Democrats lead in Senate recruiting; Republicans out front in House races

Four months after the 2006 election, Senate Democrats appear largely set on candidates for their top pickup opportunities, while Republicans likely will need to wait to determine theirs.

In the House, Republicans eager to regain several conservative House districts have led the early candidates, while few Democrats are getting in at this point.

In all, more than a dozen major House candidates and six major Senate candidates are signed up for 2008, 20 months before the general election.

Five major Democratic Senate candidates have declared they will run in Colorado, Minnesota and New Hampshire — three of the top pickup opportunities in a Senate year that, on its face, appears to favor Democrats — and Rep. Tom Allen (D) is expected to fill a fourth in Maine.

Republicans, meanwhile, appear to be playing the waiting game in three of their top pickup states. Only former Rep. Scott McInnis (R-Colo.) is carrying the party banner in a major Senate contest.

In Arkansas and Montana, former Gov. Mike Huckabee and Rep. Denny Rehberg, respectively, aren’t declaring early and appear to have the right of first refusal against Sens. Mark PryorMark Lunsford PryorMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm MORE (D-Ark.) and Max BaucusMax Sieben Baucus2020 Dems pose a big dilemma for Schumer Steady American leadership is key to success with China and Korea Orrin Hatch, ‘a tough old bird,’ got a lot done in the Senate MORE (D-Mont.). In South Dakota, Sen. Tim JohnsonTimothy (Tim) Peter JohnsonCourt ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Bank lobbyists counting down to Shelby’s exit Former GOP senator endorses Clinton after Orlando shooting MORE’s (D) illness has slowed Republican recruitment efforts, and Gov. Mike Rounds (R) appears to hold a similar position to that of Huckabee and Rehberg.

No Republicans have declared in what is arguably the GOP’s top pickup state: Louisiana. Rep. Charles BoustanyCharles William BoustanyDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Americans worried about retirement should look to employee ownership Top Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns MORE Jr. this week opted out of a bid; Rep. Richard Baker and Secretary of State Jay Dardenne are the top potential candidates. A high-profile 2007 gubernatorial race could discourage early Senate activity, however, and both Baker and Dardenne have indicated they are prepared to wait.

Among Democrats declaring early: Rep. Mark UdallMark Emery UdallDemocratic primary could upend bid for Colorado seat Picking 2018 candidates pits McConnell vs. GOP groups Gorsuch's critics, running out of arguments, falsely scream 'sexist' MORE announced in 2005 he is running for retiring Sen. Wayne Allard’s (R-Colo.) seat; comedian Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenShould the Rob Porter outcome set the standard? Grassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees Sen. Gillibrand, eyeing 2020 bid, rankles some Democrats MORE and attorney Mike Ciresi recently announced they would run against Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.); and Portsmouth, N.H., Mayor Steve Marchand and former congressional candidate Katrina Swett are running against Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.).

Colorado appears to be Allard’s state, and Franken and Ciresi look to be the top two contenders for the Minnesota nomination. Democrats also likely have their candidate in Maine, where Allen, who represents half the state in the House, has given nearly every indication he plans to challenge Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Tech: Judge blocks AT&T request for DOJ communications | Facebook VP apologizes for tweets about Mueller probe | Tech wants Treasury to fight EU tax proposal Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand FCC to officially rescind net neutrality rules on Thursday MORE (R).

New Hampshire, on the other hand, is still in a state of flux. Former Gov. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenOvernight Defense: VA chief won't resign | Dem wants probe into VA hacking claim | Trump official denies plan for 'bloody nose' N. Korea strike | General '100 percent' confident in US missile defense Trump official denies US planning 'bloody nose' strike on North Korea House Oversight Committee opens probe into sexual abuse of gymnasts MORE (D) could clear the field but is mum on her prospects.

In the House, Republicans are lining up against freshman incumbents including Reps. Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.), Nancy Boyda (D-Kan.), Tim Walz (D-Minn.) and Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), but have been slow to officially jump into some of the conservative districts lost in 2006 due to Republican scandals.

Of the six districts most touched by scandal in 2006 — Reps. Jerry McNerney’s (D-Calif.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandAmerican women will decide who wins and loses in 2018 elections Dems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee Calls mount from Dems to give platform to Trump accusers  MORE’s (D-N.Y.), Zack Space’s (D-Ohio), Chris Carney’s (D-Pa.), Nick Lampson’s (D-Texas) and Mahoney’s — only Mahoney has drawn a challenger thus far.

His 2006 opponent, former state Rep. Joe Negron, turned down a bid, but state Rep. Gayle Harrell (R) and attorney Tom Rooney have declared for the seat, and more contenders could be on the way.

The other districts have drawn interest but no official candidates at this point.

House Democrats, now on the defensive after having picked up 30 seats in November, have only a pair of high-profile candidates — both 2006 repeats — in top Republican-held districts: Charlie Brown has officially filed to run against Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.) and Larry Kissell has said he will challenge Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.).

Republicans have repeat candidates in former Reps. Jim Ryun (R-Kan.) and Jeb Bradley (R-N.H.), who will try to regain seats they lost in 2006. Ryun could face a primary challenge from state treasurer Lynn Jenkins.

GOPers are also flooding the June special election in former Rep. Charles Norwood’s (R-Ga.) district. Norwood died last month.


Official Senate candidates:

Colorado — Open Seat
• Sen. Wayne Allard (R), retiring
Former Rep. Scott McInnis (R)
Rep. Mark Udall (D), below
• Sen. Larry Craig (R)
Robert Vasquez (R)

• Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinAmerica’s waning commitment to the promise of the First Amendment Senate rejects Trump immigration plan What to watch for in the Senate immigration votes MORE (D)
Andy Martin (R)

• Sen. Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinTrump should require federal contractors to follow the law Orrin Hatch, ‘a tough old bird,’ got a lot done in the Senate Democrats are all talk when it comes to DC statehood MORE (D)
Steve Rathje (R)
• Sen. Norm Coleman (R), above
Mike Ciresi (D)
Al Franken (D)

New Hampshire
• Sen. John Sununu (R)
Steve Marchand (D)
Katrina Swett (D)

• Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeOvernight Defense: First Gitmo transfer under Trump could happen 'soon' | White House says Trump has confidence in VA chief | Russia concedes 'dozens' of civilians injured in Syria clash Pentagon budget euphoria could be short-lived House passes deal to end shutdown MORE (R)
Stephen Wallace (R)

• Sen. Gordon Smith (R)
Ty Pettit (D)

Official House candidates:

• Rep. John Doolittle (R)
Charlie Brown (D)

• Rep. Ric Keller (R)
Todd Long (R)

• Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R)
Bill Mitchell (D)

• Rep. Dave Weldon (R)
Bob Bowman (D)

•  Rep. Tim Mahoney (D)
Gayle Harrell (R)
Tom Rooney (R)
Hal Valeche (R)
Georgia-10 — Open Seat
(Special election June 19 for seat held by the late Rep. Charlie Norwood [R] )
Bill Greene (R)
Terry Holley (D)
Ralph Hudgens (R)
Jim Whitehead (R)

• Rep. Nancy Boyda (D)
Former Rep. Jim Ryun (R)

• Rep. Tim Walz (D)
Dick Day (R)
Mark Meyer (R)
New Hampshire-1
• Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D)
Former Rep. Jeb Bradley (R), above

North Carolina-8
• Rep. Robin Hayes (R)
Larry Kissell (D)

• Rep. Jason Altmire (D)
Ron Francis (R)

• Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D)
Jim McGrody (R)


• -  incumbent; may not have declared candidacy