Freshman Rep. Kristi Noem is in a strong position for re-election at this early point in the cycle. The South Dakota Republican has cultivated a national profile that is giving her a boost in her safe seat back home.
Roll Call Politics is releasing the first House ratings for the 2012 cycle. We’re beginning with the states that elect Members to at-large seats. The seven seats are largely expected to not be competitive. Montana is the lone exception, where there’s a slim chance a Democrat could jump in and shakes things up, but that is unlikely.
This will be followed by ratings for the states that have completed new maps through redistricting: Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri and Oklahoma.
Alaska: Safe Republican
Just four Members have represented Alaska since it was granted statehood 52 years ago, and Rep. Don Young (R) has held the office for almost three-quarters of that time.
Young has faced election cycles under some dark ethical clouds and has still come out unscathed. With those clouds behind him and until a Democrat can prove he is vulnerable, Roll Call Politics rates this race Safe Republican.
Young moved beyond a Department of Justice investigation last year. He was elected to a 19th term with 69 percent of the vote and soon after named chairman of the National Resources Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs.
A little-known Democrat, Doug Urquidi, announced a bid recently, but any Democrat would have a tough time winning against Young in the GOP-heavy state. Young’s real test could come in a primary matchup with 2010 Senate nominee, attorney and tea party favorite Joe Miller.
Miller defeated Sen. Lisa Murkowski in last year’s Senate primary before losing to the incumbent in the general. Murkowski won with an unprecedented write-in campaign, defeating Miller and Democratic nominee Scott McAdams, 39 percent to 35 percent to 23 percent.
Miller reported having $475,000 in the bank at the end of the first quarter of 2011 and has remained active by doing national tea party events. Young, 77, raised almost $100,000 and has $222,000 in the bank.
Still, a recent poll found Young in far better shape than Miller. According to a March Dittman Research poll, 63 percent said Young was doing a good or excellent job in office, and 73 percent said they held a somewhat or very unfavorable opinion of Miller.
A Miller-Young primary would be a race to watch, but as of now the general should not be nearly as close.
Delaware: Safe Democratic
Democrats are confident they will hold this seat with little trouble given their strong voter registration advantage in a presidential year. Moderate Republican Rep. Mike Castle held it for nine terms before opting to run for the open Senate seat in 2010. Castle’s defeat by Christine O’Donnell in the GOP primary and subsequent national attention focused on Delaware helped Democrats capture the statewide seat.