House Democrats running for Senate back debt-ceiling increase

Most House Democrats who might run for the Senate next year voted Monday night for the debt-ceiling increase that President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other congressional leaders crafted.

Reps. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah), both members of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, voted to support the deal. Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) also voted for the deal.

Matheson and Donnelly have similar political motivations at this point, including the fear that redistricting will push them from the House, and an opportunity for the Senate created by Tea Party challenges to popular long-term Republican senators in their states.

Donnelly decided to run for the Senate after Republicans made his already-marginal district more conservative in the redistricting process last spring and it became clear that Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) would face a primary challenge from Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

Matheson's very conservative district could become even more conservative if the state's legislative Republicans decide to target him. This, and a likely challenge to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) from Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), have led to him consider a run for the Senate.

Hatch has said he will oppose the debt deal, as Chaffetz did Monday night.

Lugar's spokesman told the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette Monday that he would support it. Sources from Mourdock's campaign told The Hill that, as of the time of the vote, they were "still reviewing the legislation."

Berkley will likely face Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who was appointed to the Senate earlier this year after former Sen. John Ensign's (R-Nev.) resignation. Heller will vote against the debt increase, according to The Las Vegas Sun's Jon Ralston.

Other Democrats who are or may be running for Senate that supported the bill include Reps. Martin Heinrich (N.M.), Colleen Hanabusa (Hawaii), and Mazie Hirono (Hawaii).

One Democrat eyeing a Senate run opposed the bill, however. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) voted against the bill from the left. She might decide to run for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.).


This story was updated at 11:58am to include Heller's position.