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Friday House Line: Dems Could Gain 20 Seats

Rep. Travis Childers' (D) win last week in a special election in a northern Mississippi district changes everything when it comes to handicapping the House playing field.

It is hard to overestimate the cumulative impact of three straight special elections victories by Democrats in districts previously held by Republicans. The fact that the wins came in districts that President Bush with 55 percent (Illinois' 14th), 59 percent (Louisiana's 6th) and 62 percent (Mississippi's 1st) in 2004 shows that the playing field has definitely tilted.

The obvious effect of that tilt is to put far more Republican-held seats in play, including districts that would normally be out of reach for Democrats.

Among that expanded target list: Louisiana's 4th (Bush 59 percent), Wyoming's at-large (Bush 69 percent), Missouri's 9th (Bush 59 percent), New Mexico's 2nd (Bush 58 percent) and Maryland's 1st district (Bush 62 percent).

Given the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's massive fundraising take to date it's not hard to see them spending money in all of the districts listed above. The National Republican Congressional Committee, on the other hand, continues to struggle financially and may not be in a position to spend a dime on protecting any of these seats -- even if it looks like they might lose them.

Democrats now appear well positioned to make double digit gains in the House -- 20 plus seats is not out of the question -- and, to reflect the widened playing field, The Fix is doubling the Friday House Line from 10 to 20 districts.

With double the number of places to cover, each write-up will be a bit shorter but we hope no less informative. As always, the number one ranked race on the Line is the most likely to switch party control in November.

And, remember, the Line is meant to be a conversation starter. So, let your voice be heard in the comments section below.

To the Line!

20. IL-10 (GOP-held): If you're looking for a congressional race where having Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) at the top of the ticket could have an influence, look no further. Rep. Mark Kirk (R) has represented this affluent North Shore (Chicago) district since 2000. In that time, Kirk has won re-election despite the district's Democratic lean (Sen. John Kerry won it with 53 percent in 2004). But, with Obama at the top of the ticket and 2006 nominee Dan Seals back for a rematch, Kirk could be in trouble. (Previous ranking: N/A)

19. WA-08 (GOP-held): Rep. Dave Reichert (R) is a very strong candidate but the demographics of this Seattle-area district are trending in the wrong direction for the incumbent. Democrat Darcy Burner came within 7,000 votes of beating Reichert in 2006 and is back for a rematch. Reichert could do everything right in the next five months and still lose. (Previous ranking: N/A)

18. CA-11 (Dem.-held): Rep. Jerry McNerney is one of a handful of freshmen Democrats who owe their 2006 victories to major flaws with Republican incumbents. Former Rep. Richard Pombo (R) is gone, however, and in his place is impressive former Assemblyman Dean Andal. Bush carried this district by nine points even while losing the state by 10 in 2004. (Previous ranking: N/A)

17. OH-01 (GOP-held): Ever since winning this Cincinnati-area seat in 1994, Rep. Steve Chabot (R) has been on Democratic target lists. And each time he manages to win. Democrats are high on state Sen. Steve Driehaus, arguing he is (finally) a candidate from the right part of the district -- the western suburban portion. But beating Chabot is no easy task. (Previous ranking: N/A)

16. NY-13 (OPEN, GOP-held): Rep. Vito Fosella's (R) retirement amid scandal turns this Staten Island area district into a barnburner. The fields are still shaking out although Republicans lost their preferred candidate when Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan said no. Bush carried this district with 55 percent in 2004; but given Republicans problems in the northeast, it's one to watch. (Previous ranking: N/A)

15. AL-05 (OPEN, Dem.-held): Both parties play host to primaries on June 3 with state Sen. Parker Griffith (D) and businessman Wayne Parker (R) the respective frontrunners. This northern Alabama district gave Bush 60 percent but has a 17 percent black population that should help the Democratic nominee with Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) leading the ticket. (Previous ranking: 10)

14. KS-02 (Dem.-held): Former congressman Jim Ryun is well ahead of state Treasurer Lynn Jenkins in advance of the Sunflower State's August Republican primary but there is plenty of time left to close the gap. Rep. Nancy Boyda (D) was a surprise winner in 2006 and has yet to prove her campaign mettle. (Previous ranking: N/A)

13. OH-15 (OPEN, GOP-held): No district has fallen as far or as fast as this Columbus-area seat where Rep. Deborah Pryce (R) is retiring. Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy is running again and ended Mach with nearly $1 million on hand. But Kilroy has high negatives from her 2006 challenge to Pryce and state Sen. Steve Stivers (R) is an A-list candidate. (Previous ranking: N/A)

12. MN-03 (OPEN, GOP-held): Republicans cleared the field for state Sen. Erik Paulsen and he has rewarded them. He ended March with nearly $700,000 on hand and will face upstart Iraq war veteran Ash Madia, who pulled off an upset in the Democratic convention earlier in the spring. The district is a toss up on the presidential level so candidate quality will matter. (Previous ranking: N/A)

