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Vote Now: Where Should Roll Call Travel for the Midterm Elections?

Top 10 Comeback Congressional Campaigns

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Republican operatives cede Dold’s race will be tough in 2014, but they also argue that if any Republican can win in Illinois’ 10th District, it’s him.

Brown, who won the 2010 special election to replace the late Edward M. Kennedy, is actively being recruited by national Republicans to challenge Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who is running for a second term. Republicans believe he may give the party its best shot in a state that could creep onto the competitive list should President Barack Obama’s approval ratings continue to drop.

Brown’s everyman reputation in the Bay State during his initial campaign and subsequent three-year Senate tenure gave him a shot at re-election in 2012. But he ultimately came up short in the solidly Democratic Bay State.

8. Former Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga.

First elected in 1994, Barr lost his House seat in a member-vs.-member race eight years later. In 2008, he was the Libertarian Party’s nominee for president.

This cycle, Barr has set his sights on the 11th District. It’s an open-seat race because Rep. Phil Gingrey, a Republican, is running for Senate. But this primary is one of the most crowded GOP primaries in the country, with at least eight Republicans vying for the nod.

It’s almost guaranteed no candidate will receive the 50 percent necessary to avoid a runoff.But operatives say it’s likely Barr will make it to a runoff, thanks to his high name recognition.

But if Barr makes the one-on-one primary, Republican say baggage from his political past — including when he left and then rejoined the Republican Party — would probably sink his bid.

9. Former Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco, R-Texas

Canseco is raring for a rematch after losing re-election last year to freshman Rep. Pete Gallego by a razor-thin margin. This cycle Canseco faces a competitive primary against former CIA agent Will Hurd — and it’s not clear whether he has the national GOP’s full support in his comeback attempt.

Canseco’s fundraising has also been lackluster, and his campaign rollout was so soft that many people did not realize he was running again. That said, Canseco defeated Hurd in 2010, and his high name identification in the district could help him do it again.

If he makes it past the primary, he must contend with a tough general election in the Lone Star State’s most competitive House district.

10. Former Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif.

Last cycle, Baca lost re-election thanks to redistricting and the state’s new top-two primary system. When his former district was split up in the 2010 redraw, Baca ran in the new 35th District. He lost to his longtime party rival, Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Calif.

This cycle, Baca is trying to return to Congress in the 31st District, which includes his hometown of Rialto. It’s strong Democratic territory, and most Democrats view defeating GOP Rep. Gary G. Miller as their best House pickup opportunity in the country.

But there are three other Democrats vying for the chance to oust Miller, two of whom are raising more money than Baca. Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, a top Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recruit, raised $502,000 this year. That dwarfs the $92,000 Baca brought in during the same time period.

His low fundraising — plus a debacle over which members are backing his campaign — has raised questions about his ability to run a campaign.

Amanda H. Allen, Abby Livingston and Kyle Trygstad contributed to this report.

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