Your Cheatsheet For Six Most Interesting House Races To Watch

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November 3, 2014 5:31 a.m.
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Most of the attention in the 2014 midterm election cycle has been on the U.S. Senate and whether Democrats will be able to retain control of the chamber. But there are a few House races that deserve attention too. Here are the six to keep your eyes on Tuesday night.

Tea Partiers Dream Of Picking Up A New Hampshire Seat
Tea partiers are hoping that Marilinda Garcia, a rising star of the conservative movement and representative in the state legislature, will emerge victorious on Tuesday against Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH). Garcia, who has been endorsed by prominent outside groups and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), has been a highly outspoken critic of Obamacare (even though she’s, at times, been very vague about whether her own healthcare coverage is thanks to the law. Most recent polling has shows Kuster is favored; she has Garcia by anywhere between long single digits to much more — a recent WMUR/UNH poll put Kuster up by 23 percentage points.

Gay Republican Accused Of Sexual Harassment
Democrats have been ferocious in their efforts to protect Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) from a challenge by former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, an openly gay Republican who’s gotten fundraising help from House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). The thing about DeMaio is that his campaign has been dogged accusations that he sexually harassed a former top campaign staffer. The staffer, Todd Bosnich, has described in very graphic details how DeMaio allegedly sexually harassed him and then tried to keep him quiet with hush money. DeMaio strongly denies Bosnich’s allegations, and has said Bosnich is just trying to get back at the campaign for his firing over alleged plagiarism. Polls have shown DeMaio with a slight lead over Peters and RealClearPolitics lists the race in its tossup category.

Duck Dynasty Nephew Versus The Kissing Congressman
Last week Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) endorsed Republican Zach Dasher over Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA). Both Republicans have gotten national attention for drastically different reasons. McAllister is the congressman who was caught on camera kissing a staff member who is not his wife. That prompted a number of Republicans to jump in the primary against McAllister, one of whom is Zach Dasher, who is a relative of the Robertson family of A&E reality show “Duck Dynasty” fame.” (McAllister had previously secured the family’s endorsement during his first congressional run.) Dasher, as TPM recently pointed out, has previously warned of a Mussolini-Hitler-Stalin type regime taking over the United States of America.

GOPer Versus American Idol Star
Rep. Renee Ellmers (D-NC) came into Congress during the 2010 tea party wave, and this year, she’s found herself with an unusual opponent: American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken (D). Ellmers, who famously refused to give up her paycheck during the government shutdown last year, had a far right primary challenge and was hammered by tea party folks on immigration. Nevertheless she won the primary and it appears that despite his fame, Aiken isn’t exactly a sure bet for the seat. He’s even found himself in the crosshairs of Bill Maher for not embracing liberalism.

Convicted Ex-Governor Goes For Congress
Perhaps only in a state like Louisiana could a governor famous nationally for corruption run for Congress and be anywhere close to a serious candidate. Former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards (D) is running to inherit the seat Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) is vacating while he runs in hopes of unseating Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA). Between being convicted on 17 counts including conspiracy, racketeering, and money laundering, Edwards also was the star of a short-lived reality TV show. Edwards is one of a handful of candidates in the race for Cassidy’s seat and while he seems poised to go to a runoff, some observers don’t expect him to actually win the seat. But it’s Louisiana — where crazier things have happened.

Bruce Braley’s Congressional Seat
Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) opted to run for U.S. Senate this cycle in what initially looked like an easy win for him. But now Braley has a very real chance of losing the race to state Sen. Joni Ernst, the Republican nominee. If he does that might leave Democrats down both a Senate seat they expected to win and a House seat. The contest for Braley’s seat is between state Rep. Pat Murphy (D-IA) and Republican businessman Rod Blum. There hasn’t been a huge amount of polling, but a recent Loras College poll had Blum up by 2 percentage points, a shift from a September poll which found Murphy up by the same margin. If Blum does win that would mean the Iowa delegation will tilt heavily to the right.

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