Ten Hotly Contested House Races in 2014

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The Rothenberg/Roll Call ratings for House contests helps get a sense of where the most uncertainty is about which political party will win a seat. If you click the ‘Hide safe races’ button, then the map of the United States becomes almost completely white except for New Hampshire, New York, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Arizona, and California.

We disagree with those who think that California, New York, and Illinois should just be written off as hopelessly lost. The left does not write off an entire state. They get their people elected in Houston and Atlanta. There are pockets of conservatives who deserve an opportunity and support for electing someone to represent them in New York and California the same as Texas and Georgia does for the left.

The ten Republicans profiled below are a diverse group that may not be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s refreshing and a comfort to see new blood stepping up to run for office. Between now and November expect rating changes to occur, and especially after the primaries are over. Let’s hope these ten can win.

Three contests rated as Tossups

Elise Stefanik

Elise Stefanik Republican for New York’s 21st congressional district

Elise Stefanik won the endorsement of Republican committee chairs in the 21st Congressional District. Stefanik, 29, of Essex County, received the overwhelming endorsement from the North Country Republican committee chairs who gathered for a joint meeting in Elizabethtown.

Eleven of the 12-counties in the congressional district were represented at the meeting. All but Jefferson County’s committee had already decided who to back in the GOP race. Stefanik received 87 percent of the total weighted vote.

The 21st District is the largest district in New York, covering more than 16,000 square miles. The 21st District covers all of Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Warren and Washington counties, and portions of Herkimer and Saratoga counties.

I’m humbled by the endorsement today by the North Country GOP Chairs. It shows our campaign’s message to bring new ideas and new leadership to Washington is resonating throughout Upstate. But we’re just getting started – I will continue working as hard as I ever have to earn the support of Republicans, Conservatives and Independents across the district to win this seat back. I thank the county Chairs for the time and energy they’ve given during this process, and I thank the hundreds of county committee members who attended endorsement meetings during January to hear from the candidates.

Martha McSally

Martha McSally Republican for Arizona’s 2nd congressional district

McSally swears she’s spent her whole life believing that one person can indeed make a difference, even in a place like Congress.

This is the kid with motion sicknesses who grew up not just to be a fighter pilot but the first female fighter pilot to fly in combat and the first woman to command a fighter squadron — eventually receiving a bronze star in Afghanistan.

And then there was her headline-grabbing, eight-year fight against the Defense Department and its mandate barring women servicemembers stationed in Saudi Arabia from driving, per local laws, and requiring them to wear an abaya and head scarf — traditional Saudi female garb — when off base.

I can fly a single-seat aircraft in enemy territory, but I can’t drive a vehicle. They turned me into a fighter pilot. This is who I am. When I see something messed up, I’m going to challenge it.

Ultimately, the military backed down and lifted those requirements, and Congress passed legislation affirming the change.

Where she still falters is on the politicking — establishing and explaining political positions and, Arizona political watchers say, working a room or a campaign stump speech.

In the end, the political neophyte role could work for McSally, who swears she’s spent her whole life believing that one person can indeed make a difference, even in a place like Congress. It’s the sort of saccharine sentiment jaded politicos would laugh at. But coming from a woman who singlehandledly took on the Defense Department, it just may strike a chord with voters tired of all the negativity emanating from the professionals in Washington.

Carl DeMaio

Carl DeMaio Republican for California’s 52nd district

DeMaio, 38, has a compelling life story. At age 14, he was orphaned and taken in by Jesuits. He eventually made it to Georgetown University and held jobs with think tanks before moving to San Diego in 2002 and being elected to the city council in 2008.

In 2012, Carl authored and led the coalition to pass the landmark pension reform initiative that ends pension spiking abuses, caps pensionable payouts, and closes the city’s troubled pension system and gives new hires 401(k) style retirement accounts instead.

I have learned that if the system won’t reform itself, you have to go directly to the voters and impose reform on city leaders from the outside

Apparently all of Washington thinks I’m the gay guy, and I think I’m much more than that. I consider myself a reformer who just happens to be gay.

Three contests rated as tilts Democrat

Carlos Curbelo

Carlos Curbelo Republican for Florida’s 26th congressional district

Carlos Curbelo was born in Miami, Florida to Cuban exiles who fled the Castro dictatorship. He attended the University of Miami earning a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in Public Administration. In 2002, Carlos founded Capitol Gains, a media and public relations firm which has worked for private companies and political campaigns. In 2009, he joined the office of US Senator George LeMieux as State Director and advisor on Latin-America policy. Carlos was elected to the Miami-Dade County School Board in 2010 where he has fought for education reform, accountability, and fiscal discipline.

Carlos Curbelo received the endorsement of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), a key national business organization representing 22,000 members from more than 19,000 construction and industry-related firms.

I stand with ABC in support of free markets and a strong competitive environment that leads to job creation and a vibrant economy. President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Joe Garcia have saddled our country with debt and burdened the American people with harmful policies such as Obamacare. America needs a fiscally responsible government that supports those who are seeking and creating opportunities. Otherwise, a broad economic recovery will remain elusive.

