The Campaign Spot

A Brief Update on 117 House Races

As promised, here is a quick update on that May list of 99 open seats or vulnerable Democrats. As you can see, quite a few have been added; we’re now up to 117. (I added one, WA-2, after initial posting.) However, this list includes some races that appeared as potentially competitive earlier and now aren’t, such as Rep. Dan Boren’s reelection bid in Oklahoma.

My current assessment is in line with the conventional wisdom: Roughly 100 seats are in play under the broader definition, and it’s hard to see Republicans winning fewer than 40 of them. The ceiling depends on how angry the country is on November 2, but it is pretty darn high . . . 60? 70? 80?

AL-2: Public Opinion Strategies puts Martha Roby ahead of incumbent Democrat Bobby Bright by 2; Bright is already declaring he won’t vote for Pelosi as speaker.

AR-1: The Hill puts Republican Rick Crawford ahead by 12; this is an open seat where Democrat Marion Berry is retiring.

AR-2: Democrat Vic Snyder is retiring and Republican Tim Griffin is the heavy favorite to replace him; an August poll put Griffin up 17.

AR-4: Arkansas Republicans look set for a monster year, but Democrat Mike Ross should survive the wave, holding off Republican Beth Ann Rankin.

AZ-1: The Hill puts Paul Gosar ahead of incumbent Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick by 7.

AZ-5: Last week, a GOP poll put David Schweikart narrowly ahead of incumbent Democrat Harry Mitchell.

AZ-7: In one of the great shocks of this cycle, Republican Ruth McClung released an internal poll showing her ahead of incumbent Raul Grijalva among likely voters. The DCCC suddenly decided to spend money here recently.

AZ-8: An early September poll had incumbent Democrat Gabrielle Giffords and GOP challenger Jesse Kelly tied.

CA-11: Survey USA puts David Harmer ahead of incumbent Democrat Jerry McNerney by 6.

CA-20: The DCCC is worried enough about Republican Andy Vidak’s chances against incumbent Democrat Jim Costa to start spending money here.

CA-47: Incumbent Democrat Loretta Sanchez is tied with Republican Van Tran, or as she prefers to call her opponent, “the Vietnamese.”

CA-51: Perhaps the toughest GOP candidate of the cycle, Nick Popaditch, vs. incumbent Democrat Bob Filner in a district with high unemployment and serious housing-bubble fallout, and the polls say . . . nothing. This is one of the few interesting House districts with not a single poll released.

CO-3: American Action Forum puts Republican Scott Tipton ahead of incumbent Democrat John Salazar, 51 percent to 43 percent.

CO-4: The Hill puts Cory Gardner ahead of incumbent Democrat Betsy Markey by 3.

CO-7: Incumbent Democrat Ed Perlmutter slapped the hand of his opponent, Ryan Frazier, during a debate. A late August poll put Frazier ahead by one point.

CT-4: A poll earlier this month put incumbent Democrat Jim Himes up by 2 over GOP challenger Dan DeBicella.

CT-5: CT Capitol Report puts Sam Caligiuri ahead by 6 over incumbent Democrat Chris Murphy.

FL-2: A National Research poll puts Republican Steve Southerland ahead by 16.

FL-8: The one outside poll conducted in this district shows Republican Daniel Webster beating the Devil, a.k.a. Alan Grayson, by 7.

FL-22: The campaigns of Republican Allen West and Democrat Ron Klein have both offered polls showing their man ahead.

FL-24: An early September poll put Republican Sandy Adams ahead of incumbent Democrat Suzanne Kosmas; the DCCC has cut its ties here.

GA-2: A Public Opinion Strategies poll puts incumbent Democrat Sanford Bishop only one point ahead of his GOP challenger, Mike Keown.

GA-8: The DCCC would have you believe that incumbent Democrat Jim Marshall is ahead by 12 over Republican Austin Scott, but Marshall is loudly proclaiming he won’t support Nancy Pelosi as speaker again, suggesting he’s at least a little nervous.

GA-12: There is no real polling in this deeply conservative district, where incumbent Democrat John Barrow has hung on in tough years in the past. He’s challenged by Ray McInney.

ID-1: Incumbent Democrat Walt Minnick hasn’t voted with his party much on the big votes, making the job of GOP challenger Raul Labrador tougher. Labrador’s campaign says that their guy trails by only 6 and that Minnick is at a subpar 37 percent.

IL-8: Incumbent Democrat Melissa Bean still has the advantage, but GOP challenger Joe Walsh has endured a lot of bumps in the road and is still tied, at least in a WeAskAmerica poll.

