Herschel Walker claims Grandma Was 'Full-Blood Cherokee.' Mom refutes (2024)

By: Elizabeth Elkind, Politics Reporter for DailyMail.com

Nationwide elections to decide which party controls Congress for the latter half of President Joe Biden's term are just over a month away.

A litany of projections suggest Republicans are poised to gain ground in November - though that lead has shrunk in recent weeks amid continued fallout from the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and Biden's fiery new approach of attacking parts of the GOP as 'extremists.'

While the Senate is more of a toss-up, the GOP is still expected to retake the House of Representatives with a plethora of candidates benefitting from newly-redrawn Congressional maps.

It won't take much - Republicans currently have 212 House members and just five more are needed to reach a majority.

Democrats currently control both the House and Senate by slim margins.

In a bid to energize their base, House Republican leaders unveiled a revamped national platform called their 'Commitment to America.'

It's molded after Newt Gingrich's 1994 'Contract With America,' which was rolled out just before Republicans swept Congress in the first midterm election of Bill Clinton's presidency.

But Democrats, for their part, have sought to tie their Republican opponents to anti-abortion extremism. In more moderate districts, they're attempting to link their rivals to Donald Trump in a bid to discredit them with Independent voters.

A look at some of the races across the country that could decide which party controls the House of Representatives for the latter half of President Joe Biden's term

Democrats hold a slim majority in the House, but Republicans just need to win five more seats to reach the 218 majority threshold

Below, DailyMail.com has compiled a list of 28 races that could shake up Congress on November 8:

Swing races and toss-ups

The races that could go either way with thin margins in the polls. The outcomes will be key in determining who takes control of the House after November 8.

Ohio-09: Marcy Kaptur (D) vs. JR Majewski (R)

House Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur has been fighting an uphill battle to keep her seat against Trump-backed challenger JR Majewski, who the former president recently campaigned for in Youngstown, Ohio.

But Majewski's campaign stumbled in recent weeks when it was reported that he lied about having served in Afghanistan.

He was deployed to the Middle East during the US's 20-year war, but is accused of misrepresenting his time there after claiming he toured the Afghan 'desert' and other recollections about the country.

The Associated Press reported last week that Majewski had, in reality, spent his deployment working with military planes at a US base in Qatar – thousands of miles from Kabul.

Majewski was also present at Trump's Stop The Steal rally on the White House Ellipse on January 6 last year but did not enter the US Capitol building when it was stormed.

Veteran JR Majewski won his GOP primary with Donald Trump's backing but now is contending with accusations that he lied about his military service

Arizona-01: Rep. David Schweikert (R) vs. Jevin Hodge (D)

Conservative Rep. David Schweikert is getting a challenge from Democrat activist Jevin Hodge.

Alongside Schweikert's pro-life views, left-wingers are also knocking the lawmaker for his trouble with the House Ethics Committee.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report classifies Schweikert's district as R+2, meaning he'll have a tough race but could edge Hodge out in the end.

California-45: Rep. Michelle Steel (R) vs. Jay Chen (D)

A once reliably red district that includes California's Orange County is up for grabs this year, and it's one of the few seats Democrats think they can flip in the hopes of keeping their slim majority.

The district had previously been 70 percent white, but redistricting has drastically diversified it with Asian-Americans, whites and Latinos all making up at least 20 percent of the population.

Steel and her husband have long been active in local politics in the area, according to KQED, so she has greater name recognition than Navy veteran Jay Chen, a Democrat who's running on abortion and gun control issues.

The campaign has taken a concerning racial tone in recent weeks - Steel accused Chen of mocking her South Korean accent when he said she needed an 'interpreter.'

Steel, on the other hand, has linked Taiwanese-descended Chen to communism.

New Hampshire-01: Karoline Leavitt (R) vs. Rep. Chris Pappas (D)

Rep. Chris Pappas, a moderate Democrat, is facing a challenge from a 25-year-old former Trump White House press aide named Karoline Leavitt.

