Special Elections Update

There are currently five vacant seats in the House of Representatives, four due to members of Congress joining President Trump’s administration and one due to a member leaving for a state office. We present a short update on the state of those elections: unless otherwise noted, information is courtesy of Ballotpedia.

 

Kansas 4th – April 11th

  • Kansas’s 4th Congressional district covers a southern swath of the state, including Wichita, and was represented by Republican Mike Pompeo until he became Director of the CIA. The race has come down to Republican Ron Estes, Democrat Jim Thompson, and Libertarian Chris Rockhold. Pompeo won his last election with over 60% of the vote, so the district is unlikely to swing Democratic. As the first election since Trump won the presidency, this race will likely be used to gauge the strength of the anti-Trump resistance. A stronger than anticipated showing for Thompson may signal a Democratic wave in 2018, but normal turnout would not necessarily be significant. The election is scheduled for April 11; we will update this story with the result.
  • Torchlight endorses Democratic candidate Jim Thompson; support him here.

 

Georgia 6th – April 18th

  • Georgia’s 6th district is holding an election to replace Tom Price, who left to become Secretary of Health and Human Services. The district is north of Atlanta and includes a sweep of suburbs of the city. All of the candidates will run in a single primary, or jungle primary, with the top two proceeding to a general election if nobody gets 50% of the vote. The field is large, and the most likely result at this stage is Democrat Jon Ossoff facing one of the Republican front-runners in the general election. The seat is normally safely Republican. However, President Trump won the district by unusually low numbers: he beat Hillary Clinton there by only 1.5 percentage points, while the Republican won the last four Presidential contests there by between 18 and 41 points. Trump’s narrow win and lack of popularity coupled with the fractious Republican field and strong early showing by Jon Ossoff has led both parties to spend heavily on the race.
  • Torchlight endorses Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff; support him here.

 

Montana 1st – May 25th

  • Montana only has one Congressional district, and for the last two years it was represented by Republican Ryan Zinke, who has since departed to serve as Secretary of the Interior. Competing for his seat are Republican Greg Gianforte, Democrat Rob Quist, and Libertarian Mark Wicks. Zinke didn’t win last year by as large a margin as Pompeo, and the state has not sent Democrat to the house since 1997. Nevertheless, Democrats can win in Montana: one of the state’s Senators, Jon Tester, is a Democrat, and since the state only has one district the constituencies for Senator and Representative are identical. The election is scheduled for May 25.
  • Torchlight endorses Democratic candidate Rob Quist; support him here.

 

California 34th – June 6th

  • California’s 34th district is holding the only special election to replace a Democrat, as Representative Xavier Becerra is leaving Congress to serve as the state’s Attorney General. California uses a system called a jungle primary, in which all candidates, regardless of party, compete in a single primary election. If no candidate receives 50% of the vote, the top two move on to a general election. In this case, the top two candidates were Democrats Robert Lee Ahn and Jimmy Gomez, so the seat remains safely Democratic. The general election will be held on June 6.
  • Torchlight is holding our endorsement pending a reply from the candidates to a request for an interview.

 

South Carolina 5th – June 20th

  • South Carolina’s 5th district, covering the central northern portion of the state, was represented by Republican Mick Mulvaney until he became Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Primary elections for both parties will be held May 2, with run-offs on May 16 if a candidate fails to get 50% of the vote. The general election will be held June 20. Most polling regards the district as safely Republican.
  • Torchlight is holding our endorsement pending a reply from the candidates to a request for an interview.

Header image courtesy of Ken Jones via Flikr under Creative Commons License.

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