House retirements present problems for both parties
Three members of Congres - 2 Republicans and one Democrat - announced their retirement yesterday, presenting opportunity and danger for both parties.
Utah Democrat Rep. Jim Matheson,Virginia Republican Frank Wolf, and Iowa Republican Tom Latham all hail from competitive districts. Republicans will have a hard time hanging on to Wolf's district while Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love, who nearly beat Matheson in 2012, is expected to compete for the Utah seat.
Matheson, who won in 2012 despite Mitt Romney winning 67% of the vote in his district, was a six term moderate who voted against Obamacare and refused to support Nancy Pelosi for minority leader. MIa Love, who electrified Republicans with her speech at the GOP convention, is already running again and, barring a serious challenge in the primary, should be able to keep the seat in the GOP column.
Wolf's district is much more competitive. Romney won the district by onlly 1% and there are no shortage of Republicans who will challenge for the nomination:
Potential Republican candidates for Wolf's seat include former Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.), who has moved from Alabama to Northern Virginia and switched his party affiliation to the GOP.
Television personality and political gadfly Tareq Salahi (R) said on Tuesday he'd run for Wolf's seat, and Virginia Delegate Barbara Comstock (R), Virginia Delegate Tim Hugo (R) and Virginia state Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (R) could also be interested in running.
Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust (D) has already announced a bid for the seat, though it's possible others will jump in as well.
Latham's district is also a toss up, with Obama winning it by just 4% in 2012. Latham was a close ally of Speaker John Boehner and the GOP will be hard pressed to come up with a credible candidate to replace him.
In a good year, Republicans could sweep the board. Much will depend on the candidates who end up running in November, but the GOP has an excellent opportunity for a pick-up in Utah and should be competitive in the other two races.