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The Expanding House Playing Field

The last two weeks of the 2006 campaign have House Democrats seeking to expand the playing field of competitive races in hopes of giving themselves a larger margin for error on Nov. 7.

With so many races coming online into play this late in the cycle, it's hard to keep track of every district where at least one (and usually both) of the national party committees are engaged either on television or through the mail.

Here's a handy-dandy list of the districts where the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has gone up on television or sent out direct mail in recent weeks:

* California's 11th
* Florida's 16th
* Illinois's 10th (mail)
* Kansas's 2nd
* Kentucky's 2nd
* Kentucky's 3rd
* Minnesota's 1st
* Nebraska's 3rd
* Nevada's 2nd
* New Hampshire's 2nd
* New Jersey's 7th (mail)
* New York's 25th
* New York's 26th
* Pennsylvania's 4th
* Washington's 5th

Let's slice and dice these districts a bit.

Three are open seats (Nevada's 2nd, Nebraska's 3rd and Florida's 16th) while 12 are held by Republican incumbents. Of the 15 new targets, President George W. Bush carried 11 of the districts in 2004. His two best showings among those 11 were in Nebraska's 3rd (75 percent) and Kentucky's 2nd (65 percent); his lowest winning percentage was in Minnesota's 1st (51 percent) and New Jersey's 7th (53 percent). The four seats won by John Kerry are Illinois's 10th (Kerry 53 percent), Kentucky's 3rd (51 percent), New York's 25th (50 percent and New Hampshire's 2nd (52 percent).

The incumbents on the expanded list of Democratic targets have a wide range of tenure in Congress. There is just one freshman member (Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris) and three lawmakers -- Reps. Melissa Hart (Pa.), Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Mike Ferguson (N.J.) -- are in their third terms. The longest serving member on the Democrats' list is Rep. Jim Walsh (N.Y.), who has held the 25th District since 1988.

Of the 11 incumbents, just four of them won reelection in 2004 with less than 60 percent of the vote -- Ferguson (57 percent) as well as Reps. Tom Reynolds (56 percent), Charlie Bass (58 percent) and Jim Ryun (56 percent). Walsh won his 2004 race with 90 percent -- the highest of the candidates on the list -- as he did not face any major party opposition.

It's not just Democrats who see the House playing field expanding. The Cook Political Report continues to add Republican races to its competitive race chart, with its latest version showing seven Republican seats leaning toward Democrats (Arizona's 8th, Colorado's 7th, Florida's 13th, Iowa's 1st, New York's 24th, Ohio's 18th and Texas's 22nd).

Thirty-two Republican seats are ranked by Cook as toss ups while another 27 are rated either leaning Republican (15) or likely Republican (12). Contrast that with Democratic vulnerabilities: According to Cook not a single Democratic seat is a toss up while just 19 seats are either leaning Democratic (7) or likely Democratic (12). Cook is now predicting Democratic gains of between 20 and 35 seats.

The Rothenberg Political Report is slightly less bullish. In its most recent House ratings, four Republican-held seats are either tilting or leaning toward Democrats. Another 17 Republican seats are considered pure toss-ups.

All these numbers and rankings show that Democrats have successfully expanded the playing field beyond the traditional 20-30 competitive races the parties have fought over for the last several cycles. As a result, Democrats no longer have to win 80 percent of the toss-up races to win the 15 seats they need for the majority. They have built in some room for error and by doing so have achieved an improved chance of taking control on Nov. 7.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 31, 2006; 11:45 AM ET
Categories:  House  
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Comments

CC, you also forgot WV-02. Mike Callaghan is surging against Capito and he has steadily made this a race, coming to within four points of Capito in the latest poll (47-43, MOE 5.49%) and all the monetum is clearly going his way. Now, the DCCC is helping him out, and this is a pretty low-cost district, so I would not be surprised if Mike Callaghan makes it a unanimous Democratic Congressional delegation by beating Shelley Moore Capito.

Posted by: Steve | November 1, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

KOZ: "I wonder how many of the current military is trying to collect medals so they can come home and run for Congress. But it is also the rest of the Dem "leadership" who over the last few years have demonstrated clearly that they despise the military. Not just the comments but the votes."

