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2010 House Open Seat Watch (4/29/09)

by: James L.

Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 7:49 AM EDT


It's about time that we made another assessment of the House open seat picture, wouldn't you say? Just like we did last time, let's gather up all of the confirmed and potential retirements/vacancies in the House, as well as the seats that were once considered potentially open, but now are not. We've also created a perma-post which you can find here or in the right-hand sidebar under "SSP Resources." Please note that "age" in our charts refers to the incumbent's age on election day, 2010.

Let's do it:

Definite Retirements/Vacancies:

District Incumbent Party PVI Notes
AL-07 Artur Davis D D+18 Running for Governor
CA-10 Ellen Tauscher D D+11 Appointed to State Department
CA-32 Hilda Solis D D+15 Appointed Secretary of Labor
FL-12 Adam Putnam R R+6 Running for Ag Commissioner
FL-17 Kendrick Meek D D+34 Running for Senate
GA-09 Nathan Deal R R+28 Running for Governor
HI-01 Neil Abercrombie D D+11 Running for Governor
KS-01 Jerry Moran R R+23 Running for Senate
KS-04 Todd Tiahrt R R+14 Running for Senate
MI-02 Peter Hoekstra R R+7 Running for Governor
MO-07 Roy Blunt R R+17 Running for Senate
NH-02 Paul Hodes D D+3 Running for Senate
OK-05 Mary Fallin R R+13 Running for Governor
SC-03 Gresham Barrett R R+17 Running for Governor
TN-03 Zach Wamp R R+13 Running for Governor

It's only the end of April, and we already have 15 open seats (two of which will be resolved in special elections later this year). Compare today's situation with our open seat watch from two years ago, when there were only three confirmed open seats (and one of those retiring Reps, Luis Gutierrez, later reneged!). Of course, the big difference is that this cycle is host to a few dozen gubernatorial races -- providing ample opportunities for House members (particularly beleaguered Republicans) to escape the DC scene. Indeed, all of the open seats in the above list could be placed in the "movin' on up" category.

We haven't even seen any straight-up retirements yet. Last cycle, the dam broke in August with the retirements of Dennis Hastert, Charles Pickering, and Deborah Pryce -- that batch was soon followed up with the likes of Rick Renzi, Jerry Weller, and Jim Ramstad. I'm sure we'll see our share of retirements later this year (and even more statewide runs), perhaps of names from the following column:

Potential Retirements/Vacancies:

District Incumbent Party PVI Age Notes
AK-AL Don Young R R+13 77 Age/Legal issues
AZ-03 John Shadegg R R+9 61 Botched retirement attempt in 2008
CA-24 Elton Gallegly R R+4 66 Botched retirement attempt in 2006
CA-36 Jane Harman D D+12 65 Scandal/Possible primary
DE-AL Mike Castle R D+7 71 Possible Senate run/Strong challenge
FL-10 Bill Young R R+1 79 Age/Strong challenge
FL-13 Vern Buchanan R R+6 59 Possible Senate/Gubernatorial bid
FL-22 Ron Klein D D+1 53 Possible Senate run
FL-25 Mario Diaz-Balart R R+5 49 Possible Senate run
GA-01 Jack Kingston R R+16 55 Possible gubernatorial run
GA-08 Jim Marshall D R+10 62 Possible gubernatorial run
IA-05 Steve King R R+9 61 Possible gubernatorial bid
IL-06 Peter Roskam R EVEN 49 Possible Senate run
IL-07 Danny Davis D D+35 69 Possible Senate run
IL-09 Jan Schakowsky D D+20 66 Possible Senate run
IL-10 Mark Kirk R D+6 51 Possible Senate/Gubernatorial run
IL-13 Judy Biggert R R+1 73 Age
IN-05 Dan Burton R R+17 72 Primary challenge
LA-03 Charlie Melancon D R+12 63 Possible Senate run
MD-06 Roscoe Bartlett R R+13 84 Age
MI-01 Bart Stupak D R+3 58 Possible gubernatorial run
MI-08 Mike Rogers R R+2 47 Possible gubernatorial run
MI-10 Candice Miller R R+5 56 Possible gubernatorial run
MI-12 Sander Levin D D+12 79 Age/Primary challenge
NC-07 Mike McIntyre D R+5 54 Possible Senate run
NV-02 Dean Heller R R+5 50 Possible gubernatorial/Senate run
NY-02 Steve Israel D D+4 52 Possible Senate run
NY-03 Peter King R R+4 66 Possible Senate run
NY-04 Carolyn McCarthy D D+6 66 Possible Senate run
NY-14 Carolyn Maloney D D+26 62 Possible Senate run
OH-18 Zack Space D R+7 49 Possible Senate run
OR-02 Greg Walden R R+10 53 Possible gubernatorial run
OR-04 Peter DeFazio D D+2 63 Possible gubernatorial run
PA-06 Jim Gerlach R D+4 55 Possible gubernatorial/Senate run
PA-07 Joe Sestak D D+3 58 Possible Senate run
PA-08 Patrick Murphy D D+2 37 Possible Senate run
PA-11 Paul Kanjorski D D+4 73 Age/Primary challenge
SC-01 Henry Brown R R+10 74 Age/Primary challenge
SC-04 Bob Inglis R R+15 51 Primary challenge
SD-AL Stephanie Herseth D R+9 39 Possible gubernatorial run
TN-09 Steve Cohen D D+23 61 Primary challenge
TX-04 Ralph Hall R R+21 87 Age
WI-01 Paul Ryan R R+2 40 Possible Senate run

