open-seat

Rating change: Loebsack’s retirement in Iowa expands House playing field
Race for open seat in 2nd District is now a Toss-up

Rep. David Loebsack, D-Iowa, will not be seeking an eighth term next year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

No one really gave Cornell College professor Dave Loebsack a chance of knocking off Republican Rep. Jim Leach in 2006. But the Democrat won that race, and more than a dozen years later, he’s announced that his current seventh term in Congress will be his last.

Democrats now have to defend a competitive open seat that wasn’t previously on the list of vulnerable districts.

Iowa’s Dave Loebsack will not run for re-election in 2020
Democrat’s retirement opens up a competitive seat

Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, is retiring at the end of this Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Iowa Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack will not seek a seventh term in 2020, opening up a potentially competitive district that President Donald Trump carried in 2016.

Announcing his retirement Friday evening, Loebsack said he’d originally planned to serve no more than 12 years. But that changed when Trump was elected. 

Rep. Ben Ray Luján officially announces New Mexico Senate bid
Luján is expected to be a front-runner in the race for Tom Udall’s seat

Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., officially entered the race for an open Senate seate Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ben Ray Luján officially announced his plans to run for the Senate Monday, ending a week of speculation over whether the New Mexico Democrat would give up his position as a rising star in House leadership for a rare shot an open seat. 

“There’s been a lot of speculation over the last week, so I wanted you to hear it directly from me,“ Luján said in a video posted to Twitter Monday morning. “I’m running to be your next United States Senator.”

Nebraska abuzz about Sen. Ben Sasse’s future
The retirement of the University of Nebraska’s president sparks speculation

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 26: Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., arrives in the Capitol for the Senate policy luncheons on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nebraska’s political world has seized on the idea that Sen. Ben Sasse could be tapped to replace the departing president of the University of Nebraska, potentially creating an open seat in the solidly Republican state, according to local news reports. 

Ruben Gallego passes on Arizona Senate run
Democrat Mark Kelly is already in the race to take on GOP Sen. Martha McSally

Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., is passing on a run for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arizona Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego has decided not to run for Senate against appointed Republican Sen. Martha McSally.

A spokeswoman for the Phoenix congressman confirmed his decision to Roll Call, and Gallego told The Arizona Republic he was passing on the race to avoid a divisive primary.  

New York Rep. José Serrano has Parkinson’s, won’t seek re-election
Democrat says disease has not affected his work in Congress, and he will serve the remainder of his term

Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., announced that he has Parkison’s disease and will not seek re-election in 2020. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New York Democratic Rep. José E. Serrano announced Monday that he has Parkinson’s disease and will not seek re-election in 2020.

The 75-year-old said he plans to finish his current term, which is his 15th full one in Congress, as the disease has not yet affected his ability to work.

Sen. Tom Udall won’t seek a third term in 2020
‘The worst thing anyone in public office can do is believe the office belongs to them,’ New Mexico Democrat says

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., is not running for re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New Mexico Democratic Sen. Tom Udall announced Monday that he will not seek re-election in 2020, creating an open seat in a state that has swung decidedly toward the Democrats in recent years. 

“I’m confident that we could run a strong campaign next year to earn a third term, because of all the work you and I have done together, along with my wife, Jill, and my incredibly dedicated staff,” he said in a statement. “But the worst thing anyone in public office can do is believe the office belongs to them, rather than to the people they represent.” 

Former Rep. Ralph Hall, among the last WWII vets to serve in Congress, dies at 95
Hall, a Democrat-turned-Republican from Texas, served 17 terms

Former Rep. Ralph M. Hall of Texas died on Thursday. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. Ralph M. Hall, who left Congress in 2015 as the oldest member at age 91 after losing a primary runoff after decades in office, died Thursday. Hall was 95.

A Democrat-turned-Republican, Hall was born on May 3, 1923, in Fate, Texas. He attended Texas Christian University and the University of Texas, eventually earning a law degree at Southern Methodist University.

It’s no longer all about Republican primaries for the Club for Growth
The club played in more general elections in 2018 and expects that to continue in 2020

David M. McIntosh, the president of the Club for Growth, believes his group needs to play in general elections, not just Republican primaries. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Club for Growth has long been an arbiter of crowded primaries in safe Republican seats, but its role is evolving in the era of President Donald Trump. 

The group’s super PAC and PAC are still major players in internecine battles — the club successfully torpedoed a candidate in a Pennsylvania nominating convention over the weekend and is already interviewing candidates for two House special elections in North Carolina. 

You lost a House race in 2018? Now run for Senate in 2020
Some losing House candidates may try to ‘fail up’ to the Senate

National Democrats are encouraging Kentucky’s Amy McGrath, who narrowly lost a race for the 6th District last fall, to consider challenging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2020. (Jason Davis/Getty Images file photo)

“What’s next?” is a question J.D. Scholten often hears when he’s at the grocery store.

For most failed House candidates like Scholten, the answer doesn’t include running for Senate. But the Iowan is not your average losing candidate.