Politics

3 Special Election Winners Expected to Enter the House Next Week

Chamber's roster will be back to 435 members

Hawaii Democrat Colleen Hanabusa returns to the House seat she vacated in 2014 to run for the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House will return to 435 members next week when winners of three special elections held on Tuesday are expected to be sworn in. All three replace members of the same party, restoring the count to 247 Republicans and 188 Democrats, the same as at the beginning of the 114th Congress.

Hawaii Democrat Colleen Hanabusa will return to the House seat she gave up in 2014 for a Senate run. She narrowly lost that Senate primary to Brian Schatz. Her successor in the House, Mark Takai, announced his retirement in May due to pancreatic cancer. He passed away in July.

James Comer, a Kentucky Republican, will replace Edward Whitfield, who resigned in September after previously announcing his retirement. Comer ran for governor of Kentucky last year and lost the Republican primary by a scant 83 votes. He was previously a state representative and state agriculture commissioner.

Dwight Evans, a Pennsylvania Democrat, will take over the Philadelphia-based seat vacated by Chaka Fattah, who resigned in June following a federal corruption conviction. Evans, who has been in the Pennsylvania House since 1981, defeated Fattah in the April primary. He was victorious in his first run for federal office, having previously run for lieutenant governor and governor, as well as twice for mayor of Philadelphia.

The three have a diverse set of policy priorities.

Comer, a farmer, said he is aiming for a spot on the Energy and Commerce or Agriculture committees, and that he wants to loosen regulations on the coal industry. Evans, an appointed member of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority board, has transportation expertise.

Hanabusa said she is hoping to return to the Armed Services or Natural Resources committees, and, like Evans, has experience with mass transit. She most recently sat on the board of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.

Two current members of Congress were elected to other positions and their terms start before the end of the 114th Congress. They are expected to resign from the House in the coming weeks, creating temporary vacancies.

Democrat Janice Hahn from California’s 44th District was elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Her term begins in December.

Republican Candice S. Miller from Michigan’s 10th District was elected as Macomb County Public Works Commissioner. Her term starts Jan. 1, 2017.

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