At least seven former House members are running this year for a return trip to the South side of the Capitol, but no more than four will likely make it. Former Georgia Rep. Paul Broun, who lost in the 2014 Republican Senate primary, will learn his fate Tuesday. Rather than run in his former district, Broun opted to take on his former colleague, Rep. Doug Collins, in the neighboring 9th District, which covers the northeastern corner of the state.
— Collins hasn’t been bashful about bringing up Broun’s ethical issues, which include his former chief of staff being indicted in April for allegedly using taxpayer money for campaign purposes, among other charges. The second-term incumbent distributed a mailer that looked like a UPS ad, photoshopping Broun’s head onto the body of a deliveryman and asking, “What did Broun do for you?” One of the answers was, “Scandal and Embarrassment.” Similar to his Senate bid, Broun has had trouble raising money, spending just $68,000 total as of May 4.
— The former members with better shots at return trips to Congress are the Democrats ousted in 2014 who are running for their former seats under far more palatable conditions for the party. They are Carol Shea-Porter, who could face Rep. Frank Guinta in New Hampshire for a fourth straight time if he survives his Republican primary; Brad Schneider, who is facing Rep. Bob Dold in Illinois for a third straight race; and Pete Gallego, who is challenging Rep. Will Hurd in Texas. Joe Garcia of Florida is also challenging the Republican who unseated him in 2014, Carlos Curbelo, but he faces a primary against businesswoman Annette Taddeo.
— While serving in Congress usually means someone has won a relatively competitive race, the flip side is that there is a reason they are not still there—and it’s usually not good. Joe Baca, who lost reelection to a fellow Democrat in 2012 and lost a comeback bid in the 31st District in 2014, switched parties in 2015 and is back in the same district but running as a Republican. Kerry Bentivolio, a reindeer rancher whom Dave Trott unseated in the 2014 Republican primary with a 32-point shellacking, is running again as an independent. But he has raised no money and there is no trace of any media coverage of his bid. More than $160,000 in lingering debt to his campaign consultant and lawyers from last cycle was wiped clean after he filed for bankruptcy in early 2015.
A few former House members are also running for Senate this year: Baron Hill in Indiana, Joe Cao in Louisiana, and Ted Strickland in Ohio. As a former governor in a swing state, Strickland has the best odds, but he’s also facing the most imposing opponent in Republican Sen. Rob Portman.
— Kyle Trygstad
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