By Shira T. Center and Abby Livingston and Emily Cahn
Roll Call Staff
May 6, 2014, 5 a.m.
Primary season has just begun in earnest, but it’s already clear it will take a toll on this Congress.
Exactly six months before Election Day, half of the members on this list face foes from within their own party.
Every name on this list has a 50 percent chance — or more — of not returning to Congress next year. To compose this regular feature, Roll Call’s Politics Team examines every aspect of a member’s re-election prospects: district composition, campaign operation, fundraising, quality of opponent and recent performance.
We’ve made some changes since November: Two Democrats — Reps. Jim Matheson of Utah and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina — and Republican Gary G. Miller of California are retiring. Three more incumbents are off the list and are on relatively safer ground: Reps. Dan Benishek, R-Mich., Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., and John F. Tierney, D-Mass. (But we’ll still give them honorable mentions, along with Reps. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn., and Steve Southerland II, R-Fla.)
Another incumbent to watch is Rep. John Conyers Jr., who could easily make this list if he is forced to run a write-in campaign or seek office as an independent — the Michigan Democrat may have insufficient signatures to get on the primary ballot.
The following vulnerable members are listed in alphabetical order.
Ron Barber, D-Ariz.
Republicans argue that the stars are finally aligning for them in the 2nd District, and the party’s recent internal polling showed a deadlocked race.
For the first time since 2006, the GOP has a quality candidate, retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally, a seemingly favorable political climate and a willingness to spend in the district.
Barber’s best political asset is his team: They are the same operatives who were behind the campaigns of Barber’s former boss, ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call Race Rating: Tossup