As an Iraq War veteran, I am sick and tired of right-wing hacks denouncing the military status of everyone of us who disagree with their politics. Are you a veteran, or are you just a partisan hack whose only fighting is done cowering behind a keyboard?

As far as the voting record, in 2003, a House vote was held to give a $1500 bonus to every veteran of Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo. It died on a 213-213 vote, with every Democrat voting for it and all but a handful of Republicans voting against it. When Bush took office, those who made $26,000 a year or more had to pay $2/month in prescription co-pays. Now, that co-pay is $15, and there is an annual deductible of $250. In other words, in order to get VA funding that we were promised, the annual payment jumped from $24 to $430 in six years. And, let's not forget the lack of parity in VA medical benefits for reserve component veterans, even those who went to war, at a time when the reserve components make up the highest percentage of veterans for any war since the Civil War, an any veteran who knows the truth knows who really stands for us, and it isn't the guy who used the National Guard to hide behind veterans both as a young man trying to duck Vietnam, and as an older man trying to equate the National Guard of today with the National Guard of 1968. (I know I never had a box on my enlistment papers asking me if I wanted to opt out of overseas or combat service.)

On behalf of every veteran, I DEMAND an apology for this obvious slam of all of us. The sad thing is that this isn't the first forum where this has happened by a long shot. You are only proving to me once again which party really supports the troops, and it ain't the one riding the big, stinking elephant.

Posted by: Steve | November 1, 2006 10:44 AM | Report abuse

For me Tuesday night I'll be watching MTV:)
Missouri,Tennessee and Virignia.

Posted by: reghir | November 1, 2006 8:21 AM | Report abuse

One more word on the Kerry comments(they all groan in unison)-

If anybody has actually read the transcript they'll realize that taken in context the comment was indeed a joke. A poor one but a joke.

One thing to consider for discussion should this tired subject continue... Did he not ACTUALLY speak truth? Is is not true that the more educated you are, the less likely you are to be in Iraq? He still should not have said it but in retrospect, what he said has validity.

I guess in this crazy GOP-spin world we live in, speaking truth is not encouraged.

Posted by: DKinUT | November 1, 2006 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Latest poll in WY has Cubin ahead of Trauner just 44-40. When Republicans are playing defense in Idaho, Kansas, and Wyoming, you know we're in a once-in-a-generation Democratic landslide.

Today, Cook downgraded TX-22 from Leans Dem to Tossup, and upgraded WV-2 from Solid Republican to Likely Republican.

http://sandwichrepair.blogspot.com

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | October 31, 2006 10:05 PM | Report abuse

I was going to point out the Wyoming race, but Alan in Missoula beat me to it. I was surprised to see GOP-sponsored ads on local TV here over the weekend. If the Republicans are spending money in a TV market that is probably only 10 percent in Wyoming, they must be concerned about Cubin losing her seat. I still expect her to win, but she has been her own worst enemy, and the Wyoming House seat isn't one that the Republicans should have to be fighting for.

Posted by: Eric in Billings | October 31, 2006 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Remember that, with elected officials, it is possible to look at their records to see what they actually vote for. The plain fact is that every democrat in the Senate (including John Kerry) has a better record of supporting our soldiers than the best of the Republicans. With that fact in mind, isn't it reasonable to believe that Kerry did not intend to insult his fellow servicemen? He has a good record of actually voting for what they care about, unlike the Republicans who are now up in arms.

I base my statement of troop support on the findings of this major non-partisan vetrans organization: iava.org/index.php.

Posted by: Adam Hammond | October 31, 2006 7:28 PM | Report abuse

KOZ:
Your posts are hilariously delusional at best. You're obviously part of the Republican party that has no use for reality when it contradicts your beliefs. So you continue to stand out in the rain, getting soaked, while insisting on how unbelievably sunny it is.

We can all remember that pre-1994 -- when it was the Democrats who couldn't imagine that they'd ever be in the minority -- that the Republicans had spent the previous 40 years "sniping from the sidelines," and were pretty good at it. A lot better, demonstrably, than running the entire Government.

You all have had a golden opportunity rarely seen in US history -- an entire government run by one party -- and have blown it to such a staggering degree that you deserve to be the minority again for another 40 years.

So maybe take a good long look in the mirror there, KOZ, at who has created all the problems. As Republicans like to remind us: Take some personal responsibility.

