House races

House races

Fimian won't rule out 2012 rematch with Rep. Connolly

Republican Keith Fimian lost by a razor-thin margin in November to Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) but told a group of Tea Party activists Tuesday that his race won Republicans at least three additional House seats across the country last month.   

Speaking at a gathering of Northern Virginia Tea Party activists, Fimian said it was House Republican whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) who credited him with drawing Democratic money to save Connolly, helping put as many as three other GOP challengers over the top.   

"Eric Cantor told me your efforts drew enough fire in the final few weeks to [gain] at least three Republican seats," Fimian told the crowd.

Fimian conceded defeat to Connolly a week after Election Day after he chose to forgo a recount. 

The Virginia Republican told The Ballot Box that he isn't ruling out another run against Connolly in two years, and wants to wait and see what redistricting brings.  

"I haven't really had time to think about it yet or talk about it with my family to a major degree, but it's wise to keep one's options open because redistricting is going to have a major impact," Fimian said. 

Depending on the way the district is reconfigured ahead of 2012, a rematch with Connolly could look even more appealing for Fimian.

"More than $2 million in about 10 days," Fimian said of the Democratic money that poured into his race against Connolly down the stretch. "The fact that they won by less than 1,000 votes after dumping that kind of firepower says a lot about the kind of campaign we ran. So it would be foolish to rule out running again."

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Rep. Bishop jokes about trading places with Alec Baldwin

New York Rep. Tim Bishop (D) joked he would happily have traded places with actor Alec Baldwin had the Long Island-native decided to make a run for Congress.

"My thought was that there would be an opening on '30 Rock,'" Bishop said, referring to the NBC comedy in which Baldwin stars. 

"And I thought maybe I could audition for that and, you know, we could trade," he said Wednesday on a conference call with reporters.

MSNBC had reported that Baldwin was considering a run against Randy Altschuler in 2012 had the Republican prevailed over Bishop. Altschuler conceded the race to Bishop earlier Wednesday. 

Asked recently about the rumors he would make a run for the House, Baldwin didn't mince words.

"No, that's bulls--t," he told The Hill.

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First 2012 election rankings released

The widely-respected Cook Political Report released its first rankings of the 2012 election cycle on Tuesday.

For the Senate, Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Jim Webb (D-Va.), Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and John Ensign (R-Nev.) are listed as toss-ups. Webb, Nelson and Ensign are also flagged as potential retirements. There has been speculation Webb won't run for a second term. Nelson is expected to face a very difficult campaign and Ensign is fighting fallout from the revelation he had an affair with a former staffer's wife.

On the House side, Reps. John Barrow (D-Ga.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) are the veterans listed as toss-ups. All four survived tough reelection climates in 2010 and will likely face a similar situation in 2012.

Of the incoming freshman class, six Republicans are listed as toss-ups: Allen West (Fla.), Robert Dold (Ill.), Bobby Schilling (Ill.), Ann Marie Buerkle (N.Y.), Lou Barletta (Pa.), and Blake Farenthold (Texas).

West won in a controversial campaign; Dold won a Dem-leaning seat; Schilling likely benefited from a strong GOP slate at the top of the ticket in Illinois; Buerkle's and Farenthold's races were so close they weren't called until a few weeks after the election; and Barletta won his seat on his third try. 

-- This post was updated at 4:36 p.m.

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Rep. Perriello hints at '12 grudge match

Virginia Rep. Tom Perriello (D) sees "opportunity" for Democrats in 2012, which could mean he's planning another run for Congress.

"Somebody has to come up with an agenda to make and build and grow things in this country. We have to say to that [dejected] person that we haven't broken faith with you," he told columnist E.J. Dionne.

In the interview, Perriello defended the Democrats' vote on a tax bill last week that permanently extended the Bush-era tax rate for those making under $250,000. The vote was considered meaningless because the Senate doesn't plan to act on the legislation.

"Why not up the game, instead of playing the same old game?" he said.

Perriello lost his reelection race against Republican state Sen. Robert Hurt by only 4 points, less than the blowout many observers expected.

The congressman hasn't ruled out making another bid, according to his spokeswoman. "There's been no decisions made yet," she said recently.

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Despite losses, DCCC promotes staffer to top job

Rep. Steve Israel (N.Y.) promoted an internal candidate to be the new executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Israel, the new DCCC chairman, announced Monday that Robby Mook would be the committee's next top staffer.

Mook led the DCCC's Independent Expenditure effort in the 2010 cycle, during which the party lost more than 60 seats and its majority. He replaces outgoing Executive Director Jon Vogel.

"Robby has the right combination of experience, political know-how and leadership savvy to help make this the shortest Republican majority in history," Israel said in a statement.

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Alec Baldwin not running for Congress

Actor Alec Baldwin is not running for Congress.

"No, that's bulls--t," he said when asked about the rumor. Baldwin was in Washington on Sunday night for the 33rd annual Kennedy Center Honors, where he introduced honoree Sir Paul McCartney.

There were reports Baldwin was considering a run at Rep. Tim Bishop's (D-N.Y.) seat in 2012. Bishop's reelection has not yet been determined.

Bishop leads Republican Randy Altschuler by a few hundred votes, but ballots are still being counted. Lawyers from both sides will be back in court Wednesday to challenge ballots.

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Rep. McNerney challenger concedes defeat

California Republican David Harmer has officially conceded defeat to Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) more than a month after Election Day. 

McNerney was declared winner of the race by the AP more than a week ago and had already pronounced himself the victor, but it wasn't until late Friday that Harmer actually phoned the Democrat to concede. 

The final margin of victory for the incumbent was more than 2,500 votes.  

Harmer, who has run for Congress three times, told a local reporter that he has no plans to run again in the future.

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Defeated Rep. Driehaus sues anti-abortion group

Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio), who lost his bid for reelection last month, is reviving a fight with the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List — this time in federal court. 

Driehaus announced Friday that he's suing the group for defamation, charging that it knowingly misled voters on his position on public funding for abortion.

During the campaign, Driehaus launched a complaint with Ohio's Board of Elections in an attempt to prevent the Susan B. Anthony List from erecting billboards claiming the Democrat cast a vote in favor of public abortion funding in supporting the healthcare law. 

The billboards never went up and Driehaus dropped the complaint with the state board after the election, but now he is moving ahead with a defamation suit. 

"A lie is a lie," attorneys for Driehaus wrote in the lawsuit, according to the Cincinnati Inquirer. "The First Amendment is not and never has been an invitation to concoct falsehoods aimed at depriving a person of his livelihood."

No formal response has been issued yet from the Susan B. Anthony List.

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Virginia Dem has little money for possible grudge match

Virginia Rep. Glenn Nye (D) isn't ruling out a rematch with Republican Scott Rigell, but he'll have to start fundraising almost from scratch in order to do it.

The first-term Democrat has just $28,749 in the bank after a tough campaign against Rigell that saw him lose his reelection bid by 10 points. On a positive note, Nye has no campaign debt, according to his latest Federal Election Commission filing.

Rigell’s post-election FEC report isn't available yet. During the 2010 campaign, the wealthy businessman drew on his personal fortune to help fund his effort.

In a November interview with The Ballot Box, Nye refused to say he would leave politics. "We're keeping everything on the table," he said. "Haven't made any decisions yet."

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