• NC-07, NY-04: Two House Democrats from two very different districts announced their retirements on Wednesday: Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (NY-04) and Rep. Mike McIntyre (NC-07). Republicans targeted McIntyre in redistricting two years ago, turning a 52-47 John McCain district into one that McCain carried by a whopping 58-42 spread. But thanks to his conservative profile and exceptional political skills, McIntyre managed to hang on by just 654 votes in what was the closest House race of 2012, even as Mitt Romney matched McCain's performance with a 59-40 win of his own in the 7th.
McIntyre was preparing for a rematch with the guy who'd nearly defeated him, state Sen. David Rouzer, though recently, another Republican, New Hanover County Commissioner Woody White, had also started expressing interest in a bid. (After Wednesday's news broke, White confirmed he'd run.) Regardless of his opponent, McIntyre would have faced an incredibly difficult re-election effort, especially since Democratic turnout typically drops in midterm years.
McIntyre's fundraising in the most recent quarter was a bit soft, and there's a good chance he was staring at polls that showed he couldn't pull off another death-defying win. And given the district's demographics, this seat—the third-reddest held by a Democrat—is almost certain to flip to Republicans this fall.
McCarthy's seat, though, is likely to stay in Democratic hands. McCarthy first won office in 1996 by beating a Republican incumbent on the strength of her gun safety advocacy: Her husband was murdered and her son badly wounded in an infamous mass shooting on the Long Island Rail Road in 1993. McCarthy had handily won re-election in recent years, though she survived a bit of a scare during the GOP wave of 2010.
Last year, though, she announced that she had lung cancer, which she described as "treatable," so her decision to call it quits did not come as a major surprise. (Indeed, she cited health issues in her announcement.) And even though the 4th District actually became a bit redder after redistricting (thanks to a federal court, not vindictive political opponents), Obama still carried it by a 56-43 spread. That puts it at the outer edge of what Republicans are capable of winning, giving Democrats a strong chance to hold it.
The biggest Democratic name who could potentially succeed McCarthy is Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, who considered but ultimately declined a bid against GOP Rep. Peter King in NY-02 last cycle. Roll Call also mentions two possible Republican options: state Sen. Jack Martins and Hempstead Councilman Anthony Santino. (And if Martins were to run, that could open up a third pickup opportunity for Democrats on Long Island, since his 7th District seat went for Obama 54-45.)
McIntyre's retirement is ultimately the bigger deal, since his departure will make it harder for Democrats to retake the House. (If there's a silver lining for progressives, it's that there'll be one fewer ideological outlier in the Democratic caucus.) But Democrats will also probably find themselves expending resources to hold McCarthy's seat that they otherwise might have saved had the incumbent chosen to seek re-election, though these kinds of retirements are part of the expected ebb and flow for both parties every cycle.
As always, we'll be following all future developments in both seats closely, so stay tuned to Daily Kos Elections.
• NH-Sen: The Senate Majority PAC is spending $160,000 to air a new ad attacking Scott Brown as a carpetbagging tool of Wall Street who is "shopping for a Senate seat in New Hampshire." The spot also repeatedly refers to him as the "senator from Massachusetts." (Amusingly, it's titled "#Bqhatevwr.") Presumably SMP is trying to dissuade Brown from a bid in the Granite State—or they expect him to run and want to tarnish him early.
• NJ-Sen: State Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr., who lost a bid for Senate in 2006, says he won't challenge Democratic Sen. Cory Booker this fall. Former FBI agent Robert Turkavage says he's considering a bid, though, and two other Republicans—Assemblyman Jon Bramnick and state Sen. Michael Doherty—are also both reportedly looking at the race.
• TX-Sen: A pro-John Cornyn super PAC called Texans for a Conservative Majority is airing a new TV ad slamming Cornyn's GOP primary opponent, Rep. Steve Stockman, as an ethical miscreant. There's no word on the size of the buy, though, and in Texas, you'd better spend plenty if you want anyone to see your advertisements.
• MI-Gov: Democratic ex-Rep. Mark Schauer will participate in Michigan's public funding system for the state's Aug. 5 primary, meaning he can collect up to $1 million in matching funds but will be limited to spending $2 million through primary day. Schauer hasn't yet said whether he'll also accept public funds for the general election, though if he does, he isn't likely to face a similar spending cap there. That's because such caps are waived if an opponent self-funds over $340,000, and wealthy Republican Gov. Rick Snyder will probably do so. (He spent $6 million of his own money in 2010.)
