[Image courtesy of nydailynews]
I know election officials love their jobs - and do them well - but I have to think administrators in three states must have slumped their shoulders when they learned they'd be conducting special U.S. House elections in 2013. From the Washington Post:
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley's (R) decision to tap Rep. Tim Scott (R) as soon-to-resign GOP Sen. Jim DeMint's replacement will trigger the third special House election of 2013, one that is likely to take place in the spring.
Based on South Carolina election law and what DeMint has said about when he plans to step aside, a likely time frame for a special election to replace Scott looks to be as follows: A late March primary and early May general election.
The election to replace Scott is thus far the third House special election slated for 2013. In Illinois's 2nd District, a special election to replace former Democratic congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. will take place in April, while another one to replace soon-to-resign Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R) in Missouri's 8th District will also happen next year.
Note that South Carolina's U.S. Senate seat will not be on the ballot; unlike House members, governors usually have the power to appoint a successor who will not need to campaign until the next general election. [The same applies in Hawaii after the loss of Sen. Inouye yesterday.]
The reasons for the vacancies reinforce how many different ways seats can come open; in addition to Scott's Senate appointment, Jackson is resigning to deal with health issues and a potential criminal investigation while Emerson is leaving to lead a Washington, DC association.
Whatever the reason, however, the House vacancies will trigger special elections - and even if there does not appear to be much associated political drama, it will still require election officials in those three districts to put their "off-year" plans on hold for a while.