On the Democratic side, Sherrill, who was sitting on a $822,000 war-chest at the end of last year, faces businesswoman Tamara Harris, who had $448,000 in the bank as of Sept. 30 but had supplemented her stash with some $300,000 in personal money. Sherrill also has the backing of all four Democratic Party chairs in the district, a very big deal in a state where party machines are still powerful. (Thanks to this support, Sherrill will appear in a separate column on the primary ballot along with other party endorsees.) It's therefore unlikely that other credible Democrats will decide to run in the June primary.
A few Republicans did express interest in running in the hours after Frelinghuysen called it quits. State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio and Assemblyman Anthony Bucco both said they were considering, while Assemblyman Jay Webber put out a statement on Frelinghuysen's retirement that concluded, "Anything that comes next should wait another day." Insider NJ's Max Pizarro also writes that sources close to Webber say he is indeed thinking about running. Politico's Matt Friedman adds that it's unlikely that Webber and Pennacchio, who represent the same territory in the legislature, will both get in.
But wait, there's more! Insider NJ adds that state Sen. Kristin Corrado is privately considering, while "[p]oweful GOP party members" are trying to recruit Morris County Freeholder Christine Myers, who was recently appointed to the U.S. Small Business Administration, though it's unclear how interested she is. The conservative blog Save Jersey also says that businessman Joe Caruso, whom they describe as well-connected and a good fundraiser, is also thinking it over. Multiple media outlets also mentioned tax lawyer Rosemary Becchi, who served as a staffer for the state Senate Finance Committee.
Click here for our chart rounding up all Senate fundraising numbers. As per usual, we'll have a chart of House numbers after the reporting deadline, which is Jan. 31.
● TX-Sen: Ted Cruz (R-inc): $1.9 million raised, $7.3 million cash-on-hand; Beto O'Rourke (D): $2.4 million raised, $4.6 million cash-on-hand
● MN-Sen-B: Rep. Tom Emmer has endorsed state Sen. Karin Housley, who still has the GOP primary to herself in the race to take on Democratic Sen. Tina Smith in this year's special election.
● ND-Sen: Businessman Gary Emineth, a former state GOP chair who is close to Rep. Kevin Cramer, expressed interest in taking on Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp earlier this month. The conservative state blog Say Anything now reports that Emineth has decided to run, and an unnamed source close to him says his "target date for a formal announcement is sometime during the first week of February." If Emineth gets in, he'll face state Sen. Tom Campbell, a wealthy potato farmer who has been airing ads for months, in the June primary.
● OH-Sen: On Monday, Sen. Rob Portman endorsed Rep. Jim Renacci's GOP primary bid to take on Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown. State Treasurer Josh Mandel, who pulled the plug on his campaign in a huge surprise earlier this month, also backed Renacci. The congressman faces wealthy businessman Mike Gibbons in the May primary: Gibbons has pledged to use $5 million of his own money, but he has little institutional support.
● PA-Sen: GOP Rep. Lou Barletta took a beating last week when CNN revealed that he'd given interviews to a variety of extremist publications, one of which calls the Holocaust a hoax. Now Pennsylvania Republicans are also piling on, albeit for different reasons. (Why should they be bothered by a little light Holocaust denial?) According to an email exchange obtained by the Washington Examiner's David Drucker, two Republican state representatives, Mark Mustio and John Taylor, both recently complained about Barletta's extreme hostility toward immigrants, fretting that he could hurt Republicans down-ballot with his Trump-esque views.
As Drucker notes, both Mustio and Taylor have endorsed fellow state Rep. Jim Christiana, whose chances of winning the GOP's Senate nomination are very slim, but Drucker says that half a dozen unnamed Republican "insiders" have shared similar fears about Barletta. In particular, they point to Barletta's weak fundraising, something that's always been an issue for him. Barletta reportedly raised just $550,000 in the fourth quarter of 2017, roughly the same as Christiana and a far cry from the $2.6 million haul brought in by Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, who now has a giant $8.6 million banked.
Amusingly, some of these sources say, Barletta apparently really believes that Trump, who helped convince him to run in the first place, would actually raise millions of dollars for him. Evidently he missed every single piece written over the last two years by Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold, who literally won a Pulitzer Prize by conclusively demonstrating that Donald Trump never follows through on his pledges of financial support. Lou Barletta evidently thinks he's more deserving than the hundreds of charities Trump has spurned. Bless his heart!
