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2 Red Hot Must-Win House Races

This morning, The Hill ran a piece by Julia Manchester and Caroline Vakil that attracted my attention: Seven close races that could decide control of the House. 4 of the 7 seats are occupied by worthless New Dem and Blue Dog incumbents who don’t deserve reelection: Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Elaine Luria (VA-02), Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), and Susie Lee (NV-03). These 4 people don’t belong in Congress and each is a symptom of what’s wrong with the institution. The only case that could be made for any of them is that they are the lesser evil in comparison to the Republicans running against them and that the corrupt, decrepit Democratic Party needs to hold the seats to keep control of the House. I expect the NRCC and its allies and the DCCC and its allies will spend massively in all 4 of these incumbent-held races.

Cuellar literally has the single worst voting record of any Democrat in the House and the closest to a Republican. The Texas Blue Dog is also corrupt beyond any kind of DC norm and brings disrepute on the Democratic Party. The party establishment just helped slam a progressive woman to keep the anti-Choice, pro-NRA slime bucket in office. Progressives should sit November out and get rid of this guy once and for all. The Republicans in the state legislature love him and made his district bluer— from a D+4 to a D+7. His opponent is a former Ted Cruz staffer, Cassy Garcia. Cuellar is sitting on $1,047,583 in his account, while Garcia has $113,286.

Spanberger, barely a Democrat at all and a loud advocate for the party turning sharply right, did a little district shopping, moving from the old 7th district (which had a partisan lean of R+5) into a bluer suburban district that shouldn’t be represented by a reactionary Blue Dog and has a healthy D+2 partisan lean. The ProgressivePunch algorithm rates her a low “F”. There are only 15 Democrats in the House with worse voting records. A corporate shill, Spanberger raised around $5 million so far, 4 times Yesli Vega, the whack job Republican supported by Ginni Thomas who’s running against her. Spanberger has $4.3 million in her campaign account now and Vega has $120,000.

Luria is terrible as well, albeit not as terrible as Spanberger and may have even gotten slightly better with time, while Spanberger has continued getting worse and worse. Luria, a New Dem, has a D-score. Her district, VA-02, was gerrymandered too make it redder. It went from an R+2 swing seat to an R+6 Republican leaning seat. In a red wave cycle this is just the kind of district that flips— especially with an uninspiring Republican-lite candidate like Luria. Luria has $3,382,082 in her campaign account to Republican Jen Kiggans’ half million.

Susie Lee is a rich socialite and a New Dem who has made no mark in Congress and is a complete waste of a seat. ProgressivePunch overly generously rates her record a “C”. The legislature bolstered her by redrawing the district from an R+5 partisan lean to a D+2 lean. Her crackpot opponent, April Becker, was left with $249,438 in her war-chest after the primary— compared to Lee’s $2,345,614.

The other 3 seats are all open. The new OH-13 was, at least in theory, Tim Ryan’s district but it’s now gerrymandered into a Republican seat. Former Miss Ohio Madison Gesiotto Gilbert, now a right-wing activist, is favored to win against Democratic state House minority leaders Emilia Sykes, who has been endorsed by the New Dems. The district has an R+6 partisan lean and Gilbert is outraging Sykes 2:1. I don’t know why this race is even on this list.

And then there are two races that include progressives. Chris Deluzio is hoping to replace Conor Lamb in the mostly suburban district surrounding Pittsburgh to the west, north and east and is facing Republican/Trump-nut Jeremy Shaffer in November. The district went from an R+2 lean to a D+1 lean, still tough in the current political environment. Shaffer, a wealthy self-funder (over half million of his own into the campaign so far) has about half a million in his campaign account (after spending $200K), while Deluzio has less than $100K after spending $429,773 on his primary (which he won against an establishment candidate 63.7% to 36.3%). Unlike the others mentioned above, this is a race worth investing in for two reasons: Deluzio would make an excellent member of Congress and the races winnable. “Corporate bosses and their corrupt politicians,” he told me this morning, “shipped our jobs to China and all over the planet, while huge corporations gouge us and kill small businesses and unions. This campaign is built upon the principle that we must fight for our common good. This means being ready to fight back against corporate greed and to get to work to make stuff right here at home with union workers.”

Please consider contributing to Chris’ campaign here. I would say Chris is going to win because he hasn't flip flopped on any issues the way Shaffer has changed his positions on guns and abortion enough to anger GOP extremists but without persuading any moderate voters he’s on their side. He certainly isn’t anyone fighting for working families. Deluzio isn't a “politics as usual” kind of candidate and you always knows where he stands, since his positions are based on values. Shaffer had the highest rating from the NRA a non-incumbent can receive, but now says— unconvincingly— that he favors some gun control measures. He also is on record supporting no exceptions to abortion, even going so far as calling for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion nationwide, but now says some cases where life of the mother is concerned may be permissible. Shaffer is, basically, a "MAGA wolf in sheep's clothing" and is flip flopping on issues core to his worldview.

You’re probably more familiar with Jamie McLeod-Skinner’s race in central Oregon. She defeated anti-working class Blue Dog Kurt Schrader in a hard-fought primary— 57.1% to 42.9%— and now faces anti-critical race fanatic Lori Chavez-DeRemer in a district that has a slight Democratic lean— D+3 and encompasses Bend and the suburbs south of Portland and east of Salem. Although typical conservative sore loser Kurt Schrader hasn't endorsed her, she is reaching out to voters from all walks of life and of all ideologies. "Knowing what’s at stake in this election," she told me today, "Democrats are coming together. We’re starting to be joined by Independents and even some Republicans who are rejecting my opponent’s extremism and rallying around our campaign to fight for working people, our environment, and our fundamental rights."

Chavez-DeRemer is an extremist eager for an all out ban on abortion and doesn’t know Oregon outside of her gated community in the Portland suburbs. Everyone I know in Oregon tells me she’s interested in pitting people against each other, per her Republican dog whistle talking points, and not on creating solutions for working people, the environment, or protecting democracy. The two candidates have around the same amount of cash on hand and as long as Jamie can get her compare and contrast campaign messaging out, she should be able to win this one. Please help with that here on our Blue America Oregon ActBlue page. Thisis a very winnable race and would mean not just another garden variety Democrat, but a strong progressive tuned to the interested of working class families.

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