11. PA-10 (Dem.-held): Rep. Chris Carney's (D) win in 2006 over the badly damaged Don Sherwood (R) made some forget the underlying Republicanism of the district. Carney has acquitted himself well in his first 18 months in Congress but wealthy businessman Chris Hackett will be a credible alternative. (Previous ranking: N/A)

10. NM-01 (OPEN, GOP-held): This Albuquerque-based district is one of the rare recruiting successes as Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White (R) is widely regarded as a top tier candidate. Democrats have a primary in early June with former Albuquerque City Councilman Martin Heinrich and former New Mexico Health Secretary Michelle Lujan Grisham vying for the nod. (Previous ranking: 9)

9. NJ-07 (OPEN, GOP-held): Seven Republicans -- led by state Sen. Leonard Lance and Kate Whitman, the daughter of a former Garden State governor -- will face off early next month for the right to challenge state Assemblywoman Linda Stender. This district is more friendly territory for Republicans than the state's 3rd, however. (Previous ranking: 6)

8. TX-22 (Dem.-held): The math in this district is determinative. Pete Olson, the former chief of staff to Texas Sen. John Cornyn (R), is an inoffensive Republican. That should be enough to oust Rep. Nick Lampson (D) in a district Bush won with 70 percent in 2004. (Previous ranking: 8)

7. NJ-03 (OPEN, GOP-held): The early June Republican primary between Ocean County Freeholder Jack Kelly and Lockheed Martin vice president Chris Myers looks to be far more competitive than originally expected. Myers has the endorsement of outgoing Rep. Jim Saxton (R) but Kelly has proven feisty. Either faces an uphill fight against well-funded state Sen. John Adler (D). (Previous ranking: 7)

6. IL-11 (OPEN, GOP-held): Concrete magnate Marty Ozinga will carry the GOP banner in the fall after a disastrous series of events triggered by the withdrawal of New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann (R) following his primary victory. State Sen. Debbie Halvorson (D) has had a tough past few weeks -- battered for her alleged stalling of an ethics bill in the state Senate and removed as head of the Rules Committee. Still a great chance for Democrats. (Previous ranking: 2)

5. AZ-01 (OPEN, GOP-held): Republicans appears to have (finally) decided 2002 candidate Sydney Hay is their candidate for 2008 -- after spending months looking for an alternate. Former state Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick is the odds-on Democratic nominee and will enter the general with an edge. (Previous ranking: 5)

3. VA-11 (OPEN, GOP-held): The two Democrats -- former Rep. Leslie Byrne and Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerry Connolly -- are, as expected, currently pummeling one another. Connolly is still the favorite but Byrne has run a very creditable campaign. Either one is favored in the northern Virginia seat in the fall. (Previous ranking: 4)

2. OH-16 (OPEN, GOP-held): State Sen. John Boccieri (D) has the potential to be a star in Washington -- assuming he can get here in the fall. Boccieri was a standout baseball player in college (he led all of Division I in stolen bases while at St. Bonaventure's); after college he tried out for several Major League teams before enlisting in the Air Force. (Previous ranking: 3)

1. NY-25 (OPEN, GOP-held): Dan Maffei, who nearly ousted Rep. Jim Walsh (R) in 2006, has been running and raising money since that loss. Republicans finally settled on a candidate -- former Onondaga County Legislative Chair Dale Sweetland a few days ago. 'Nuff said. (Previous ranking: 1)

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 23, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  House , The Line  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Wag the Blog: Picking Early?
Next: McCain's Health: What It Means

Comments

How about Alaska -- looks Ethan Berkowitz is leading there.

Posted by: Craig | June 6, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Please consider both Republican-held seats in Nevada. Dina Titus is a much more seasoned challenger for Jon Porter than he had two years ago, Jill Derby came very close to upsetting Dean Heller two years ago, voter registration has dramatically moved to the Democratic column, and "our" Republican Governor is "the worst ever," at least according to his estranged wife. The state's Democratic grass roots is energized, while Rupublicans are demoralized. For more details, check out some of Jon Ralston's recent comments in the Las Vegas Sun.

Posted by: noahkohn | May 31, 2008 12:21 AM | Report abuse

How does Wyoming's at-large seat not figure in your list? Gary Trauner is ahead in polls, way ahead in name recognition, better funded and organized than any of the three Republicans vying to face him for an open seat. And he's a strong candidate who nearly beat a six-term incumbent in 2006. He's no shoe-in in a traditionally very red state, but even there Obama did strikingly well in Wyoming's Democratic caucuses, which drew a hugely increased turnout from any previous year.

