Democrats seek to improve standing in House with upcoming special elections

By Benjamin Grove || Layout Assistant

After the 2016 election that saw a transition from a Democratic president to a Republican one, the Democratic party is hoping for positive results from five upcoming special elections to increase their numbers in the House of Representatives. The five special elections for house seats are Georgia’s 6th District, Montana’s at-large House seat, Kansas’ 4th District, South Carolina’s 5th District, and California’s 34th District. Most of the seats are vacant because their previous representatives were selected to serve within President Trump’s administration.

Georgia’s 6th District seat for the House of Representatives is up for grabs because former representative Tom Price became the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services. The seat is the most likely out of the four elections in red-leaning states to swing toward the left wing. Although Georgia’s 6th District is historically conservative in voting, Jon Ossoff, a Democrat and former House staffer, has already raised over $3 million toward his campaign.

However, the opposition to Ossoff—the Republican candidates and the Congressional Leadership Fund—has raised over $2 million to air ads against Ossoff. Georgia’s former secretary of state Karen Handel is in leading on the Republican side. Dan Moody, another Republican candidate, has been endorsed by Georgia Senator David Perdue, which leads to more contention—not only for the Republican candidacy, but for the election as a whole. The election for Georgia’s 6th District position will be a two-round system, with initial voting on April 18 and runoff voting on June 20.

Montana’s at-large House seat is another special election with a chance of going blue since Montana’s former Representative, Ryan Zinke, was selected to be Trump’s secretary of the Interior Department. According to CNN, the Democrats have been successful at winning Senate and governor positions in Montana, but the House seat, of which Montana only has one, has been unattainable for Democrats for the past two decades.

The House seat is Rob Quist, a Democrat and populist, versus Republican Greg Gianforte, who lost the race for governor of Montana in 2016. Republicans are confident that they will retain control of the House seat in Montana. The voting for Montana’s House Representative is set for May 25.

Due to now-former Representative Mike Pompeo having been chosen as Trump’s CIA director, the Representative seat in Kansas’ 4th District is now vacant. The District has been known to and is expected to vote Republican as it has in the past. Democrat James Thompson is facing off against Republican Ron Estes, but he is having tough luck due to his dispute with the Kansas Democratic Party, which denied him $20,000 for his campaign.

However, Democrats still hope to capitalize on anti-Trump sentiments. The election will take place on April 11.

In South Carolina, the 5th District is seeking a replacement for now-former Representative Mick Mulvaney, who took a position as Trump’s budget advisor. The 5th District has, like the other state districts mentioned, voted Republican historically. There are 15 candidates running, and the first round of voting, the primaries, is set for May 2. The final vote will take place on June 20.

California’s 34th District, which encompasses a part of Los Angeles County, is looking to replace its former-Rep. Xavier Becerra, who recently became California’s attorney general. The district is known to vote Democrat, so it is likely that the new Representative for this district will be a Democrat. The election will take place on June 6.

With five representative spots to fill, Democrats are hoping to win these five special elections, which will allow them to further their goal of House majority, which can be attained by filling 24 GOP seats with Democrats. Overall, it is extremely likely that California’s 34th District will vote blue, but the other four elections are relying on anti-Trump fervor to bring Democrats closer to their goal of gaining seats in the House of Representatives.

First-year Benjamin Grove is a layout assistant. His email is bgrove@fandm.edu.

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