Posted by: Christian in NYC | October 31, 2006 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Did Zouky really say "dems preparing for a short lived agenda (tenure). Could this be Zouky is drinking his kool-aid or tang.

Its the first die hard neocon I have seen post any acknowledgement or hint the GOP is in trouble of losing this election in the house or senate.

Posted by: Stick A Fork In It. | October 31, 2006 6:17 PM | Report abuse

KOZ said:

"If I am elected president in 2008, I will bring all our boys and girls home the next day and place them all in graduate school."

and there's something wrong with that? the GI Bill after WWII. ring any bells, fool? it merely led to several generations of trained, learned Americans with broader horizons.

Posted by: I, christian | October 31, 2006 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Au contraire, I assure you I am fully hinged. I am preparing to observe the Dems actually concoct an agenda for thier short-lived possible rule in the house. Once the voters see just how loony-tunes Pelosi and her jokers are, the majority will revert back to R for a good long spell. Assuming you get it in the first place. It is much harder to lead than to snipe from the sidelines. tossing insults and bashing bush is a relatively mindless occupation - why Dems are so good at it. Trying to craft legislation that Reps from the other side will vote for is a whole different story. Good Luck, you are going to need it, nest Tuesday and after, with only one house and a 3 seat majority, I am not sure what your expectations are after your glorious victory. I think we can break out the word quagmire and use it properly for once.

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 31, 2006 5:53 PM | Report abuse

You missed another house district that has come in to play. Republican Barbara Cubin holds Wyoming lone at-large house seat. She is being challenged by Jackson Hole Democrat Gary Trauning. Thed the latest poll shows a statistical dead heat with Cubin actually losing support as Trauning is rising. Cubin is 44 percent, a precarious position for a six-term incumbant one week before an election. Trauning is at 40 with a Libertarian pulling in single digits. Cubin's mouth has made enough gafs to rival Montana Republican Conrad Burns. In the latest one, after a three-way debate, she supposedly told the Libertarian candidate that if he wasn't in a wheelchair, she would slap him for accusations he made in the debate concerning her handling of funds. The man suffers from MS and is full time in an electronic wheelchair.

With a statistical dead heat, Cubin falling and Trauner climbing, I think this Wyoming seat should be rated high among those likely to change hands.

Remember that the bulk of Westerners, though they may be more conservative than the urban coastal population, especially on social issues, are not doctrinaire ideologues. Wyoming's Democratic Governor has 70 percent support in his reelection bid in this same election.

We are independant cusses out here with a very large plurality that claims independence from any ideology. With the national trend toward change this election, don't be suprised if more than a few states and congressional districts, seen by urban pundits as solid GOP elect a Democratic chanllenger this year.

Posted by: Alan in Missoula | October 31, 2006 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I'll say again: Give me a break.

I agree with KOZ that Kerry should ease up on the one-liners, but that's abt it. Bobby and anyone who's been on here for a while knows that I dont care about criticizing Dems when they deserve it, but this is just a non-story. It's already over.


Posted by: F&B | October 31, 2006 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Zouk

I deplore what Kerry said but your comments are so over the top and far from reality that I think the polls showing the Democrats on the verge of taking control of Congress must have you unhinged.

Posted by: JimD in FL | October 31, 2006 5:45 PM | Report abuse

This is just indicitive of Kerry's disdain for professional military volunteers. I wonder how many of the current military is trying to collect medals so they can come home and run for Congress. But it is also the rest of the Dem "leadership" who over the last few years have demonstrated clearly that they despise the military. Not just the comments but the votes. Seems all they know how to do is talk, talk.

Kerry - If I am elected president in 2008, I will bring all our boys and girls home the next day and place them all in graduate school. that way I can wreck the economy, the defense of the country and the school system all at once. I will then spend the next four years windsurfing and getting my hair done. Dems applaud.

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 31, 2006 5:38 PM | Report abuse

one more comment on the Kerry gaffe - I am old enough to have been subject to the Vietnam draft - although I had a high draft number and I did join the Navy several years later. Anyway, the comment about study hard and stay out of Vietnam was common among college students in the 60's and early 70's. I heard it many times. Kerry is a fool to try and use it today with an all-volunteer force. Having dealt with the draftees and the all-volunteer force over the course of 20 years as a naval officer, I can tell you that today's military represents some of the best and brightest our country has to offer.