• CA-04: Too bad: Just a day after his name first surfaced as a possible candidate to take on GOP Rep. Tom McClintock, veteran TV newsman Walt Gray says a bid for office is "not something that I can see doing".
• CA-35/31: San Bernardino County Supervisor Gary Ovitt announced earlier this week that he won't seek a third term, and while ordinarily this isn't the sort of race we'd cover at Daily Kos Elections, Ovitt's decision may have congressional implications. That's because Democratic Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod has been mentioned as a possible successor, even though she's only in her first term in the House. But unnamed sources claim she "isn't interested in another term in Congress," and for several years she's maintained a campaign account for the 2014 supervisor's race which has over $900,000 sitting in it.
If Negrete McLeod does go for the supervisor seat, that might inspire ex-Rep. Joe Baca, the fellow Democrat she defeated in 2012, to switch back to the 35th District. Baca initially sought a rematch against Negrete McLeod this cycle but later decided to run in the 31st, where several other Democrats are also hoping to unseat GOP Rep. Gary Miller. Baca's fundraising's been poor, though, and the establishment has spurned his comeback attempt, so an open (and safely blue) 35th might be more tempting. However, it would also be appealing to other Democrats in the area, too.
• IA-03: Emily Cahn takes a stroll through the field of potential candidates for Iowa's open 3rd District and finds both sides lacking. Republicans fret that the most prominent candidate to express interest so far, Secretary of State Matt Schultz, is a weak fundraiser, and other options have their own flaws. Democrats, meanwhile, may not find anyone stronger than ex-state Sen. Staci Appel, who was already running before Rep. Tom Latham announced his retirement. One alternative is state Sen. Matt McCoy, but he was indicted for attempted extortion in 2007, though a jury ultimately found him not guilty.
• PA-06: One more Democratic name is now in the mix for Pennsylvania's suddenly open 6th District: Montgomery County Commissioner Leslie Richards, who says she is "seriously considering" a bid. The DCCC confirms that they've spoken to Richards, but I wouldn't read too much into it, since the committee says they've also talked to "several other people," including businessman Mike Parrish, who's already declared. More importantly, Richards says that EMILY's List has approached her as well, though at least one other pro-choice woman is looking at a bid, state Sen. Judy Schwank.
• Special Elections: Johnny Longtorso recaps Tuesday night's action:
Iowa HD-25: Republican Stan Gustafson defeated Democrat Pam Deichmann 70-30 to hold this seat for the Republicans.All but one of the 56 precincts in Virginia's 6th Senate District—an all-important hold for Democrats—have completed their recanvass. Only Tangier Island precinct in Accomack County, a heavily Republican precinct, remains. (It voted for Coleman by 166 to 7.) The boat carrying voting equipment and printouts has been stuck because of ice! We also know of two remaining provisional ballots, also in Accomack.
Massachusetts House, 9th Norfolk: This was an easy Republican hold: Shawn Dooley pulled in 61 percent of the vote, while independent Chris Timson came in second with 21 percent. Democrat Ed McCormick brought up the rear with 18 percent.
Virginia SD-06: It's déjà vu all over again, with another Virginia election headed to a likely recount. Democrat Lynwood Lewis led Republican Wayne Coleman by 22 votes on election night, with all precincts reporting, but it dropped to 10 by Wednesday evening follow a partial recanvass.
Virginia HD-11: This ended up being a landslide: Democrat Sam Rasoul crushed Republican Octavia Johnson by a 70-30 margin.
Lewis's edge is well within the half-a-percent margin that would allow Coleman to seek a recount at state expense. However, a recount is unlikely to change matters much, since all of the jurisdictions within the district use electronic voting machines. During the December recount of the attorney general's race, the five counties with territory in this district combined to add 11 votes to Republican Mark Obenshain's total and 10 votes to Democrat Mark Herring's—and only parts of some of these counties are even contained in SD-06.
In any event, the state elections board will meet on Friday to certify the election results, at which point the trailing candidate can request a recount. (David Nir & Taniel)