The Close Contests In The 2000 US Congressional Elections

This is a list of 65 seats in the House that are the most likely to be tightly contested this year.

The list includes the 59 seats where the winner in the 1998 election drew 55 percent of the vote or less. Most of these seats have changed hands in the last four elections at least once. Some of these incumbents may coast this year, but others undoubtedly will have to fight tooth and nail.

Democrats need a net gain of five seats – six if Vermont independent Bernie Sanders is not re-elected – to gain control of the House. Thirty-eight of these 65 seats are now held by Republicans. Thirty-three states are represented; 11 of the seats are in California.

First-term lawmakers are marked with an asterisk. Open seats are so indicated.

1998’s battlegrounds:

Arizona, 2nd District, held by Republican J.D. Hayworth

Arizona, 5th, Republican Jim Kolbe

California, 3rd, Republican Doug Ose*

California, 10th, Democrat Ellen Tauscher

California, 22nd, Democrat Lois Capps

California, 27th, Republican James Rogan

California, 36th, Republican Steve Kuykendall* (under 50 percent)

California, 38th, Republican Steve Horn

California, 41st, Republican Gary Miller*

California, 42nd, Democrat Joe Baca won a special election in 1999, replacing the late George Brown.

California, 43rd, Republican Ken Calvert

California, 49th, Republican Brian Bilbray (under 50 percent)

Colorado, 2nd, Democrat Mark Udall*

Colorado, 6th, Republican Tom Tancredo*

Connecticut, 5th, Democrat Jim Maloney

Georgia, 7th, Republican Bob Barr

Idaho, 1st, open seat, now held by Republican Helen Chenoweth (see below)

Idaho, 2nd, Republican Mike Simpson*

Illinois, 17th, Democrat Lane Evans

Indiana, 8th, Republican John Hostetler

Indiana, 9th, Democrat Baron Hill*

Iowa, 2nd, Republican Jim Nussle

Kansas, 3rd, Democrat Dennis Moore*

Kentucky, 1st, Republican Ed Whitfield

Kentucky, 3rd, Republican Anne Northup

Kentucky, 4th, Democrat Ken Lucas*

Kentucky, 6th, Republican Ernie Fletcher*

Louisiana, 6th, Republican Richard Baker

Massachusetts, 6th, Democrat John Tierney

Michigan, 10th, Democrat David Bonior

Minnesota, 1st, Republican Gil Gutknecht (see below)

Minnesota, 4th, Democrat Bruce Vento (see below)

Minnesota, 6th, Democrat William Luther (see below)

Mississippi, 4th, Democrat Ronnie Shows*

Montana, at-large, open seat, now held by Republican Rick Hill

Nevada, 1st, Democrat, Shelley Berkley* (under 50 percent)

New Hampshire, 2nd, Republican Charles Bass

New Jersey, 7th, open seat, now held by Republican Bob Franks

New Jersey, 12th, Democrat Rush Holt*

New Mexico, 1st, Republican Heather Wilson (under 50 percent)

New Mexico, 3rd, Democrat Tom Udall*

New York, 4th, Democrat Carolyn McCarthy

New York, 22nd, Republican Charles Sweeney*

North Carolina, 8th, Republican Robin Hayes*

Ohio, 1st, Republican Steve Chabot

Oregon, 1st, Democrat David Wu*

Oregon, 5th, Democrat Darlene Hooley

Pennsylvania, 10th, Republican Donald Sherwood*

Pennsylvania, 13th, Democrat Joe Hoeffel*

Pennsylvania, 15th, Republican Pat Toomey*

Tennessee, 6th, Democrat Bart Gordon

Texas, 14th, Republican Ron Paul

Texas, 17th, Democrat Charles Stenholm

Utah, 2nd, Republican Merrill Cook

Washington, 1st, Democrat Jay Inslee

Washington, 2nd, open seat, now held by Republican Jack Metcalf

Washington, 3rd, Democrat Brian Baird*

Wisconsin, 2nd, Democrat Tammy Baldwin*

Wisconsin, 8th, Republican Mark Green*

Other open seats worth adding to this list:

Arizona, 1st (being vacated by Republican Matt Salmon)

California, 15th (Republican Tom Campbell)

Illinois, 10th (Republican John Porter)

Illinois, 15th (Republican Thomas Ewing)

Oklahoma, 2nd (Republican Tom Coburn)

Virginia, 1st (Democrat Owen Pickett)

In 1998, these six incumbents ran significantly better than the national presidential candidate from their party did in their districts in 1996. For instance, Campbell drew 60 percent of the vote in a district that gave President Clinton 53 percent in 1996. That would suggest that the seat could change hands.

NOTABLE: Idaho’s 1st is actually a strongly GOP district where the incumbent ran poorly in 1998. It may not be tightly contested. And Minnesota’s numbers were skewed somewhat in 1998 because of the presence of a triumphant third-party candidate, Jesse Ventura, in the governor’s race.

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