Carl Domino

Carl Domino Republican for Florida’s 18th congressional district

Florida’s 18th congressional district is one of only nine in the U.S. that elected a Democrat to the House but gave more of its vote to Mitt Romney last year.

In 2002, Carl Domino was elected to the Florida House of Representatives and served for eight years. Carl held a number of important roles in the State House and was best known for his property tax reduction proposal called “portability,” which enabled local homeowners to move to newer properties without losing the property tax benefits of the home they left. Carl was also the only elected official to use his own research, and stand firm against Governor Crist and the Florida Legislature to prevent the taxpayer giveaway to Digital Domain fiasco in St. Lucie County. Despite huge pressure from state and local officials and the media, Carl stood firm, but Digital Domain prevailed. Not too long after, Digital Domain failed costing the State and St Lucie County taxpayers many lost jobs and over $20 million in state tax dollars.

Patrick Murphy abandoned his home and Fort Lauderdale to move to our district and buy the election with his daddy’s money. For the past year, he has done Nancy Pelosi’s bidding, becoming a rubber stamp for the far left’s radical agenda. But now that Election Day is nine months away, Murphy is desperately trying to hide his liberal spots. He’s pretending to be bipartisan, meeting with Republican leaders, and hinting about switching parties. He’s even gone as far as to denounce Obamacare!

Let me remind you that Murphy ran his first campaign in full support of the health care law and he still supports the basic pillars of Obamacare, he just doesn’t want voters to know it. Patrick Murphy can’t have it both ways. I’m not buying his act on Obamacare, and I hope you aren’t either. We deserves better. And that’s why I’m challenging Murphy for this seat.

I have no illusions this will be an easy race. Nancy Pelosi and her gang of radicals and the Murphy family are ready to pour millions of dollars into the district to defend this seat. But I’ve decided to take on this challenge because I’m dismayed by where this nation is heading – economically, foreign policy-wise, and socially.

As a successful businessman, I have a skill set that is sorely lacking in Congress today. Washington needs to quit adding to our debt by reining in spending. Continuing to borrow from China or raising taxes are not viable solutions. As a Vietnam veteran and retired commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves, I’m increasingly concerned about America’s foreign policy strategy. We’re abandoning our allies — like Israel — and allowing hostile countries, like Russia, to dictate our decisions. As a father, I fear that my children and grandchildren will not have the opportunity to enjoy the American dream as our generation and those who came before us did. And that’s unacceptable.

Gary Kiehne

Gary Kiehne Republican for Arizona’s 1st congressional district

As a sixth generation rancher on national forest land, Gary is passionate about land use issues and will fight to protect our rights to develop and use our land. He has seen firsthand how the federal government, in conjunction with special interests, have harmed important industries in our state and stymied job growth in our communities.

As a businessman and active member of his community who has created jobs in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District, Gary understands the issues facing our district and our state. His primary focus as our next member of Congress will be advocating for policies that encourage economic growth and job creation in the 1st Congressional district. Gary is committed to limiting the size and cost of the federal government, rolling back job-killing regulations, and protecting land rights.

Gary has three children and three grandchildren and lives in Springerville. He is a member of the National Rifle Association and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. In his free time, he participates in team roping competitions. He is a Gold Card member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys’ Association, a member of the United States Team Roping Association and the World Series of Team Roping.

Arizona’s First Congressional district is a special place. Stretching from Arizona’s northern border down to southern Arizona, it’s one of the biggest congressional districts in the country. It’s the place you and I live and are proud to call home. It is, in many ways, a Congressional district made up of small towns and communities where you know your neighbors and they know you.

I’m not a career politician looking for a promotion. I’m running for Congress because our district needs a voice in Washington who understands our district and the issues it faces. I was born in Springerville and live there today. As a rancher and small businessman, I have seen first-hand the issues facing our district and the effects that policies from Washington have on our economy.

I’m a conservative who believes in limited government, lower taxes, and economic freedom. I believe that our district can thrive if we can escape the heavy hand of a federal government more concerned with regulating our economy than letting it grow and prosper.

As your next Congressman, my top priority will be to grow our economy. I will help the small business owners, the farmers, the ranchers, the miners, and every other industry in our district grow and thrive so that we have good jobs for anyone who wants one

Three contests rated as leans Democrat

Marlinda Garcia

Marilinda Garcia Republican for New Hampshire’s 2nd congressional district

You can tell how much of a threat Democrats consider Salem state Rep. Marilinda Garcia by the ferocity with which they attacked her when Garcia announced plans to run against Congresswoman Annie Kuster.

“Another Radical Ideologue Steps In to Carry Bill O’Brien’s Tea Party Torch,” screamed the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Bill O’Brien + Kim Kardashian = Marilinda Garcia,” tweeted Manchester Democratic state Rep. Peter Sullivan. Kuster herself fired off a fundraising email citing Garcia by name.

