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.
The odds might be in their favor this time — at least if recent history is any indication.
In 2014, at least nine former House members will try to come back to Congress. Meanwhile, former Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott P. Brown continues to flirt with a run in New Hampshire in 2014.
Many of their bids might seem like long shots now, but 17 current members and senators returned to Congress after a hiatus. That includes six House Democrats who returned this Congress after losing in 2010 and three House Republicans who returned that year after losing the previous cycle.
Here is Roll Call’s list of the top 10 former members who could come back in 2014, in order from most likely to least likely to return to Congress.
1. Former Rep. Marjorie Margolies, D-Pa.
Margolies served a single term two decades ago, but she remains famous among local Democrats for voting for President Bill Clinton’s budget. The Democrat has unsuccessfully run for two other offices since losing in 1994, and her ties to Clinton remain strong. (Her son Marc Mezvinsky is married to Chelsea.)
As one of four Democrats seeking the nomination in the dark blue 13th District, Margolies’ high name identification could help set her apart in the May primary. An August poll from the Margolies campaign showed 83 percent of voters were familiar with the 71-year-old.
That’s a big advantage in the Philadelphia suburbs with its pricey media market. This is a safe seat for Democrats, so the nominee will likely cruise to victory in November.
Welcome to the comeback kingdom. This cycle could be the third time Guinta and Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter face off in the 1st District. In 2010, Guinta ousted Shea-Porter by 4 points. Last cycle, Shea-Porter returned to defeat Guinta by that same margin.
Republicans chalk up Guinta’s 2012 loss to President Barack Obama’s drag on the GOP ballot in the Granite State. They say off-year turnout will benefit Republicans in 2014 — an argument that helped put Shea-Porter on Roll Call’s recent list of the 10 most vulnerable House members this cycle.
But first, Guinta must survive a GOP primary against outgoing University of New Hampshire Business School Dean Daniel Innis. Another Republican, state Rep. John Cebrowski, is also reportedly considering a bid.
3. Former Rep. Bob Dold, R-Ill.
Dold lost re-election last year largely thanks to redistricting. During the decennial redraw, Democrats moved wealthy and socially liberal parts of Wilmette and Kenilworth into the 10th District north of Chicago. Obama won the district by 16 points, and Dold lost to Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider by less than 1 percent.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.