With just a little more than a year until the November 2016 elections, very few of New England's member of Congress appear to have serious challengers stepping forward. That's not all that surprising: the Presidential turnout figures to help Democrats, which all but two of the area's incumbents are.

And indeed, the only races expected to be closely contested are the re-elections of those two Republicans, Frank Guinta of New Hampshire and Bruce Poliquin of Maine.

Both are rated as toss-ups by the highly respected Cook Political Report. Cook has all the other New England Democrats rated Safe, except for Elizabeth Esty of Connecticut, rated Likely Democrat.

With the filing of third quarter campaign-finance reports last week, we learned that Poliquin is off to a much better start raising money to defend his seat.

Guinta has had trouble since May, when the Federal Election Commission (FEC) fined him for illegal contributions dating from 2010. Guinta also agreed to pay back $355,000 he had reported as loans to himself, which the FEC ruled was a contribution from his parents.

Although some, including Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, have called on Guinta to resign, he says he is running for re-election.

In the most recent filing period, covering July through September, Guinta raised a little over $100,000 – unimpressive for an incumbent – and now has $350,000 in his account. But he still needs to pay back the $355,000, so he is effectively at zero.

Former congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, a Democrat, announced in mid-September that she is running for the seat.

But, she had already been taking in contributions – although she had less than $40,000 in her account at the end of September.

A wild card in that race is businessman Shawn O'Connor of Bedford, who is also running in the Democratic primary. He loaned his campaign a cool million dollars in July.

Up in Maine, two Democrats are so far competing to take on Poliquin. Emily Cain, who was the 2014 nominee, raised a little over $200,000 in the third quarter, and has more than $350,000 on hand. Joe Baldacci, a Bangor city councilor and brother of former Governor John Baldacci, has raised less than $100,000.

But both are badly outgunned so far by the incumbent. Poliquin, whose defense the national Republicans have made a high priority, raised more than $400,000 in the third quarter, and has more than $1.2 million in his campaign account.

Meanwhile, Democrats fatten their coffers

None of the nine Democratic House members from Massachusetts have a single challenger raising money to date. Nor do Democratic incumbents Chellie Pingree of Maine, Ann McLane Kuster of New Hampshire, or Jim Langevin of Rhode Island.

David Cicciline of Rhode Island has one challenger – a young man from Providence named Russell Taub. His exploratory committee has not been raising much money, however.

Of all the Democrats in those states, Kuster might be considered the most vulnerable to a serious challenge – and she has raised the most of them. Kuster raised close to $375,000 in the third quarter, and has almost a million in her account.

In Massachusetts, first-term congressman Seth Moulton raised a little over $300,000 in the three-month period, and has close to $700,000 on hand.

For the most part, the nine Massachusetts Representatives don't seem to be working too hard raising money – but their secure situations are attracting attention from political action committees (PACs).

One-third of all the money they raised in the third quarter came from PACs. Since the November 2014 elections, PACs have collectively contributed more than $1.5 million to the Massachusetts Congressional incumbents.

Ayotte continues centrist push

The area's blockbuster 2016 race is in the US Senate, where New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, has announced that she is challenging Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte.

As this column has noted, Ayotte has recently been emphasizing her moderate bona fides: she opposed conservatives' efforts to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood funding, and introduced a bill to tackle the gender wage gap.

Now, Ayotte has posted a new campaign video boasting of introducing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of 2015. She was an original sponsor of the legislation – along with New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen – of the bill in June of this year, and is still one of just three Republican co-sponsors.

Some Granite State Democrats were rolling their eyes. Consultant Judy Reardon points out that Ayotte had not co-sponsored the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act in previous years, and seems to have suddenly latched onto the cause with a tough re-election approaching.

It's a little frustrating for Democrats in the state to see Ayotte get some cover on this issue from Shaheen, through their joint sponsorship. But, fair's fair: many observers thought that Shaheen was helped in her 2014 re-election by joint appearances and work between the two Senators from opposite sides of the aisle.

Social media picture of the week

Jim McGovern visited Davis Farmland in Sterling as part of a “Marketing the Heart of the Commonwealth” tour last week, and posted this picture of himself getting along with the animals.

Great to visit @DavisFarmland in #Sterling and see the animals & all the fun family activities they have. #VisitMA02 pic.twitter.com/wEWUZXA7Be