Posted by: JimD in FL | October 31, 2006 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Kerry should refrain from trying his hand at humor. Remember his last attemnpt - I voted for that beofre I voted against it. Ha ha. the jokes on you fool. you have revealed yourself for all to see.

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 31, 2006 5:18 PM | Report abuse

So Bush is going to criticize ANYONE for a verbal gaffe? That is HYSTERICAL. Also, someone should send the GOP a memo: Kerry isn't running this year and won't ever be the face of the Democratic party again. If that's the best the GOP can do, then they really are in trouble.

Posted by: Colin | October 31, 2006 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Vaylen: Tn and Va look pretty safe for the Republicans

Vaylen, TN maybe but certainly not VA. The latest polls have Webb taking his first lead of the campaign, 4 or 5 points. Allen continues to run a campaign for the history books. His thugs just tackled a guy down in Charlottesville for asking Allen why he spit on his first wife and the attack was captured on crystal-clear videotape.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | October 31, 2006 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Bobby

As a retired military officer with a Master's degree, I wholeheartedly agree with you. If, as is being said, Kerry was joking - well that shows judgement on a par with George "maccaca" Allen

Posted by: JimD in FL | October 31, 2006 5:10 PM | Report abuse

To F & B,

Bush is a complete idiot so Kerry is not to be held accountable for his comments - this is why Americans are at their wits ends with politics

I do not care one iota about Bush and his idiot friends admitting to anything - I want accountablility and credibility among Democrats so that we can win.

But the same old - same old -

George is worse than John so we have to give John a pass - no we do not - we denounce John Kerry or become as blindfolded as the cool-aide drinking Bushites have become

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.

The world is watching as Bush and Kerry fist it out like a bunch of school yard bullies - shame on both of them

Bobby WC

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | October 31, 2006 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Everything I have seen shows 16 Republican seats too cloese to call with four as good as lost. That would make it end up almost a tie in the House. My guess is the Dems will control by one or two in the House.

Tn and Va look pretty safe for the Republicans with Mo and NJ both slightly favoring the incumbent. Figure the Senate stays where it is with the majority slipping to two or three.

Taking the Senate would be cool, but taking the House just lets our nuts out and that will hurt in 08. We could run the table but the numbers sure don't show it. Cook is way off base.

Republicans do one thing a lot better than Democrats; they vote.

Posted by: Vaylen | October 31, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

L. Sterling

Statehood does not require a constitutional amendment. We admitted quite a few states after the original 13 and there were no amendments. I am old enough to remember when Alaska and Hawaii were added to the Union (although a child at the time). It only takes a simple majority in Congress.

Political Junkie - the deal in Congress was for a vote for the DC Delegate not statehood. The House could allow the Delegate a vote by rule.

Posted by: JimD in FL | October 31, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Well, get ready for the Repubs to capitalize. Bush just called a speech at 5 pm to take the opportunity to denounce Kerry's comments. I don't know which is worse now, the comments or the response. For the love of God, Tuesday cannot get here quickly enough.

Posted by: dc voter | October 31, 2006 4:33 PM | Report abuse

>>>the Dems need to denounce Kerry for his intellectual bigotry

Bobby, give me a frickin break. Intellectual BIGOTRY?

How about Intelligent Design? How about disdain for evolution? How about disdain for global climate change? How about disdain for stem cell research? How about squashing scientific evidence for political purposes?

Kerry was plainly joking. Ok, bad joke. But should he be DENOUNCED for it? How bout denouncing Bush for the "where are the WMDs? under my chair" joke? Just ilke Bush's folly with the WMDs it was a bad joke, but move on.

Fact of the matter is that Bush got handed EVERYTHING on a silver platter and screwed it ALL up. Everything he touches turns to crap. His oil biz. The Texas Rangers. Now the good ol US of A. Shoot, he's not even a good cheerleader since nobody wants him on their campaign platform.

Posted by: F&B | October 31, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

What about NY's 29th? It was mentioned on a PBS special as being a contested election and a recent poll has democratic challenger up 12 percentage points.

Posted by: More contested races? | October 31, 2006 4:21 PM | Report abuse

In looking at this election, such as so many b4, the Parties seem to think we care more about misleading ads than substance- they may be right.

