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DLCC Announces 2016 Essential Races

Press Releases


September 29, 2016
Carolyn Fiddler
National Communications Director
[email protected]


From New Hampshire to Washington, Essential Races Highlight Key Contests in Battles for Statehouses Nationwide

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Executive Director Jessica Post announced the first installment of 45 Essential Races in key legislative chamber battlegrounds. DLCC’s 2016 Essential Races highlight some of this year’s most exciting candidates in some of our most crucial legislative districts, and a list of targeted races across the country will be rolled out over the coming weeks. The initial Essential Races installment features 15 candidates from seven states.

“This cycle’s slate of Democratic state legislative prospects across the country is unprecedented in its strength and represents the diverse communities of the rising American majority,” said Post. “Democrats are primed to make substantial gains in statehouses across the country in November, and the candidates running in our Essential Races are key to these victories. The success of these Democrats will not only decide the balance of power in many states, but also help transform statehouses into governments that better reflect the increasing diversity of the American electorate.”

The list of the first 15 Essential Races is below; you can find detailed bios and district information here.

With almost 6,000 state legislative districts on the ballot this November, identifying the most important races can be daunting. These campaigns are generally lower profile than those for Congress or governor, and public polling of individual districts is rare. At just 45 districts, our Essential Races list is a bare fraction of the competitive state legislative campaigns in 2016. A list of every top-tier state legislative campaign would run into the hundreds.

Rather, this list represents a relative handful of races deserving of broader attention. Some of them are races that will likely be the most competitive in their chambers. Others provide good bellwethers for similar districts elsewhere in the state.

The next Essential Races installment will be released next week.

Essential Races – Round 1

Dafna Michaelson Jenet – Colorado House District 30
Status: Republican Incumbent

Rachel Zenzinger – Colorado Senate District 19
Status: Republican Incumbent

Pat Ritter – Iowa House District 55
Status: Republican Open

Jan Heikes – Iowa Senate District 28
Status: Republican Incumbent

Representative Jeff Taylor – Kentucky House District 8
Status: Democratic Incumbent

McKenzie Cantrell – Kentucky House District 38
Status: Republican Incumbent

Theresa Abed – Michigan House District 71
Status: Republican Incumbent

Collene Lamonte – Michigan House District 91
Status: Republican Incumbent

Bryan Mielke – Michigan House District 99
Status: Republican Open

Devon Reese – Nevada Senate District 15
Status: Republican Open

Peggy Gilmour – New Hampshire Senate District 12
Status: Republican Incumbent

Alexis Simpson – New Hampshire Senate District 23
Status: Republican Open

GloJean Todacheene – New Mexico House District 4
Status: Republican Incumbent

Ane Romero – New Mexico House District 15
Status: Republican Incumbent

Natalie Figueroa – New Mexico House District 30
Status: Republican Incumbent

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