DemDaily: 2018 Special Election Update!

February 13, 2018

In May Archie Parnell (D) lost to Ralph Norman (R) by just 4% in a District where Trump beat Clinton 57%-39%

In the 115th Congress (2017-2018), an unprecedented 52 Members of the US House have announced their resignations, retirements or plans to vacate office to run for another office -17 Democrats and 35 Republicans.

The growing number of departures is attributed in part to the turbulent political environment under the Trump presidency, and in part to a wave of sexual misconduct allegations that have forced a number of lawmakers to leave Congress early.

When a Member departs office early, a special election must be called. To-date there have been seven federal (US House or Senate) special elections and four additional "specials" will be held this year.

Special Election is an election called by state governors to fill vacancies that occur when a Member of Congress passes away or resigns before the completion of his or her full two-year elected term. 

2017 Special Elections
In 2017 Republicans won, or held onto, all five of their Congressional seats in Kansas (4th CD), Montana (At-Large), Georgia (6th CD), South Carolina (5th CD) and Utah (3rd CD), and Democrats held onto their one Congressional in California 34, and flipped the only US Senate election (Alabama) to their control.

At first glance it sppears to have been a wash, with no House gains for either party, but a closer look at the voter performance of those races paints a positive picture for Democrats, who came within 7% points of winning in three states where Trump beat Clinton last November by 18+%.

Traditionally special elections are a foreshadowing of what can be expected in the mid-term elections. If the narrow victory margins in the traditionally Republican seats are an indication of voter discontent with Trump, whose approval rating stands at 41%, Republicans may be facing huge losses next November.

2018 Special Elections
Congressional District Incumbent Special Election Date Democratic Candidate(s) Republican
% in CD
Pennsylvania 18
Tim Murphy (R), avowed ProLifer, resigned October 2017 after reports he encouraged a woman with whom he had an extramarital affair to have an abortion. Primary: Nominees 
were chosen by each party at their Conventions in November, 2017.
General: March 13th
Conor Lamb, 

Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania
State Representative Rick Saccone Clinton 38.5%
Trump 58.1%
Arizona 8
Trent Franks (R), resigned in December after Ethics Committee announced investigation into his request to two staffers to carry his and his wife's child as surrogates Primary: February 27th
General: April 24th
Hiral Tipirneni, Brianna Westbrook
Former State Senators Debbie Lesko and Steve Montenegro; former State Reps Phil Lovas and Bob Stump. Also: Chad Allen;
Kevin Cavanaugh;  Brenden Dilley; Stephen Dolgos; David Lien; Richard Mack; Christopher Sylvester; Clair Van Steenwyk; Mark Yates 
Clinton 37%
Trump 58.1%
Ohio 12
Patrick Tiberi, left Congress in January, 2018 to lead the Ohio Business Roundtable.  Primary: May 8th
General: August 7th
Businessman and 2016 Dem Nominee Ed Albertson; healthcare advocate Crystal Lett; Franklin County Recorder Danny O'Connor; nurse Jackie Patton; special ed teacher John Peters; 
farmer and 2016 State Rep nominee John Russell; former Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott; health care professional Doug Wilson
Previous candidate John Adams; State Senator Kevin Bacon; State Senator Troy Balderson; accountant Lawrence Cohen; veteran Brandon Grisez; real estate investor Jon Halverstadt; Liberty Township Trustee Melanie Leneghan; architect Pat Manley; Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O'Brien
Clinton 41.9%
Trump 53.2%
Michigan 13
John Conyers, the longest serving House Member, resigned in December, 2017, amid sexual harassment allegations by former staffers.

Note: The winner of the special election will serve in Congress until Conyers' term expires January 1, 2019. A regularly-scheduled election to fill the 2019-2020 term will be held concurrent with the special. Candidates are able to run in both races.

Primary: August 7th
General: November 6th
State Senator Ian Conyers (John Conyers' grand-nephew); John Conyers III (John Conyers' son); State Rep Sherry Gay-Dagnogo; Michael Gilmore; Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones; State Senator Coleman Young II; former State Reps Shanelle Jackson and Rashida Tlaib
No Republican Candidates have filed. Clinton 79%
Trump 18%

Conor Lamb (D) is polling within 12 points of Rick Saccone (R) in PA 18, where Trump beat Clinton by 20%.

Regardless of the outcome of the 2018 special elections, the growing number of GOP Members exiting the fray -- now more than twice that of Democrats -- sets up an encouraging scenario for the net gain of 24 seats Dems need to take control of the US House.

DemList will keep you informed.

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Kimberly Scott


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Sources: Ballotpedia, Real Clear Politics, The Atlantic, Washington Post

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