Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 8, 2016

Top 5 Races to Watch in New England

John Tierney

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

New England hasn’t been fertile territory for Republican candidates of late, but the party has an opportunity to gain House seats in the region this November.

Surprisingly, even though the races have evolved, there is no change to the regional Top 5 Races to Watch list from last summer.

Here are the top five races to continue watching this cycle in New England:

Massachusetts’ 6th District. There are two races to watch in this district this fall. The first is the Sept. 9 Democratic primary between Rep. John Tierney and Iraq War veteran Seth Moulton, along with three others. Tierney is expected to win, but Moulton raised considerable money for a first-time candidate challenging an incumbent. In the general, Tierney would face Republican Richard Tisei in a rematch of their close 2012 contest. This is a Democratic district, but Tierney’s issues and Tisei’s strengths make this uniquely competitive. The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Tossup/Tilts Democratic.

Maine’s 2nd District. The district has evolved since the last time it was open in 2002, but it could develop into a serious Republican opportunity. Democratic state Sen. Emily Cain and former Republican state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin won competitive primaries and are facing off in the general. Cain should have the advantage — but Democrats have some work to do and Poliquin should be taken seriously in this midterm election. The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Democrat Favored.

New Hampshire’s 1st District. This district keeps swinging back and forth between the two parties. This cycle, Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter is the target. Former Rep. Frank Guinta is expected to win the Sept. 9 GOP primary, but he must get past business school dean Dan Innis. The seat is almost guaranteed to have another close general-election race. The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Tossup/Tilts Democratic.

New Hampshire’s 2nd District. As the more Democratic district in the state, this isn’t a great Republican opportunity, but it has some interesting storylines. Former state Sen. Gary Lambert and state Rep. Marilinda Garcia are facing off in the Sept. 9 GOP primary. Some Republican strategists believe Garcia is too conservative to win the district, but her nomination would give the caucus a young, Latina candidate to support against Democratic Rep. Ann McLane Kuster. The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Leans Democratic.

New Hampshire Senate. Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is not in imminent danger of losing, but there aren’t many other races in the region worth paying attention to. Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott P. Brown is likely to win the GOP primary, but he has a long ways to go to knock off Shaheen. If he is in the game in October, it will likely be a great night for Republicans in the Senate. The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Democrat Favored.

What races would you add to or subtract from the list?

Note: This is the second in a series of regional looks at the most competitive House and Senate races to watch. The New England region includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. The previous region covered: Mid-Atlantic.

Related Stories:

Top 10 Most Vulnerable Senators

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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  • Jack

    Looks like the republicans have no chance in the Northeast. We certainly don’t need them bringing in their hate and bigotry.

    • Eisenhower

      Uh, the story above included a Gay libertarian (Richard Tisei), A Latina American (Marilinda Garcia), and Scott Brown. I lived in the Lakes Region in NH and now I’m in MA. I’ve meant several of these individuals and none of them were bigoted or filled with “hate”.

      • S. Strengari

        You’re right about that and this article does not give enough credit to the conservative nature of NH-1 and ME-2. Both were bedrock Republican areas, are light blue/purple now, but are definitely more conservative than the national Democratic party. With the right message, candidates, and mood of the Country, there is a definite a possibility they can flip.

    • Valley Forge

      New England has a rich history of its own intolerance which continues to this day. Hard to see much difference in the mindset between Puritans and Progressives.

      • Paul

        This section of this great nation has led the way since the founding of the Republic. Abolition and Women’s Suffrage were both started in NE. By the outbreak of Civil War, 5 out of the 6 NE states had already given black men the right to vote. Martin Luther King’s experience spending one summer in Hartford as a teenager forged his entire outlook on Civil Rights, because here, he was treated like a human being. Besides the Puritans, which was 300-400 years ago, when they were British subjects, what real examples of ”intolerance” can you cite? We have so much history to be proud of here….can’t really say that about our countrymen down south!!

        • Bomber7090

          You are deluded. Boston is one of the most racist cities in the nation. The Sox were the last major league team to field a black man. I have lived everywhere in this nation and racism is alive an well in New England – who rules here is the elitists from the Ivy League schools who want to retain their privilege and care little about the middle class or minorities for that matter.

    • cutitall

      We hate deficits and we are bigoted against un-American behavior. That’s about the extent of the hate and bigotry.

  • wdb

    I definitely don’t think Shaheen will lose, but the other races should be competitive.

