A few open seats, some tight races define House election slate

While Democrats expect to keep control of the U.S. House of Representatives in Tuesday's election, several close and interesting races are on the ballot. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI

Oct. 28 (UPI) — While Democrats expect to keep control of the U.S. House of Representatives in Tuesday’s election, several close and interesting races are on the ballot.

Democrats go into the election with a 34-seat majority (232 to 198) over Republicans in

Here’s a look at some of the key races:


New Jersey 2nd District: Incumbent Jeff Van Drew (R) vs. Amy Kennedy (D)

The contest for the 2nd District pits Van Drew against Kennedy, daughter-in-law of longtime Sen. Edward Kennedy.

This district was represented by moderate Republican Frank LoBiondo for 23 years before he retired in 2018. Van Drew flipped it as a Democrat before switching parties last year during the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

Trump has campaigned for Van Drew and the incumbent Republican repaid the favor by speaking against his old party at the Republican National Convention.

Kennedy, married to former Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy, beat Democratic front-runner Brigid Callahan Harrison in the primary. Longtime Kennedy family friends, like Martin Luther King III, have backed her campaign.

The 2nd District covers the bulk of South Jersey, including Atlantic City and a portion of the Philadelphia suburbs in New Jersey.

Experts universally are calling this race a tossup.

Georgia 7th District: Richard McCormick (R) vs. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D)

McCormick and Bourdeaux are running for one of seven open seats in the House in 2020, but it’s one of just two that are considered tossups. The 7th District was left vacant after Republican Rep. Rob Woodall said last year he wouldn’t run again.

Bourdeaux was the Democratic candidate in 2018, but lost to Woodall by just 400 votes. She now has the endorsement of the House Freedom Caucus and an edge in fundraising.

Republicans are confident they can hold onto the seat, as Trump won the district four years ago.

Most experts show this race as a tossup or a light Democratic lean.

Texas 23rd District: Tony Gonzales (R) vs. Gina Ortiz Jones (D)

This is the other close contest for an open seat in the House. Incumbent Republican Will Hurd won re-election two years ago by defeating Ortiz Jones by fewer than 1,000 votes. He announced last year he wouldn’t run again.

Ortiz Jones will try again for the seat and, if successful, she would flip the seat to Democratic control. Both candidates are former service members, Gonzales in the U.S. Navy and Ortiz Jones the U.S. Air Force.

Most experts give Ortiz Jones a small edge to win the seat.

Minnesota 7th District: Incumbent Collin Peterson (D) vs. Michelle Fischbach (R)

Peterson and New Jersey’s Van Drew were the only Democrats to vote against Trump’s impeachment last December, saying the evidence failed to persuade them or their constituents that the president should’ve been removed from office.

Peterson has also shown a maverick streak by taking a conservative position on abortion rights and voting against the Affordable Care Act in 2010.

Peterson is chairman of the House agriculture committee, which has been helpful in this rural Minnesota district.

Trump, however, won the district by 31 points four years ago and Republicans are looking to flip control with Fischbach, the state’s former lieutenant governor.

Most polls list this race as a tossup.

Arizona 6th District: Incumbent David Schweikert (R) vs. Hiral Tipirneni (D)

The embattled Schweikert is hoping constituents forgive him having received an official reprimand from the House this summer after admitting to 11 ethics violations.

Tipirneni, an emergency room physician, is expected to find some favor in the district, which covers the highly educated Phoenix suburbs.

In recent days, she has attacked Schweikert for his opposition to the Affordable Care Act and she has the backing of former astronaut Mark Kelly, who is running as a Democrat in Arizona’s Senate race.

Most experts list this race as a tossup, or a slight Republican lean.

Oklahoma 5th District: Incumbent Kendra Horn (D) vs. Stephanie Bice (R)

Horn stunned the state’s Republican establishment two years ago when she edged out Rep. Steve Russell for his seat by 2 points.

She rode the “blue wave” in 2018 in one of 31 districts Trump carried in 2016 that flipped to Democrats. Before she won, the district hadn’t been represented by a Democrat since 1975.

Bice, a state senator who worked in her family’s technology business, has tied Horn to progressive Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, hoping to gain support from the state’s oil and gas industry.

This race is universally considered a total tossup by experts.

New Mexico 2nd District: Incumbent Xochitl Torres Small (D) vs. Yvette Herrell (R)

This race has been one of the most expensive in the nation, as moderate Democrat Torres Small again tries to hold off Herrell for the seat.

This race is one of 56 House rematches from the 2018 campaign. Two years ago, Torres Small won by fewer than 4,000 votes.

The mostly rural district covers southern New Mexico and a quarter of Albuquerque.

According to a Wesleyan Media Project analysis of television ad spending, this race has rung up $3.7 million in ad buys since Sept. 28.

Most analysts list this race a tossup or a slight Democratic lean.


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