● TN-Sen: Triton Polling & Research is out a general election poll on behalf of the Tennessee Star, and they give GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn a solid 50-39 edge over Democrat Phil Bredesen, the state's former governor. However, Bredesen leads former Rep. Stephen Fincher 41-38. The numbers are pretty similar to a December poll from the GOP firm WPA Intelligence on behalf of the pro-Blackburn Committee to Defend the President, which gave her a 43-34 edge over Bredesen, but had the Democrat beating Fincher by an even-wider 42-30. The only Democratic poll we've seen was an October Garin-Hart-Yang survey from the DSCC that had Bredesen up 46-41 against Blackburn.
● AL-Gov: Over the weekend, state Auditor Jim Zeigler announced he wouldn't challenge Gov. Kay Ivey in the GOP primary. Zeigler was a loud opponent of former Gov. Robert Bentley, who resigned in disgrace last year, and his decision not to run is sure to hurt sales for his self-published 2017 novel, "The Making of the People's Governor 2018." The tome's description states that "Several of the usual suspects ran for governor with no track records of having stood up against the abuses of the Bentley administration. But one candidate had stood up in the Bentley years and, in 2018, stood out from the rest." Sadly, this work of science fiction will not be an entry for the Daily Kos Elections Book Club.
● CT-Gov: On Monday, New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart announced she was setting up an exploratory committee for a potential GOP primary bid for governor. As we've written before, Stewart has been described as a rising star in state politics ever since her initial 2013 win at the age of 26. Stewart won re-election in November 56-44 in a city that backed Clinton 69-27 and is usually reliably blue. And while Stewart's farther, former Mayor Timothy Stewart, had a bad relationship with labor, Stewart has won union endorsements during her re-election bids.
However, Stewart has her enemies in state GOP politics. Stewart, who describes herself as fiscally conservative and moderate-to-liberal when it comes to social issues, has drawn the ire of the Connecticut Family Institute. The group still blasts her for supporting distributing condoms in schools years ago, saying she "crossed a line we won't soon forget." Some state Republicans were not happy when she took a selfie with Barack Obama when he visited New Britain in 2014, and she also drew their criticism when she held a fundraiser with a GOP state senator who had endorsed a gun-safety measure. A number of other Republicans are running to succeed retiring Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy, and there's no frontrunner.
● ME-Gov: On Monday, GOP Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro held a press conference that many assumed would be his campaign kickoff, but he instead declared, "Right now, I will not be entering the race for governor at this time." That's not a no, and Isgro did take the time to "strongly urge—I implore—the Republican hopefuls for governor of Maine to listen to the grassroots coalition made up of rural Mainers who share our goals and our dreams," and say he would support candidate who "demonstrate both the willingness to listen and the bold leadership required to restore Maine's future." Before that, Isgro used his speech to trash the current field from all parties and call them "custodians of decline." Maine's filing deadline is March 15, so we'll see if Isgro decides that no one but himself meets his high standards.
On the Democratic side, former Bangor Mayor Sean Faircloth switched his campaign from exploring to official at some point. As we've written before, Faircloth also founded the Maine Discovery Museum, which is the state's largest children's museum, and he now heads an organization called Maine Mental Health Connections, which provides services to people with mental illnesses. In between, Faircloth served as executive director of the Secular Coalition for America, which describes itself as the "nation's leading nontheistic advocacy group."
● MN-Gov: Over the weekend, Attorney General Lori Swanson surprised the political world when she announced she would run for re-election rather than join the Democratic race for governor. Observers expected Swanson to skip the important state party convention in June and would run in the August primary. However, with Swanson out, the state party endorsement has become a whole lot more important, and there's a good chance that whoever wins it will face little or no opposition in August.
Right now, six noteworthy Democrats are running to succeed retiring Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton: former St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman; state Reps. Tina Liebling and Erin Murphy; state Auditor Rebecca Otto; former state House Minority Leader Paul Thissen; and Rep. Tim Walz. All the candidates are competing for the state party endorsement, which will be decided at the convention on the weekend of June 1.
