Kihuen, Levin Developments Shake Up Democratic Seats

December 4, 2017

This weekend, two very different developments jolted races in Democratic-leaning seats. Late Friday, Buzzfeed News reported allegations that freshman Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen (NV-04) made repeated unwanted sexual advances towards his former campaign finance director. Both Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and DCCC Chair Ben Ray Lujan have called on him to resign, but so far Kihuen has given no indication of his future plans.

Kihuen, 37, had been regarded as a rising star and a favorite for reelection, but the scandal complicates the race. The district voted for Hillary Clinton by just six points, and Republicans are excited about Las Vegas Councilman Stavros Anthony's bid. Even so, in a wave, the seat would continue to lean to Democrats with or without him. Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani is mentioned in an open seat scenario.

On Saturday, former Ways and Means Chair and Democratic Rep. Sander Levin (MI-09) announced his plans to retire after 18 terms. His suburban Detroit seat includes much of working class Macomb County and trended towards President Trump in 2016. But it still includes plenty of white-collar Oakland County, and overall it voted for Hillary Clinton by seven points, probably putting it just out of the GOP's reach.

For years, Levin's son Andy Levin has been considered a likely candidate to succeed his father. Levin, an energy businessman, had been mulling a gubernatorial bid this year and could inherit much of his father's Oakland County support. State Sen. Steve Bieda, who has a base in Macomb County, has also been mentioned by Detroit media outlets. For now, the race remains in the Solid Democratic column.