Posted by: C Herz | May 28, 2008 2:14 AM | Report abuse

I live in Chris Shays district and Jim Himes views are too liberal for the district. Even moderate Democrats like myself do not find Himes appealing. Diane Farrell had executive office experience. Mr. Himes is a Greenwich millionaire living in a million dollar home and talking affordable housing in the nation's most expensive renter's market. Mr. Himes has credibility issues and Mr. Shays has seniority.

One district which should appear on here is Hayes in NC. His district has a sizeable African American population and it will certainly lead to his defeat.

Posted by: James | May 27, 2008 4:33 AM | Report abuse

I live in Chris Shays district and Jim Himes views are too liberal for the district. Even moderate Democrats like myself do not find Himes appealing. Diane Farrell had executive office experience. Mr. Himes is a Greenwich millionaire living in a million dollar home and talking affordable housing in the nation's most expensive renter's market. Mr. Himes has credibility issues and Mr. Shays has seniority.

Posted by: John | May 27, 2008 4:31 AM | Report abuse

I live in Chris Shays district and Jim Himes views are too liberal for the district. Even moderate Democrats like myself do not find Himes appealing. Diane Farrell had executive office experience. Mr. Himes is a Greenwich millionaire living in a millionaire dollar home and talking affordable housing in the nation's most expensive renter's market. Mr. Himes has credibility issues and Mr. Shays has seniority.

Posted by: John | May 27, 2008 4:31 AM | Report abuse

Clinton has now taken Kentucky ... Nevertheless, Montana, South Dakota and Puerto Rico are still to come.

The Democratic race for nomination is still very much alive and most likely to be decided by superdelegates If you haven't done so yet, please write a message to each of your state's superdelegates at http://www.lobbydelegates.com

If you're tired of waiting around for those super delegates to make a decision already, go to LobbyDelegates.com and push them to support either Clinton or Obama

Posted by: Jack08democracy | May 27, 2008 3:20 AM | Report abuse

To 37th&OStreet @ May 23, 2008, 11:06am:

Bush wasn't on the ballot in 2006 either. That didn't seem to help Republicans stem their losses, unless you think they should have lost even more seats than they did.

Posted by: BruinKid | May 27, 2008 1:33 AM | Report abuse

Um, aren't you missing Race #4, Mr. Cilizza?

Posted by: Jeremy | May 26, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Big miss in NE-2. Heavy amount of African-American voters in this district and a massive turnout for the February Caucus means bad news for GOP incumbent Lee Terry. In 2006 an underfunded challenge from Jim Esch was much closer than expected. Esch is back for a rematch that spells trouble for Terry. Should be ranked between 15 and 20 on the list.

Posted by: Peter Zenger | May 25, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

We refuse to unite the democratic party after the RACIST campaign that Obama has run.


After you view that youtube video made by the major networks, you will clearly see my point


Obama has been running a RACIST campaign


After pulling that crap, you now expect to unite the democratic party ?


ARE YOU COMPLETELY OUT OF YOUR MIND ????


OBAMA has torn this party apart with his own actions which make him a FRAUD against his own campaign theme.


http://tinyurl.com/6gcstl


you can take your story somewhere else.


Take that to Denver.

.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 25, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

There's a "Perfect Storm" building for the Democrats this November. Obama wins by 5-10% nationally and carries key states like Ohio, Missouri, Colorado, Virginia and maybe even Florida and TEXAS. Democrats pick up 10-12 Senate seats, a filibuster-proof majority (I know that was unimaginable two months ago)and the House Dems gain 20-30 seats. If all the trends go as they are headed now--McW campaign implosion, Obama upswing, Democrats' money and organizational strengths, then this is what's going to happen!

Posted by: Corky | May 24, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Chris,
When an Illinois senator from the opposing party as Halvorson says, "That's the rub for Sen. Halvorson. The agenda of Emil Jones was a conflict with the issues that Debbie needed to support for her congressional campaign. Clearly it's a move to protect her."
-maybe you should believe her instead of a press release from her opponent.

Halvorson was indeed removed for her own good. The main purpose of the rules committee is to bottle up and kill bills leadership wants killed. You should have caught the irony that this means the media (you) can't hit her for the rules committee killing popular bills (like the recall bill) anymore. We have a long, contentious session still going on.

...and go read Capitol Fax's www.thecapitolfaxblog.com or call Rich Miller before you attempt to do any more Illinois reporting

Posted by: Illinoisan | May 24, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Steve Driehaus is an Ohio State Representative, not an Ohio State Senator.

Posted by: Tom J | May 24, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Chris - How exactly is Dave Reichert "a very strong candidate"?

Perhaps you meant to write that Darcy Burner, author of the heavily endorsed and well received "Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq" (Google it), is a very strong candidate.