Every regular here knows I have no use for Bush, but John Kerry's statements about good students do not get bogged down in Iraq is insulting to the super majority of Americans, even if you believe he was targeting Bush - he still said because Bush did not apply himself in school we are bogged down in Iraq. School isn'y everythng - I have a JD, MA, and MEd and I will take the opinion of a highschool graduate over some armchair philosophying sudo-intellectual any day.

The inability of the Democrats to denounce John Kerry for these statements is what is wrong with our one party government - it is a credibility problem - the Dems need to denounce Kerry for his intellectual bigotry - it only verifies how out of tune he is with America

I post this because this is America's frustration - neither side can ever admit - mia culpa

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | October 31, 2006 4:13 PM | Report abuse

THV,
Population only mattered back in the day as a trigger (tipping point) for a statehood convention and petition to Congress (from the convention). Maryland and Virginia could refuse any contemplated transfer and (so I believe) have so stated that they would. We (who believe DC should have full representation) are stuck with the Amendment process.

Posted by: A Hardwick | October 31, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Kirk (IL-10) may be in more trouble than previously thought. RT Strategies poll shows challenger Seals +2.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/latestpolls/

Kirk is running lots of radio emphasizing "independance"...an essential message that he needs to drive home for a district that voted for Kerry in '04.

Posted by: Chicago vet | October 31, 2006 2:45 PM | Report abuse

National Republicans on the retreat:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061031/ap_on_el_ho/house_stakes

They're pulling the funding from Weldon, Ney/Padgett and Beauperez to try to save Gerlach, Pryce and Musgrave, respectively.

So add those three onto Delay's seat (don't care about Chris's earlier post--that seat is gone. no straight ticket voting alone takes it out of contention), as well as Kolbe's seat as being DEFINITE Dem pick-ups. They're a third of the way there, and a poll hasn't closed.

It will be interesting to see if they give up Hostetler, Foley or Sherwood's seats soon.

Posted by: Greg-G | October 31, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

At one time, DC also included the area across the Potomac in Virginia that includes what is now Arlington; this area was returned to the Commonwealth of Virginia. If admitted, DC would have fewer people than any state except Wyoming. Although I do not advocate redrawing current states, I do think that, as a matter of policy, we should not admit states with such small populations - especially those with little growth potential.

Therefore, the best solution for DC is to return it to Maryland. The Constitution only sets a maximum size for the district that includes the seat of government. That district could be redefined to include only the National Mall - the Capital, White House, and the varioius other memorials and government buildings. That way, practically no one would live there.

In all likelihood, that is what the framers had in mind when they provided for the district in the first place - not to hold a city hostage.

Posted by: thv | October 31, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Sterling: No. The addition of states are not subject to ratification by any number of states. (constitutional amendments actually require ratification by 3/4 of states.)

Posted by: earlycynic | October 31, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

star11 asks

"After reading the article on Bachman in today's StarTribune, I cannot believe she would get elected. What is so off-putting about Wetterling? I know this is a Republican district but pluh-ease - being from MN, I like to think we are rational human beings and really didn't the Christian Concervative movement had made such huge in-roads there - what happened to the middle of the road Lutherans I knew?"

The Lutherans live in other districts... Though part of the problem has been a notable lack of coverage of some of Ms. Bachmann's more extreme positions.

"On another Mid-west topic, do you know anything about the abortion vote in South Dakota and how it looks as to the ban being upheld?"

I'm not sure. I think its close, but can't remember the last time I heard any definitive numbers.

Posted by: bsimon | October 31, 2006 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Check that e-mail I just sent. Not statehood, but a real vote for DC in the House.

Posted by: Political Junkie | October 31, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

With regard to DC Statehood. There was a push earlier this year, especially by Rep Davis (R-VA) and, of course, Del Norton. The deal was to give DC statehood, but in return, Utah would gain a seat in the House. It had potential, but the House leadership put a stop to it. Could be different should the Democrats take control of the House. We will see.

Posted by: Political Junkie | October 31, 2006 2:06 PM | Report abuse

JimD: One thing that I don't understand about statehood; Do the other states have a say in whether a Commonwealth or territory is offered statehood? How does that work? It would seem that it would have to be like a Constitutional Amendment with 2/3 rds of the States ratifying the offer for it to be legit. Does anyone know the answer?????????????

