Nearly five-dozen U.S. House races in 2016 involve the same two major party candidates from 2014 including one matchup in Missouri with nominees squaring off for the sixth consecutive cycle
Frank Guinta’s primary win earlier this month drew headlines as it set up a general election matchup against Carol Shea-Porter for the fourth straight cycle in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District.
But the Guinta vs. Shea-Porter contest is hardly the only rematch election to the nation’s lower legislative chamber this year – nor is it even the longest current battle among major party nominees.
A Smart Politics analysis finds that 58 races to the U.S. House of Representatives this November involve the same two major party candidates from the 2014 ballot, or 13.3 percent of all races.
Of these 58 races, nine House districts are in the midst of their third or longer straight matchup between the same two major party nominees.
Leading the way is Missouri’s 5th CD, where six-term Democrat Emanuel Cleaver will face Republican small business owner and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Jacob Turk for the sixth straight cycle.
Cleaver first faced Turk as a freshman lawmaker a decade ago in 2006 and the competitiveness of the race has mirrored national partisan trends.
Cleaver rolled to easy reelection victories during the Democratic waves of 2006 (by 32.1 points), 2008 (28.7 points), and 2012 (23.6). But during the GOP tsunamis of 2010 and 2014, the race was much more competitive with Cleaver winning by just 9.1 and 6.8 points respectively.
In a campaign video, Turk explains the reason he is running one more time:
“Persistence is part of the American spirit. Thomas Edison tried over 6,000 times to make that light bulb. Where would we be without his persistence? Left in the dark. Abraham Lincoln ran eight times. He is one of the greatest presidents we ever had. Sometimes in life, you get knocked down. But you get back up and keep on fighting. I’m a Marine, and that’s what we do.”
New Hampshire’s 1st CD race between Guinta and former Congresswoman Shea-Porter is the fourth in a row between these two politicians – the longest battle in state history.
Guinta knocked Shea Porter out of office in 2010 with an 11.6-point win but Shea-Porter returned the favor in 2012 with a 3.8-point victory. Guinta unseated the congresswoman for a second time in 2014 with a 3.6-point win.
The race for Oregon’s 4th CD seat is also bringing together the same two major party candidates for a fourth consecutive matchup: 15-term Democrat Pete DeFazio and Republican biochemist Art Robinson. Robinson has seen his chances at victory get dimmer each cycle losing by 10.9 points in 2010, 20.1 points in 2012, and 21.0 points in 2014 against the long-serving Democratic congressman.
Six other 2016 matchups will see the third consecutive race between the same two major party candidates:
- California’s 27th CD: Four-term Democrat Judy Chu will face Republican and former F.B.I. agent Jack Orswell. Chu defeated Orswell by 28.0 points in 2012 and 18.7 points in 2014.
- Illinois’ 10th CD: In another race involving a challenger who formerly served in Congress, Republican Bob Dold is opposed once again by Democrat Brad Schneider. Schneider unseated Dold in 2012 with a 1.3-point win with Dold recapturing the district back from the Democrat in 2014 by 2.6 points.
- Texas’ 1st CD: Six-term Republican Louie Gohmert faces Democratic nominee Shirley McKellar. Gohmert easily defeated McKellar in this east Texas district in 2012 (by 44.5 points) and 2014 (54.9 points).
- Texas’ 7th CD: Eight-term Republican John Culberson is opposed by Democratic attorney James Cargas in a district located west of Houston. Culberson beat Cargas by 24.4 points in 2012 and 28.7 points in 2014.
- Texas’ 10th CD: Six-term Republican Michael McCaul squares off against Democratic registered nurse Tawana Cadien in a sprawling district that stretches from Austin to outside Houston. McCaul cruised to 24.3-point and 28.0-point wins in 2012 and 2014 respectively.
- Texas’ 35th CD: 11-term Democrat Lloyd Doggett is challenged again by Republican consultant and former San Marcos Mayor Susan Narviaz. Narviaz lost by 31.9 points in 2012 and 29.2 points in 2014.
Overall, California hosts the largest number of cycle-to-cycle rematches with 12 of its incumbents facing the same challenger as they did in 2014 across the state’s 53 districts:
- CA-02: Republican Dale Mensing vs. two-term Democrat Jared Huffman
- CA-09: Republican Tony Amador vs. five-term Democrat Jerry McNerney
- CA-10: Democrat Michael Eggman vs. three-term Republican Jeff Denham
- CA-16: Republican Johnny Tacherra vs. six-term Democrat Jim Costa
- CA-17: Democrat Ro Khanna vs. eight-term Democrat Mike Honda
- CA-18: Republican Richard Fox vs. 12-term Democrat Anna Eshoo
- CA-27: Republican Jack Orswell vs. four-term Democrat Judy Chu
- CA-30: Republican Mark Reed vs. 10-term Democrat Brad Sherman
- CA-31: Republican Paul Chabot vs. freshman Democrat Pete Aguilar
- CA-34: Democrat Adrienne Edwards vs. 12-term Democrat Xavier Becerra
- CA-47: Democrat Andy Whallon vs. two-term Democrat Alan Lowenthal
- CA-48: Democrat Suzanne Savary vs. 14-term Republican Dana Rohrabacher
Voters in six Texas districts and five districts in Ohio will also be treated to a reprise of their 2014 races.
In addition to the four three-peat contests mentioned above, Texas will also be seeing double in its 23rd CD with freshman Republican Will Hurd defending his seat against former Democratic Congressman Pete Gallego.
