By Aaron Blake - 03/07/07 06:56 PM EST
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 PryorEx-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Top Democrats are no advocates for DC statehood Ex-Sen. Landrieu joins law and lobby firm MORE (D-Ark.) and Max BaucusMax BaucusWyden unveils business tax proposal College endowments under scrutiny The chaotic fight for ObamaCare MORE (D-Mont.). In South Dakota, Sen. Tim JohnsonTim JohnsonHousing groups argue Freddie Mac's loss should spur finance reform On Wall Street, Dem shake-up puts party at crossroads Regulators fret over FOIA reform bill 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 Boustany House Republican pushes bill to 'curb regulatory overreach' Overnight Finance: GOP chairman moves to censure IRS chief | Puerto Rico deal close? | Fed eyes June rate hike | Obama's secret meeting with China's richest man Dozens of House members promote tax bills at hearing 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 UdallEnergy issues roil race for Senate Unable to ban Internet gambling, lawmakers try for moratorium Two vulnerable senators lack challengers for 2016 MORE announced in 2005 he is running for retiring Sen. Wayne Allard’s (R-Colo.) seat; comedian Al FrankenAl FrankenConsumer internet privacy: Leaving the back door unlocked Senators unveil bill to overhaul apprenticeship programs Dems pressure Obama on vow to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees 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 CollinsGOP lawmaker: 'Republicans were wrong’ to block Garland Senate passes broad spending bill with .1B in Zika funds Senators unveil bill to overhaul apprenticeship programs MORE (R).
New Hampshire, on the other hand, is still in a state of flux. Former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenSenators push to authorize 4,000 more visas for Afghans Dems discuss dropping Wasserman Schultz Senate panel approves funding boost for TSA 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 GillibrandOvernight Defense: VA chief 'deeply' regrets Disney remark; Senate fight brews over Gitmo Dems discuss dropping Wasserman Schultz Defense bill renews fight over military sexual assault 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 DurbinDick DurbinFunding boost for TSA sails through committee Senate panel passes 4.5B defense bill Reid: 'Lay off' Sanders criticism MORE (D)
Andy Martin (R)
• Sen. Tom HarkinTom HarkinDo candidates care about our health or just how much it costs? The Hill's 12:30 Report Mark Mellman: Parsing the primary processes MORE (D)
Steve Rathje (R)
• Sen. Norm Coleman (R), above
Mike Ciresi (D)
Al Franken (D)
• Sen. John Sununu (R)
Steve Marchand (D)
Katrina Swett (D)
• Sen. James InhofeJames InhofePaul blocks chemical safety bill in Senate GOP senators propose sending ISIS fighters to Gitmo Overnight Defense: VA chief 'deeply' regrets Disney remark; Senate fight brews over Gitmo 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)
• Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D)
Former Rep. Jeb Bradley (R), above
• 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