Gary G. Miller of California’s 31st District
- Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois’ 13th District
- Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania’s 8th District
- Rep. Michael G. Grimm of New York’s 11th District
- Rep. John Kline of Minnesota’s 2nd District
The television ads targeting Coffman, Southerland, Heck and Joyce can be seen after the jump.
September 19, 2013
The National Republican Congressional Committee will announce it has raised $3 million total for the 20 vulnerable incumbents through its Patriot program, according to figures provided first to Roll Call.
On Thursday, House Republican leaders hosted their second “Patriot Day” of the cycle — a fundraising event that contributed to that $3 million total. The Patriot program provides resources to the party’s most vulnerable House members for their re-election efforts, including fundraising and communications support.
Republican incumbents in the Patriot program include: Full story