By Josh Lederman and Cameron Joseph - 02/09/12 10:15 AM EST
The presidential race has consumed most of this year’s political oxygen, but a slew of testy member-versus-member House primaries is rapidly approaching.
Redistricting in states, many of which lost House seats due to slower-than-average population growth, forced members across the country to choose to retire early, find a new district or square off against a member of their own party.
First up on March 6 will be a closely watched primary between Reps. Dennis Kucinich and Marcy Kaptur, two Ohio Democrats who have been close allies in the House. Kaptur has already gone on the air with a positive spot introducing her to new voters who weren’t in her old district, but few expect the primary to stay positive for long. And Kucinich has a national following stemming from his presidential campaigns.
Two weeks later, Republican Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Don Manzullo will square off in Illinois. The newly drawn district is mostly Manzullo’s old territory, but he hasn’t faced a tough race in a long time. Kinzinger has strong Tea Party support and proved his fortitude in 2010 by defeating former Rep. Debbie Halvorson (D-Ill.).
The primary fight then heads east to Pennsylvania, where Democratic Reps. Jason Altmire and Mark Critz will go head to head. Altmire has the cash advantage, but Pennsylvania’s powerful unions despise him and are backing Critz.
Perhaps no primary race has grabbed as much attention as a quirky battle in California between Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman, two Democrats from the Los Angeles area. Berman has most of the establishment support from statewide and national Democrats, has been raising more money and has super-PAC support. But Sherman has racked up more support from local Democrats, and the district contains much more of his old territory.
Dates for the primary battles to watch:
3/6 Kaptur (D) vs. Kucinich (D) Ohio
3/20 Kinzinger (R) vs. Manzullo (R) Illinois
4/24 Altmire (D) vs. Critz (D) Pennsylvania
6/5 Hahn (D) vs. Richardson (D) California
6/5 Berman (D) vs. Sherman (D) California
6/5 Pascrell (D) vs. Rothman (D) New Jersey
8/7 Peters (D) vs. Clarke (D) Michigan
8/7 Clay (D) vs. Carnahan (D) Missouri*
8/28 Schweikert (R) vs. Quayle (R) Arizona
11/6 Boustany(R) vs. Landry (R) Louisiana**
* Carnahan could run in a different district
** Landry has not announced whether he will run. Louisiana has no congressional primary, and candidates will square off in the general election, with the possibility of a runoff on Dec. 1.