As we've written before, it's common for candidates in both parties to, in local parlance, "abide" by the party endorsement process and drop out instead of proceeding to the August primary if they aren't chosen. Some candidates do skip the convention altogether and compete in the primary, and some (notably Dayton in 2010) have won the party nomination this way. However, it's a whole lot less common for politicians to compete for the state party endorsement, lose it, and then run in the primary and win.
As the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Patrick Coolican writes, the Democratic candidates will get a major test in the Feb. 6 precinct caucuses, which is the first step in the process for selecting convention delegates. There will be a straw poll that day, and while it's non-binding, it will give all the contenders an idea of how much support they have four months ahead of the convention.
● NE-Gov: Last year, Nebraska Democrats considered, but ultimately rejected, a plan to nominate a candidate who would drop out of the race and become independent state Sen. Bob Krist's running mate on a general election ticket. However, Krist says that the state party is talking to him about running as a Democrat, and he's not saying no. Krist, who left the GOP last year, said last year he wasn't going to do this. KEBE's Joe Jordan, however, says that political insiders think he could be reconsidering because he's having trouble raising money.
Democrats are going to have an incredibly tough time beating Ricketts no matter what, but they at least want a strong candidate to turn voters out for other contests, and Krist may be Team Blue's best bet. Omaha community activist Vanessa Ward announced she would run in the Democratic primary on Jan. 15, but Preston Love, Ward's already-former campaign manager, is publicly calling for her to drop out so … safe to say her bid isn't going well. Love said Ward hasn't been raising money, and he faulted her for opposing a city resolution in 2012 aimed at protecting LGBT residents.
● OH-Gov: Following a weird poll from a conservative group called the 1984 Society that found state Attorney General Mike DeWine leading the man he ousted in 2010, Democrat Richard Cordray, by a 49-28 margin, the Ohio Democratic Party has released numbers from PPP that look a whole lot better (and more normal). The survey finds DeWine up just 45-44 on Cordray, though he leads ex-Rep. Dennis Kucinich 48-37 and former state Rep. Connie Pillich 47-35.
Of course, both polls were taken for interested parties, though it's worth noting that while PPP's was in the field a few days after the 1984 Society's, it was conducted before 1984 released its survey. And the huge number of undecided voters in that 1984 poll just really don't make sense, whereas PPP's undecided proportion looks more like what you'd expect in a race between a current statewide official and a former one. That said, these are the first two polls of the race that have been made public, so we'll want to see plenty more data before drawing hard conclusions about where this race stands.
● PA-Gov: Not to be outdone by potential ticket-mate Lou Barletta, businessman Paul Mango, who's running for the GOP nomination for governor, recently conducted an absolutely bonkers video interview with Hyung Jin Moon, whom the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review describes as "the 'second king' of an assault rifle-wielding Christian sect headquartered in Eastern Pennsylvania." During the interview, a heavy-duty AR-15 is propped up in front of the shaven-headed Moon, who's wearing a camouflage blazer(!), complete with tie, and a crown that appears to be fashioned out of bullets (!?!). Just have a look—you won't believe it otherwise.
It's not just his garb and weaponry that are bizarre; Moon's views, are too. At one point, he declares that public school students are "getting indoctrinated into the homosexual political agenda—they're getting indoctrinated in the transgender agenda," comments Mango repeatedly smiles along with. Confronted with the video, a spokesman declared that Mango "does not agree that schools are indoctrinating our kids," but he certainly didn't bother saying so to Moon, who, incidentally, is the son of the infamous cult leader Sun Myung Moon.
Mango, a first-time candidate (and it shows) has dumped millions of his own money into his gubernatorial campaign. He faces a trio of fellow Republicans for the right to take on Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf: attorney Laura Ellsworth, state House Speaker Mike Turzai, and state Sen. Scott Wagner, who's also very rich and also a schmuck.
● SD-Gov: Campaign finance reports are in for all of 2017, and a bit surprisingly, all three major candidates brought in very similar amounts. Attorney General Marty Jackley outraised Rep. Kristi Noem, his rival in the June GOP primary, $920,000 to $900,000. State Senate Minority Leader Billie Sutton, who faces no significant Democratic primary opposition, took in $830,000 during the year. However, Noem transferred her entire House campaign account into her gubernatorial war-chest when she kicked off her bid in November of 2016, which gave her a huge head start over the other two foes. Noem ended December with $2.1 million in the bank to Jackley's $1.5 million, while Sutton had $664,000.
