By Cristina Marcos - 03/13/16 09:00 AM EDT
A slate of House primaries on Tuesday in Ohio and Illinois will put to the nation’s anti-establishment mood to the test.
Voters in the four states that have conducted House primaries so far -- Texas, Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi -- opted to keep incumbent lawmakers over a variety of challengers.
The odds favor the incumbents facing primary challenges this week as well, thanks to higher name recognition and fundraising advantages.
And in Ohio, voters will choose a successor to former Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerRyan has little margin for error in Speaker vote Top Lobbyists 2016: Hired Guns The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE in a crowded 15-way GOP primary.
Here are five House races to watch on Tuesday for possible upsets.
Ohio’s 8th District
BoehnerJohn BoehnerRyan has little margin for error in Speaker vote Top Lobbyists 2016: Hired Guns The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE’s departure after a quarter-century in the House has sparked a free-for-all in the Republican primary to replace him. Whoever emerges as the victor in Tuesday’s GOP primary is expected to win the general special election on June 7 to serve the rest of Boehner’s term through the end of this year. The former Speaker, who resigned last year following a conservative revolt, has declined to endorse any candidate.
Most of the 15 Republican candidates have never held elected office and are all presenting themselves as D.C. outsiders. Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus that pushed Boehner out, has endorsed businessman Warren Davidson. The Club for Growth’s political arm has also spent more than $1 million on Davidson’s behalf.
State Rep. Tim Derickson, meanwhile, is backed by the Washington-based Right Way Initiative. Derickson, a third-generation dairy farmer, stars in what may be the most notable television ad of the primary in which he shovels cow manure that’s supposed to be a metaphor for what’s delivered by “Washington politicians.” “I’m fed up with their bull—-t!” he says at the end.
State Sen. Bill Beagle, another of the most prominent and best-funded candidates in the race, has been endorsed by defense hawk Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio). J.D. Winteregg, who launched a long-shot bid in 2014 when Boehner was still Speaker, is in the running again.
Ohio’s 14th District
Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio), who succeeded GOP centrist Rep. Steve LaTourette in 2013, faces a rematch challenge to his right from former state Rep. Matt Lynch. Joyce’s 2014 challenger has been attacking his votes in support of the omnibus spending package at the end of last year and raising the debt limit.
Lynch also points to Joyce’s 45 percent rating from Heritage Action, an influential conservative group, compared to the 63 percent average among House Republicans. Nonetheless, Joyce handily defeated Lynch two years ago by a 10-point margin. And Joyce has vastly outspent Lynch this cycle again. According to the most recent campaign finance disclosure reports, Joyce had raised more than $1 million compared to less than $200,000 for Lynch.
Illinois’s 15th District
Ten-term Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) is facing his most significant primary challenge for reelection in his career since 2002. State Sen. Kyle McCarter, who is backed by the Club for Growth, argues that Shimkus isn’t conservative enough, citing his vote for the omnibus spending package in December. McCarter also argues Shimkus has simply been in Congress too long after breaking an initial term limit pledge to only serve six terms.
The American Action Network, which is affiliated with GOP establishment types, has spent $200,000 on Shimkus’s behalf. Shimkus retains a massive fundraising edge: He raised nearly $2 million, according to the most recent disclosure, over less than $300,000 raised by McCarter’s campaign committee.
Illinois’s 1st District
Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) is a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus and a formidable presence in Chicago politics after winning reelection repeatedly since his first victory in 1992. Chicago Alderman Howard Brookins previously endorsed Rush in his 2000 primary against then-state Sen. Barack ObamaBarack ObamaPutin denies 2016 meddling: US is no 'banana republic' Black turnout key to House fight In this economy, Latinos are most frequent victims of wage theft MORE.
But times have changed. Brookins is now running against him. He tried to push Rush off the primary ballot by claiming the incumbent hadn’t collected enough petition signatures to get on the ballot. And in a break from the tradition of endorsing incumbents, Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan is supporting Brookins.
O. Patrick Brutus, coordinator of economic development in Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development, will also be on the Democratic primary ballot.
Illinois’s 10th District
The incumbent representing this district, centrist Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), is uncontested in the GOP primary. But the swing district will be one the year’s most closely watched races in the general election. Former Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider, who previously unseated Dold in 2012 and lost in a rematch last cycle, is the favorite to face Dold again in November. But first, he has to win the Democratic primary against Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering.
Rotering has secured multiple high-profile endorsements from Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinGreat Lakes senators seek boost for maritime system Wikileaks: Durbin pushed unknown Warren for Obama bank regulator The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Ill.), the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat, as well as the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune. Both Schneider and Rotering have demonstrated strong fundraising abilities. As of Feb. 24, Schneider had raised about $1.8 million while Rotering raked in about $1.1 million.