Welcome to the third edition of our daily DDHQ House Elections Updates. I’m your host, G. Elliott Morris. Questions, comments, concerns? Feel free to pass along via email. There are 432 days until the 2018 midterm elections. Democrats are up in the generic ballot by 8% and we rate 196 seats as Safe, Likely or Lean Democratic. Check our full U.S. House forecast here and read our full list of ratings here.
Here’s what happened in elections to the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday, August 30th, 2017.
SC-01: Bid to primary Mark Sanford (R) gets underway
State Rep. Katie Arrington kicked off her primary bid against GOP Rep. Mark Sanford. Sanford is South Carolina’s former governor who last year managed to win a primary challenge from state Rep. Jenny Horne by twelve points, but there are a few signs that Arrington will have more help than Horne. Aside from endorsements from state and local officials, it’s possible that President Trump’s crusade against Republicans who disagree with him, like Senators Jeff Flake (AZ) and Dean Heller (NV) could expand to House primaries. Sanford is already embattled with scandals, including going to Argentina to visit his mistress, so a Arrington may have a lot of ammo to throw Sanford’s way. Sanford won the district 61 to 39 against Democrat Dimitri Cherny last year. Trump ran behind Sanford, earning just 47% of the vote. We rate SC-01 as Likely Republican, but the primary battle here is worth watching.
IA-04: Democratic challengers make pro-choice waves
Democratic challengers J.D. Scholten, a former baseball player, and Councilwoman Leann Jacobsen made headlines Wednesday for taking pro-choice stances in their bid to challenge Republican Rep. Steve King next November. This distinction is at the center of an abortion battle among Democratic operatives right now who previously said they’d allow pro-life candidates to run for office with a “D” next to their name. However, it is unclear how wise this strategy is in a district that voted 64% for Donald Trump and elected Rep. King with 61%. As it is still very early in the 2018 game, DDHQ does not see this Likely Republican district swaying any time soon.
- New North Carolina State House and Senate maps were announced yesterday, but plaintiffs still see unfairness in the plan and want court to block the Legislature’s proposal and draw its own boundaries.
- In other redistricting news, a brief was filed in the Gill v. Whitford SCOTUS partisan redistricting case that proposes a few simple statistical tests for ensuring that district plans don’t favor one party over the other. The case is expected to be heard in October and could overturn the congressional districts of Wisconsin, as well as set court precedent for changing district bounds elsewhere.