California Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman (left) and Howard Berman appear to be preparing to run in the same Democratic-leaning West San Fernando Valley district.
Sherman starts out with a geographical advantage, given half of the newly drawn district is part of his current territory. However, Berman has stronger connections to the fundraising community in Southern California and the Los Angeles Democratic Party, which could also give him a leg up in the primary.
Either way, Democrats will want to do everything possible to avoid this Southern California cage match.
Rep. Tom Latham (R) 9th term (66 percent) Current district: North and central — Ames, Mason City Cash on Hand (as of March 31): $984,000
vs. Rep. Leonard Boswell (D) 8th term (51 percent) Current district: Central and east central — Des Moines Cash on Hand (as of March 31): $174,000
For years, Republicans have targeted and attempted to take out Boswell, but to no avail. The Des Moines-area Democrat won re-election in the banner GOP year of 2010 in no small part because Boswell did not have top-tier competition.
This cycle, the independent Iowa redistricting commission inadvertently helped the GOP find the perfect candidate to challenge Boswell: Latham. The GOP lawmaker announced he would take on Boswell in the redrawn 3rd district in southwest Iowa after one seat was eliminated following reapportionment.
There are plenty of reasons this will be a top race. The new 3rd district includes more competitive territory than Boswell’s current seat. President Barack Obama carried the current 3rd district with 54 percent, but the redrawn 3rd district would have given Obama 52 percent.
Latham is already running hard, working the new district and regularly appearing at local events. At the end of March, he had an $800,000 cash-on-hand advantage over Boswell, although fundraising is not expected to be a problem for either Member in the race. It’s also worth noting that Latham is especially close to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), so it’s hard to see how he won’t have whatever resources he needs to compete.
Boswell has a geographical advantage because there’s more of his current district in the new 3rd district than there is of Latham’s current district. Considering that Boswell has been representing the area since 1996, Latham will have to work to introduce himself to a swath of new voters in southwest Iowa.
Rep. Charles Boustany (R) 4th term (Unopposed) Current district: Southwest — Lafayette, Lake Charles Cash on Hand (as of March 31): $694,000
vs. Rep. Jeff Landry (R) 1st term (64 percent) Current district: South central —New Iberia, Houma, Chalmette Cash on Hand (as of March 31): $172,000
The race between four-term Boustany and freshman Landry will provide a marquee Republican-establishment-vs.-tea-party primary battle. Louisiana lost one House seat following reapportionment, shrinking the delegation to six. Republicans were forced to keep at least one majority-black district in order to adhere to the Voting Rights Act, which meant one GOP Member would lose his seat under the new map. As the most junior Member in the delegation, Republicans picked Landry as the odd man out when they redrew the map earlier this year.
Landry has indicated he wants to run for another term, and sources say he is looking at all his options. However, Landry’s most likely path to re-election is against Boustany, given much of his current district was folded into Boustany’s redrawn district in southern Louisiana.