You might also have made note that Burner is out fundraising Dave Reichert despite the fact George Bush and Laura Bush have made separate trips to the district this cycle to try and raise money for the Republican congressman.

You need to get out here in the other Washington some time to get a better sense of just how endangered Reichert is in this district that's never elected a Democratic representative since it was created 25 years ago.

Posted by: Daniel K | May 24, 2008 2:58 AM | Report abuse

Chris - How exactly is Dave Reichert "a very strong candidate"?

Perhaps you meant to write that Darcy Burner, author of the heavily endorsed and well received "Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq" (http://www.responsibleplan.com/), is a very strong candidate.

You might also have made note that Burner is out fundraising Dave Reichert despite the fact George Bush and Laura Bush have made separate trips to the district this cycle to try and raise money for the Republican congressman.

You need to get out here in the other Washington some time to get a better sense of just how endangered Reichert is in this district that's never elected a Democratic representative since it was created 25 years ago.

Posted by: Daniel K | May 24, 2008 2:57 AM | Report abuse

Dan, thanks for your update/analysis on CT-4.

Posted by: Jon Morgan | May 23, 2008 11:39 PM | Report abuse

You should pay attention to FL 24. Tom Feeney is corrupt up to his ears and the Democrats have got a great candidate in Suzanne Kosmas. Its a great pick up opportunity for Dems, and the DCCC has recognized it, adding Ms. Kosmas to their Red-to-Blue program.

Posted by: Sean K. | May 23, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Pretty conservative analysis here.

All 6 of the NY GOP seats could be in trouble this year. NY-25 is a no-brainer for a switch; Kuhl in NY-29 has never been safe nor popular; NY-26 is open and the Dems may actually have a good candidate; NY-13 is a 50/50 hold at best for the GOP (it went for Gore by 9 points I think); McHugh up in NY-23 can still retire (he's 60, no chance at being in majority, will probably be redistricted out in 2 years anyway, primary deadline is in July); Peter King is the only one so far who can breathe safe.

Chris Shays in CT-04 is in BIG trouble as well. Obama will win handily in Fairfield County (Shays base), and minority turnout in Bridgeport may actually reach a respectable level if Obama can get them out. Shays has won by only a few thousand votes the last few times, so if Bridgeport turns out something remotely close to a 50% turnout (say 50,000 votes in a city of 140,000; 37,000 turned out in 2004; only 20,000 in 2006) Shays will lose. His challenger, Jim Himes, is from Greenwich and is equal on fundraising with Shays. I don't even think McCain can help Shays much, and Lieberman is the kiss of death for him there.

Anyway, by July the picture will be much clearer. If the environment stays as it is right now or gets worse for the GOP, we may need a 40-seat line. If it gets better, they may be able to hold losses under 20. Still not a rosy scenario for GOPers, but its the best case right now.

Posted by: Dan | May 23, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Obama to the rescue . . .on his mighty white charger, and his suit of steel! Or will he fly down from the roof-tops with a red cape?

Posted by: Cantabrigian | May 23, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Jon Morgan | May 23, 2008 4:12 PM
I also agree that reading comments oldest first is better. Maybe we should take a vote.

Were it only a democracy here ... we'd have the newest comments on the bottom and automatic registration for posters.

Posted by: mnteng | May 23, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I would agree that NC-8 has to rate very highly too, and AK-AL is worth considering. What's up in CT-4 these days--the last GOP House seat in New England? If Jim Gerlach could survive 2006, he can probably survive 2008. Maybe not...

I also agree that reading comments oldest first is better. Maybe we should take a vote.

Posted by: Jon Morgan | May 23, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

"The fact that the wins came in districts that President Bush with 55 percent..."

There's a verb missing here.

Posted by: Jon Morgan | May 23, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

MN-06 should definitely be in the list. Currently held by first-term Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R), the district supported Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) by 8 points in 2006. Rep. Bachmann has embarrassed the district with claims that she has secret knowledge of Iraqi insurgent's plans and for a wet-kiss she gave to Pres. Bush at the 2007 State of the Nation.

El Tinklenberg is a moderate voice that will be well received by this independent district. Roads and bridges are important for this commuter district, and Tinklenberg was Transportation Commissioner under Gov. Jesse Ventura (I), who recieved big support in the MN-06.

Posted by: Jim Mogen | May 23, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

George Bush carried Lampson's TX-22 in 2004 with 64% (not 70%) according to the 2008 Almanic of American Politics. Lampson is going to benefit with a high turnout of African-Americans (due to Obama) and Hispanics (due to U.S. Senate candidate Rick Noriega) in CD22.

Posted by: Edward Ybarra | May 23, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I think Lampson should be okay, but Mahoney in Florida (who I assume is the missing #4) is probably toast; he won on pretty much the ultimate perfect storm.