While Sutton has much less money than the two Republicans, however, they'll need to spent quite a bit to win their primary. Sutton, who represents a very red rural seat, may also have the resources to run a credible campaign for an office Democrats last won in 1974. The last time a Democrat even got within single digits of winning the governorship since then was 1986, when Republican George Mickelson won an open seat race 52-48 against Lars Herseth, who was also the son of a former governor.
● AZ-08: Here is a truly crazy story ahead of the Feb. 27 GOP primary for the April special election in Arizona's reliably red 8th Congressional District. Republican Bob Stump, a former member of the state's Corporation Commission, is one of the leading candidates to succeed disgraced former Rep. Trent Franks (whose resignation prompted the special election), and it just so happens that he shares a name with ... the late Rep. Bob Stump. The former commissioner's birth name is actually Christopher Robert Stump, though, and he's not related to the former congressman.
But one person is very unhappy about this seeming coincidence: Nancy Stump, the widow of the deceased Bob Stump, who issued a statement on Monday calling on candidate Stump to "publicly acknowledge that he is not related to our family and stop this charade," and adding, "The voters deserve to know the truth."
What truth is that, exactly? The Arizona Republic's Ronald Hansen recently took a look at the two Bob Stumps, who were rather different figures. The former congressman was elected as a Democrat in 1976 to a seat that included much of the Phoenix area, joined the GOP in 1982, and died in 2003, just months after retiring from the House. The current candidate, by contrast, only became "Bob" Stump this century: He went by "Chris" in the 1990s, and when he wrote for the conservative Weekly Standard, he used the byline "Christopher Stump." But when he first ran for the legislature in 2002 (the same year the congressman retired), he did so as "Bob Stump."
The younger Stump told Hansen that his father, who was also named Bob Stump, wanted to pass along the name to him, but gave him Robert as a middle name because he didn't want his son to get dubbed "Junior." The candidate says that when his father contracted Alzheimer's disease, "one of the only names he remembered was my name and his," so his decision to go by "Bob Stump" was a tribute to his dad. He also argues that he's been in office long enough under the name Bob Stump that voters should know who he is. Nancy Stump obviously disagrees, but it's unlikely that candidate Stump plans to heed her wishes.
Indeed, candidate Bob Stump soon released a statement from his mother, Jane Stump. Jane Stump pushed back on Nancy Stump's assertion that the congressman was the only Bob Stump, saying, "My late husband was also named Bob Stump, as was my husband's father. My husband and I had every right to name our son after him." She also argued that, despite what Nancy Stump had said, candidate Bob Stump had never suggested that he was related to the congressman, and "[t]o imply that a name is somehow the property of one family is the height of arrogance." Jane Stump also suggested that Nancy Stump's statement was just an attempt to hurt her son at the polls days before early voting was set to start.
Believe it or not, this isn't the first time we've written about a situation like this. Back in 2015 in Louisiana, a candidate for Jefferson Parish president named Elton Lagasse ran ads charging that his opponent, Mike Yenni, had switched his last name from Maunoir to his mother's maiden name of Yenni for political reasons: His grandfather, Joe Yenni, had served as parish president in the 1980s, and the candidate's late uncle, Michael J. Yenni, succeeded him. Lagasse's ads featured the widow of Michael J. Yenni (that's the uncle) arguing that her son—who is also named Michael Yenni—was the real Mike Yenni, while the guy running for office wasn't. The fuss didn't seem to get voters worked up, though, as Yenni beat Lagasse 52-37. An unrelated scandal has since made Yenni toxic, however, so perhaps he's contemplating another name change.
● CA-10: Even though he said last June that he wouldn't run for Congress again, beekeeper Michael Eggman announced on Monday that he'd take a third shot at trying to unseat GOP Rep. Jeff Denham this year. In 2014, Denham beat Eggman 56-44 in California's 10th Congressional District, though he only won their 2016 their rematch by a much tighter 52-48. Thanks to that tight result, plus the fact that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both carried this seat by around 3 to 4 points each, Denham is the most endangered House Republican seeking re-election, according to the Daily Kos Elections House Vulnerability Index.
