WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives will be defending a narrow 220-213 majority in the Nov. 5 elections, but they will face their first electoral test on Feb. 13 when the seat formerly occupied by Republican George Santos is up for grabs.
Below are some of the races to watch as the Republican and Democratic parties battle for control of the chamber through 2024.
GEORGE SANTOS’ OLD SEAT
Democrat Tom Suozzi and Republican Mazi Melesa Pilip are due to face off in what is expected to be a highly competitive Feb. 13 special election for the seat representing New York state’s 3rd Congressional District, which opened up when the indicted Santos was expelled from Congress last month.
Suozzi had previously held the seat, which represents a small corner of New York City and some of its eastern suburbs, before resigning to mount an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2022. He will face Pilip, an Ethiopia-born former Israeli paratrooper who is now a county legislator.
The race is one of a half-dozen in New York for House seats that were held by Republicans but which Democrats are seeking to regain.
BILL JOHNSON’S EXIT
Republicans’ narrow majority will shrink to 219-213 on Jan. 21, when Bill Johnson, who was elected in 2010, will step down to head a university in Ohio. Voters will pick Republican and Democratic candidates in a March 19 primary, with the special election for the seat on June 11.
Two state lawmakers are among the candidates for the Republican nomination. The district is heavily Republican.
KEVIN MCCARTHY’S SUCCESSOR
California’s 20th District had been held by former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. But after he was ousted as House leader by a band of Republican rebels who joined with Democrats to boot him from that position, McCarthy resigned from Congress at the end of 2023.
The seat is unlikely to switch to Democratic control. But McCarthy’s departure has set up a crowded Republican primary on March 5 to succeed him, with the former speaker endorsing Vince Fong, a former aide to McCarthy and current State Assembly member.
California state election officials initially said Fong was ineligible to run for the congressional seat, but a state court ruled in December that he could vie for the post.
The state will hold a primary election — which under California law is nonpartisan, unlike the party primaries held in most of the U.S. — on March 19. If no candidate emerges from that contest with more than 50% support, a special election to fill the seat will be held on May 21.
ALABAMA’S SECOND DISTRICT
A federal court ordered Alabama to implement a congressional map that created a second largely Black district. The decision is expected to give Democrats a rare opportunity to gain a seat in the conservative Southern state. At least 18 candidates have filed to run for the seat.
Legal battles over redistricting could play a role in the congressional maps for as many as 10 states and potentially tip control of the House.
LAUREN BOEBERT’S SWAP
Firebrand conservative Lauren Boebert, who won an unexpectedly narrow reelection bid in 2022 and who was facing a tough primary opponent in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, has said she would run in the state’s eastern 4th District instead. That is Colorado’s most Republican district and is open, with lawmaker Ken Buck announcing he would not seek reelection.
Aside from Boebert, the crowded March 5 Republican primary also includes the top Republican in Colorado’s General Assembly, two former state senators and a radio host.
The seat is not considered to be competitive for the Democrats in the general election.
REPUBLICAN BID TO UNSEAT PEREZ
First-term Democratic Representative Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington state is seeking reelection, after initially edging out her opponent by 1 percentage point.
Hoping to face off against Perez is Joe Kent, who was the lawmaker’s opponent in 2022. Kent, who had been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, had challenged the results of the 2020 election and raised conspiracy theories about the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Washington’s primaries will be held on March 12. Also seeking the Republican nomination is Leslie Lewallen, a former prosecutor and member of a local city council.
POSSIBLE 2022 REMATCH IN OHIO
Republican J.R. Majewski is trying again to eject Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat who was initially elected in 1982 and who is the longest-serving woman in the House. Majewski had faced off against Kaptur in 2022, when reporting indicated he had fabricated his combat veteran status.
Ohio’s primaries will take place on March 19. Another Republican who had drawn support ahead of the primary was Craig Riedel, a former state lawmaker. But he has since come under fire for negative comments he had made about Trump, with Elise Stefanik, a top House Republican, announcing she had withdrawn her endorsement over them.
A former small-town mayor is also seeking the Republican nomination.
(Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Scott Malone, Jonathan Oatis and Daniel Wallis)