House races

House races

Poll: Dem up in NY special election

Democrats have taken a surprising lead in the open-seat race for New York's 26th district, a new poll shows.

With the special election to succeed former Rep. Chris Lee a little over two weeks away, Democrat Kathy Hochul leads the field with 35 percent of the vote, according to a new Daily Kos/SEIU poll conducted by Public Policy Polling. Republican Jane Corwin took 31 percent of the vote, while Independent candidate Jack Davis had 24 percent support.

The survey of 1,048 registered voters by the Democratic-leaning firm had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent. Earlier surveys also showed a close race in what was expected to be an easy win for Republicans. In a recent poll by Siena College, Corwin led with support from 36 percent of likely voters, Hochul was backed by 31 percent and Davis, who is running on the Tea Party line, had the support of 23 percent of respondents.

The poll was released the same day House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) traveled to Depew, N.Y., to raise money for Corwin.

Boehner was just the latest member of the GOP leadership to campaign for her. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) appeared for Corwin in Rochester last Thursday, Republican National Committee Reince Priebus campaigned for Corwin last Wednesday and Rep. Pete Sessions (Texas), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, was in the 26th district to fundraise for her at the end of April.

Meanwhile, Washington Democrats have so far kept their distance from Hochul, a strategy that appears to be working.


Dem won't seek rematch with Rep. Bachmann

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) won't face a rematch against her 2010 Democratic challenger.

Former state Sen. Tarryl Clark (D) announced Sunday she plans to run in Minnesota's 8th district against Rep. Chip Cravaack (R). The freshman Republican defeated long-time Democratic Rep. Jim Oberstar last cycle.

"I am filing to seek the Democratic nomination for Congress from the 8th District," Clark wrote on Twitter.

She added in an email to supporters Monday: "I'm running for Congress, because our middle class families need their own voice and leadership in Congress. ... We deserve leadership that won't put Big Oil and Wall Street ahead of us."

Clark told the Duluth News Tribune that she and her husband, Doug, have purchased a condominium in Duluth and will spend "a good chunk" of their time there during the campaign.

She has shown herself to be a competent fundraiser. During her challenge to Bachmann, Clark brought in more than $4.6 million.

Meanwhile, Republicans quickly labeled Clark a "political opportunist."

"Tarryl Clark has already shown Minnesota voters the kind of policies she will support in Congress - higher taxes on small businesses and more government-run healthcare," Andrea Bozek, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in a statement. "Minnesota working families rejected sending Clark to Washington once and they will do it again." 

--Updated at 10:21 a.m.


Missouri Republican Ed Martin shifts to House race instead of Senate bid

Missouri Republican Ed Martin said Monday that he'll make a run for the House next year rather than wage a bid for the GOP nomination to challenge Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).

With Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) poised to enter the Senate race, Missouri's 2nd district is expected to be an open-seat race that could also attract Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.).

Martin made the switch official in a Monday morning radio interview and rolled out a new announcement video on his campaign website.

"There's a chance now to focus on running for the U.S. House," Martin said Monday. "I'm going to run for the Congress in the 2nd district."

Martin said he anticipates a primary. Republican Ann Wagner has formed an exploratory committee and appears to poised to run for the seat as well.

The latest polling on the Senate race had Akin in a dead heat with former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman (R). Akin took 29 percent of the vote to 28 for Steelman, but Martin was polling at just 9 percent.

Carnahan, meanwhile, is looking for new territory ahead of 2012 after the congressional map approved by the Republican-led State Legislature eliminated his district. A shift into the state's 2nd district could set up a rematch with Martin, who challenged him unsuccessfully in 2010.


Boehner campaigns in NY as special election looms

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will be in upstate New York on Monday to raise money for the GOP's special-election nominee.

Boehner is set to deliver remarks at a noon event in Depew, which will raise money for Republican Jane Corwin. The Speaker is the latest member of the GOP leadership to campaign for Corwin. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) appeared for Corwin in Rochester last Thursday. And Rep. Pete Sessions (Texas), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, was in the 26th district to fundraise for her at the end of April.

Meanwhile, Washington Democrats have so far kept their distance from Kathy Hochul, the party's nominee in the May 24 special election for former Rep. Chris Lee's (R-N.Y.) seat.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a former upstate congresswoman, sent a fundraising pitch on Hochul's behalf and teamed with the pro-abortion-rights group EMILY's List to urge activists to lend their support. But she has yet to appear with Hochul at an event in the district. 

--Updated at 12:28 p.m.


Dems have money to spend as jungle primary looms in California

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn (D) has a two-to-one money advantage over her closest rival in the special election for former Rep. Jane Harman's (D) seat.

Hahn's financial edge could be crucial with less than two weeks to go before the May 17 primary vote.

The councilwoman has $237,771 banked after raising $145,275 between April 1 and April 27, according to her latest campaign finance report. She's raised a total of $419,718 for her bid.