New Hampshire's politically fickle 1st Congressional District was won by Trump in 2016 and then Biden in 2020. Pappas was elected on a nationwide blue wave in 2018.

Leavitt has been running her campaign with a focus on parental rights in schools, while Pappas has followed the Democrats' post-Roe playbook of trying to link the Gen Z politician to anti-abortion extremism – though Leavitt has not taken a stance on a national abortion ban.

Colorado-08: Barbara Kirkmeyer (R) vs. Yadira Caraveo (D)

Barbara Kirkmeyer and Yadira Caraveo are Colorado state lawmakers vying for the new 8th Congressional District. It's the most competitive area on the Boulder State's newly redistricted map.

Caraveo, a pediatrician, is also hoping to draw a distinction between her and Kirkmeyer's abortion stances.

Kirkmeyer signaled that she would back a nationwide 15-week limit on abortion in remarks to Colorado Public Radio.

New York-03: George Santos (R) vs. Robert Zimmerman (D)

George Santos is a private equity executive who pledged in his Congressional campaign video to not take a salary on Capitol Hill if elected

New York's largely suburban 3rd Congressional District saw a Republican tsunami hit its local elections last year, and Democrat Rep. Tom Suozzi would have likely faced tough fight to keep the seat.

But it's been left open after he vacated for a failed run for governor, potentially clearing the path for Republican newcomer George Santos.

Santos is a gay Latino Republican who previously told DailyMail.com that he has been shunned by the largely left-wing LGBTQ community of New York for his political affiliation.

He's facing moderate Democrat Robert Zimmerman, who has the backing of Hillary Clinton.

Whatever the outcome of their razor-thin race, it's guaranteed to make history. Santos and Zimmerman are the first openly gay candidates facing each other in a general Congressional election.

New York-19: Marc Molinaro (R) vs Josh Riley (D)

Dutchess County executive Marc Molinaro is taking a second shot at New York's 19th Congressional District after being dealt an upset loss in the summer's special election to newly-minted House Democratic Rep. Pat Ryan.

But newly-redrawn district lines have created a true toss-up seat according to Cook Political Report, despite the new boundaries including slightly more blue areas.

Ryan is running in the nearby 18th District in November, meaning Molinaro is up against a new opponent - former Democratic staffer Josh Riley.

The previous race had been seen as a bellwether on the issues that would be most critical to voters later this year, with Molinaro pledging to help turn the economy around while Ryan campaigned on the repeal of federal abortion rights.

Riley, by contrast, is pushing a different message to upstate New York voters. He's focusing on blue collar manufacturing jobs and promoting such roles in the renewable energy sector, according to Jewish Insider.

Michigan-07: Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D) vs Tom Barrett (R)

Democrat Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a former CIA analyst, is defending her seat against Army veteran Tom Barrett.

Slotkin flipped her seat from red to blue in 2018, but it appears the district is still largely centered – Biden won it by less than one percent in 2020.

Barrett had previously described himself as '100% pro-life' but according to USA Today that descriptor was scrubbed from his website after he won the swing district's Republican primary.

New Mexico-02: Rep. Yvette Herrell (R) vs Gabe Vasquez (D)

Rep. Yvette Herrell's district was redrawn recently to include more of blue Albequerque, potentially putting her in political peril.

Herrell was notably one of the Republicans who received a full-throated endorsem*nt from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, but not one from Donald Trump. She's also the first Republican Native American woman to serve in Congress.

Vasquez, who surveys have shown to be neck-and-neck with Herrell, recently landed in hot water when the Washington Free Beacon unearthed a video of him calling to defund the police in comments to a reporter – while using the pseudonym 'James Hall.'

Nevada-01: Rep. Dina Titus (D) vs Mark Robertson (R)

Rep. Dina Titus has served in Congress for a decade but is now facing a threat to her political career from financial planner and former Pentagon adviser Mark Robertson.