IL-9: Incumbent Democrat Jan Schakowsky remains the favorite, but challenger Joel Pollack says his polls have her below 50 percent.

IL-10: Democrats had been very bullish on the chances of Dan Seals in this open-seat race, but WeAskAmerica puts Bob Dold up by 11.

IL-11: The Hill puts Adam Kinzinger ahead by 18; a poll released by Democrat Debbie Halvorson puts Kinzinger up by only 5.

IL-14: A Tarrance Group poll puts Randy Hultgren ahead of incumbent Democrat Bill Foster by 6.

IL-17: Bobby Schilling has been polling within a few points of incumbent Democrat Phil Hare for months and now has what was once unthinkable: a cash-on-hand advantage.

IN-2: I’m surprised we haven’t seen polls showing Joe Donnelly trailing; his ads certainly give off a whiff of desperation in the vehement manner they denounce Nancy Pelosi. He’s at 39 percent but has many more leaners in the most recent poll. But GOP challenger Jackie Walorski is not to be underestimated.

IN-8: In the seat once held by Brad Ellsworth, Larry Bucshon is favored over Democratic state representative Trent Van Haaften.

IN-9: Todd Young is narrowly favored under Nate Silver’s calculations over incumbent Democrat Baron Hill.

IA-1: There hasn’t been much recent polling in the matchup between incumbent Democrat Bruce Braley and GOP challenger Ben Lange, but an early September one put Lange within 4.4 points.

IA-2: In mid-September, challenger Mariannette Miller-Meeks released a poll showing her within 1 point of Democratic incumbent Dave Loebsack. Stuart Rothenberg recently named Loebsack one of five Democrats who could be surprised by the wave in November.

IA-3: The campaign of incumbent Democrat Leonard Boswell says their man is up 9 over GOP challenger Brad Zaun; still, 47 percent is not a great place for a longtime incumbent in a GOP year when the statewide races should be Republican landslides.

KS-3: Not much polling in this district, but Republican Kevin Yoder is heavily favored over Stephene Moore, the wife of the retiring Rep. Dennis Moore.

KY-3: One poll from SurveyUSA had indicated a tight race between second-term Democratic incumbent John Yarmuth and GOP challenger Todd Lally, but subsequent polls show solid Yarmuth leads.

KY-6: The Tarrance Group puts Andy Barr ahead of incumbent Democrat Ben Chandler by 1.

LA-3: In this open-seat race, where incumbent Charlie Melancon is running for Senate, Republican Jeff Landry is modestly favored over Democrat Ravi Sangisetty.

MA-4: There is a lot of grassroots excitement around Republican Sean Bielat, and incumbent Barney Frank’s partner heckled the challenger. Still, Bielat’s poll puts him down 10, a margin that is tough, but not impossible, to overcome.

MA-10: A local poll puts the GOP’s Jeff Perry down 3, which is within the margin of error and an okay place to be two weeks out. I’m told Perry’s internals show a much cheerier picture.

MD-1: The Hill puts Andy Harris ahead by 3 over incumbent Democrat Frank Kratovil.

ME-1: Dean Scontras has landed some hits on incumbent Democrat Chellie Pingree, but still has to make up a double-digit margin.

ME-2: Jason Levesque has gained ground on Democrat incumbent Michael Michaud, but both Maine districts have a lot of Democrats and represent tough climbs.

MI-1: The Hill puts Republican Dan Benishek ahead by 3 in this open-seat race.

MI-5: There’s not an enormous reason to think Dale Kildee is vulnerable, but he is running attack ads against GOP challenger John Kupiec, suggesting the incumbent doesn’t think he can take this year for granted.

MI-7: The Hill puts Tim Walburg in a tie with incumbent Democrat Mark Schauer.

MI-9: A local poll puts GOP challenger Rocky Raczkowski ahead of Democratic incumbent Gary Peters, 45 percent to 40.7 percent.

MI-15: The Rossman Group puts Rob Steele ahead of Democratic incumbent John Dingell by 4.

MN-1: Survey USA puts incumbent Democrat Tim Walz up by 5 over GOP challenger Randy Demmer.

MN-8: A poll from challenger Chip Cravaack shows him trailing longtime incumbent Jim Oberstar by only 3. Oberstar’s team says it must be a push poll.

MO-3: There’s been very little polling in this hard-fought race between GOP challenger Ed Martin and Russ Carnahan. An August poll put Carnahan at 48 percent.

MO-4: Longtime incumbent Democrat Ike Skelton has tried to fend off GOP challenger Vicky Jo Hartzler with a deluge of negative ads. The most recent poll was in August, and put Skelton up, 45 percent to 42 percent.