Considering that the usual response when a little-known legislator announces plans to run against an incumbent is to ignore the challenger, the Democrats’ reaction was completely over the top.

Democrats hit the nuclear button because in their world, a candidate like Garcia simply should not exist. Young, female, Latina, smart, experienced – and conservative? Impossible. Cognitive dissonance. Heads exploding. Some Democrats apparently resent that on top of being qualified, Garcia is also pretty, slim, and fashionable. Put the package all together and you have what nobody objective can deny is an attractive candidate.

The continuous flow of government mandates, regulations and taxes are literally making it impossible for local government to solve local problems. The federal government needs to move away from its path toward “bigger and more government.” I don’t think the party’s been very good about communicating what it is we believe and why, and our vision for the country. So I just intend to, you know, communicate that message, my message, and if by virtue of being who I am that helps expand our base, that’s great.

Igor Birman

Igor Birman Republican for California’s 7th congressional district

Democrats badly want to keep this seat, and Republicans badly want to win it back. The result is likely to be one of the most brawling battles of political tug-of-war in the country. This northern California district was so evenly divided during the 2012 election cycle that the eventual winner, Ami Bera, showed up for House freshman orientation in Washington, DC while a recount was still ongoing back home. Bera is seeking a second term during a year when the clumsy rollout of Obamacare is topping the list of Republican talking points. California may be a solid blue state, but make no mistake, this is the swingiest of the state’s swing districts with a nearly even split between registered Democrats and Republicans.

Birman’s biggest ally to help him emerge from the crowded field is likely to be 4th district Rep. Tom McClintock, who lavished praise on the 31-year-old aide, calling him the most effective chief of staff in Washington.

Born in Moscow, Birman moved with his family to the Sacramento area and graduated from UC Davis. He is a practicing attorney and instrument-rated pilot.

McClintock said Birman knows what it’s like to grow up in a totalitarian society.

I must admit I’m here today with mixed emotions because I’m about to lose the best chief of staff on Capitol Hill. But Igor Birman’s is a voice that is desperately needed in Congress. His is a message that needs to be taken to every American who has tended to take our freedom for granted over the years.

Who better to speak up, to warn about the path that we are on and to articulate the importance of our freedom as Americans than Igor Birman?

It is that experience that instilled in him a burning devotion to American principles of individual liberty, constitutionally limited government and personal responsibility that built the most prosperous and successful republic in the history of mankind.

Stewart Mills

Stewart Mills Republican for Minnesota’s 8th congressional district

Stewart Mills is a 41 year old married father of 5 that lives with his family in the Brainerd Lakes area. Currently, Stewart is Vice President of Mills Fleet Farm, headquartered out of Brainerd, MN. Stewart is also the originator of FleetFarm.com, innovative health care plans, Mills Indoor Shooting and Archery, brands of Firearms and accessories, the “We Love It! Outdoors” Television series and numerous other forward thinking projects aimed at increasing the retail reach of Mills Fleet Farm, now and in the future.

Second Amendment is huge up here. People up here grew up with a gun in their hands. Gun-free zones are killing our kids.

We can debate campaign funding until we’re blue in the face, but it’s not going to create jobs for people here in the 8th District. The federal government is putting up roadblocks and handicapping the private businesses of the 8th District with increasing taxes on small business owners and mandates from the Affordable Care Act.

One contest rated as tilts Republican

Erika Harold

Erika Harold Republican for Illinois’ 13th congressional district

The 33-year-old Urbana lawyer does not fit the outdated stereotype of a beauty queen: Of mixed black and American Indian ancestry, Ms. Harold chose anti-bullying and abstinence as her primary issues as the 2003 Miss America and used the scholarship proceeds from her win to put herself through Harvard Law School.

She also is running in the face of strong opposition from the local Illinois Republican establishment, which fears a divisive primary could damage the chances of freshman Rep. Rodney Davis, who eked out a victory in a district that Barack Obama won in 2008 and ran neck and neck with Republican challenger Mitt Romney in 2012.

I’m a Republican first and foremost because I believe in the importance of constitutional principles. And, from that, it comes from limited government, lower taxes, less regulation. And then the protection for individual liberties. And those are the kind of principles that I think empower me and other young people who are looking for their place politically.

Well, surprisingly, I became a conservative when I was in college at the University of Illinois. I know most people do not become conservatives when they are in college. But, for me, I was studying political science and history. When I started to read the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, our country’s foundational documents for myself, I really fell in love with the way in which our country is framed, the constitutional principles. That’s when I realized that I was a conservative.

I think that right now the party has not done a very good job of actually going out into minority communities and presenting those principles. I think the principles themselves are inclusive, but the party is not doing a great enough job doing that outreach. During the course of my candidacy, I’m making a concerted effort to taking these constitutional principles to communities all across the country, whether it’s women, minorities, young people, because I think these principles really are the principles that can unite us all.

About Author

I am retired after 36 years of being a state of Indiana employee. I enjoy writing and reading conservative blogs.

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