Posted by: L.Sterling | October 31, 2006 2:04 PM | Report abuse

In response to DanW's ascertain that DC could not become a state that is incorrect.

While the Constitution requires the capitol to be in the District and not in a state (protecting against the advantage he mentioned) it only provides a maximum size for the district not a minimum.

If desired the "District" could be redefined to mean a very small area - for example the National Mall (encompassing the Capitol building and White House but nothing else). The remaining land could enter the union as the State of Columbia.

This would give the people there not only a voting member of the House but also full two Senators. But since the District votes overwhelmingly Democratic it will never happen.

Posted by: Corey | October 31, 2006 2:00 PM | Report abuse

DanW

There were several proposals for a DC statehood constitutional amendment floating around when the Democrats controlled Congress. It had considerable Republican support as a matter of simple fairness until Newt Gingrich pointed out that it would be crazy for Republicans to give the Democrats two more senators and a congressman. One idea was floated to redraw the boundaries of the District of Columbia to cover the main federal institutions and cede the remainder of the District to Maryland. The proponents thought that this would not require an amendment since there were some land transfers between the District and Virginia in the early 1800s.

Also, Gerald Ford advocated statehood for Puerto Rico. Can you imagine a Republican president doint that today with the anti-Hispanic undertone of so much of the anti-immigration crowd in the GOP. I am talking about the ones like Buchanon who spew about "preserving our culture and heritage" against "different types" of immigrants as opposed to the waves of European immigration in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Posted by: JimD in FL | October 31, 2006 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Chris, you say the Rothernberg Political Report only has 4 Republican seats leaning towards the Democrats, but I count 12:

TOSS-UP/TILT DEMOCRATIC
FL 13 (Open; Harris, R)
IN 9 (Sodrel, R)
NY 24 (Open; Boehlert, R)

LEAN DEMOCRATIC
IA 1 (Open; Nussle, R)
IN 2 (Chocola, R)
OH 15 (Pryce, R)
OH 18 (Open; Ney, R)
PA 7 (Weldon, R)
PA 10 (Sherwood, R)

DEMOCRAT FAVORED
AZ 8 (Open; Kolbe, R)
CO 7 (Open; Beauprez, R)
IN 8 (Hostettler, R)

Posted by: Randy Parker | October 31, 2006 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Cavalier829: "In order for their votes to count they'd have to be admitted to the Union as States, something that, remarkably, could be done by simple majorities in both the House and Senate and signed by President"

This actually does not apply to the district. Since DC's non statehood is written into the Constitution, it would take an amendment for DC to become a state. Apparently the founding fathers did not want any particular state to have such a home field advantage.

Posted by: DanW | October 31, 2006 1:09 PM | Report abuse

E-Muse,

While perusing old House returns (ahem, geek) I discovered that this situation did, in fact, occur in 1996 with a whole host of close races being determined at the last second. The Democrats were well on their way to retaking the House by a comfortable margin when news came out about Clinton's fundraising techniques. This didn't help Sen. Dole, the GOP candidate that year, but Ross Perot's vote doubled, going from 4 to 8 percent of the total. Most of the extra votes pulled the GOP lever for Congress.

Though the GOP held onto 25 seats by a percentage point or less that years with another 20 some-odd additional Republicans held under 55 percent of the vote.

The Dems haven't done half as well since.

Lesson: If the GOP loses control this year they'll need to recover in '08 or suffer in the minority for awhile.

Posted by: Cavalier829 | October 31, 2006 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Still can't get over how Karl Rove orchestrated a blizzard - and timed it to happen just when the Foley scandal was starting to have an effect in western NY. I was in the Buffalo area right before the storm, and the news was that John McCain was bailing out on his appearances w/ Reynolds. Sounded like he couldn't get off that sinking ship fast enough. Then, just like (black) magic, it snows and Reynolds becomes a hero. I know Buffalo is known for snow, but I've lived around here for 25 years, and can't recall anything like this storm in mid-October...