    • Bomber7090

      Yes she will – because of Obama – which means a rout in the Senate – maybe a ten seat switch. Here they are – MT, SD, WV already gone for sure, IA, NC, LA strongly leaning switch, Alaska now leaning the other way will go red now there is a Republican candidate, and CO and NH in play and will lean red soon. Add to that ME’s independent almost certainly switches caucus. That makes 10 switches all because of the tone deaf incompetent in the White House.

      • Steve DeAngelo

        I think the GOP has a great chance of knocking off incumbent democrat Senator, Mark Pryor, in Arkansas. Pryor voted with 0bama over 90% of the time last year. I think he’s toast.

        • Bomber7090

          I honestly believe the defeat of Pryor is nearing certainty – particularly after his recent ad where he praised the ACA – which the majority of Arkansas residents dislike. He is getting desperate when he justifies his support for this wildly unpopular legislation.

      • wdb

        Delusional. I’ll bet you $100 Shaheen wins.

        • Bomber7090

          Gambling is a democratic party scam that “raises” revenue at the high costs of social damage – so I do not bet. When I say lean red it means that the race will be mighty close in a state that before the invasion of citizens from MA escaping the scourge of MA taxes was pretty conservative. I am surprised a bit by the tightening of the race since Shaheen is pretty popular but I think Brown has a decent chance. A real wave could doom her and if the golfer in chief keeps it up there might be a real wave. Also, Brown is pretty liberal so he would be somewhat of a maverick in a Republican caucus. Much could change if Obama finds a direction and begins to lead – but I doubt that will happen.

          • wdb

            Now you’re making more sense. Yes, Brown is a moderate which could help him in NH if there is a Republican wave, but I think otherwise the charge of carpetbagging will sink him.

  • Jerald

    Poll out last night has a dead heat between Brown and Shaheen.

  • CaneFan

    I expect Tierney to lose in the primary or general. I hope Tisei, a good candidate, gets the shot to take out this loser. Unfortunate that this area filled with American heritage is currently in the hands of people who don’t care for America.
    Back to the Mid-Atlantic, NJ3 is Safe Republican. Belgard will be slaughtered. This is not the same district that elected one Dem in 2008 for one term-the first in over 100 years. DNC is wasting its money as they did in 2010 and 2012.

  • Daniel Carter

    I don’t know if Connecticut is considered New England but Dan Malloy is in deep danger of losing his governor’s seat in a rematch this November with Tom Foley. Malloy is currently trailing Foley in the polls.

    • penguincompassion

      So far, by an average of 4.5 points.

  • Valley Forge

    Notably not on the list: Susan Collins’ senate seat in Maine. She may be a relative moderate but she is still a Republican who opposed Obamacare. One would think Democrats would at least try to make it competitive. It is the only GOP senate seat in a state won by Obama after all. Why pour money into long-shots like Georgia or hype up sure losers like Mississippi or Kansas when Maine is right under your nose? Hmm…

  • GunnerMack

    CT 4. Himes will lose house seat watch. Foley over Malloy in gov race too.

  • Kouch

    Maine’s Republican governor is looking to get re-elected, especially with the left split on the Dem candidate and the faux-Independent candidate, who is just like the faux-Independent senator from the state (yawn…predictably liberal). So the progressives can’t decide which one to back for governor and are busy tearing their hair out when one or the other gains traction at the expense of the other. Get the popcorn ready…this is going to be fun to watch!

  • Bomber7090

    Fortunately, I am not in the 6th District in Massachusetts. Tierney is a loser and Moulton is an ultra-liberal. Just look at Moulton’s platform – his positions are clearly far out liberal if not socialist. His service was honorable but based upon statements made by a member of his family comparing military service to criminality it has odors of serving to advance his political opportunities. He also is an elitist with Harvard connections – and his elitist and privileged parents are Ivy Leaguers from Brown. They can have this group of privileged Marxists who view the middle class as inferior so long as they retain their privilege. I see Tierney winning the primary and Tisei the general. In two years the socialist voters in Massachusetts will elect Moulton over Tisei. Bottom line – this district is dysfunctional – and hardly representative of the blue collar voters that inhabit it.

    • View From The Left

      “…odors of serving to advance his political opportunities.”
      You couldn’t hold Moulton’s shoes, you’re a disgrace with no understanding of elite education. You’re a pathetic class-warrios from the wrong sides of the tracks with a typical, conservative martyr complex.
      Disgusting…and ignorant.