Titus once complained to Nevada Newsmakers that the redistricting process made hers 'the worst district in the state.'

She did not hesitate to unload on her fellow Nevada Democrats over the newly-redrawn map, telling a union town hall last year: 'I totally got f***ed by the Legislature on my district.'

Nevada's 1st District had been rated D+15 by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, but the new map vastly shrunk the lead to D+3.

Texas-28: Rep. Henry Cuellar (D) vs Cassy Garcia (R)

Rep. Henry Cuellar is one of the House of Representatives' most conservative Democrats, and notably the only explicitly pro-life member of his caucus. He's also the only Democrat to represent part of the US-Mexico border.

The longtime legislator narrowly won his primary by a few hundred votes against a more progressive Democrat, and is now up against former Trump appointee and former Ted Cruz staffer Cassy Garcia.

With less ideological difference to run on than a typical general race, Garcia has sought to paint Cuellar as a Washington insider who forgot his South Texas roots.

Cuellar's campaign also faces a roadblock in an FBI investigation that resulted in a January raid on the congressman's home.

Virginia-02: Rep. Elaine Luria (D) vs. Jen Kiggans (R)

Voters in Virginia's 2nd Congressional District will decide between sending one of two female Navy veterans to the House - for a seat that's switched hands between Democrats and the GOP four times since 2000.

Rep. Elaine Luria, a member of the House committee investigating the January 6 attack, flipped the seat herself in 2018.

She's maintained her moderate image to appeal to Independents and other voters in her district, including recently criticizing President Joe Biden for 'not doing enough on defense' in a Sunday interview with CNN.

Now, she's up against a Republican state senator who's largely focused her campaign on the economy - a trend among GOP candidates in moderate areas.

Virginia-07: Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D) vs. Yesli Vega (R)

Another Virginia Democrat on the line is Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA officer whose district is among the most competitive in the Washington, DC area.

Millions of dollars have been poured into the race with a familiar playbook in mind: Republicans tying Spanberger to Democrats' spending bills in the current economy, while the incumbent's supporters flood the airwaves with GOP anti-abortion stances.

Vega is the first Latina elected to thePrince William Board of County Supervisors and has used her backstory along with voters' dissatisfaction with Biden's economy to run a formidable race.

But she's faced scrutiny in recent weeks over past comment suggesting she didn't believe women can get pregnant if they are raped, according to the Washington Post.

Incumbents who could lose their seat

The sitting House members who are struggling in the polls and facing defeat in their crucial races. Both Democrats and Republicans are facing an uphill battle on November 8.

New Jersey-07: Rep. Tom Malinowski (D) vs. Tom Kean Jr. (R)

Former Obama administration official Tom Malinowski was also among the Democrats who flipped red seats in 2018, and multiple surveys have shown his hold over New Jersey's 7th District slipping.

He had unseated longtime former Rep. Leonard Lance in the wealthy suburban district – which is notably home to Trump's Bedminster golf course.

Malinowski is now being challenged by state lawmaker Tom Kean Jr., whose father was previously governor of the Garden State.

The Democrat's attempts to paint Kean, a moderate, as a Trump acolyte have appeared to fall rather flat.

As of August, Malinowski was still under a federal investigation into his stock trades.

Democrat Rep. Tom Malinowski, a former Obama administration official, is in a tough race against the son of a former New Jersey governor

California-27: Rep. Mike Garcia (R) vs. Christy Smith (D)

Rep. Mike Garcia is among the most vulnerable Republicans up for re-election this year, with his district rated D+4 by the Cook Political Report.

The area, just north of Los Angeles, voted for Biden in 2020 by a 13-point margin.

His race against Democrat Christy Smith has largely followed both parties' midterm playbooks, with Garcia running on Biden's stewardship of the US economy while Smith is running against Republicans' pro-life platform.