Posted by: SC | May 23, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

What about Rep. Sam "I Hate Big City Kay Barnes" Graves in Missouri? Chris, you had a hilarious post on that race's ad campaigns a few days ago. I think that's one to watch...

Posted by: Soonerthought | May 23, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Chris.

Posted by: Vlad | May 23, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

'That has zero to do with John McCain since Sen O is your candidate now.' other was typo.

If Sen O wants to push the race issue he will lose snd lose decisively. Will he now go to Hispans, Koreans, Appalachiand etc and lectuee them about race as well? I will be addressing this with my rabbi and ask how he feels about it. He has already opposed this devisive language. I doubt it will sit well. The fact that you have heard racists comments, is that an excuse to tag a whole religious group? Actually it his ties to Farakhan that would make me less likely to vote for him. I am at a Fla wedding this weekend and have heard quite a few with similar sentiments.

O's non military service just like Bill's is perfectly legitimate as an issue. But I agree that while an issue it doesn t mean that either is more qualified to be Commander In Chief just A consideration. Again it will be the economy not who served that will decide the election.

Posted by: Leichtman | May 23, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Patrick: stereotyping Fl Jews as being racists is wrong and offensive I could care less what the NY Times might be saying. And Bill was attacked for not serving in the military. Its fair game but likely irrelevant in an economic driven election.

Posted by: Leichtman | May 23, 2008 11:46 AM
-----------------------------
All the TY Times did was quote some jewish voters in FL who said they had a problem voting for a black canidate, I think it's wrong to shoot the messenger on this one. As for either the Times, Obama or myself 'stereotyping' jews, again I can only speak for what I read, and heard Obama reply to, which were the above comments made by some FL jews.

I also disagree that serving in the military gives you an advantage in making military decissions when president, again look to W Bush as a good example, it didn't help him.

Posted by: Patrick NYC | May 23, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

LA 4th District will go to long-time Caddo Parish District Attorney Paul Carmouche, democrat.

Posted by: mhw | May 23, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Chris: what about Kentucky?

Posted by: KYJurisDoctor | May 23, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Gaining 20 seats -- gaining any significant number -- after the victory of 2006 would be a rare occurence.
The last time something like that happened was 1930 - 1932. The Republicans lost coontrol of the House in 1930; as the depression continued and Hoover h ad negative coattails in '32, they lost more.

Posted by: Frank Palmer | May 23, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Md-1 is definately in play for dems., I agree with dcgrasso1. Harris won a hard fought & very ugly primary vs. rep. Gilcrest. He is a good fundraiser, so he will definately be competitive but will not come close to winning as easily as Gilcrest would. Gilcrest may be a competitive choice for governor in 2010. He has a shot of winning Maryland statewide if he can win a statewide Republican primary, and this primary loss may have actually helped him in the general if he could be the R nominee in 2010. But on this issue, I think, honestly, all 26 Republican retirement seats are in play for dems. this year. I don't think we will see quite as many defeats for incumbents as many people think. I think Nick Lampson & Nancy Boyda is in alot of trouble. Boyda would be in an almost definate loss vs. Jenkins, but Ryun will be competitive and could win, too. I think Jenkins is definately the best candidate, though.

With 26 Republican congressional retirements, Democrat's certainly have great opportunities this year.

Posted by: reason | May 23, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Parick, explain why my saying that O's statement is offensive. I have shown that statement to numerous friends this morning and all concluded the same.
------------------------------
You said that you had a problem with Obama calling on some jewish who may, or say they have a problem with his race, and his middle name. I disagreed with your post saying that he was wrong in doing so. I am not saying you are wrong for being offended, that is not my place to do so, or to tell you how to feel. I simply said that I felt he was right for facing it head on.

I have worked in the NYC Diamond District since 1977 and I can tell you first hand that the jewish community is no different than the rest of white NYC, that there are both non racist and racist people here. Many a time I have heard jews use the term 'Schwatza' when describing blacks, telling me often when I was hiring a messenger to not hire one or an hispanic.

So yes there is racism on both sides, as was shown with Rev Jackson's 'Hymie Town' remark. If we are stuck with Obama it is best to clear the air, to remind both sides how the jewish community was at the front line fighting for blacks in the 60's.

As for your closing line, 'That has zero to do with John McCain since he is your candidate now.'

I have no idea what you mean, since I would never vote for McCain or any other member of the GOP.


Posted by: Anonymous | May 23, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Did not expect to see a Bonas grad on that list. Way to go, Boccieri!

Posted by: SBU Class of 2006 | May 23, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Lampson's re-election turnout currently is pretty safe unless the hispanics in our district don t show up. He is well funded and his opponent Olson doesn't have great name id.