The Buckeye State will host rematches in the 3rd CD (two-term Democrat Joyce Beatty vs. Republican John Adams), 4th CD (five-term Republican Jim Jordan vs. Democrat Janet Garrett), 10th CD (seven-term Republican Mike Turner vs. Democrat Robert Klepinger), 14th CD (two-term Republican David Joyce vs. Democrat Michael Wager), and 15th CD (three-term Republican Steve Stivers vs. Democrat Scott Wharton).
Eight other states will entertain the same two major party candidates in multiple districts in November:
- Florida (3): FL-21 (Democrat Lois Frankel), FL-23 (Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz), FL-26 (Republican Carlos Curbelo)
- Pennsylvania (3): PA-05 (Republican Glenn Thompson), PA-07 (Republican Pat Meehan), PA-12 (Republican Keith Rothfus)
- Michigan (3): MI-05 (Democrat Dan Kildee), MI-06 (Republican Fred Upton), MI-13 (Democrat John Conyers)
- Washington (3): WA-04 (Republican Dan Newhouse), WA-05 (Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers), WA-09 (Democrat Adam Smith)
- Arizona (2): AZ-04 (Republican Paul Gosar), AZ-06 (Republican David Schweickert)
- Illinois (2): IL-05 (Democrat Mike Quigley), IL-10 (Republican Bob Dold)
- Indiana (2): IN-04 (Republican Todd Rokita), IN-07 (Democrat Andre Carson)
- Minnesota (2): MN-01 (DFLer Tim Walz), MN-08 (DFLer Rick Nolan)
On the surface, some rematches may seem like vanity projects with lesser known challengers getting blown out in 2014 and still going for another round in the ring this year. Thirty-five challengers were defeated by more than 20 points last cycle with nine of these losing by more than 40 points.
But 15 challengers lost by only single-digits two years ago, including 11 by less than five points, and are therefore optimistic about their chances at unseating the incumbent in November:
- New York’s 25th CD (0.5 points): Republican Mark Assini vs. 15-term Democrat Louise Slaughter
- Minnesota’s 8th CD (1.4 points): Republican Stewart Mills vs. five-term DFLer Rick Nolan (Nolan previously served three of his terms from 1975-1981)
- California’s 16th CD (1.5 points): Republican Johnny Tacherra vs. six-term Democrat Jim Costa
- Washington’s 4th CD (1.6 points): Republican Clint Didier vs. freshman GOPer Dan Newhouse
- Texas’ 23rd CD (2.1 points): Former Democratic Congressman Pete Gallego vs. freshman Republican Will Hurd
- Illinois’ 10th CD (2.6 points): Former Democratic Congressman Brad Schneider vs. two-term Republican Bob Dold (Dold served one of his terms from 2011-2013)
- Florida’s 26th CD (2.9 points): Former Democratic Congressman Joe Garcia vs. freshman Republican Carlos Curbelo
- California’s 17th CD (3.5 points): Democrat Ro Khanna vs. eight-term Democrat Mike Honda
- California’s 31st CD (3.5 points): Republican Paul Chabot vs. freshman Democrat Pete Aguilar
- New Hampshire’s 1st CD (3.6 points): Former Democratic Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter vs. two-term Republican Frank Guinta (Guinta served one of his terms from 2011-2013)
- California’s 9th CD (4.7 points): Republican Tony Amador vs. five-term Democrat Jerry McNerney
- Utah’s 4th CD (5.1 points): Democrat Doug Owens vs. freshman Republican Mia Love
- Maine’s 2nd CD (5.2 points): Democrat Emily Cain vs. freshman Republican Bruce Polquin
- Missouri’s 5th CD (6.8 points): Republican Jacob Turk vs. six-term Democrat Emanuel Cleaver
- Minnesota’s 1st CD (8.5 points): Republican Jim Hagedorn vs. five-term DFLer Tim Walz
The average victory margin was 24.2 points across these 58 races.
The remaining districts with rematches from the 2014 cycle are Alabama’s 3rd CD (Republican Mike Rogers), Connecticut’s 1st CD (Democrat John Larson), Georgia’s 2nd CD (Democrat Sanford Bishop), Louisiana’s 1st CD (Republican Steve Scalise), Massachusetts’ 3rd CD (Democrat Niki Tsongas), Maryland’s 7th CD (Democrat Elijah Cummings), North Carolina’s 5th CD (Republican Virginia Fox), Oklahoma’s 3rd CD (Republican Frank Lucas), Rhode Island’s 2nd CD (Democrat Jim Langevin), and Wisconsin’s 2nd CD (Democrat Mark Pocan).
If one adds nonconsecutive election cycles to the mix, some of these rematches listed above tally even higher.
For example, Oklahoma 3rd CD Republican Frank Lucas is facing Democrat Frankie Robbins for the fourth time, but only the second election in a row. Lucas previously defeated Robbins in 2008 (46.2 points), 2010 (56.0 points), and 2014 (57.2 points) but faced Democratic nominee Timothy Murray in 2012.
[Note: There are several additional rematch elections from the 2014 cycle if one includes incumbents facing the same minor party candidates. For example: Texas’ 5th CD (Republican Jeb Hensarling and Libertarian Ken Ashby), Texas’s 16th CD (Democrat Beto O’Rourke and Libertarian Jamie Perez), and Texas’ 20th CD (Democrat Joaquin Castro and Libertarian Jeffrey Blunt)].
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