California-22: Rep. David Valadao (R) vs. Rudy Salas (D)

Rep. David Valadao is the only one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump to not face a primary challenger backed by the former president.

He currently represents California's 21st Congressional District but is running in the newly-redrawn lines of the nearby 22nd, which leans Democrat.

His opponent Rudy Salas is a member of the California State Assembly.

Salas has attacked Valadao for co-sponsoring a bill that would have said life starts at the moment of fertilization.

Maine-02: Rep. Jared Golden (D) vs. Bruce Poliquin (R)

Rep. Jared Golden of Maine is among the few House Democrats openly willing to criticize the Biden administration and his progressive colleagues, notably leading the resistance to the failed Build Back Better bill.

His opponent is a former member of Congress, Bruce Poliquin, who narrowly lost to Golden in 2018 when Maine first began using a ranked-choice voting system.

Poliquin has aligned himself with Trump's 'America first' policies but has stopped short of fully getting behind him – despite the former president winning the district in both 2016 and 2020.

Ohio-01: Rep. Steve Chabot (R) vs Greg Landsman (D)

Rep. Steve Chabot is a longtime Republican lawmaker who was an impeachment manager during the Senate trial of Bill Clinton.

He's running against a former teacher who now holds a seat on the Cincinnati City Council, Greg Landsman.

Chabot is also a victim of his state's redistricting process, which has changed his district's Cook Political Rating to lean slightly Democrat.

Iowa-03: Rep. Cindy Axne (D) vs Zach Nunn (R)

Rep. Cindy Axne's Iowa district leans red, which has forced the Congresswoman to bust out her bipartisan credentials to appeal to more moderate Republican voters and Independents in the November election against Trump-backed Zach Nunn.

'I don't care what letter is next to your name — I'll work with anyone to get results for Iowans. That's why I was named Iowa's most bipartisan member of Congress by @TheLugarCenter,' she tweeted on September 18.

Nunn, a combat veteran, has accused Axne of supporting 'the most extreme abortion laws in the world' in a recent TV ad.

Pennsylvania-07: Rep. Susan Wild (D) vs. Lisa Schiller (R)

Democrat Rep. Susan Wild narrowly beat Republican Lisa Schiller by four points in 2020.

A new Congressional map that largely favored the state's Democrats left Wild out to dry – replacing blue-leaning areas with redder territory.

Schiller has used her businesswoman credentials to attack Wild for her support of Biden's economic policies.

Arizona-01: Rep. Tom O'Halleran (D) vs. Eli Crane (R)

With a Cook Political Report rating of R+6, House Democratic Rep. Tom O'Halleran is in one of the most vulnerable blue districts in Arizona.

His opponent, Eli Crane, is endorsed by Donald Trump in new district boundaries that would have seen the former president beat Biden by an 8-point margin.

However O'Halleran appears to be performing better than expected – House Republicans' campaign arm has funneled $1 million into a race that, at the outset, was expected to be an easy win, according to Axios.

Trump's picks

Below are seven of 20 Republican House hopefuls Trump has backed so far - many used to work for him in the last administration, while others have carved out a niche of loyalty within the former president's base. Others were simply chosen out of animosity toward anti-Trump Republicans like Rep. Liz Cheney who he's sworn to take out of office.

Michigan-03: John Gibbs (R) vs Hillary Scholten (D)

Former Trump administration official John Gibbs ousted Rep. Peter Meijer in Michigan's GOP primaries – unseating one of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach the former president.

He's now up against Democrat Hillary Scholten, a lawyer who lost to Meijer in 2020.

As part of a new campaign strategy to set an easier general election path, House Democrats' campaign arm the DCCC funneled cash into Gibbs' race against Meijer, betting on Gibbs' extreme positions turning off moderate Republicans and Independents in the red Michigan district.

Michigan's new Congressional map was redrawn by an independent commission rather than the party in power, as is the case in most states.

