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Who Are the 17 Republicans Willing to End the Shutdown?

Brendan Smialowski/Getty

According to The Huffington Post, 17 Republican congressman have indicated their willingness to vote for a “clean continuing resolution.” Combined with 200 Democratic votes, those 17 House Republicans could end the government shutdown.

So who are they? For the most part, they’re exactly what you’d expect: Moderates from the mid-Atlantic. But there are a few exceptions and, perhaps surprisingly, relatively few are vulnerable in 2014. Take a look at the big picture:


The geography is striking. Fifteen of the 17 representatives are from the mid-Atlantic or California.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, most are from relatively competitive territory: Romney only won five of the 17 districts by more than 3 points.

Perhaps because of their districts, these representatives are also relatively moderate—13 are among the 40 most liberal Republicans, as measured by DW-nominate. Eleven of the 17 representatives voted for the Senate’s fiscal cliff compromise last January.

And perhaps as a result of their moderation, relatively few of these representatives appear vulnerable heading into 2014. Each of these candidates won by at least 7 points last November. The Cook Political Report only characterizes one seat as “lean Republican;” the rest are either “likely” or “safe” Republican.

Interestingly, of the six who did not vote for the fiscal cliff deal, four are from Virginia’s congressional delegation. Similarly, of the five representatives who are not among the 40 most liberal Republicans, three are from Virginia. Might that be because their districts have a disproportionate number of federal employees or contractors? Quite possibly. 

If there's one Republican who seems hard to explain, it's Devin Nunes of California. If I'm counting correctly, he's the only candidate on the list who isn't 1) usually moderate 2) represents a moderate district 3) isn't from Virginia. He's not an Orange County Republican, either. He represents the southern Central Valley, including much of conservative Kern County and Bakersfield. I'd give you the exact numbers on income and education but, unfortunately, the shutdown has shut down the Census. But just eyeballing it, this isn't a district full of rich Republicans.

The other thing that's hard to explain? The absence of more competitive districts. There are a handful of Republicans from Obama country who won close races last November and will probably face tough reelection fights. Some of these Republicans were in close races because they're too conservative (Bachman, Steve King), but others are generally mainline conservatives. For now, vulnerable but mainline conservative Republicans aren't willing to buck the party line. 

Updated 5 p.m.: The chart has been updated to add an eighteenth Republican who said they would vote for a clean C.R.