U.S. House of Representatives: 9 Open Seats (5 R, 4 D)
Iowa 1: Rep. Bruce Braley (D) is running for Senate to replace Sen. Tom Harkin (D) creating an open seat. Braley has represented this district since 2006. Barack Obama won this district 55.9% to Romney’s 42.3% illustrating that this is a fairly Democratic district. Several individuals have shown interest in running which means we can expect to see very crowded primaries for both parties. The individuals leading the pack today are Iowa state Rep. Pat Murphy (D) who was Speaker of the legislature from 2007 to 2011 (Murphy announced in Feb.), former television anchor and state Senator Liz Mathis (D), businessman Rod Blum (R) who narrowly lost the primary for this seat last year with 47% of the vote, and former Cedar Rapids Mayor Paul Pate (R) who has the best name ID out of all the candidates. The filing deadline is not until next spring and of all the open House seats, this one is the least partisan, but as of today, D’s still have an advantage.
Georgia 10: Rep. Paul Broun (R) is running for Senate to replace Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) creating an open seat. This seat is very conservative and Broun has represented the district since 2006. Mitt Romney won this seat with 62.5% of the vote in 2012, but a third of all residents are minorities, and those demographics are expected to grow in coming years so you can expect to see the dynamics of this district evolve. Two individuals have announced their intentions to run – state Rep. Donna Sheldon (R), the chairwoman of the GOP Caucus, and Jody Hice (R), radio host and Southern Baptist pastor. This seat should easily stay in Republican hands and most of the action will be seen in the primary.
West Virginia 2: Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) is running for Senate to replace Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D) creating an open seat. Capito has represented this conservative district since 2000 and Mitt Romney won the district with 60% of the vote. There are a number of candidates from both parties interested in this seat. Although the district leans Republican, it is not out of the question for a strong Democrat to make this competitive. The top contenders so far are Nick Casey (D), former state Democratic Chair, state Sen. Eric Wells (D) -his wife is Sec. of State Natalie Tennant who has been mentioned to run for Senate- and state Sen. Herb Snyder (D). On the Republican side, numerous names have been mentioned but the names at the top are House Minority Leader Tim Armstead (R), Senate Minority Leader Mike Hall (R), former state Republican Party Chairman Mike Stuart (R) and state Delegates Eric Nelson (R), Patrick Lane (R) and Steve Harrison (R).
Louisiana 6: Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) recently announced he is running for the Senate in a challenge to current Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu, creating an open seat in Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District. Cassidy has represented this very Republican district since 2008. President Barack Obama lost this district by 34 points in 2012, making this a very attractive seat for local conservatives. The district includes Baton Rouge and surrounding suburbs. Most of the contenders for the seat are state representatives or state senators, but also considering the seat is former Rep. Jeff Landry (R) who lost in a member vs. member election last year. The only catch is that he does not technically live in the district.
Georgia 1: Another Congressman from the Georgia Delegation, Rep. Jack Kingston (R), is also running for Chambliss’ open seat, creating another open seat. Kingston has served in the 1st District since 1993. The district leans Republican, and voted for Romney with 56% of the vote in 2012. There are currently three candidates, state Sen. Buddy Carter (R), Darwin Carter (R), a businessman who worked in President Reagan’s administration, and David Schwarz (R), a Republican consultant and former Kingston staffer.
Georgia 11: Rep. Phil Gingrey (R) is also running for Saxby Chambliss’ (R) open senate seat. Gingrey has served in the 11th District since 2003. With Romney and Gingrey both winning over 60% of the vote in this district in 2012, it is safe to say this is a red seat. Several Republicans have already announced their candidacy for the open seat, including businesswoman Tricia Pridmeore (R) who previously worked in Gov. Nathan Deal’s administration, former House Rep. and federal prosecutor Bob Barr (R), state Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R) and state House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey (R).
Hawaii 1: For the past few months, it was unclear if Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) would challenger Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) or Sen. Brian Schatz (D) in the 2014 elections. Abercrombie did not follow Sen. Inouye’s dying wish to appoint Hanabusa to the Senate, and instead chose his Lieutenant Governor, Schatz. Hanabusa has decided to challenge Schatz in the Democratic Primary, officially creating an open seat in Hawaii’s 1st District. The district is extremely Democratic and voted overwhelmingly for Obama in 2012. A crowded Democratic primary is expected to replace Hanabusa, but right now there is only one declared candidate, Councilman Stanley Chang (D).
Michigan 14: Rep. Gary Peters (D) is running for Senate to replace retiring Sen. Carl Levin (D) creating an open seat in Michigan’s congressional delegation. The 14th District leans far to the left. President Obama won the district with over 80% of the vote last year with black voters making up just under 60% of the district’s constituents. Several Democrats have said they are interested in the race including former U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke (D) and state Rep. Rudy Hobbs (D) – both have officially declared. One Republican has been mentioned, the 2010 and 2012 Republican nominee, businessman, and tea party activist John Hauler (R).
Pennsylvania 13: Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D) is challenging Gov. Tom Corbett (R) for the governor’s mansion in 2014. This is the only open seat in the House in which the incumbent member is not running for the U.S. Senate. Schwartz was first elected to this district that covers the northern corner of Philadelphia in 2004. This is a left leaning district that President Obama won in 2012 with 66% of the vote. Several candidates are interested in the Democratic Primary including state Rep. Brendan Boyle (D), physician and activist Valerie Arkoosh (D), state Sen. Daylin Leach (D) and former U.S. Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky (D). No candidates have announced on the Republican side.
Click here for 2014 Open Seat Outlook: Senate