Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 25, 2014

Top 5 Races to Watch in New England

ayotte 181 112911 445x295 Top 5 Races to Watch in New England

Ayotte is one of the last congressional Republicans in New England. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Even in the best of times, New England isn’t particularly friendly to Republicans. Today, the GOP boasts just two members — Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire — as the only elected officials at the federal level in the six-state region.

Next year, Republicans will try to climb back to some relevance. Here are the top five races to watch in that region:

Massachusetts’ 6th District: Democrats didn’t expect their own congressman, John F. Tierney, to survive last fall’s election, but he did. Former state Sen. Richard Tisei, a Republican, is on track for a rematch and this cycle, he won’t have to deal with President Barack Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren driving turnout for Tierney. Also, Tierney recently attracted a primary challenge from a former Marine, Seth Moulton. This is a Democratic district, but Tierney’s issues and Tisei’s strengths make this uniquely competitive. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Lean Democrat.

Maine’s 2nd District: Rep. Michael H. Michaud’s run for governor creates a rare competitive open seat. Both Democrats and Republicans will have very crowded and competitive primaries. Until we know the nominees, handicapping the race is difficult. But the nature of the district points to a race to watch next year. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Currently Safe Democrat (pending Michaud’s official announcement).

New Hampshire’s 1st District: This district has swung back and forth between the two parties for the past three cycles. This cycle, Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter is the GOP’s main target. If former Rep. Frank Guinta runs to reclaim his seat, the district is almost guaranteed another close race. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Toss-Up/Tilt Democrat.

New Hampshire Senate: Republicans don’t have to defeat Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to get to the majority. And that’s a good thing for the GOP, since it doesn’t have a candidate. Watch to see if Shaheen becomes legitimately vulnerable, because if she does, the Democratic majority is in jeopardy. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Democrat Favored.

New Hampshire’s 2nd District: As the more Democratic district in the state, this isn’t a great opportunity for Republicans. But since Democrats control virtually everything in the region, they are defending everywhere. If Republicans nominate a candidate with broad appeal, they could challenge Rep. Ann McLane Kuster. Wait and see. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Lean Democrat.

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

Note: The New England Region includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

  • Beacon Hill Banter

    Scott Brown might run for MA governor or make another run for Senate. If he gets into one of these races, then that race will instantly become competitive and be one to watch.

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