Patrick: stereotyping Fl Jews as being racists is wrong and offensive I could care less what the NY Times might be saying. And Bill was attacked for not serving in the military. Its fair game but likely irrelevant in an economic driven election.

Posted by: Leichtman | May 23, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Heading toward this fall's House races, Democrats are upbeat on the heels of their three recent special-election upsets. Republicans, meanwhile, are struggling to regroup.

Who's going to take control this election year?

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=2471


.

Posted by: Frank, Austin TX | May 23, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Parick, explain why my saying that O's statement is offensive. I have shown that statement to numerous friends this morning and all concluded the same.

Its great that you have decided to support O, just don't hold your breath and expect all of us to follow your lead. Why in the world would he be lecturing the Jewish community to look past his skin color. That is the worst kind of stereotyping I have heard yet. And would he not be saying the same thing if a Jewish politician walked into an AA church and asked them to overlook his being Jewish? His statement tells me that he thinks that Jews are racists. I find that to be offensive and hope his campaign would get the message that those kinds of off handed remarks need to stop. That has zero to do with John McCain since he is your candidate now.

Posted by: Leichtman | May 23, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I think the missing #4 has to be MI-07. It makes sense to fit right there. Walberg won a 60% Bush district with 48% (maybe 49%) against a challenger with no money (maybe 10k). The challenger is from the conservative section of the district and is a well liked State Senator. The fact that a nobody held Walberg below 50% shows his vulnerability. Plus, his "positive" comments comparing Baghdad's security with Detroit or Chicago will be aired hundreds of times. Can he beat that?

Posted by: Keith | May 23, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

5 Dem Held seats and 14 R held seats on the line. If the D's keep all of them and take the targets then there are still 6 unlisted R seats that must turn D for the 20 dem gain of the title to be true.

Posted by: bluemeanies | May 23, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I like the newly expanded list for the House -- now how about expanding the Senate list as well, maybe to 15? It seems to me that there are more than 10 really competitive (and interesting) Senate races worth following.

I also would prefer reading the comments oldest-to-newest; it's sometimes hard to make sense of a response when you haven't seen the original post it refers to.

Posted by: LS Iowa | May 23, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Chris:

I don't know - you must be drinking someone's Kool-Aid again Chris. This seems like a stretch for a do-nothing Congress to pick up seats.


However, the war is going on, but Congress keeps on funding the war.

Bush will not be on the ballot this year which should help the Republicans - To be honest Christ the third district in New Jersey is heavily Republican - for that district to swing will be difficult.


Time will tell.

Posted by: 37th&OStreet | May 23, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Is this just seats going dem?
If not,
You need to look at carol shea-porter(D), who took a bribe from Obama, and backed him though her home town and her district went for CLinton.

She may be kicked out not because people vote against her, but because people won't vote her.

Like me.

Posted by: Realilty | May 23, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Hey Chris what about the Steve Kagen race in Wisconsins 8th CD. Granted he is a wealthy doctor and was able to put tons of money into the last campaign. Personally I like him and would like to see him win. However, Appleton Wisconsin is the home to Joe McCarthy and is a very republican leaning part of the state. John Gard will be running against Kagen again and is well healed financially. This district seems to go Democrat for a term after a republican leaves office and than goes back to the republican side (Robert Cornel replaced by Toby Roth after one term, Jay Johnson replaced by Mark Green after one term etc...). Do you think Gard has a chance and is this a district the rpublicans are targeting?

Posted by: John | May 23, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

What about Larry Kissell in NC-08? Van Hollen has thrown the DCCC's support into this race after Kissell came up only a few hundred votes short in '06.

Posted by: Wisper | May 23, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the commenter who mentioned OH-2. Mean Jean Schmidt is a sitting duck for Dr. Wulsin this time around. Many Republicans cannot stand her.

Posted by: SW Ohio | May 23, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

"He asked the audience to move past his name and his skin color" . Right that is exactly what my community does, sure.

Is that what he told their rabbi, look past my skin color?

Posted by: Leichtman | May 23, 2008 10:20 AM
--------------------
As a Hillary supporter I am not giving up yet until I hear her say she's done. That said I will vote for the Democrtat this fall. I think Obama is smart to deal with the race issue head on. After reading several articles in both the NY Times and WaPo on Jews in FL saying they will not vote for a 'black' canidate, it is important to bring it up.

Save the hate for the GOP, you know like for McCain calling Obama on him not serving in the Military made him less prepared to speak on issues relating to the GI bill for education grants. Didn't stop draft dodger Bush.

Posted by: Patrick NYC | May 23, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Great rankings! Campaign Diaries just updated its Senate rankings, with full descriptions of the top 19 Senate races and big shifts in states like North Carolina and Texas.