      • Bomber7090

        I fully understand his elitist status. Their are not just odors but absolute stinks of what he did. Frankly I know some of his family history and understand what is going on here. I happen to be a 38 year military veteran who understands what he did – and historically is not uncommon – but I recognized it for what it was – honorable – not much more. His elite education is an example of what his family has been able to give him then shove it to the middle class. I certainly can hold his shoes but am disgusted with what he represents. What is repugnant and repellant is what the democratic party has become. You are disgusting and absolutely ignorant. You sound like his boot shiner.

        • View From The Left

          Thanks for proving what an ignorant and hateful know-nothing you are. A disgrace to this country.

          • Bomber7090

            Look in the mirror.

          • View From The Left

            I don’t need to look in the mirror when I can see the best example of unAmerican garbage just by reading your posts.

          • Bomber7090

            Your definition of unAmerican is interesting. I serve in the military for 38 years and in two conflicts (Viet Nam and the Persian Gulf I) and you somehow find that unpatriotic – actually I continue to serve by law. I guess your concept of unAmericanism is the definition of what I object to – someone related to the candidate in question asserting that military service is nearly comparable to criminality – and that assertion is public record from the Boston Globe from 2005. One can only imagine why I take offense of that characterization. While popularity polls mean little to me it is interesting that positive results from my posts here greatly outweigh your negativity – in fact – I will be more courteous and avoid your nastiness. In the final analysis I guess you diverge from what I believe and most I associate with believe is American.

          • View From The Left

            Benedict Arnold also served. Bradley Manning served. I’m not impressed by your service alone because you’re every bit as unAmerican as both of those two I listed. Your hypocrisy is astounding! You demand respect for serving in the military and denigrate others who did not while at the same time criticizing Seth Moulton for his service. Disgusting and unAmerican.

            More Americans believe in America the way I see it than those who believe in America the way you see it….and that just drives you conservatives crazy! Good luck dealing with that fact, I suspect that is the cause of great anger to you.

            Not too late to repent and do the right thing and donate to Seth’s campaign:

          • Bomber7090

            Amazing – your PR campaign for your candidate has successfully branded a near 40 year veteran as a traitor like his family member comparing veterans to criminals – merely because he questioned the motives of your candidate and his platform. I will spend my resources on those who I believe best represent the interests of those that I served.

          • View From The Left

            Facts are facts, and the fact is you’re a hypocritical, unAmerican, traitorous piece of garbage who couldn’t hold the shoes of Seth Moulton. We don’t believe in “guilt by association” in this country so your reference to what a family member had to say is juvenile and repugnant – just like your posts.

            Thankfully, partisan hacks like you who denigrate the service of others as “serving to advance his political opportunities” are dying off…not quickly enough for most of us but at least you’re dying off nonetheless.

          • Bomber7090

            Absolutely clueless Marxist hack that knows nothing about the heartland of America. Have a great life with other clueless socialists.

          • View From The Left

            And you’re just another know-nothing, vulgar and vile, repellant and repugnant, backwards and backwoods, inbred, traitorous, unAmerican, unChristian neoNazi whose views America is rejecting more and more every day!

            Die off, you ignorant peasant, America thanks you!

      • Bomber7090

        Incidentally, for all of your education what is a “class-warrios” (sic). Also “sides of the tracks” further illustrates my point. Which side am I on?

        • View From The Left

          You’re on the wrong side, just as I stated.
          Or are you too stupid to understand that?
          No need to answer, your posts provide the answer loud and clear.

          • Bomber7090

            After some thought I see just how wonderful you think that my side of the track is the wrong side. It is wonderful to believe in the honest intentions of the American people and from where I sit that is who I am among. What I am “loud and clear” about is what Americans have been loud and clear about for generations – we are not a class driven society and anyone regardless of his beginnings can rise to the very top. Have a wonderful life on your side of the track!

    • Eli Odell Jackson

      I wouldn’t yoke myself to any of ’em.
      The RINO in the race, Tisei, is a proud homosexual, homosexual ‘marriage’ supporter, abortion supporter and achieved nothing in years in the senate, also he’s a stinkin’ yankee and an unbeliever to boot, I’d rather a liberal new englandite than to yoke the republican party to such a perverted RINO.

      A little leaven leaveneth the whole loaf.

      • Bomber7090

        Someone has to win – I stay with my prediction that Tisei wins the general but loses in 2016 – this is a majority democratic district.

  • Jeff Eberwein

    Add ct-4 as a race to watch

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