As Reps. Andy Barr, R-Ky., Ami Bera, D-Calif., and Ann McLane Kuster, D-N.H., can attest, sometimes the second time is the charm.
All three freshmen won rematch races in 2012 after narrowly losing bids for Congress in 2010.
Three months into the 2014 midterm cycle, there are at least a handful of highly anticipated House race rematches on tap. More are likely to materialize in the next year.
The 2012 opponent of Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., made his comeback official Tuesday, and Minnesota hotelier Jim Graves is expected to announce Thursday whether he will again challenge GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann. Observers believe he will run.
The House landscape is far from set at this early juncture, with first-quarter fundraising reports due Monday and challengers just starting to roll out their campaigns.
Also, a presidential-year electorate differs (in some districts greatly) from a midterm electorate. Depending on the district, that could mean that a rematch race is less — or more — competitive.
At this point, these are the most anticipated — and indeed competitive — instances of 2012 House race déjà vu in 2014:
1. Utah’s 4th District
Jim Matheson vs. Mia Love
There is no Democrat sitting in a more Republican district in the country than Matheson, according to the Cook Political Report’s recently released PVI ratings. So it would have been far more surprising had Love, the mayor of Saratoga Springs, opted not to challenge Matheson again, especially after losing to the longtime congressman by only 768 votes.
Matheson says he withstood the “perfect storm” last yearand still pulled out the “W.” The harrowing adventure included being drawn out of his district, having Mitt Romney atop the ballot in November and facing a dynamic and potentially history-making opponent in Love. A fellow Mormon, Love would become the first black Republican woman elected to Congress.
Love told CQ Roll Call recently that with Dave Hansen, a highly touted Utah strategist, aboard, she now has the best campaign team possible.
2. North Carolina’s 7th District
Mike McIntyre vs. David Rouzer
After a recount and ultimately a 654-vote loss in 2012, Rouzer made it official Tuesday that he is taking another shot at the nine-term Democratic incumbent.
It’s a testament to McIntyre’s political acumen that he survived in 2012. Republicans were even privately skeptical about knocking off the battle-tested incumbent last year, despite drawing him into a difficult district and unloading an onslaught of negative TV ads against him.
Republicans won three Democratic-held districts in the state last cycle. McIntyre held on despite representing the third most Republican district of any Democrat in the country. That was thanks, in part, to his relatively moderate voting record and the TV ads McIntyre ran that called him a “strong conservative and Christian.”
Rouzer, now a former state senator, proved a good candidate with a competent campaign, and Republicans have this race listed among their top targets.
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