Full rankings available here: http://www.campaigndiaries.com/senaterankings

Posted by: Dan | May 23, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Good list Chris, despite the ommission of #4. I would agree that Reynolds of NY should have made the list, maybe that is the one missing. As for NY-13, it would not have even been on the list had not Fosella made such a mess, twice in as many days.

I don't think that it is as weak of a seat as Reynolds though. The seat has a small part of Brooklyn but is mostly Staten Island, which is the most red part of the five boroughs, the reason why Mayor 9/11 was elected. The fact that the Dems are now talking about picking someone from Staten Isl and not Brooklyn, the first two names were from the latter, and now they are talking about rallying around a pick from Staten Isl and passing on a costly primary.

One last thing Chris, any news out of Pelosi's district with her challenge from Cindy Sheehan? I know it's one of the bluest districts but Cindy is running as an Independent.

Posted by: Patrick NYC | May 23, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

unbelievable. O goes to Boca Raton and suggests their Jewish communty is racist.

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Barack Obama traveled Thursday to the center of Florida's Jewish community and asked one of his most skeptical constituencies to judge him "by what I say and what I have done."

Aiming to reverse misperceptions about his background and his policy positions, Obama fielded questions in a Conservative synagogue in a congressional district with one of the highest concentrations of Jewish voters in the country.

"He asked the audience to move past his name and his skin color" . Right that is exactly what my community does, sure.

Is that what he told their rabbi, look past my skin color?

Posted by: Leichtman | May 23, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I think that the GOP will hold onto AZ-01 since John McCain is the nominee. The state overall will go for McCain. Surely his presence on the ticket could help his own state. If not, then the Republicans truly are in serious trouble.

Posted by: finrodhauser | May 23, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

The Election will be interesting this year to say the least.

Just a short question - does someone know a website with good polling data from all 50 States?

Posted by: Kavalor | May 23, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Take a look at Minnesota's 2nd. The dynamics of the district have been shifting since 2004 (DFL has won a majority of State Legislature seats and Amy Klobuchar won the district with 53% of the vote).
Steve Sarvi is the strongest challenger John Kline has ever seen. Steve is a veteran of the Iraq War and realizes, unlike John Kline and George Bush, that we need a change of course in Iraq. Kline has been to busy in Washington rubber stamping the Bush/Cheney policies, from Iraq to the economy, to meet with constituents of his district, and this year its going to catch up with him. Steve Sarvi will win MN-2.

Posted by: Kyle | May 23, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Very fine effort CC. Comprehensive.

Also

1. Can I humbly suggest that the 'newest comments first' thing isn't consistent with the aim of 'conversation' that you frequently mention... If we are to converse, we need to read the first comments first and let the comments go from there... so scrolling all the way to the bottom, then working up is very counter-intuitive.

2. Really, how hard can registration be to get back online? There are people there who work in I.T. right?

Thanks bro

Posted by: Boutan | May 23, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

KS-02:

Boyda proved her campaign mettle by beating ten-year incumbent (and former Olympian and world-record miler) Ryun after he'd had 5 terms in office and about 120% name recognition. Ryun's own "campaign mettle" was to bring both Bush and Cheney to town for support in '06 - a big piece of his downfall. The district isn't likely to want a return to THOSE "good old days."

Ryun did nothing in office except position himself so far to the right that even Kansans recoiled. If he continues to go negative against less-wingnutty Jenkins (who has a nice smile, but little else) he'll lose much of the middle to Boyda.

Posted by: FlownOver | May 23, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Oh well good old WAPO Obama Shill Chris is
back to getting drunk on the Toxic Obama
Kool Aid and as Delusional as any other
misguided Obamabot,since WAPO keeps on
overlooking the obvious Madame Speaker
"I Took Impeachment Off The Table" Nutso
Nancy Pelosi Factor" and how that alone when coupled with the way Nancy Pelosi and
Howard Dean and Harmless Harry Reid etal
have openly tried to steal the 2008 Democratic Nominaton for their empty suit
fellow out of touch with reality extremism
lefty liberal loser self confessed cocaine
user addict,arrogant,lying phony False
Messiah Barack Hussein Obama. Face reality
here Obama is totally unelectable.

Posted by: Ralphinphnx | May 23, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Tiny correction: Erik Paulsen is a state representative, not a senator.

Posted by: correction | May 23, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Whey aren't the other two GOP-held seats in New York up there? Kuhl's seat and retiring Reynold's seats. They may very well flip.

Posted by: Russell | May 23, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Going from the top 10 to the top 20 was a bit of a stretch for the overworked Chris, so we got the top 19. Next time around, maybe he'll give us the top 21 to make up for it.

Posted by: Patrick | May 23, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

With Obama as the nominee, I don't think that MD-1 will be as competitive as you think. The Eastern Shore will vote McCain large and there could be coattails. Obama lost this part of the State in an overwhelming statewide primary romp.