Alaska - Sarah Palin (R) vs. Rep. Mary Peltola (D)

Newly-minted Rep. Mary Peltola became the first Alaskan Native sworn in to Congress after being the underdog in the special election to replace late Republican Rep. Don Young.

Former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin had been the expected favorite, a place that was bolstered by an endorsem*nt from Trump.

But the race was a test of the state's new ranked-choice voting system, which saw Peltola benefit from divisions within Alaska's predominantly GOP voters. She won enough second choice votes to beat both of her Republican rivals after none of them received an initial majority vote.

They were in a three-way race with Republican Nick Begich, whose grandfather represented Alaska's at-large district as a Democrat.

All three advanced past the state's nonpartisan primary to the November ballot, which will also be ranked choice

Newly-minted Rep. Mary Peltola (left) is facing a rematch from Sarah Palin (right) and Nick Begich after beating them both in a special election to replace late Rep. Don Young. It was Alaska's first time voting via ranked-choice

Ohio-07: Max Miller (R) vs. Matthew Diemer (D)

Former Trump aide Max Miller is running against Democrat Matthew Diemer for the seat being vacated by anti-Trump GOP Rep. Anthony Gonzalez.

The district is ranked solidly Republican, meaning Miller is the wide favorite to win.

The race won't change the makeup of the House overall if he succeeds fellow GOPer Gonzalez, but it would mean Miller would have triumphed despite abuse allegations from his ex-girlfriend, former Trump Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham.

Wyoming: Harriet Hageman (R) vs. Lynnette Gray Bull (D)

The race for Wyoming's at-large district is widely expected to send lawyer Harriet Hageman to Congress for the first time.

But what's notable about the election is where Hageman has succeeded already – with Trump's fervent backing, she unseated conservative anti-Trump Rep. Liz Cheney.

Hageman beat Cheney by a wide margin in a state that Trump won by a larger share in 2020 than any other.

Hageman's opponent, Lynnette Grey Bull, became the first Native American to be nominated for federal office in Wyoming when she won her primary in 2020.

After losing that race to Cheney, she's on the Cowboy State ballot again this year.

Harriet Hageman, who ousted anti-Trump Rep. Liz Cheney, is the runaway favorite to win Wyoming's at-large Congressional district

Michigan-10: John James (R) vs. Carl Marlinga (D)

Republican John James is seeing a new opportunity to run for office in Michigan's newly-redrawn district map after losing to Democrat incumbents in 2018 and 2020.

James, a black military veteran, has been a semi-regular fixture on Fox News throughout the last few years as a defender of Trump's policies.

He has an edge in this open race, whose regional boundaries have slightly more Trump than Biden 2020 voters.

Marlinga is a longtime local politician, according to Bridge Michigan, who has run his campaign on promises of protecting abortion access and keeping the state's famous lakes free of pollution.

Montana-01: Ryan Zinke (R) vs. Monica Tranel (D)

Former Trump Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is running for Montana's new 1st Congressional District, after previously representing its old at-large district from 2015 until 2017.

Zinke notably resigned from the Trump administration amid an inquiry that eventually found he lied to federal investigators – though he has denied any wrongdoing.

His opponent, Monica Tranel, is a former Olympic rower and an attorney.

The 2022 race marks the first time in three decades that Montana has two Congressional districts.

Florida-13: Anna Paulina Luna (R) vs. Eric Lynn (D)

Air Force veteran Anna Paulina Luna is running for Florida's 13th Congressional District after narrowly losing in 2020 to House Democrat Rep. Charlie Crist.

But Crist has since vacated the role to run for governor against Republican incumbent Ron DeSantis.

Luna previously led Hispanic engagement for right-wing student group Turning Point USA.

Her opponent Eric Lynn is endorsed by Crist as well as former Democratic officials like ex-Pentagon chief Leon Panetta.

Herschel Walker claims Grandma Was 'Full-Blood Cherokee.' Mom refutes (2024)


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