See anything we missed? Now is a good time to note that shortly after we posted our previous Open Seat Watch, a press flack for Illinois GOP Rep. Judy Biggert sent us the following email:

James-

I noticed your post "Swing State Project:: House Open Seat Watch (2/2/09)", and I thought you might be interested to know that Congresswoman Biggert has already announced that she will be running for a seventh term.  Hope you find this info helpful.

I then followed this up with a request for a link to a press release or a news article on Biggert's re-election announcement (something I could not find on The Google). We received the following reply:

I'll have to check around.  I'll let you know.

After three months of radio silence from Camp Biggert, her name is staying on the list. A list of incumbents whose names have been removed from our open seat watch is available below the fold.

James L. :: 2010 House Open Seat Watch (4/29/09)
Off the Watch List:

District Incumbent Party PVI Age Notes
AL-01 Jo Bonner R R+14 50 Declined gubernatorial run
CA-31 Xavier Becerra D D+29 52 Declined USTR/Commerce Sec'y
CT-03 Rosa DeLauro D D+9 67 Considered for Labor Sec'y
FL-02 Allen Boyd D R+6 65 Declined Senate run
FL-14 Connie Mack R R+11 43 Declined Senate run
FL-20 Debbie Wasserman Schultz D D+13 44 Declined Senate run
FL-20 Robert Wexler D D+15 49 Declined Senate run
GA-03 Lynn Westmoreland R R+19 60 Declined gubernatorial run
KS-03 Dennis Moore D R+3 64 Declined Senate run/Won't retire
KY-06 Ben Chandler D R+9 51 Declined Senate Run
MO-08 Jo Ann Emerson R R+15 60 Declined Senate run
NC-11 Heath Shuler D R+6 38 Declined Senate run
NH-01 Carol Shea-Porter D EVEN 57 Declined Senate run
OH-17 Tim Ryan D D+12 37 Declined Senate/Lt. Gov. run
OK-04 Tom Cole R R+18 61 Declined gubernatorial run
PA-13 Allyson Schwartz D D+7 62 Declined Senate run
TN-04 Lincoln Davis D R+13 67 Declined gubernatorial run
TX-10 Mike McCaul R R+10 48 Declined AG run
TX-17 Chet Edwards D R+20 58 Declined VA Sec'y

Resolved vacancies.

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GA-01: Kingston is running for re-election
http://www.valdostadailytimes....

Follow the elections in Georgia at the 2010 Georgia Race Tracker.

Age
John Dingell will be 84.  He lost his chairmanship and the auto industry issues looklike they will mostly be "solved" (for the worse) this term.  He is easily the longest tenured House member having been around since 1955.

Howard Coble will be 79.

Ron Paul will be 75.  He's already retired from the House once.  Seems like he might prefer a regular TV gig.

Sam Johnson (TX) will be 80.

Dan Burton will only be 72 but he's used to being in the limelight and those days seem over.

Frank Wolf will be 79 and is coming off two fairly competitive races.


Re: Wolf
While you're right about his age, sadly his 2008 race was hardly competitive -- only Eric Cantor and Bob Goodlatte had easier rides to re-election.

However, I am hoping you are right. And Wolf's fundraising appears to be way down -- he brought in only $5,203 (not a typo) in Q1 of '09, for a total CoH of $40k (see here).

