IL & FL Primary Results
The biggest news in House elections this week are the first primaries of the 2010 elections, held yesterday in Illinois and Florida.
The most competitive general election race will be in Illinois’ 10th Congressional District, a seat left open when Rep. Mark Kirk (R) decided to run for Barack Obama’s Senate seat. Kirk has held the seat since 2000, but the district went for John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama by a wide margin in 2008. Kist won narrow victories over Democrat Dan Seals in 2006 and 2008. Seals will get a third shot at the seat this year, as he won a narrow victory over state Rep. Julie Hamos in last night’s primary. Seals will face conservative Republican Bob Dold, a first time candidate, in November. This will be one of the hottest races in the country.
In another interesting Illinois primary, Randy Hultgren defeated Ethan Hastert in the Republican primary 14th district. This is being viewed as a victory for political outsiders over insiders, as Hultgren is associated with the far right wing of the party and Hastert with his father – former Republican leader Dennis Hastert. Hultgren will take on Rep. Bill Foster, who was endorsed by Council for a Livable World in his last two races.
In Florida, state Sen. Ted Deutch won an easy victory in the special Democratic primary to replace retired Rep. Robert Wexler (D). Deutch is expected to cruise to victory in the April 13th special general election in the heavily Democratic 19th district.
Buyer Retires (Steve Leaves)
Rep. Steve Buyer (R) announced last week that he will not run for re-election in Indiana’s 4th Congressional District.
The nine term incumbent told the press that he is retiring “to spend more time with his wife, who he said has an ‘incurable’ autoimmune disease.” Buyer will also retire from the Army Reserve.
While this marks the 15th Republican retirement this cycle, the seat will not be competitive. After defeating an incumbent Democrat by 51% in 1992, Buyer was never reelected with less than 60% of the vote. McCain won the district by 59% in 2008.
Potential GOP candidates include Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita (R). state Sen. Brandt Hershman (R), and Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman (R).
(And for those sticklers for detail, the pun in the title doesn’t actually work. Buyer is pronounced “BOO-yer”)
Speier May Retire (and this time the pun works)
Creating warning signs of yet another open seat, California Freshman Rep. Jackie Speier (D) is reported to be considering a run for state Attorney General. Speier’s interest may have been sparked by a recent poll showing her with a commanding lead over other potential candidates.
Speier’s retirement would set off a free-for-all in the Democratic primary, but not to endanger Democratic control of the seat.
Speier has an interesting personal history. In 1978, as an aide to Rep. Leo Ryan, she was part of a fact-finding trip to Jonstown in Guyana to investigate allegations of human rights abuses by the cult leader Rev. Jim Jones. When the delegation attempted to leave, Jones ambushed their plane, killing Re. Ryan. Speier was shot five times and lay on the runway for 22 hours before receiving help. Jones and his followers subsequently committed mass suicide.
UPDATE: Speier announced today that she will stay in the House.
Van Hollen Gets a Challenger with a Twist
Democrat Chris Van Hollen (MD) has attracted a challenger with pretty deep pockets, but he’s probably not sweating. Following the Supreme Court decision that corporations have the same free-speech rights as individuals and can spend unlimited amounts on elections, Murray Hill, Inc. has filed to run against Van Hollen: