House races

House races

Rep. Donnelly says redistricting has him thinking about 2012 plans

Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), one of the few centrist Democrats who survived last November's midterm elections, said Thursday that redistricting might very well change his 2012 plans.

Donnelly suggested a run for governor in 2012 might be a more attractive option should his congressional district be redrawn to include more Republican territory, according to the AP.  

Republicans control the Indiana state legislature and will largely control this year's redraw. Even though the size of the state's congressional delegation will remain unchanged, Republicans will likely look to make marginally Republican districts safer bets for the party.

That, along with the likelihood that Donnelly would once again be a top GOP target in 2012, could have him leaning toward a statewide run. 

Donnelly held off Republican Jackie Walorski to keep his seat in 2010 and was likely aided by the presence of a Libertarian candidate on the ballot who garnered about 5 percent of the vote.  

Democrats in the state have been looking for a top-tier candidate to run for governor in 2012 after former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) passed on the race. Former Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.) also said he wouldn't get in the race to succeed Gov. Mitch Daniels (R). 

Among Republicans, many observers think Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) is more likely than not to jump in the race for governor now that Bayh is out. Pence is also a rumored Republican presidential hopeful in 2012 and is expected to make a final decision on his plans as early as the end of the month.  


Ex-Reps. Stupak and Inglis to join Harvard

Former Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak (D) and former South Carolina Rep. Bob Inglis (R) are set to reunite after leaving Congress in January.

The nine-term Democrat and six-term Republican will join Harvard University's Institute of Politics as resident fellows this spring.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the former members will be among a half-dozen fellows who meet with students, participate in activities with the university community and lead weekly study groups.

Stupak announced his retirement in April 2010 after playing a central role in the healthcare reform debate. His socially conservative district was subsequently won by Republican Dan Benishek.

Inglis was defeated in a primary by Trey Gowdy after telling his constituents to "turn Glenn Beck off." He subsequently emerged as a prominent critic of the GOP.


Colorado Dem rethinks some public events after Arizona shooting

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) is mulling whether or not he should continue with a series of public meetings billed as "Government in the Grocery" events. 

In light of Saturday's shooting in Arizona that killed six people and left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in critical condition after being shot in the head, a spokeswoman for Perlmutter said the congressman is weighing changes to the constituent meetings he has held in grocery stores in his district since 2006. 

"We are going to be talking with law enforcement, with grocery stores in our district and with our staff just to evaluate the program in the coming days and determine how to move forward," Perlmutter spokeswoman Leslie Oliver told Colorado's KUNC Radio

Oliver said it has yet to be decided whether two upcoming "Government in the Grocery" events will take place.

Saturday's shooting occurred outside a Safeway in Tucson at an event billed by Giffords as "Congress on Your Corner."


Georgia Democrat hints at House grudge match

Georgia Democrat Jim Marshall left the door open to a return to politics when thanking supporters in Macon Thursday.

The former four-term congressman lost his seat to Republican Austin Scott in a surprise upset in November.

Having left Congress, Marshall is set to teach a course on national security at Princeton University, but noted he's still looking for other ways to serve.

"I don't plan on stopping my service, but I don't know what that service will be," he told some 200 supporters who turned out for the event. 

Marshall said he hasn't analyzed his loss to Scott and is instead focusing on his future.

"It's sort of wide open," said Marshall, according to the Macon Telegraph. "I don’t know if I will or I won't run again — I won't preclude it. (After losing) I didn't go through a lot of what-ifs. It was just the national mood and the local mood. I'm just moving on from here."

Marshall lost to Scott by six points in November. In past cycles, the Democrat had defeated his opponents by double-digit margins.


Gov. Rendell: Dems 'scared' to talk healthcare in 2010

Democrats received an electoral drubbing in November because they lacked the courage to defend their healthcare reform legislation, according to Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D).

Democrats rarely mentioned the legislation on the campaign trail. Even popular provisions, such as one that required members of Congress to buy the same health insurance available to other Americans, weren't widely talked about.

Speaking to Democrats in Omaha on Wednesday, Rendell said members should have been proud of their votes for the bill.

"We Democrats have become a party that is scared to talk about what we believe in," he said, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

"It's time to be bold again. We lost in November being scared of our shadows," said Rendell, who wraps up his second term and will leave office later this month.

Many strategists expect much of the 2012 campaign to revolve around the battle to implement or repeal the healthcare bill passed in March of last year.


Democrat to challenge Rep. McIntyre from the left

A North Carolina Democratic activist is set to challenge Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) from the left in 2012.

Citing McIntyre's centrist voting record and opposition to the healthcare law, Democrat Del Pietro announced the primary challenge Wednesday. 

"Democrats are just furious with McIntyre and I really think this is going to be his last term," said Pietro, who accused McIntyre of abandoning the core principles of his party. "A lot of Democrats in this state are furious with the Blue Dogs in general, so I think we can get the base fired up."

McIntyre, who survived a challenge from Republican Ilario Pantano in 2010, ran to the right and emphasized his independence from then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democratic leadership. 

One of just a small handful of Blue Dog Dems who survived the midterms, McIntyre doesn't appear worried about his left flank. He was one of 20 Democrats to vote against Pelosi on the House floor Wednesday. 

He is also a likely "yes" vote on healthcare repeal when the Republican measure comes to the floor next week. McIntyre has previously said he favors a full repeal of the law. 

A spokesman for McIntyre did not respond to a request for comment on Pietro's entry into the race.

Pietro, a former pharmaceutical sales rep and current business counselor, describes himself as "progressive on some issues, but conservative on others," particularly with regard to terrorism and military matters. 

He also said he's confident that he can raise the money needed to take actually pose a challenge to McIntyre. Pietro said he intends to lean on Democratic small donors nationally who want "a true Democrat in office."  

The political newcomer's background is far from problem-free, though, and he's trying to preempt the negative press by fessing up to two previous drunk-driving arrests and a bankruptcy filing two years ago.

Pietro was found not guilty in one case, while another was thrown out by a judge.   

Pietro told the Wilmington Star News, “I just made a mistake and I accept responsibility for it, and I've moved on since then.”

-Updated at 1:20 p.m.