The House Specials

Changes in Congress and Trump administration suggest a special election season that will run until Independence Day.

February 23, 2017

By Jim Ellis

WASHINGTON – President Trump’s selection of four U.S. House members for major administration positions, and California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) choosing a congressman to replace Sen. Kamala Harris (D) as California’s Attorney General, means a special election season that will run until Independence Day.

In the Golden State, we see a highly competitive intra-party special election. The downtown Los Angeles seat is heavily Democratic and will likely send two party members to the special general election.

Eighteen individuals, including 15 Democrats, have already announced their candidacies. The jungle primary is April 18, with the run-off scheduled for June 6. Democrats will hold this seat.

President Trump’s choice of Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Wichita) as CIA director will lead to the quickest vote, on April 11. Republicans look to be a sure bet to win. State Treasurer Ron Estes (R) and attorney James Thompson (D) won the party convention processes. Mr. Estes begins as the prohibitive favorite.

Democrats are looking to make a stand in Georgia’s 6th District, where party leaders hope investigative filmmaker Jon Ossoff can score an upset win. The seat is now vacant because seven-term incumbent Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) was recently confirmed as President Trump’s Health & Human Services Secretary.

Filing has closed for this special election, now scheduled for April 18 with a run-off on June 20. Eighteen candidates, including 11 Republicans, five Democrats and two Independents have filed nomination papers.

Democrats are optimistic because President Trump only carried this reliably Republican district with a scant 1.5% margin in November. The seat has been in Republican hands since former House Speaker Newt Gingrich first won in 1978. In addition to Gingrich, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) also served in this district. The eventual Republican finalist will be favored.

With U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) now confirmed as Office of Management & Budget director, a new election for his north-central Palmetto State district will be forthcoming.

Seven Republicans (but no Democrats) have announced their candidacies. The special election calendar features a partisan primary on May 2, a May 16 run-off date and a June 20 special general election. The GOP will retain this seat.

Jim Ellis is the publisher of Ellis Insight, a service of Weber Merritt Public Affairs.