In the 31 states where first-round primaries have been held, there are 275 districts where incumbents sought renomination and 33 where they didn’t. Just two House incumbents have been defeated for re-election in the primaries, Republicans Ralph Hall of Texas and Eric Cantor of Virginia, so 35 of the 308 districts are “open,” with no incumbent, in the November election.
Hall, 91, lost a May runoff to former federal prosecutor John Ratcliffe. Cantor, the outgoing House majority ;eader, was unseated by economics professor David Brat last month in the Richmond-area 7th District.
Few House incumbents will be defeated for re-election in the primaries despite poor approval ratings of Congress. Excluding the redistricting years of 2002 and 2012, the previous eight election cycles saw a total of 22 House members lose re-election in the primaries, an average of fewer than three per election cycle.
The tally includes 47 House members in California who sought re-election, all of whom advanced to the November election under the state’s unusual “Top 2″ primary system. All 47 were the top vote-getters in their districts in the all-candidate, all-party primary last month, and most will face opposition from the other party in November. Six House members from California aren’t seeking new terms this year.
After runoffs this month in some districts where Republican incumbents aren’t seeking re-election, the next primaries are on Aug. 5 in Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington state, followed two days later by Tennessee’s vote on a Thursday. Hawaii’s primary follows on Aug. 9, a Saturday.
(Revised to clarify that incumbents sought renomination in 275 of the 308 districts and that House members weren’t on the ballot in the other 33 districts. Thanks to Geoffrey Skelley for the catch.)