House Members With a Senate ’24 Head Start: Ballots & Boundaries

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So you think you want to be a senator? It’ll be a lot easier if your House district isn’t much of a challenge.

The year-end campaign finance reports show the size of the head start Rep. Adam Schiff (D) has in his bid to be California’s next US senator ($21 million banked as 2023 began) compared with the other declared candidate, Rep. Katie Porter (D), whose campaign had $7.4 million.

Of the potential candidates surveying the landscape after winning House re-election, Rep. Ro Khanna (D) had $5.3 million on hand and Rep. Barbara Lee (D) would need to significantly boost a campaign fund that had just $52,000.

“The early stage of a Senate campaign is all about establishing your viability as a candidate,” including demonstrating the ability to raise money, Rose Kapolczynski, a strategist who managed campaigns for ex-Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), said in an interview about the California Senate race. “That’s what these candidates are going to be doing early this year, and particularly before the June 30th campaign finance report filing.”

Lee hasn’t needed much money to win re-election in that overwhelmingly Democratic district and she hasn’t long prepared for the possibility of running statewide.

Porter, unlike politically safe Schiff, had to spend heavily to win re-election in a swing district. That’s also the situation for Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), who’s readying a bid to succeed retiring Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D).

Slotkin’s campaign, which raised $10 million to win a third term, starts out with just $129,000. Members of that House delegation with bigger nest eggs as they consider running statewide include Republican John James ($791,000), Republican Lisa McClain ($916,000), and Democrat Debbie Dingell ($398,000).

Montana: Rep. Matt Rosendale ($1.2 million) would have a head start over Rep. Ryan Zinke ($107,000) if both Republicans seek the seat of Sen. Jon Tester (D). Again, it’s because Zinke had a much closer 2022 House race in the more politically competitive of Montana’s two districts.

West Virginia: Rep. Alex Mooney (R), who’s seeking the seat of Sen. Joe Manchin (D), began the year with $1.1 million on hand after adding donations from House Republican leaders including Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (La.). Mooney’s campaign fund would pale in comparison to what billionaire Gov. Jim Justice (R) could self-finance if he chose to enter the race.

Wisconsin: Rep. Mike Gallagher (R) has $3 million in his House campaign account he could use for a challenge to Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) in one of the nation’s most politically competitive states. Gallagher would have to give up a politically secure seat in a Republican-majority House, where he was just tapped by McCarthy to head a new committee focused on US competitiveness with China.

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As for the incumbent senators in those states, Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) had less than $10,000 in her campaign account as 2023 began.

Tester, who edged Rosendale in 2018, had $2.9 million. Manchin, who hasn’t announced his political plans, is sitting on $9.5 million, and Baldwin had $3 million banked. — Greg Giroux

MARYLAND: Three-term Sen. Ben Cardin (D), who’s said he’ll decide about another run by the end of next month, has just over $1 million banked, Maryland Matters reports. And Politico inventories possible successors.

MORE ON CALIFORNIA: Ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she’ll be on Team Schiff if Feinstein retires — something Feinstein isn’t going to talk about until spring. — Laura Litvan

In the House

INDIANA: Two-term Rep. Victoria Spartz (R) won’t be on the 2024 ballot. “Being a working mom is tough and I need to spend more time with my two high school girls back home, so I will not run for any office in 2024,” Spartz said in a statement today. Spartz, 44, had considered a bid for the Senate seat Mike Braun (R) is leaving open to run for Indiana governor.

During the House speaker’s election last month, Spartz drew attention for voting “present” instead of for Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on eight of the 15 ballots.

The only member of Congress born in Ukraine, she won her House elections with 50% of the vote in 2020 and 61% in 2022 after Republican-controlled redistricting bolstered her political position. In the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump defeated Joe Biden by 57%-41% in the district, so Spartz’s successor probably will be a Republican. — Greg Giroux

PENNSYLVANIA: Brian Fitzpatrick (R), who was easily re-elected last year in suburban Philadelphia, began 2023 with $1.5 million in his campaign account — the most among the 23 House members from districts that favored the other party’s 2020 presidential nominee. (The full list of the 23 can be downloaded as part of a BGOV OnPoint. It’s at the bottom of this newsletter.) — Greg Giroux

SWING SEATS: The first 2024 US House election ratings from the nonpartisan Cook Political Report with Amy Walter putting Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-Wash.) in its “toss up” category along with nine Biden-district Republicans: Juan Ciscomani (Ariz.), David Schweikert (Ariz.), John Duarte (Calif.), Tom Kean Jr. (N.J.), Anthony D’Esposito (N.Y.), Mike Lawler (N.Y.), Marc Molinaro (N.Y.), Brandon Williams (N.Y.), and Lori Chavez-DeRemer (Oregon). All nine are freshmen except for Schweikert. Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), who has political vulnerabilities unlike any other House member, is in the “Lean Democrat” category. —Greg Giroux

Election Law

CALIFORNIA: A measure to make it harder to enact local tax increases in California has qualified for the November 2024 statewide ballot. Voters will be asked to undo a court ruling that said only a majority—not a two-thirds vote, or supermajority—is required when a citizen-initiated measure is put before voters. — Laura Mahoney

TEXAS: US Supreme Court filings seeking injunctions against states where votes in the 2020 presidential election were close led to an ethics case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. A judge is allowing that case to continue. — Janet Miranda


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Laura Mahoney in Sacramento, Calif. and Janet Miranda in Houston also contributed to this story.

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Giroux in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Katherine Rizzo at; Bennett Roth at

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