(Other interesting notes from Q1 CoH reports out of Virginia -- Rob Wittman (VA-01) and Randy Forbes (VA-04) remain very vulnerable to a good challenger.  


[ Parent ]
VA-01 Wittman
Is there any way we can challenge him before he becomes entrenched?

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

[ Parent ]
Nah.
This district is super red.  I don't think we've got a good shot here.

[ Parent ]
Disagree
VA-01 is winnable, though difficult. Obama got 47.7% in VA-01, and Wittman got only around 57% of the vote. It's not as winnable as VA-04 or VA-10, but it's not futile (see, e.g., VA-06 and VA-07).

[ Parent ]
"Only" 57%
That's pretty strong with Obama at the top of the ticket and his major push in VA.

It's not the worst district in VA, but I don't see us winning it any time soon.


[ Parent ]
Right
It's the third- or fourth-hardest to win in VA, no doubt (VA-06 and VA-07 are in futile territory; VA-10 remains happy with Frank Wolf for whatever damned reason, so arguably tougher though it's a district that Obama won, by about the same margin as he won statewide).

While 57% is not nothing, know that our guy in VA-01 got into the race in about September and raised no cash and had no profile -- it almost went uncontested. (And you may know that, assuming your handle implies you live in Williamsburg).

Uphill, but winnable district (but a district that hopefully will only exist for one more election -- it's a gerrymandered monstrosity including suburbs in NoVa and Hampton Roads).

I think the right candidate could compete in VA-01, problem is we have slim pickings in the state lege from that area. Al Pollard, maybe.


[ Parent ]
Roll Call 4/28 headline indicates Wolf is planning to
run for re-election.  The article itself is only available to subscribers:

http://www.rollcall.com/issues...



[ Parent ]
I think you guys reversed the PVIs of Maloney and McCarthy


Space? Naw...
Zack Space's chances of running for the Senate are metaphysical ("anything could happen") and the link that you list doesn't work.

What?
Not sure why Marshall's name is up there. That article was is from May of 2008. The Governor's race has changed quite a bit since then.

He hasn't gone on record
Saying he's running for GA-08 again, has he? And he's not on Frontline, either.

[ Parent ]
Well
In that case why not put all of Georgia's Congressmen who have not stated they are running for re-election on there? Using the criteria of "x candidate has not said he will run for re-election yet" is opening a floodgate. Marshall has shown no indication whatsoever of running for Governor this cycle.

Oh, and Barrow is not on Frontline now either. In both cases the candidates, particularly Marshall did much better than everyone thought. Everyone who followed that race, on both sides, were shocked at how badly Marshall beat Goddard. My guess is the DCCC realizes that Marshall has now solidified himself in his district.

The article linked is also just pure speculation and does not account for the current Democratic field (Baker, Poythress, Porter) and Roy Barnes, who, while he has not officially announced, is making his way around the state speaking to different groups thereby making the rumors about his run credible. That is much different than someone like Marshall who has done nothing to indicate he's pondering a run for Governor.

No insiders are talking about Marshall running for Governor now. None.

If anything MAYBE list him as a possible Senate candidate because the seat is empty, and even then, that's a stretch.

I live next to the district, and with Marshall being my former Congressman as well as my favorite Congressman, I keep up with what's going on. I can tell you, if he was running or likely considering a run it'd be obvious by now.

Unless some extreme circumstance arises, such as all the Democratic candidates dropping out, Marshall will not be running.

It's your list, keep him up there if you want, but if accuracy is your goal either add someone like Bishop because some (http://www.tondeestavern.com/200903221338/my-dream-georgia-2010-slate.html, and http://www.peachpundit.com/200... bloggers have thrown his name out there for Agriculture Commissioner or Senate.


[ Parent ]
"list him as a possible Senate candidate"?
Do you mean governor?  Because IIRC Isakson is running for re-election.

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

[ Parent ]
not, IIRC, AFAIK
At least, I haven't heard anything to the contrary yet.  Am I wrong?

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

[ Parent ]
Bobby Rush of Illinois
I can't remember where I heard it, but someone was speculating Rush wouldn't run b/c of age/health issues and just generally having the blahs.

I know Danny Davis has speculated in the media about running for U.S. Senate. I don't see it.

He hasn't positioned himself for a U.S. Senate run. He's not a good enough fundraiser.

If someone told me he was running for Cook County Board President, this I would find more credible.


