A retirement turned resignation, House race ratings, and the future of the Democratic Party in this week’s roundup! Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA-15) announced this week that he will be resigning earlier than anticipated. The six-term congressman informed the public late last year that he would not be seeking reelection, but decided this month that his last day will be coming much sooner: sometime in May. Dent’s resignation is going to generate another congressional special election in Pennsylvania this year, spicing up what was already set to be an interesting and competitive race. Pennsylvania’s congressional map was redrawn after a court case earlier this year deemed the lines unconstitutional, essentially reconfiguring the 15th district into the new 7th district.
The Cook Political Report has changed their ratings for seven different House races following new FEC reports. The filing reports show that Democrats have outspent and out-fundraised Republicans in over 60 Republican-held districts. In some key toss-up districts, such as Iowa’s 1st, Illinois’ 12th, and New Jersey’s 11th, being outspent may cost the candidate the election. Republican campaign operatives partially blame Rick Saccone’s loss to Conor Lamb in the Pennsylvania special election on Lamb’s fundraising ability, and believe that money is one of the most vital factors in the outcome of a lot of the upcoming midterm elections.
Some Republican donors were caught off-guard by Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI-01) announcement last week that he was retiring. The joint fundraising committee sponsoring Ryan transferred $32 million into the National Republican Campaign Committee last year, and without Ryan, that money is going to dwindle in this election cycle. The notable districts whose ratings have changed includes Arizona’s 8th congressional district (which has switched from Solid Republican to Likely Republican),a district that will be up for grabs since Trent Franks resigned this past December.
Shifting to the other side of the aisle, it is no secret that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-52) is wildly unpopular. In fact, most recent polling shows her approval rating at a meager 28 percent, and it seems that Democratic candidates feel pressured to denounce Pelosi in order to bolster their chances at victory. Four blue candidates this year, including Conor Lamb, Brendan Kelly (IL-12), Ken Harbaugh (OH-07) and Paul Davis (KS-02) have stated that the Democratic Party needs new leadership. There have been discussions on the Hill concerning Pelosi’s future as Leader; according to Axios, some Democratic aides claim Pelosi would not have enough votes to be elected Speaker if the Democrats flip the House this year.
As it becomes more commonplace to oppose Pelosi, one has to wonder: if Pelosi decides to step down from the leadership, which representative is primed to replace her? Many speculate that representative is Joe Crowley (D-NY-14), Queens party boss and Chair of the House Democratic Caucus. Crowley has been representing New York in Congress since 1999, and almost 20 congressmen admitted anonymously that they believe he is in a prime spot to succeed Pelosi. Crowley is younger than Pelosi (by over two decades) and has been spotted campaigning for candidates across the country this cycle. However, two other senior House Democrats, Steny Hoyer (D-MD-05) and James Clyburn (D-SC-06) would not let Crowley take the position easily. Both members have been waiting patiently behind Pelosi for their shot at leading the party and, at 78 and 77 years old respectively, this may be their last chance. We may see an immense shift within the Democratic Party in the coming years.
HUPAC-Did you know?
Did you know, that HUPAC like most PACs primarily give most of their funds to incumbents because they are more likely to win. Incumbents usually have about a 90% chance of winning re-election and only incumbents and not challengers can affect current bills and regulations. Another reason we give primarily to incumbents is giving to a challenger permanently damages a relationship with an incumbent and NAHU may end up needing something from the incumbent down the line in the next Congress. On occasion in the event of an open seat, contributing to a non incumbent can prove to be useful as it allows for building a relationship early on and it’s easier to get to know the candidate before others start coming to them with requests.
Events This Week
Rep. Steve King (IA-04): attended a breakfast with special guests, Chairman Bob Goodlatte (VA-06), Rep. Thomas Massie (KY-04) and spoke them about the need to pass a market stabilization bill.
Conference Chairman Steve Stivers (OH-15) with special guest, Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (NC-10). Attended a lunch where the majority of the discussion was around the midterm elections.
Attended a lunch for Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-2). The Congressman is a supporter of the broker MLR bill and has a long history of working with Health Insurance agents in Maryland
A reception was held for Yvette Clarke (NY-9). The Congresswomen is a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. She is a cosponsor of the broker MLR bill. Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee Frank Pallone (NJ-6) was also in attendance.
Events Next Week
Events for Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN-07), Rep. Billy Long (MO-07), Andy Harrs (MD-01) Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Blue Dogs are on the calendar.
Director of Health Underwriters Political Action Committee
National Association of Health Underwriters