Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 12, 2016

Top 5 Races to Watch in the Southwest

The battle for the Southwest boils down to two states: Arizona and Texas. And unless Republicans redraw the congressional map in the Lone State State once again — highly unlikely —  there are not many competitive races.

Here are the top five races to watch in the Southwest:

Arizona’s 2nd District. Rep. Ron Barber, a Democrat, won re-election to a full term last fall. But his close race against retired combat pilot Martha McSally wasn’t easy, and she has already filed paperwork for a rematch. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Pure Tossup.  Get the full Rothenberg Political Report analysis here ($).

Texas’ 23rd District. This is the lone competitive district in the Lone Star State. Rep. Pete Gallego, a Democrat, knocked off GOP Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco in 2012 and the congressman should face a competitive re-election fight. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Tossup/Tilt Democrat.

Arizona’s 1st District. Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick was elected to congress in 2008, defeated in 2010 and elected again in 2012. Mitt Romney, John McCain and George W. Bush carried her redrawn district in the last three presidential elections, so it’s no surprise that Kirkpatrick is a Republican target once again. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Tossup/Tilt Democrat.

Texas Senate. After Ted Cruz defeated Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the 2012 GOP primary, conservatives believe almost anything is possible. But ousting Sen. John Cornyn will be difficult and there isn’t a top candidate on the horizon. We’ll keep watching. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Currently Safe Republican.

Texas’ 16th District. Beto O’Rourke defeated longtime Rep. Silvestre Reyes in the Democratic primary and now represents a district with a Hispanic majority. O’Rourke might be vulnerable to a Latino challenger in the primary, but no one has surfaced yet. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Currently Safe Democrat.

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

Note: The Southwest region includes Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

  • papacito9999

    I think here I’d remove the Texas Senate seat as I see it highly unlikely that the seat will be at all competitive in the primary or the general. Cornyn’s got enough conservative support such that there would be little room for a primary challenger to carve out a niche of support.
    On the other hand, Kyrsten Sinema’s seat in Arizona’s 9th will be one to watch. Sinema ran as an open liberal in a moderate district and was able to win the newly created seat, probably with Obama’s help. This time, without a Presidential race or even a Senate race at the top of the ticket, the election will be all about Sinema. Can she defend her progressive chops against a likely Republican onslaught?

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