State Secretary of State Debra Bowen (D) has $102,896 cash on hand after raising $142,129 in April, according to her report. She's brought in a total of $338,159 for her bid.

In a recent poll released by the Bowen campaign, the secretary of state was tied with Hahn at 20 percent, with the rest of the field trailing far behind.

The top-two vote-getters will advance out of the open primary to the general election on July 12. But if a candidate breaks 50 percent of the vote in the primary, he or she will win the special election outright.

--Updated at 5:23 p.m.


Krolicki won't run in Nevada special election

Nevada Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki (R) has decided against a run in the special election to fill the seat of Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nev.). 

In a statement Thursday, Krolicki said "now is not the time" to wage a bid for the House, calling the demands of an immediate campaign "unconscionable distractions during the final weeks of the Legislature."

Krolicki serves as president of the Nevada state Senate.  

In a statement, Krolicki also voiced support for the Nevada GOP lawsuit challenging Secretary of State Ross Miller's (D) decision to hold an open election.

"I firmly believe that political parties have a role in elections, and I fully support the Nevada Republican Party’s lawsuit to protect their ability to nominate the candidate of their choice," Krolicki said. "Voters rely on parties to vet candidates and put their best choice forward. Robbing voters of that knowledge, and the political parties of that process, seems shortsighted."

The decision by Miller has been widely criticized as partisan by state and national Republicans, and the free-for-all special election provides an opening to Republican Sharron Angle, who likely would have been shunned by party insiders in a closed process.

Angle, retired Navy Cmdr. Kirk Lippold and state Sen. Greg Brower are all in the race on the Republican side.

Heller was appointed by Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) to fill the seat of Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), who resigned effective May 3. Heller is set to be sworn in May 9.


Nevada GOP files legal challenge to special election format

Nevada Republicans have filed a legal challenge to Secretary of State Ross Miller's decision to open up the special election for Rep. Dean Heller's (R-Nev.) seat to all candidates.

The suit, filed in Carson City on behalf of the Nevada GOP and party treasurer David Buell, alleges that Miller misinterpreted state law by allowing a free-for-all format for the Sept. 13 special election.

"Nevada law recognizes the difference between partisan and non-partisan nomination for elections and such a recognition is in accord with the long-established party political system which has existed throughout most the history of the United States," the complaint states.

A party picking its nominee, the complaint states, plays a "crucial role in the process."

A spokeswoman for the secretary of state's office said the complaint had been received, but no further comment would be made during the ongoing legal proceedings. 

When Miller announced the format earlier this week, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee called it a "blatantly partisan ruling from Harry Reid’s political machine" that will lead to "what will surely be a long and drawn out process."

--Updated on May 9 at 5:37 p.m.


Republican Koster to run again in 2012

Washington state Republican John Koster will make another run for Congress next year, he announced Thursday. That could mean a rematch with Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), but he also hasn't ruled out a challenge to Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) or a run in another House district.

Koster narrowly lost to Larsen in 2010. The announcement on his website Thursday said that while he has not definitively ruled out challenging Cantwell in 2012, a seat in the House is "where his heart is."   

Koster cited concern over the nation's growing deficit, saying, "liberal progressives in Washington D.C. have consistently shrugged off the warnings, and the price tag is enormous debt. We must all realize that the election of 2010 was 'half time' in terms of expanding the majority in the US House, attaining the majority in the Senate, and gaining the Presidency." 

Larsen won by fewer than 7,000 votes in 2010. 

-Updated and corrected at 6:45 p.m. The original version of this post reported Koster will challenge Larsen next year, but the Republican said only that he intends to seek a seat in Congress.  


Club for Growth targets GOP win in Iowa's new 4th district

The Club for Growth signaled Thursday that it plans to play an aggressive role in the race for Iowa's revamped 4th district.

The pro-free market group announced it was backing Rep. Steve King (R) in his race against Democrat Christie Vilsack. In the statement announcing its support for the Republican — the first of a House candidate this cycle — the Club labeled Vilsack a "disaster."

"She supported ObamaCare, and we have no doubt that she would be a rubber stamp for the Washington tax-and-spend crowd," the group said. "Club members are looking forward to providing Congressman King the resources he needs in order to win in 2012."

A spokesman for the group said it planned to play an "active role" in the race. The Club also backed King in 2002, during his first run for Congress.

--Updated at 4:40 p.m.


Republican targets Tea Partier in NY special election

In a bid to stop Independent candidate Jack Davis from siphoning off votes, New York Republican Jane Corwin labeled him an ally of national Democrats in a new TV ad.

Davis, who is running on the Tea Party line in the 26th district special election, ran for Congress previously as a Democrat. In its 30-second spot, Corwin's camp says he was a "handpicked candidate" by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) to run.

With a recent poll showing Davis taking 23 percent of the vote, Republicans are worried he could be a spoiler in the May 24 vote.