But Democrats still need the right candidate for the job, and apparently the DCCC, which reportedly recruited Eggman, didn't feel that such a person was already in the race. Local activists may feel differently, however. Several other Democrats are already running, including venture capitalist Josh Harder, engineer T.J. Cox, former Riverbank Mayor Virginia Madueno, and not one but two emergency room nurses: Dotty Nygard and Sue Zwahlen, who is also an elected member of the Modesto school board.
Notably, though, at a regional party gathering over the weekend, local leaders declined to give their "pre-endorsement" recommendation to any particular contender ahead of next month's state Democratic convention, when final endorsements will be handed out, so loyalties may yet be up for grabs. But while the party's endorsement is important, candidates win primaries without it all the time.
● IA-03: On Monday, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed longtime Iowa political operative Pete D'Alessandro in the crowded Democratic primary to take on GOP Rep. David Young in this 49-45 Trump seat. D'Alessandro was Sanders' campaign coordinator during the Iowa presidential caucus (which Sanders very nearly won), and he's worked in key positions in state Democratic campaigns for decades. D'Alessandro's third-quarter fundraising wasn't very strong (he hasn't released his latest numbers yet), but Sanders' endorsement could make a big difference here. If no one takes at least 35 percent of the vote in the June primary, the nomination will be decided at a convention.
● MA-03: Over the weekend, former Cambridge City Councilor Nadeem Mazen dropped out of the very crowded Democratic primary for this open Merrimack Valley seat. While Mazen is originally from this area, Cambridge is well outside the seat, and he would have had a tough time gaining traction in what's already become an expensive contest.
● MI-13: On Friday, Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones announced that she would run for this safely blue open seat. Jones, who was re-elected to her citywide seat last year, has the support of neighboring Rep. Brenda Lawrence. The Detroit Free Press also writes that state Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo was expected to announce a bid of her own on Monday.
● OH-01: Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval, who has reportedly been considering a bid against GOP Rep. Steve Chabot, has lately been telling donors that he's going to run, according to the Cincinnati Business Courier's Chris Wetterich. Meanwhile, WVXU reporter Howard Wilkinson says that Pureval has a "major" announcement scheduled for Wednesday. Already running in the Democratic primary is Rabbi Robert Barr.
● PA-07: GOP Rep. Pat Meehan's decision to retire in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal came days after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the state's congressional map. Unless the GOP succeeds with their long-shot attempt to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to keep the current map in place, the GOP will be left defending a suburban Philadelphia seat that will almost certainly be a bit bluer than the current 49-47 Clinton seat. No one's sure what the new 7th will look like when all is said and done, either geographically or politically, but Republicans don't want to give this district up without a fight and a few potential candidates have expressed interest.
Navy veteran Joseph Billie had been running in the GOP primary against Meehan since May, but he attracted little attention for months. Billie, however, now tells the Reading Eagle that the party is now reaching out to him. Still, Billie doesn't seem like an especially serious candidate, so it's unlikely party leaders will consolidate behind him. Attorney Sean Gale, the 26-year-old brother of Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale, is also interested. Most of this seat, both now and in the future, is likely to be in Delaware County, so a candidate with Montgomery connections may be at a disadvantage.
State Rep. Nick Miccarelli told the Daily Times News that he'd "be lying if I said I wasn't interested," but "[w]ith so much in flux right now, it's a little too soon to make a decision." Miccarelli, who has served in the legislature since 2008, won re-election in 2012 without opposition as Obama was carrying his seat 57-41, and he won 64-36 as Clinton was carrying his district by a smaller 50-47 margin, so he has some experience winning crossover support. Upper Darby Police Superintendent Mike Chitwood also expressed interest, insisting that he has plenty of name recognition. However, Chitwood said that years ago, when people asked him to run for the seat, he "was told I'd have to raise $3 million and that ain't going to happen ... This would be the same thing now," so he may not be prepared for a tough fight here.
On the Democratic side, state Rep. Greg Vitali has confirmed he is in. Vitali, who represents a very blue seat, has served in the legislature since the 1992 elections, but as we recently wrote, he doesn't seem to have a good relationship with the party leadership. Last year, Vitali said he very much wanted to be the top Democrat on the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, which he called "my focus since I came up here." State House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, however, picked someone else, and while Dermody's team said they just felt Vitali would be a bigger asset on a different committee, Vitali insisted he may have paid a price for "being outspoken."
