Five more congressional districts move needle left

From Virginia to Texas, the GOP is feeling the pressure

Published June 29, 2018 8:00PM (EDT)


Read more articles from the DC Report here.

Five more congressional seats in four states have started to lean blue in the past two weeks, according to The Cook Political Report.

The most surprising may be an open seat in a coal country district in West Virginia, which Trump carried by 50 points in 2016. Democratic candidate state Sen. Richard Ojeda, a retired Army paratrooper, is leading recent polls over his Republican challenger state Del. Carol Miller in the 3rd congressional district. A recent poll by Monmouth University had Ojeda leading 43% to Miller’s 41% for the seat vacated by Rep. Evan Jenkins’ (R) recent unsuccessful Senate bid. In this district, Democrats also have a voter registration edge over Republicans, 50% to 27%, according to The Cook Political Report.

In Virginia, the 10th congressional district is considered leaning Democrat where incumbent Barbara Comstock (R) will face Jennifer Wexton (D) in November. The race had been considered a toss-up before now.

Meanwhile, Kentucky’s 6th congressional district has moved from a leans-Republican to a toss-up, according to Cook’s Political Report. Incumbent Andy Barr (R) will face Amy McGrath (D), a retired Marine fighter pilot. Both candidates have raised north of $2 million. McGrath raised half of her war chest in campaign contributions after the airing of her two-minute video likening her military service to her desire to run for office. The video aired in August and launched her national profile.

There are two congressional districts in Texas where the needle has moved to the left. In the 31st district, it’s not exactly a time for Democrats to rejoice, as the change is from a solid-Republican bet to a likely Republican one. But it’s a move to the left nonetheless. Incumbent John Carter (R) will go up against Mary Jennings Hegar (D) in the general election.

Meanwhile, the 32nd district has moved from a leans-Republican district to a toss-up. Incumbent Pete Sessions (R) will face Colin Allred (D).

Primary Preview: Seven states hold elections Tuesday

This Tuesday, seven states head to the polls. Colorado, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma and Utah hold primaries while Mississippi and South Carolina will hold runoff races. Here’s what to watch for in each state.

Colorado: Most of the congressional races across the state are considered competitive. But the races to watch are in the 5thand 6th congressional districts. In the 5th district, five-term incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn (R) faces two Republican challengers who have raised almost as much money as he has. On the Democrat side, Stephany Rose Spaulding faces candidate Marcus Murphy.

In the 6th district, incumbent Mike Coffman (R) is running unopposed for the primary but is seen as vulnerable in November. The Democratic candidates are Jason Crow and Levi Tillemann. Crow has raised five times the amount Tillemann has with $1.6 million in early June, according to the Federal Election Commission. And Crow is the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s candidate as part of its “Red to Blue” program. But Tillemann has won himself some notoriety lately with a campaign ad about gun control where he douses himself with pepper spray. The ad has garnered hundreds of thousands of YouTube video hits lately, though not necessarily from voters.

Maryland: Incumbent Sen. Ben Cardin (D), who has served in the Senate for decades, faces a deep bench of Democratic challengers for his seat on Tuesday, including Chelsea Manning, the former U.S. Army soldier jailed for leaking classified information. Cardin is expected to easily win his primary. On the Republican side, frontrunners include Christina Grigorian and Tony Campbell, among nine other challengers.

The other race to watch in Maryland is the 6th congressional district for the open seat being vacated by Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) as he retires to focus on a 2020 presidential bid. Eight Democratic candidates are vying for the spot. David Trone, the millionaire co-founder of Total Wine & More, has spent more than $10 million of his own money on this campaign. In 2016, he spent more than $13 million on a failed House run. Other frontrunners include Aruna Miller, Nadia Hashimi and Roger Manno. On the Republican side, four Republicans are running, led by Amie Hoeber.

New York: The Empire State holds its federal primary on Tuesday. The races to watch are in a couple of congressional districts: the 11th and the 19th. In the 11th district, incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan (R) is facing a unique challenger – the congressman who held the seat before him. Former Congressman Michael Grimm is running again after having to give up his seat in the Staten Island district in 2015 when he pleaded guilty to tax fraud. Incidentally, Donovan is under scrutiny for discussing a possible pardon for Grimm with Trump, according to Center for Responsive Politics. Donovan has spent three times the amount Grimm has and has the backing of outside spending groups.