Yeah
I've heard the same things about Rush (and oh, if wishing made it so...)

I HAVE heard the idea of Davis running (I was even polled about him last weekend) but it seems more of a function of him being slightly involved in Blago's mess and being a black Chicago Dem than any real campaign.


[ Parent ]
the graph I'd like to see
would be have on the X-axis the point in the election cycle and on the Y-axis the percentage of retirements announced already averaged over the last 40 years (or some other amount of time that is "modern").

This would allow for some projections of the total number of Congress critters who will ultimately retire.


Last 3 cycles
Republicans averages 23 retirements in the house, Democrats averaged 11.  If those are the final numbers for this cycle we would have an additional 14 Republican retirements and 5 Democratic retirements forthcoming.

At the end of April 2007, the same amount of time before the 2008 election Republicans had only ONE announced retirement in the house.  They went on to have 29 retirements.


Boyd Has a Primary Challenge
Allen Boyd has an announced primary challenge in the form of Al Lawson, the black Florida State Senate Minority Leader.  I am not sure how credible this is since the district's PVI is Republican leaning and Lawson would be running to Boyd's left.  Also, black turnout will be way down in 2010.

Lawson really isn't much left of Boyd
He's been a moderate state legislator.  It's sounding like republicans aren't going to run another crappy candidate again in FL-02, so Lawson could certainly win a general in 2010 if that happens.  He's lose big to anything close to a top-tier GOP opponent though.

I can't stand Boyd, but he's as good as we're going to get in that seat.  The district is slipping away from Democrats very quickly and it's likely we'll lose the seat eventually.


[ Parent ]
How Are They Different?
How are Boyd and Lawson different in terms of their stances on issues?  Why do you think Lawson picked 2010, a midterm election year with presumably scant black turnout, as opposed to 2008 when he would have been helped by the Obama Democratic and black turnout wave?  

[ Parent ]
I'll have to check...
But I think Lawson is term-limited out.  I'm sure that's the reasoning.

[ Parent ]
Lawson just scored some points with me
LOL

http://www.wtsp.com/news/local...

TALLAHASSEE -- Fighting a Republican move to approve religiously oriented specialty license tags, and bitter about proposed salary cuts for state workers, Senate Democratic Leader Al Lawson has a specialty tag idea of his own.

Worried about the separation of church and state, Democratic critics are incensed about one proposed tag that would feature an image of Christ on the cross.

Lawson's amendment to SB 2326 is called, "Can A Brotha Get a Break License Plate."

"The plate must prominently display an image of state Senator Alfred 'Al' Lawson, Jr. The phrase 'Can a Brotha Get a Break?' shall appear in bold letters on the bottom of the plate."

Proceeds from the plate would go to, "Employees Relief Fund for the purpose of offsetting salary and benefit cuts by the Legislature and providing grief counseling."

The amendment doesn't mention that Lawson is running for Congress next year.



[ Parent ]
LOLOLOL
We need an SSP specialty license plate.

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

[ Parent ]
Black turnout being down relative to 2008
might be mitigated if Meek is at the top of the ticket.

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

[ Parent ]
Mitigated somewhat.
I doubt that Meek will draw as much attention as Obama, but it will help somewhat.

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

[ Parent ]
Not so sure
Meek is good friends with the Clintons.  Bill has already helped him raise a boatload of money.  That kind of endorsement carries a lot of weight in the AA community.

[ Parent ]
and even more Clinton fundraising for Meek next week
http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz...
Former President Bill Clinton will headline his third Florida fundraiser for Kendrick Meek, ...

Being an early and huge HRC supporter has sure paid dividends for that guy.

[ Parent ]
Agreed
I say the same thing about Thurbert Baker here in Georgia.  Baker, Meek, Artur Davis, Daval Patrick, David Paterson, etc. are not Barack Obama.

Follow the elections in Georgia at the 2010 Georgia Race Tracker.

[ Parent ]
Anthony Weiner NY-09
Not that I anticipated any electoral success for him, but whatever happened to earlier talk about Weiner running for New York City Mayor.  Has that ever gotten beyond the rumor stage?

I think he backed out about a month back
I can't find a link in 10 seconds searching, but that's my recollection.

[ Parent ]
I would characterize it
As all but backing out. Pretty much all media speculation is that Bill Thompson will be the nominee unopposed. It would be nice for Weiner to just clarify that once and for all, though.

[ Parent ]

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