MS-1: A September poll — by a firm that does a lot of DCCC work — put incumbent Democrat Travis Childers up by 5 over GOP challenger Alan Nunnellee.

MS-4: In late September, GOP challenger Steven Palazzo pointed to an internal poll that had him trailing longtime Democrat incumbent Gene Taylor by only 4 points.

NC-2: It’s rather fascinating that no one has polled this district featuring neck-grabbing Democrat incumbent Bob Etheridge and GOP challenger Renee Ellmers since June. That poll had Ellmers ahead by one. There’s been a lot of outside group spending in this district.

NC-7: A late September poll found GOP challenger Ilario Pantano leading incumbent Democrat Mike McIntyre by one point.

NC-8: Civitas puts incumbent Democrat Larry Kissell one point ahead of GOP challenger Harold Johnson.

NC-11: Civitas put incumbent Democrat Heath Shuler one point ahead of Republican challenger Jeff Miller.

ND-AL: Republican Rick Berg has led consistently over incumbent Democrat Earl Pomeroy; sometimes by a little, sometimes by a lot.

NH-1: Two University of New Hampshire polls in succession put Republican Frank Guinta ahead of Democratic incumbent Carol Shea-Porter by 10 and then by 12.

NH-2: The Hill puts Republican Charlie Bass ahead by 3. A UNH poll puts Bass down 7. A sudden slip or an outlier?

NJ-3: A Monmouth University poll puts Democratic incumbent John Adler ahead of Jon Runyan by 3.

NJ-6: A lot of readers are raving about the grassroots energy of GOP challenger Anna Little, but incumbent Democrat Frank Pallone leads by 12.

NJ-12: Incumbent Democrat Rush Holt is ahead by 5 over self-funder Scott Sipprelle.

NM-1: Jon Barela has yet to catch up with incumbent Democrat Martin Heinrich, but the current 7-point margin is not insurmountable. He’ll get top-of-the-ticket help from gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez.

NM-2: The Hill puts Steve Pearce ahead of Democratic incumbent Harry Teague by 4.

NV-3: The Hill puts Republican Joe Heck ahead of Dina Titus by 3.

NY-1: Earlier in the year, this race looks supremely competitive, but if Siena College is to be believed, incumbent Democrat Tim Bishop has a solid lead over Randy Altschuler.

NY-13: In the Battle of the Mikes, the incumbent Mike McMahon is holds a healthy lead over GOP challenger Mike Grimm, at least according to McMahon’s internals.

NY-19: Siena puts the GOP’s Nan Hayworth up by 3; Iona has her tied with incumbent Democrat John Hall.

NY-20: The GOP’s Chris Gibson has a tough climb against Democratic incumbent Scott Murphy, but the challenger is running closer among likely voters.

NY-22: Incumbent Democrat Maurice Hinchey had some soft numbers earlier in the year, and now he’s in an altercation with a reporter. Republican George Phillips has his work cut out for him, but it’s not impossible.

NY-23: Public Opinion Strategies puts Matt Doheny ahead by 14; others have shown incumbent Bill Owens in much stronger position.

NY-25: A McLaughlin & Associates poll puts Republican Ann Marie Buerkle ahead by 1. A Siena poll puts her down 12; I’ve heard some readers griping they think Siena overestimates Democrat turnout this year.

NY-29: Tom Reed leads by 14 and is considered one of the safest bets for the GOP this cycle.

OH-1: A Survey USA poll puts Steve Chabot ahead of incumbent Democrat Steve Driehaus by 12.

OH-6: I thought Bill Johnson had a good shot against liberal Democrat Charlie Wilson in this swing district, but then again, I thought the spousal abuse detailed in Charlie Wilson’s divorce papers was news.

OH-10: It may seem hard to believe, but the campaign of GOP challenger Peter Corrigan says they’re only down 4 to Dennis Kucinich.

OH-13: Republican Tom Ganley faces the October surprise of a former campaign volunteer alleging inappropriate behavior. His campaign says he’s still “neck and neck” against Betty Sutton.

OH-15: The Hill puts Steve Stivers ahead of incumbent Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy by 9.

OH-16: The Hill puts Jim Renacci ahead of incumbent Democrat John Boccieri by 3.

OH-18: There hasn’t been much recent polling on incumbent Democrat Zach Space’s bid to hold off Republican challenger Bob Gibbs, but no Ohio Democrat in a swing district should feel too confident this year.

OR-1: Way back in June, the campaign of GOP challenger Rob Cornilles showcased a poll showing their man trailing incumbent Democrat David Wu by 6 points. Not much polling here since then.