Posted by: ShoreFire | May 23, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

What about Ohio's 2nd? Jean Schmidt is a very, very far right conservative (in a district becoming more moderate) who also does next to nothing of importance in Congress. Dr. Wulsin was an inexperienced candidate with not much money or influence and still managed to come within 3,000 votes (out of 237,707 total) of winning. She now has more experience, better funding, and is an overall stronger candidate, and with the approval ratings the Republicans and Bush have, I doubt Schmidt can win.

Posted by: Andrew P | May 23, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Um, Greg-G do you mean DINOs?

DINO- Democrat in name only
RINO- Republican in name only

The people you are marking RINOs have never been Republicans in name.

Posted by: bluemeanies | May 23, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Keep an eye on NC-10. Dems have had recent success in the NC mountains (Shuler) and have a strong, well-funded challenger running against a damaged R incumbent that just came out of a tough primary.

Posted by: Drew Nelson | May 23, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

4 is.....?

Posted by: Dan | May 23, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

No. 4 must be FL-16.

Posted by: Paleo | May 23, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

mikeinmidland writes
"Um, number 4 is ???"

Somebody get that man a T-Shirt!

Posted by: bsimon | May 23, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

TX 10 - Rep. Michael McCaul vs. Larry Joe Doherty (of Texas Justice fame). McCaul only got 55% against a lesser known/not as well funded opponent. The district goes from Houston to Austin and lots of new/young voters have been registered.

Posted by: Owlsfan | May 23, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I agree. I liked the oldest-to-newest format better. I do like the expanded 20 district line though.

Posted by: NoCal | May 23, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Haha, good catch, Mikeinmidland.

Also Chris, not a huge fan of putting the newest comments at the top. I prefered scrolling down to read the comments--much more intuitive.

Posted by: Greg-G | May 23, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Agreed on MD-1 and NC-8, but I do think Chris' list of races are all competitive (except for maybe OH-1. If Chabot survived last go around, I'm thinking he will again).

I'd be more than happy to see RINO's Carney and Lampson go down. They're worthless and might as well be Republicans, whereas at least some red-state Dems (Boyda) will vote with us on occasion. I hope the DCCC doesn't waste any money on them.

NY-13: With the DA out and the district in the most expensive media market in the country, I doubt the R's will throw much money at this. I'd rank this one higher. I'd also rank Reichert and Lampson higher.

Other good races:

CO-4: Musgrave has been a loser from the moment she entered Congress, won't have a 3rd party candidate to save her this time.

FL-16: Mahoney has been both a flop and a RINO, again no big loss for the Dems if he goes under

CT-4: For some reason, I feel that New England is going to boot out its last Republican

PA-6: This district has always been a heart-breaker for the Dems, but maybe they'll catch Gerlach sleeping this year

Posted by: Greg-G | May 23, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Chris,

Um, number 4 is ???

Posted by: mikeinmidland | May 23, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

No NC-8th??? Larry Kissell came within 500 votes of Robin Hayes with no party support in 2006, and is back again. With Obama at the top of the ticket helping to drive turnout in a 20%+ african american district, I would have thought it would have been in the top ten.

Posted by: Jim | May 23, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

dcgrasso1 has it right - you should consider moving MD1 onto the list next time. The defeat of Gilchrest was a real blow to moderates and while MD1 consistently votes republican, voters for the general are going to be far more moderate than the right-wingers who showed up on primary day. Frank Kratovil, the Dem in the race, has a real shot here.

Posted by: corbetto | May 23, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Chris,

You said the Mississippi result changes everything. I disagree. Even if there were no special elections in this season, nothing would have changed in the electorate, only they would not have tipped their hand to the pundits, who are supposed to be able to read other, not so subtle, hints as to their mood.

Their concern about the quagmire in Iraq has not changed. Their concern about the housing crisis has not changed. Their shock over the price of gas has only intensified. Their concern about health care coverage has not changed. Their belief that this country is headed in the wrong direction has not changed. Their fatigue with the Bush administration and the GOP has only intensified.

Nice of you to catch up with the people out here.

Posted by: Optimyst | May 23, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Talk about a non sequitur. How does a discussion of a candidate's college sports achievements lead to a conclusion that he will be a rising star in Washington? Lots of jocks are there now. Is Heath Shuler a star?

Posted by: Optimyst | May 23, 2008 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Keep an eye on Maryland's first district, Chris. Wayne Gilchrest was a moderate Republican who was defeated in an extremely nasty primary by a guy who is so right-wing, most of Gilchrest's staff is openly supporting the moderate Democratic nominee. Gilchrest himself has given off a lot of strong hints that he'll endorse the Democrat.

Posted by: dcgrasso1 | May 23, 2008 7:06 AM | Report abuse

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