Posted by: Ella | October 31, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

As regards the DC delegate's vote, back in 1992 when, in contrast to H.W. Bush's loss of the Presidency, the GOP gained 10 house seats, the Democratic majority attempted to cut their gain in half by giving the delegates from Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, D.C., and a couple other places a vote on the floor of the House. It is my recollection that these delegates have always had committee votes and the right to speak on the floor, but not to vote there.

Bob Michel, then the GOP leader, sued the Dems in court. Not sure if it was a court decision or the threat of one that made the difference, but the delegates would be allowed to vote, but if any of their votes made the difference to the outcome a revote would be held with all 5 of them left out.

In order for their votes to count they'd have to be admitted to the Union as States, something that, remarkably, could be done by simple majorities in both the House and Senate and signed by President.

Cuba and the Dominican Republic were BOTH once considered for statehood in the 19th century but never made it.

Posted by: Cavalier829 | October 31, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Delegates to Congress can vote on committee votes but not actual floor votes... In 1993 Delegates used that rule to vote in when the House was in the "Committee of the Whole", however their vote would be counted if it had no effect on the outcome. After the Republicans took power in 1995 they stripped that rule.

Posted by: Rob | October 31, 2006 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Chris, you are such a media star...all over the cable news and Internet. Thanks for all the info. Today's thinking out loud questions:

At what point does the number of House seats gained trip the Senate to the Dems? I think the only way it turns is in the 30 plus range. And that, I frankly doubt.

Next, any predictions for the (meaningless) total vote for the 435 House races. Wouldn't it be bizarre if we have a president first elected with less votes than his opponent and a House governed by a GOP party that received a few million less votes than the "minorty"? Once more, I know these vote totals are ultimately meaningless, but has this ever happened in our history?

Finally, need a little pre-election levity?
"Bush Enters Rhetorical Rehab"
http://www.eyewitnessmuse.com/musings.php?p=241

Posted by: The Eyewitness Muse | October 31, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

bsimon:

Sorry - I am typing very fast these days and switching between keyboards plus I never was such a good typist. Sorry about the typos - in real life I am very good writer!

Posted by: star11 | October 31, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

bsimon:

After reading the article on Bachman in today's StarTribune, I cannot believe she would get elected. What is so off-putting about Wetterling? I know this is a Republican district but pluh-ease - being from MN, I like to think we are rational human beings and really didn't the Christian Concervative movement had made such huge in-roads there - what happened to the middle of the road Lutherans I knew?

On another Mid-west topic, do you know anything about the abortion vote in South Dakota and how it looks as to the ban being upheld?

Posted by: star11 | October 31, 2006 12:33 PM | Report abuse

They've also gone up this week in MI-07 and MI-08.

Posted by: Zathras | October 31, 2006 12:32 PM | Report abuse

As I understand it, at the very least, it would require a bill passed by both Houses and signed by the President in order to provde Del Norton a floor vote. She has a vote on the DC Subcommittee, but otherwise does not have anything more than the right to speak on the Floor.

Unfortunately, there is also a constitutional question. If such a bill were passed, it could be challenged in court. If it were found to be unconstitutional then the only way to provide DC with the voting rights it deserves would be through a constitutional amendment.

Posted by: Badman | October 31, 2006 12:22 PM | Report abuse

You list CA-11 as the first link but dont mention the high-stakes race in your post? Why not? And in a post about the expanding field of races, most of the linked and bolded names are Republicans? Jeez Chris.

Im so sick of this slanted "analysis". This is why people are dissatisfied with the media and politics around the country.

Posted by: F&B | October 31, 2006 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Chris do you have poll results on NY-19? I've seen at last one that suggests it's down to the wire--the incumbent Sue Kelly, even ran away from a debate [literally, it's on tape] when she was asked what she knew about Foley when she was a Page program superviser.

Posted by: drindl | October 31, 2006 12:06 PM | Report abuse

If the Dems take the House, can they change the voting status of DC Del. Norton through a rule change, or does it have to go through the Senate and President? I believe she had a floor vote in the 90's, but it was revoked when the GOP took power. Anyone know the answer?

Posted by: Chuck | October 31, 2006 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Curiously, here in MN, the DCCC seems to be focusing more on the MN-01 race while paying less attention to the open MN-06 seat. Some polls are showing Bachmann (R) recovering some support in recent days.

Posted by: bsimon | October 31, 2006 11:53 AM | Report abuse

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