A few Democrats were already running. Last week, just hours before the court struck down the map, former CIA officer Shelly Chauncey jumped in. Chauncey hasn't run for office before, but she reportedly has the backing of a few major local donors. Attorney Dan Muroff, who ran in the Philadelphia-based 2nd District last year, and bioengineer Molly Sheehan also have been running for months, but they haven't attracted much enthusiasm from national Democrats.
● SD-AL: On Sunday, state Sen. Neal Tapio announced he would seek the GOP nomination for this open seat. Tapio was Donald Trump's campaign director in 2016, and he also won office for the first time then in a seat around Watertown. And as the Daily Beast's Dean Obeidallah recently wrote, Tapio has let his anti-Muslim flag fly in a very public way.
Earlier this month, Tapio protested an interfaith gathering at the state capitol by putting out a statement proclaiming, "A simple check of their social media accounts will verify these people violently oppose President Trump and his efforts to keep America safe," and he then decided to confront the 50 attendees at the event itself. The Argus Leader's Dana Ferguson writes that, after Tapio accepted some of the attendees request to take a picture with them (it was awkward), he turned his back to the cameras and began yelling, "I don't like being called a racist."
Tapio then launched his familiar stump speech calling for banning Muslims from traveling to the United States, as attendees tried to drown him out by singing "America the Beautiful." Afterwards, Tapio told reporters, "Interfaith dialogue is a part of a war, it's a silent part, it's a part of a way of taking away the Christian fabric of our nation," and, "Now some people are OK with that, that's their prerogative, but there's American patriots that want to fight."
Unsurprisingly, Tapio used his campaign launch to tie himself to Trump and torch the state GOP establishment. Tapio's release declared that had "[Sen.] John Thune and [Gov.] Dennis Daugaard had their way, Donald Trump would have been off the Republican ticket and Hillary Clinton would be our president today, God help us." Tapio said in September that if he ran, he'd spend $300,000 of his own money on his bid.
Tapio will face Secretary of State Shantel Krebs and ex-state Public Utilities Commission member Dusty Johnson, who has the support of Daugaard, in the June primary, and the winner will be the heavy favorite in the general election. In the unlikely event that no one clears 35 percent of the vote in June, there will be a primary runoff in August.
● VA-02, VA-07: Over the past week, Democratic committees in two competitive Virginia congressional districts, the 2nd and the 7th, each decided to hold a traditional primary rather than a convention to select a House nominee this year. That's a wise choice, since primaries allow the greatest number of voters to participate—and force candidates to gear up for a real campaign that will help the winner prepare for the November general election.
In the 2nd, centered around Virginia Beach, Democrats are hoping to unseat freshman GOP Rep. Scott Taylor, though they could luck into an open seat since Taylor recently indicated he was considering a Senate bid. The DCCC recruited Navy veteran Elaine Luria into the race earlier this month; she'll now face off against a fellow Navy vet, Gary Hubbard, and a few others in the June 12 primary. This district went 49-45 for Trump and 51-48 for Obama, but even better, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam actually carried it 51-47 last year, according to preliminary estimates.
Meanwhile, in the 7th, the two leading contenders are former CIA agent Abigail Spanberger and Marine veteran Dan Ward, both of whom had spoken out in favor of a primary. This seat, which occupies a swath of central Virginia anchored by Richmond's western suburbs, is redder than the 2nd: Trump won it 50-44, but that was an improvement for Democrats from four years earlier, when Romney carried it 55-44. And it was closer still in last year's gubernatorial race, when Republican Ed Gillespie won there by just a 51-47 spread, so Republican Rep. Dave Brat could be vulnerable.
Two other House seats in Virginia are also hosting contested races this year. In Northern Virginia's 10th District, the bluest by far, Democrats opted in favor of a primary back in November. However, Democrats in the 5th District, alone out of all four of these races, have chosen to hold a convention, meaning that only a handful of activists and insiders will get to play a role in the nomination process. There's still time for party leaders in the 5th to reconsider, though, and they ought to.