On the Democratic side, Max Rose is the frontrunner with a war chest larger than Donovan’s at nearly $1.6 million, and greatly more than the next Democratic challenger, Omar Vaid, who had raised just shy of $200,000 in early June, according to the elections commission. There are seven Democrats battling to be on the ballot in November.

In New York’s 19th congressional district, seven Democrats are fighting to face off against incumbent John Faso (R), who is running unopposed for the primary. Antonio Delgado (D) had raised more than Faso in early June, according to the FEC, with a total of $2.2 million. Close behind him was Pat Ryan with $1.6 million and Brian Flynn with $1.5 million. Outside spending groups have spent $524,000 ahead of the primary in support of the Democrats, most of it going to Iraq War veteran Pat Ryan’s campaign.

Oklahoma: The race to watch is for the open seat vacated by Rep. James Bridenstine (R) in the 1st congressional district. There are five Republicans vying for the seat. McDonald’s franchisee Kevin Hern has raised more money than the other four candidates combined, with roughly $1.4 million. The other candidates include Andy Coleman, Tim Harris, Nathan Dahm and Danny Stockstill. But Hern has some opposition from super PAC Club for Growth Action, which has spent roughly $270,000 against him ahead of Tuesday’s primary. And a non-partisan super PAC, With Honor Fund, which is dedicated to helping veterans win elections, has poured just under $200,000 into challenger Andy Coleman’s campaign, according to Center for Responsive Politics.

On the Democrat side, there are five contenders: Tim Gilpin, Amanda Douglas, Gwendolyn Fields, David Hullum and Mark Keeter. The Democrats haven’t raised nearly the amount of money the GOP candidates have, but they are not reeling in PAC money, either. Frontrunner Gilpin had raised roughly $75,000 in early June, according to the elections commission.

Meanwhile, the 5th district, which includes Oklahoma City, is considered competitive with a “likely Republican” rating, compared with “safe Republican” for other seats. Incumbent Rep. Steven Russell (R) faces two Republican challengers, Dejuan Edwards and Gregory Dunson, though he is favored to win the primary. But on the Democratic side, there is a lineup of seven challengers with frontrunner Kendra Horn. She had raised $372,404 by early June, compared to Russell’s $616,280, according to the elections commission.

Horn’s donations come mostly from in-state donors. At least 70%, and possibly more, of her donors are Oklahomans, while 70% of Russell’s donors come from out-of-state donors, mostly D.C.-area political action committees. Most of Oklahoma’s congressional incumbents are seeing an influx in donations from out-of-state donations, according to Oklahoma Watch.

Utah: The Utah primaries are in the national spotlight because former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is running for senator. Romney is running for the open seat retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) is vacating. Romney, a staunch critic of Trump, faces state legislator Mike Kennedy (R) in the primary. Romney has outspent Kennedy and the Democratic frontrunner Jenny Wilson by $1.5 million ahead of the primary. But Kennedy is the only candidate to receive support from outside spending groups in the race, according to Center for Responsive Politics.

There are five Democratic candidates vying for the open seat, but Wilson is the clear frontrunner. She had raised $540,606 by early April, according to the elections commission.

Mississippi: The state is holding two runoff elections Tuesday, one for the Senate and one for the 3rd congressional district. The Senate Democratic primary runoff will determine which candidate will face incumbent Sen. Roger Wicker (R) in November. The Democratic candidates are Howard Sherman, a venture capitalist, and state legislator David Baria. Sherman had outraised Baria by more than half a million dollars, according to FEC filings in early June.

In the 3rd congressional district Republican primary runoff, candidates Whit Hughes and Michael Guest are competing to face Democratic state legislator Michael Evans in November for the open seat vacated when Rep. Gregg Harper (R) he would not seek re-election after five terms.

South Carolina: The 4th congressional district will hold a Republican primary runoff between candidates Lee Bright and William Timmons. Bright had edged out Timmons by a few hundred votes in the first primary, though Timmons had outraised him substantially with $703,509 in his war chest in early June compared to Bright’s $192,424, according to the elections commission. Outside spending groups have spent close to $850,000 on the congressional 4th district this primary season. And Timmons has garnered support from social welfare groups ahead of the runoff, pulling in close to $300,000 from the Conservative Leadership Alliance alone.

Top Trending

Check out the major news stories of the day

By Jillian S. Ambroz

MORE FROM Jillian S. Ambroz