open-seat

How many ways is Michigan in play in 2020?
Gary Peters’ re-election bid, presidential race make it a battleground

In Michigan, Democratic Sen. Gary Peters is up for re-election in 2020. That race, along with the presidential contest, makes the state a major political battleground. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Michigan is surprisingly relevant in 2020.

The Democratic presidential nominee almost certainly has to carry the state next year to have any chance of denying President Donald Trump a second term. And Republicans are eyeing the seat of first-term Democratic Sen. Gary Peters.

Ratings change: Brooks retirement makes Indiana 5th less safe for GOP
Inside Elections downgrades seat from Solid to Likely Republican

The announced retirement of Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., makes her seat harder for Republicans to defend in 2020 according to Inside Elections’ Nathan L. Gonzales. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Susan Brooks of Indiana announced she will not seek re-election, creating a potential open-seat headache for Republicans in Indiana’s 5th District. The congresswoman won re-election to a fourth term in 2018 in the central Indiana district with 57 percent, but the district shifted between the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections.

Now-Utah Sen. Mitt Romney won the 5th District 58-41 percent over President Barack Obama in 2012, but Donald Trump carried it more narrowly 53-41 percent over Hillary Clinton in 2016, fueling Democratic optimism even before Brooks’ announcement. Democratic strategists have also been excited about former state Rep. Christina Hale getting into the race. She ran for lieutenant governor on a ticket with John Gregg in 2016, losing by 7 points in the 5th District.

Susan Brooks won’t seek a fifth term, opening up targeted Indiana seat
GOP congresswoman will stay on as recruitment chair for the NRCC for 2020

Rep. Susan W. Brooks, R-Ind., has decided not to seek another term in the House in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Susan W. Brooks — one of just 13 Republican women in the House — is not running for re-election in Indiana’s 5th District, a Democrat target in 2020.

“It’s a very, very personal decision — not really a political decision, as odd as that may sound,” Brooks told CQ Roll Call on Friday morning. She solidified her decision after spending time at the end of May in Alaska with her son, who recently moved there to teach.

Does open seat in Montana help or hurt Democrats’ pickup opportunity?
Gianforte, who underperformed a generic Republican in the past, is leaving the House to run for governor

The decision by Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., to run for governor creates an open seat that could be easier for Republicans to defend.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Parties crave open seats, considering the vast majority of incumbents win re-election. But in the case of Montana’s at-large district, Democrats may have lost their preferred opponent when Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte filed to run for governor.

While it might have been daunting for Democrats to face Gianforte’s personal wealth in a presidential year in a state President Donald Trump carried by 20 points, the congressman has actually underperformed the partisan lean of the state in past elections. It might have something to do with him assaulting a reporter in 2017.

Georgia House races could be ground zero for abortion debate
Restrictive anti-abortion laws could put Republicans on defense with suburban voters

Georgia Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath is running for re-election next year in one of two competitive districts in the state where the abortion debate could be a salient issue with suburban voters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The sponsor of Georgia’s so-called heartbeat law is launching a congressional bid this week, which is likely to keep the abortion debate alive in a crucial state for both parties up and down the ballot in 2020. 

State Sen. Renee Unterman is expected to announce Thursday her campaign for the Republican nomination in Georgia’s 7th District, a demographically changing seat outside Atlanta that had the closest margin of any House race in the country last year. 

(Mostly) Political one-liners: Pennsylvania special, Kentucky governor, and the Trail Blazers

Republican Fred Keller’s no-drama victory in Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District this week came after President Donald Trump spoke at a rally the night before the special election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

California’s 48th District: The Orange County Republican Party endorsed County Supervisor Michelle Steel on Monday in the race against freshman Democratic Rep. Harley Rouda, which could give pause to potential candidates such as former state Sen. Janet Nguyen.

Colorado Senate: Former District Attorney John Walsh, a Democrat, came by the office for an interview on Tuesday to talk about the Colorado Senate race, and we’ll publish our Candidate Conversation in the May 31 issue of Inside Elections.

What can we learn from the North Carolina redo election?
September vote could signal whether rough GOP seas have calmed since November

Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop’s campaign in North Carolina’s 9th District redo race could be a barometer for the GOP’s fate in 2020 campaigns, Gonzales writes. (Courtesy Bishop for Congress)

By now, most journalists, handicappers, and party operatives are trained to restrain themselves when applying special election results to future general election forecasts.

But the redo election in North Carolina’s 9th District provides a unique opportunity to learn about the present political environment and how it’s changed since November.

Valerie Plame, famed ex-CIA operative, running for House seat in New Mexico
In run-up to Iraq war, a Bush administration official exposed her undercover agent status

Former CIA agent Valerie Plame plans to run for the open seat in New Mexico’s 3rd District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame, who was famously outed by a State Department official in the George W. Bush administration, is running for the open seat in New Mexico’s 3rd District, she announced  Thursday.

Plame is one of many Democrats who have announced an interest in the seat being vacated by Rep. Ben Ray Luján, a member of House Democratic leadership, who is running to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Udall.

Iowans prep for fierce 2020 fight — and not just for the White House
All four House districts will be contested, in addition to competitive Senate race

Iowa Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne is a top Republican target in 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Iowans are used to the spotlight in presidential election years, and with the number of Democrats eyeing the nomination approaching two dozen, it may be difficult this year to travel in the state without running into a candidate or the media entourage that comes with them.

But for Iowa voters, the more intense political battles in 2020 might actually be further down the ballot.

Enzi retirement likely to spur competitive Wyoming primary, but for which seat?
If Cheney runs, battle may be for her House seat in country’s most Republican state

Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, talks with Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., during a ceremony to unveil a bust of her father in the Capitol Visitor Center's Emancipation Hall in 2015. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Michael B. Enzi’s decision not to seek a fifth term is causing more than a handful of his fellow Wyoming Republicans to evaluate their political ambitions. 

Only seven men (and zero women) have represented the Equality State in the Senate in the last 50 years, and this is Wyoming’s first open Senate seat in more than 20 years. Statewide office as a Republican in Wyoming is as close to a lifetime appointment as it gets in electoral politics these days.