So much for the year of the rematch.
Almost a year ago, CQ Roll Call declared “The Top 5 House Rematches to Watch (So Far) ” as re-do races in California, Utah, North Carolina and Minnesota.
Thanks mostly to House retirements, none of the five rematches listed in that piece are happening in 2014. That’s how much the midterm map has shifted in a year. To be sure, there are still several competitive House rematch races this cycle, including a few featuring former members of Congress and a potential top-tier race in Massachusetts’ 6th District.
But over the last year, the top rematch to watch in the country — in Utah’s 4th District — fell off the map when Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson announced his retirement . Matheson would have faced former Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love in this district, which is currently the most conservative district in the country represented by a Democrat.
Not for long. With Matheson out, Love is much closer to becoming the first black Republican woman elected to Congress. Her biggest hurdle is defeating Republican businessman Bob Fuehr in an April 26 convention, and possibly a June 24 primary.
There’s no longer a rematch in North Carolina’s 7th District, either, following the retirement of Rep. Mike McIntyre, a Democrat. McIntyre, who squeaked out a win in 2012 by less than 700 votes, was set to face former state Rep. David Rouzer again in 2014. Rouzer doesn’t have a free shot at the seat in November, however. He now faces primary opposition from attorney Woody White.
In Minnesota, GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann’s surprise retirement announcement in the fall busted yet another high-profile rematch. Bachmann would have faced businessman Jim Graves in November. But when Bachmann announced her retirement , Graves also dropped his bid in the 6th District, which will likely elect another Republican this November.
Finally, in California, two more rematches fell off the map this year.
GOP Rep. Gary G. Miller’s retirement in California’s 31st District brings good news for Democrats, who are now on track to pick up that seat. After failing to advance in a top-two primary against Miller in 2012, Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar is back again to challenge Miller in 2014. Now with Miller’s retirement, Aguilar now is competing against three other Democrats for the seat, including attorney Eloise Gomez Reyes and former Rep. Joe Baca.
After losing a race for California’s 26th District in 2012, former state Sen. Tony Strickland, a Republican, initially announced a rematch with freshman Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley.
But when GOP Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon announced his retirement from the neighboring 25th District, Strickland moved over to run there instead. California’s 25th District is more favorable than the 26th District to Republicans.