OR-4: Put simply, this seat isn’t supposed to be in play, but a GOP poll puts incumbent Democrat DeFazio only up 6.

OR-5: Moore Information, a pollster I am not familiar with that apparently works with Oregon Republicans, puts GOP challenger Scott Bruun ahead of Democratic incumbent Kurt Schrader by 4 points.

OK-2: Incumbent Dan Boren is almost every conservative’s favorite Democrat, but some wondered if a Republican could knock him off this year. Well, never mind that idea; Boren internals put him up by about 35.

PA-3: Mercyhurst College puts Republican Mike Kelly ahead by 7; The Hill puts him ahead by 13.

PA-4: Incumbent Jason Altmire’s internals say he’s up by a ton against GOP challenger Keith Rothkus, but every Pennsylvania Democrat will be swimming against a tide this year.

PA -7: Franklin & Marshall puts Republican Pat Meehan ahead by 3; The Hill puts him ahead by 1; Monmouth puts him ahead by 4.

PA-8: Monmouth University puts Republican Mike Fitzpatrick ahead of Patrick Murphy by 5.

PA-10: The Times Leader puts Republican Tom Marino ahead of incumbent Chris Carney by 6.

PA-11: The Times Leader puts Republican Lou Barletta ahead of embattled Paul Kanjorski by 2; Franklin & Marshall puts Barletta ahead by 7.

PA-12: In a year when Pennsylvania Republicans are thriving, Murtha’s old district continues to taunt the GOP. Democrat Mark Critz leads Tim Burns by 7.

RI-1: It’s been a good year for Republicans, but the wave hasn’t really hit Rhode Island that much: Democrat David Cicilline is ahead comfortably over Republican John Loughlin.

SC-5: Stuart Rothenberg is putting longtime incumbent John Spratt on his list of Democrats who could get washed out by the tide; in his case, by GOP challenger Mick Mulvaney. Each side’s internals show their man up narrowly.

SD-AL: Rasmussen puts Kristi Noem ahead of incumbent Stephanie Herseth Sandlin by 3.

TN-4: Incumbent Democrat Lincoln Davis is down 5 to the GOP’s Scott DesJarlais.

TN-6: According to’s Nate Silver, Republican Diane Black has only a 97 percent chance to win this open seat. She’ll have to try harder.

TN-8: The Hill puts Republican Stephen Fincher ahead by 10 in this open-seat race.

TX-17: An OnMessage, Inc. poll for Bill Flores shows him ahead by 19; a poll for Democrat Chet Edwards shows Flores ahead by 4.

TX-23: An August GOP poll showed incumbent Democrat Ciro Rodriguez trailing challenger Francisco Canseco by 6 points.

TX-27: An OnMessage Inc. poll for Republican Blake Farenthold puts him up by 8 over longtime incumbent Solomon Ortiz.

UT-2: I had wondered if Jim Matheson, a fairly conservative Democrat, might be in trouble in a GOP wave year, but a local poll puts him up 16 on Republican Morgan Philpot.

VA-2: The Hill puts Scott Rigell ahead of incumbent Democrat Glenn Nye by 6.

VA-5: Survey USA puts Republican Robert Hurt up by 11; The Hill puts him ahead by 1.

VA-9: In a year where many rural, Blue Dog Democrats have suffered, Rick Boucher is doing pretty well. SurveyUSA puts him up 10 on the GOP’s Morgan Griffith. We may see a rematch after redistricting.

VA-11: Astoundingly, it appears there’s been no poll in this just-outside-Washington district since one in March, which showed GOP challenger Keith Fimian way ahead of Democrat incumbent Gerry Connolly. These days, I see Gerry Connolly ads every night on the local news.

WA-2: This race wasn’t on the first version of this list, but a SurveyUSA poll from early September showing Republican challenger John Koster four points ahead of incumbent Democrat Rick Larsen makes it worth adding to the list.

WA-3: Survey USA puts Republican Jaime Herrera ahead by 3; The Hill puts her ahead by 2.

WA-9: In September, SurveyUSA surprised the district by showing Dick Muri within 3 of Democrat incumbent Adam Smith.

WV-1: In this open-seat race, The Hill puts Democrat Mike Oliverio ahead by 3 over Republican David McKinley.

WV-3: Spike Maynard has yet to really get traction against longtime Democrat incumbent Nick Rahall.

WI-7: The Hill puts Sean Duffy up by 9 in this open-seat race against state lawmaker Julie Lassa.

WI -8: In August, AAF found GOP challenger Reid Ribble leading Democrat incumbent Steve Kagen by 10 points.


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