Money beginning to fill House campaign coffers

Money beginning to fill House campaign coffers

By Hastings Wyman –

There are 435 US House members. 238 R – 193 D. There are four vacancies, two in the South: Georgia 6, which could go either way, and South Carolina 5, which will very likely stay Republican.

To win control of the House next year, Democrats need to gain 25 seats. There are, at this point, ten districts in the South that look like they could be competitive in 2018. Eight are held by Republicans (including Georgia 6) and two by Democrats. One of the GOP seats, Florida 27, is open, giving Democrats a better than usual shot. Thus, Democrats have more opportunities than Republicans to gain seats in the South next year.

The 1st Quarter FEC finance reports show the amount the candidate raised in the first three months of this year, including loans and transfers, and the amount of cash-on-hand as of March 31. A number of challengers who have announced did not officially enter the race in time to file a financial report.

Florida 7 (Orlando, etc.) – Freshman Stephanie Murphy (D) raised $286,000 in the 1st Quarter and had $257,000 cash-on-hand. The first Vietnamese-American woman elected to Congress, she defeated incumbent John Mica (R) last year with 51% of the vote.

Florida 13 (St. Petersburg, etc.) – Charlie Crist (D) raised $720,000 in the 1st Quarter and had $672,000 on hand. He defeated US Rep. David Jolly (R) by 52% to 48% last year. Jolly is contemplating a rematch and has appeared frequently on television shows criticizing President Trump.

Florida 18 (Palm Beach, etc.) – Freshman Brian Mast (R) raised $429,000, with $410,000 cash on hand. He won an open seat vacated by Patrick Murphy (D) by 53% to his opponent’s 41%. Moreover, Trump carried the district by nine points. Democrats had not targeted this seat, but after Mast voted for Trump’s “repeal and replace” healthcare proposal, the DCCC began to attack him.

Florida 26 (Miami-Dade, etc.) – Carlos Curbelo (R) raised $614,000 and ended the quarter with $605,000 on hand. He won his seat with 53% last year, but since Hillary Clinton carried the district by 15 points, he is a major Democratic target next year.

Florida 27 (Miami, etc.) – Open; Incumbent Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R), who is retiring, won with 55%, her lowest percentage in decades, and Trump lost the district by 20 points. So look for a battle royal, with Democrats making a major play here.

Georgia 6 (Atlanta suburbs) – No matter who wins this hotly contested, previously Republican, open seat on June 20, Jon Ossoff (D) or Karen Handel (R), the margin is likely to be narrow and the opposition party will target it.

Texas 7 (Houston, etc.) – John Culberson (R) raised $133,000 in the 1st Quarter and had $132,000 on hand by March 31. He has drawn several primary challengers, including healthcare executive David Balat, who raised $61,000 and had $53,000 on hand. Six Democrats have announced to challenge Culberson. He won reelection last year with 56%, but Clinton carried the district by 1.4%.

Texas 23 (San Antonio, etc.) – Will Hurd (R) raised $510,000 and had $500,000 on hand. He won reelection last year narrowly – 48% to 47% – but Clinton carried the district by 4 points. Hurd is one of the Democrats’ top five targets and they already have two paid staffers in the district. So far, no opponent has officially filed.

Texas 32 (Dallas, etc.) – Pete Sessions (R) raised $304,000 and had $609,000 on hand. He won by 61% last year, although Clinton carried his district by 2 points. This does not suggest too much vulnerability for Sessions. However, at least two prominent Democrats have announced, Ed Meier, businessman and former State Department official, and Colin Allred, civil rights lawyer, former NFL player, and a policy adviser for the Clinton campaign.

Virginia 10 (Fairfax County, etc.) – Barbara Comstock (R) raised $507,000 and had $429,000 on hand. She carried her district 53% to 47% last year, but Clinton carried it over Trump by ten points. This diverse, politically aware district right outside of Washington has produced a plethora of Democratic challengers to Comstock. At least five have announced: Former Fairfax teachers union head Kimberly Adams; Army veteran Daniel Helmer; former candidate Julien Modica; former Obama Administration official Lindsey Davis Stover; and state Sen. Jennifer Wexton. Helmer has raised $121,000, with $117,000 on hand, and Modica reported $548,000 on hand from his previous campaigns. Others are considering the race, including First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe.