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The Line: The Eyes of Texas Shine on House GOP

House Republicans, desperate for good news in an election cycle that appears to be going from bad to worse, won a rare victory earlier this week when Pete Olson, former chief of staff to Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), crushed former Rep. Shelley Sekula Gibbs in a runoff election for the GOP nod in the 22nd District.

Sekula Gibbs was widely regarded as unelectable by Republicans due to her brief but tempestuous time in office following the resignation of former congressman Tom DeLay (R). Almost the entire Texas congressional delegation, as well as House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio), endorsed Olson in the runoff for fear that nominating Sekula Gibbs would mean handing Rep. Nick Lampson (D) another term.

With Olson on the fall ballot, this race becomes Republicans' best chance for defeating a Democratic incumbent. Not only did DeLay hold this Houston-area district for more than two decades, but President George W. Bush carried the 22nd with 67 percent of the vote in 2000 and 64 percent in 2004. While Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) won't win the district by the same margins, he will almost certainly carry the district with somewhere between 57 and 64 percent of the vote.

What that means is that Lampson, who held the 9th District from 1996 until 2004 when a DeLay-backed redistricting plan put him in a new district and ultimately led to his defeat, will have to overperform the Democratic presidential nominee by a significant margin. Possible? Yes. Likely? No.

The emergence of Olson reminds us that while House Democrats have gotten nearly every break in this election cycle, Republicans still should be positioned to win back few of the seats they lost in the 2006 tidal wave. Among those seats: Pennsylvania's 10th District, Florida's 16th and Kansas's 2nd. If Republicans can sweep those seats, they may be able to limit their losses and keep the House in play for 2010.

As always, The Line is meant as a jumping off point for a conversation about the most competitive races in the country. Your thoughts are welcome in the comments section below.

To the Line!

10. Alabama's 5th District (OPEN, Dem.-held): The retirement of Rep. Bud Cramer (D) in a district that gave President Bush 60 percent of the vote in 2004 gives Republicans a real chance at picking up an open seat. Both parties seem to have settled on a candidate -- state Sen. Parker Griffith for the Democrats and Wayne Parker, who ran for the seat in 1994 and 1996, for the GOP. A recent poll showed Griffith leading Parker 48 percent to 32 percent, but this race will likely close. (Previous ranking: N/A)

9. New Mexico's 1st (OPEN, GOP-held): Democrats are headed to a competitive June primary in this Albuquerque-area district that Rep. Heather Wilson (R) is vacating to run for the Senate. Former Albuquerque City Councilman Martin Heinrich won the top spot on the primary ballot by taking 56 percent of the delegate votes cast at the state's pre-primary convention last month. Heinrich even managed to get a positive review from Stu Rothenberg -- the toughest grader in the business. Awaiting the eventual Democratic nominee is Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White, one of a handful of Republican recruitment successes this cycle. (Previous ranking: 8)

8. Texas's 22nd (Dem.-held): Olson's win means that the race this fall will be a referendum on Lampson not on a flawed Republican nominee like Sekula Gibbs. While Lampson runs solid campaigns and will raise millions of dollars for the race, the demographics of the district -- especially in a presidential year -- just don't seem to add up. Lampson proved us wrong before but faces a very difficult reelection battle this time. (Previous ranking: N/A)

7. New Jersey's 3rd (OPEN, GOP-held): Democrats acknowledge that their Republican counterparts snatched victory from the jaws of defeat when they convinced Lockheed Martin vice president Chris Myers to make the open-seat race in this south-central New Jersey district. Myers raised more than $330,000 in the first three months of 2008, a solid start for a first time candidate, and has the backing of retiring Rep. Jim Saxton (R). State Sen. John Adler (D) continues to impress, collecting more than $500,000 between Jan. 1 and March 31. This race -- featuring two quality candidates -- could be among the most watchable in the country. (Previous ranking: 6)

6. New Jersey's 7th (OPEN, GOP-held): This race catapults the 3rd as Democrats' best pickup chance in the state. Why? State Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D) continues to raise scads of cash -- $840,000 in the bank at the end of March -- and the Republican primary fight between state Sen. Leonard Lance and Kate Whitman (daughter of former New Jersey Gov. Christie Todd Whitman) shows no signs of letting up. (Make sure to read PolitickerNJ's take on the primary fight.) Whether it's Lance or Whitman, the primary will be over by early June -- giving the nominee plenty of time to regroup for the race against Stender. (Previous ranking: 7)

5. Arizona's 1st (OPEN, GOP-held): Much like Illinois 11th district and New York's 25th, Republicans have struggled to recruit a top-tier challenger for this seat being vacated by scandal-plagued Rep. Rick Renzi (R). The only announced Republican candidate is Sydney Hay, a conservative who came up short against Renzi in the 2002 primary. There is some talk that former state Senate president Ken Bennett, who previously declined to run, might reconsider. Democrats have a primary of their own, but former state Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick is the solid favorite. (Previous ranking: 5)

4. Virginia's 11th (OPEN, GOP-held): All of the action in this northern Virginia district at the moment is on the Democratic side as the primary battle between Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerry Connolly and former congresswoman Leslie Byrne has quickly gotten nasty. Connolly's campaign released a poll conducted at the end of March that showed Connolly ahead 45 percent to 25 percent, and most neutral observers confirm he has a lead although not an insurmountable one in advance of the state's June 10 primary. Sen. Jim Webb has endorsed Byrne -- a rare political play for the freshman senator. (Previous ranking: 4)

3. Ohio's 16th (OPEN, GOP-held): National Democrats tout state Sen. John Boccieri as one of their top recruits; national Republicans say almost nothing about their nominee -- state Sen. Kirk Schuring. The open-seat race in this northeastern Ohio swing district -- President Bush carried it with 54 percent in 2004 -- may be over before it ever really got started. (Previous ranking: 2)

2. Illinois's 11th (OPEN, GOP-held): Republicans still have yet to settle on a replacement candidate for New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann, who abruptly dropped his bid earlier this year. The likely pick, which will be made by Republican county chairmen at the end of the month, is concrete magnate Marty Ozinga. Ozinga, however, is already being battered a bit over a series of past donations to Democrats including Gov. Rod Blagojevich. State Sen. Debbie Halvorson (D) continues to rake in cash and is expected to have crested the $700,000 mark when first-quarter reports are filed at the Federal Election Commission early next week. (Previous ranking: 3)

1. New York's 25th (OPEN, GOP-held): One of the most under-covered elements of this election to date is how the difficult national environment has hamstrung Republican recruiting efforts for a variety of House and Senate races. The leading Republican candidate backed out of this race last month, leaving a likely Republican primary between second-choicers. Democrat Dan Maffei, who nearly upset retiring Rep. Jim Walsh in 2006, is running again and has the blessing of state and national party leaders. (Previous ranking: 1)

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 11, 2008; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  House , The Line  
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bondjarjar, Since your flacid response was substanceless and hateful, I'll consider it another victory for the conservative cause.

God Bless America :)

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 11, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

The Dems also finally put up a quality candidate in the TX7. maybe we can finely rid ourself of that clown Culberson. Although if Hillary is the nominee that kills any chance of any down ticket Dem in Texas (Even Noriega has a chance against Cornyn).

Posted by: Jsbx | April 11, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Gutterball: UR name is appropriate. U seem to wallow in sewer-type trash instead of discussing politics or political issues. When UR read thru the comments to CC's column today, UR's stands out as the most vicious, vile and totally irrelevant to any intelligent political discussion. Go back to 3rd grade in elementary school and re-learn how to think.

Leichtman: I have read many of UR posts here in CC's column and elsewhere in the Wash Post. U seem to be really bright, articulate and very into politics. Some of UR comments are very clear-headed, fact-based and analytical. However, most of UR Democratic presidential campaign comments are so off-the-wall, obsessively pro-Clinton, virulently anti-Obama rants that I really question how someone who seems to be as intelligent as U can get so bent-out-of-shape in UR thinking and commenting re: UR support for Hillary.

No offense, but UR pro-Clinton rants remind me of the mindless female women's rights zombies -- clogging the comments to op-eds in the NYT -- whose support for Hillary Clinton is based on the really stupid proposition that "men have messed up being President of the US for 200 yrs, ..... so, its time give a woman the chance to mess it up."

Posted by: LesG | April 11, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

moreandbetterpolls surmises
"dsimon is bsimon's sister."

that would be news to me. And my parents as well, come to think of it.

Posted by: bsimon | April 11, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

bonjedi: you are truly obsessed with monica, maybe that explains your dozens of hateful posts about HC. You are starting to sound jus like Fox news.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 11, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Ten isn't enough to gauge the competitiveness of this cycle. There are plenty of districts here that could flip or are even likely to flip.

Posted by: RM | April 11, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

"While we're keeping it real, I think zouk's assessment that the wealth Obama is tapping into is anti-Hill and not pro-O is worthy of exploring."

why else would most of her people maxed out already to the GE while most of his only gave to the primary? they are going to abandon him, once the beast is stopped. why do you think he carried all the red states only? Libs have such trouble with actual evidence. better to stick with the 'al gore' kind of evidence I suppose.

Daddy, can I have my old room and my old allowance back?

I think there are plenty of Dems/Libs who despise clinton more than the GOP and are putting their money where their mouth is.

Note how different this is than the usual loud-mouth drindl-esque lib who puts their ass where their mouth is or makes it hard to tell the difference.

"willing to trade blood to justify an inept and braindead ideology."

I thought you wanted to keep it real??

Gotta go - charity auction and circus tomorrow (kid's b-day). Look for me in the little car with all the clowns pouring out. sometimes I do indeed hang with Libs you see.

Have a good weekend all. what a refreshing break from the tedious drindl and LOUD and DUMB insult and hate-fest.

I noticed no spoofing when they are absent.

Posted by: kingofzouk | April 11, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Hot off the presses, from our friends at FOX News:

"Bill Clinton backed down Friday after reviving his wife's exaggerated account of her trip to Bosnia 12 years ago.

...Bill Clinton said he would no longer talk about the Bosnia trip.

"Hillary called me and said, 'You don't remember this, you weren't there. Let me handle it.' And I said 'Yes ma'am,'" the former president said as he visited the scene of a campaign office that burned down in Terre Haute, Ind."

What a metaphor - a humbled Clinton, the backdrop the remains of the Indiana campaign effort, pontificating on the most notable truth-stretching since the glory days of 1998 and Monicagate.

Posted by: bondjedi | April 11, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

While we're keeping it real, I think zouk's assessment that the wealth Obama is tapping into is anti-Hill and not pro-O is worthy of exploring.

GOP, I know that you don't know any better, but no one has disrespected the troops more than your leaders Dubya and Cheney. Nothing is more galling to soldiers and sailors than a flag-waving chicken$hi+ like you willing to trade blood to justify an inept and braindead ideology. You may be proud of the GOP, but many of its members are ashamed of "patriots" like you.

Posted by: bondjedi | April 11, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

While I agree that the oenophile [wino?] opinion of military dress is neither tasteful nor amusing with a hint of blackberries, I must add that this time the Senate Committees were serious and respectful, including BHO. Last time, HRC was NOT, and it ticked me off.

One can ask serious questions respectfully. They all did this time.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | April 11, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

O. M. G.

A wine critic? Criticizing a 4-star General officer's Service uniform? This is case the self-appointed fashion expert doesn't know, there are very precise regulations for the military uniforms, no matter if you're a private or an Admiral, dating back to antiuity. Does this eonophile know anything about the Roman army and their uniform of the day? or perhaps he just concerns himself with the fancies of Calligula and the like.

At any rate, the General was showing respect to the Halls of Congress by wearing his Service coat with it's appropriate and well-earned decorations. Would the wine critic prefer he wear his BDUs or is camo offensive, as well?

Here's a handy list of the many different uniforms and when it's appropirate to wear them.

To show disdain and disrespect for this honorable military man is par for the course from the uber-left that Obama represents. sickening.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 11, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

its 6% vs 24% of the largest contributors just reported on POTUS

Posted by: Leichtman | April 11, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

dsimon: As "Not Blarg" said at 3:12, some people donated $2300 for the primary and $2300 for the general. General election money is included in fundraising numbers by journalists who aren't paying attention; that's part of why Hillary's fundraising looked so impressive last year. I wonder what happens to that money now.

Posted by: Blarg | April 11, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

no actually blarg I made zero comments on where HC fundrasiing has come from, though hundreds of thousand have come from small contributions though not as much as yours. I am sure YOU not me are the one that keeps posting where HC money is coming from but you are in denial when an AP story comes out stating that billionaire oil execs are bundling $16 million for Sen Obama. I guess you think the AP just made that story up to tick you off.

What I stated is your HYPCRISY/Double Standards.

Your campaign acts hollier than thou, bundles $16 million from hundreds of billionaire Oil Execs, then takes those millions to outspend HC 4:1 in Pa running radio and tv commercials telling Pa voters how pure he is and vows to take on the "special interest"(ie his bundlers) and taking big money out of politics.

Sorry you can't appreciate the HYPOCRISY?DOUBLE STANDARDS. The extent of that hypocrisy is laughable.

And then to say I don't take corporate money in my campaign. Dah, that has been illegal forever.

Double Standards, read my post. Sen Obama just has millions more to push his double standards.

I don't care that he has bundlers or has raised a ton of money just be honest blarg especially when he is running millions in commercials acting like he doesn't have big money oil execs bundling that $16 million.

But we forget he was dropped from the clouds and he has never said or done anything hypocritical in this campaign.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 11, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

dsimon is bsimon's sister.

Posted by: MoreAndBetterPolls | April 11, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

"Hillary has raised 75% of her money in contributions of $2300 or more. Obama has raised 38% of his money in contributions of $2300 or more."

Since the federal maximum for a primary contest is $2,300, I'm not sure what the "or more" means. Care to clarify?

"It goes to support my theory that the anti-clinton forces are supporting Obama and will vaporize in the General election."

I thought it supports the theory that Obama is relying on a larger pool of small donors. They won't have maxed out, and so Obama will have more funds available for the general election.

Plus there are people like me who haven't given a dime to him because he has so much money. If he needs it, I'll max out. But I'm guessing he won't need a dime from me.

Posted by: dsimon | April 11, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

My source:
The data is only through the end of February, so it may not be accurate anymore.

Leichtman, let me see if I've got this straight. You think it's bad that Obama has raised $16 million in large bundled contributions, because some of that money might come from special interests, which Obama has pledged to attack. But you don't mind that Hillary has raised a much larger amount of money, the vast majority of all her campaign cash, in the same way. That's okay, because she doesn't claim to have a problem with special interests, so it's fine that she's completely beholden to them.

You could have saved time by just saying "It's bad when Obama does it and good when Hillary does it." We all know that's what you believe; you might as well be honest.

Posted by: Blarg | April 11, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

the upside for clinton is that she can now "donate" all that GE money to her favorite charity - herself. she can funnel it to "the clinton foundation" and then to her homies for the paybacks promised.

don't let a forensic accountant near the books of the clinton foundation. that is how they got Capone remember?

Posted by: kingofzouk | April 11, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Hillary has raised 75% of her money in contributions of $2300 or more. Obama has raised 38% of his money in contributions of $2300 or more.

Let's assume this is true although no link was provided.

It goes to support my theory that the anti-clinton forces are supporting Obama and will vaporize in the General election. hillary seems to have tapped out her sources for the most part and won't be able to draw in much more for the general, although that point is moot.

Posted by: kingofzouk | April 11, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I would never advise a client to use fewer tools than wre legally and ethically available. One can oppose current financing rules while taking advantage of them - that is not hypocrisy. we all understand that playing within the rules is a must but if we do not like the rules we work to change them.

The BHO pledge to seek an accommodation with the R candidate on public financing for the GE is a different matter. Either he will, or he will not. If he does not, that may constitute evidence of hypocrisy or political opportunism.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | April 11, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

don't attack me for the fact that billionaires have bundled $16 million for Sen Obama. I'm not against bundling blarg by billionaires what I am against are double standards which your campaign is famous for. He is fighting against the special interest billionaires and has CEO Oil execs fundraising blarg,and he rails against oil money and then uses their bundled money by those same billionairs to attack oil money. Double standards clear and simple.

Seems like I have hit a raw nerve by posting that UP story blarg.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 11, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

kingofzouk -- $2300 for the primaries, $2300 for the general. Republicans can do it too.

Posted by: Not Blarg | April 11, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

blarg_ how does one contribute more than $2300? Must be a Dem thing.

Posted by: kingofzouk | April 11, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

the pack of loony leftist jackels is getting desperate:

drindl take note, you and your defeatist Libs are toast, a laughingstock.

How do you solve a problem like Petraeus?
Thomas Lifson
General David Petraeus is a problem for the Left. Not only has he falsified their predictions of a quagmire and facilitated the emergence of a new democratic political system in Iraq, he is brilliant, accomplished (PhD from Princeton) and strikingly handsome. For blue-staters who lust after acquiring Ivy League credentials for their children, he is a big, big problem. He must be discredited, by any means necessary.

But how do you slime a man whose integrity has never been seriously questioned, and who is achieving a historic victory through a strategy he implemented?

The Los Angeles Times provided the disgraceful answer two days ago, in an op-ed that has received insufficient recognition so far for its vileness. In it, Matthew DeBord, a writer whose expertise is wine, critiques the General's dress uniform appearance -- specifically all those medals that adorn his chest and the four stars on his shoulders. If the piece were dated April 1st, I would be relatively certain that it was a spoof. But apparently the unselfconscious DeBord means it when he writes:

There he sits in elaborate Army regalia, four stars glistening on each shoulder, nine rows of colorful ribbons on his left breast, and various other medallions, brooches and patches scattered across the rest of the available real estate on his uniform. He even wears his name tag, a lone and incongruous hunk of cheap plastic in a region of pristine gilt, just in case the politicians aren't sure who he is.

That's a lot of martial bling, especially for an officer who hadn't seen combat until five years ago. Unfortunately, brazen preening and "ribbon creep" among the Army's modern-day upper crust have trumped the time-honored military virtues of humility, duty and personal reserve. [....]

... is all that ostentation the best way to present the situation in Iraq to an increasingly war-skeptical public?

The naked stupidity on display here boggles the mind. Public support is growing for the war, because, as General Patton told us, America loves a winner, and will not tolerate a loser. That is why DeBord must try to find even the silliest grounds on which to slime the General. DeBord goes on to cite pictures of other generals, all of them taken in the field, to make the point that the dress uniform worn in formal testimony before Congress is somehow showy. Except, of course, for that "cheap plastic" name tag -- a regulation item, not something that one would customize in, say, platinum.

For my part, I am grateful for the pattern of General Petraeus's career path. He studied and acquired extremely valuable perspective before he served in combat. The proof of the wisdom of his approach is evident in the results he has achieved. The man has cultivated a brilliant mind, and put it to work for his nation. The Unted States Military needs (and thankfully has) men and women of highly diverse accomplishments and natural endowments.

If DeBord is a combat veteran himself, perhaps he has the right to note that General Petraeus didn't serve in combat when he was younger. But he makes no such claim. If he is lacking those chops, he has no basis on which to critique a man who, when he was already a senior officer, exposed himself to the dangers of combat.

I doubt DeBord has any military service at all. If he did, he would know something about dress uniforms. I don't begrudge him his choice of career in wine criticism, as do some other bloggers. Perhaps he picked uyp some fashion expertise at wine tastings. But what any of his expertise has to do with serious questions worthy of op-ed attention is a mystery.

This op-ed is nothing short of shameful.

Hat tip: Alan Fraser

Posted by: kingofzouk | April 11, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse


What's amazing to me about that $16 million from the bundlers is that it is a drop in the bucket (OK, < 10%) of the total for either D candidate. On the other hand, $16 million is a pretty good month for McCain.

Posted by: mnteng | April 11, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Leichtman: And how much has Hillary raised from bundlers? Or are you only against bundling when Obama does it? (As if I need to ask.)

Hillary has raised 75% of her money in contributions of $2300 or more. Obama has raised 38% of his money in contributions of $2300 or more. So you really don't have a leg to stand on when you whine about Obama's fundraising.

Posted by: Blarg | April 11, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

"There's the small givers Obama likes to celebrate, and "those with wealth and power also have played a critical role in creating Obama's record-breaking fundraising machine, and their generosity has earned them a prominent voice in shaping his campaign," Matthew Mosk and Alec MacGillis write in The Washington Post, in the definitive account of Obama's money team.

"Seventy-nine 'bundlers,' five of them billionaires, have tapped their personal networks to raise at least $200,000 each. They have helped the campaign recruit more than 27,000 donors to write checks for $2,300, the maximum allowed."

More Obama money scrutiny: "Campaign finance records state that Obama has received tens of thousand of dollars from people in many of the same groups and industries he regularly rails against," Brett Lieberman writes in the Harrisburg Patriot-News. "

that ads up to around $16 million he has raised by these bundlers.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 11, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Of course Obama won't take public financing.

He's a political opportunist.

I can't believe Hillary Clinton will lose to this fraud.

I heard McCain will NOT give up his senate seat. Sad.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | April 11, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

mark read your earlier post.

I would bet mark that if he is the nominee that there is zero chance, imho, that he will accept public financing. That would be insane and I am not even one of his supporters mark as you certainly know.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 11, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Jeramiah was my pastor,
Was a good friend of mine,
But I never heard a single word he said,
And I hope you believe that line.

Joy to the world...

Posted by: Obama | April 11, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Not true, I have already picked out several extremely qualified cabinet members:

minister of propoganda - both clintons
minister of racism - al sharpton
minister of scotch and swimming - Teddy Kennedy
minister of waffling - John Kerry
minister of marshmellow - Harry Ried
ERA - al gore (are those the right letters?)
EPA - Babs Striesand
Secreatary of Surrender - Jimmy carter

Posted by: obama | April 11, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to know where this "Dems loathe Connolly" stuff is coming from. He's help the Democrats solidify control of one of the biggest, wealthiest, yet extremely diverse (well over 100 languages spoken in the homes of county students, IIRC) counties in the country.

The guy is a power player and, while the more liberal Byrne should be able to win the Davis seat just based on numbers of Dems and Reps, I think Connolly would be a better voice for the area in Congress.

Posted by: Spectator2 | April 11, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Leichtman, I replied to you at 11:33A, with links.

Everyone, BHO's contention that raising 40% of his funds from small donors is "like" public financing does not make a good sound bite because it is so hollow.

After the nomination fight is over, if BHO is the D nominee, I will be wanting to see if he chooses public financing and its limits for the GE.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | April 11, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I've been busy, busy I tell you. I visit the bank every morning to check on things and then there is church every sunday, except when they talk mean, in which case, I wasn't listening at the time.

Posted by: obama | April 11, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"I think it was surprising to me that a high-ranking.. member of Senator Clinton's team would be engaged in business activities and lobbying that was directly contrary to the position Senator Clinton had taken," Obama said today.

He's shocked, shocked! that someone in team Clinton would do the same thing that his advisors Goolsbee and Canada NAFTA-gate, or Samantha Power revealing on a British television program that Obama's public position on withdrawal from Iraq is not really his true position.

Obama's got no judgement when it comes to pickig his top advisors, and has no experience of his own.

As the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee subcommittee on Europe, he has not chaired a single substantive oversight hearing, even though the breakdown in our relations with Europe and NATO is harming our operations in Afghanistan. Nor did he take a single official trip to Europe as chairman.

This is the sum total of his actions in the most important responsibility Obama has had in the Senate.

But, I suppose this is all just another diversion according to Senator Obama.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 11, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

"You clowns can't even come up with anything good to say unless Howard Dean feeds it to you, and even then it's really bad."

Because you are Mr. Originality.

You are also in denial. Obama is going to spank the dust off that old man's bottom in November, and I expect to read your squealing promises to move to Canada or something. Tell Ben Affleck I said hi.

Posted by: bondjedi | April 11, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

You've made unifying the American public and putting our political divisions behind us one of the central themes of your campaign. Yet, National Journal ranked you as the single most liberal senator in 2007. So, which liberal beliefs of yours are you willing to give up for unity's sake?

* Along the same lines, John McCain has been behind numerous pieces of prominent bi-partisan legislation. So, if voters are looking for a candidate who can unify the country, wouldn't he be a better choice than you?

* If you didn't agree with Jeremiah Wright's racist and anti-American views, why did you take your own children to his church and expose them to what he had to say?

* If I may steal a question from Peter Weher, "With which elements, if any, of black liberation theology -- as represented by Reverend Wright and Trinity United Church of Christ -- do you strongly disagree? Do you think any of the core tenets of black liberation theology are racist?"

* Could black voters trust a white candidate to fairly represent their interests even if he attended an anti-black church and was close friends with a prominent white minister who was famously hostile to black Americans?

* John Conyers has said that he intends to "move legislation that could lead the federal government to apologize for slavery and pay reparations" if you become President. Would you support that legislation?

* Given our budget deficit, how can you justify giving away 845 billion dollars of our tax money to other nations over the next 13 years via your Global Poverty Act?

* In 2004, you said that you opposed the Defense of Marriage Act, which is designed to keep gay marriage from being imposed on the country by judicial fiat. Do you think the American people and their representatives should have a right to decide whether or not they want gay marriage in their states? If the answer is "yes," how can you possibly square that with your opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act?

* Given that you're pro-partial birth abortion, would you support overturning the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003?

* You claim to support the 2nd Amendment, but why should people believe you when, in 1996, you supported "banning the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns?"

* Many people believe your plan for Iraq would be viewed as a huge victory for Al-Qaeda in much of the world, would lead to the collapse of democracy in that country, would boost Iran's standing in the region, and would lead to genocide on a massive scale. Do you believe that those things won't happen or do you believe that those are prices we should be willing to pay to leave Iraq?

* You've often spoken about what the positive effects of pulling out of Iraq will be, but what do you think the negative consequences of your choice to lose the war in Iraq will be?

* Given that we're fighting a war on terror, why do you think it's appropriate for you to continue to personally associate with terrorists like William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn who bombed buildings on American soil, attempted to murder Army officers, and even today, publicly say that they have no regrets about their actions?

* Your campaign has suggested that you should receive half the delegates from the state of Michigan even though your name wasn't even on the ballot. Given that your supporters helped thwart a re-vote, isn't that extraordinarily hypocritical, arrogant, and undemocratic of you?

* You claimed that you "never saw or approved" an "Illinois voter group's detailed questionnaire" that had you taking some embarrassingly liberal stands "on gun control, the death penalty and abortion." You chalked up those answers on the questionnaire to an overzealous aide. Yet, it turned out that you were blatantly lying and were actually interviewed for the questionnaire and even sent in your own handwritten notes. So, if you're willing to tell such a bald-faced lie to cover up your liberal positions, why should the American people believe you now when you claim, on issue after issue, to have flip flopped to a more moderate position than you held just a few years back?

* You personally, along with your campaign, have continuously and consistently lied and claimed that John McCain wants to fight a war in Iraq for the next 100 years. However, what he actually said -- and has repeated many times is, "Maybe (we'll be in Iraq for) 100 (years)...We've been in Japan for 60 years, we've been in South Korea for 50 years, that'd be fine with me as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed." Why have you continued to knowingly lie about this issue and why should voters trust what you say if you're going to deliberately try to mislead them in this fashion?

* After engaging in a crooked land deal with Tony Rezko, a man who donated $10,000 from (an) alleged kickback scheme to your campaign, how can voters trust you to act in an ethical fashion in the White House?

* According to an April 23, 2007 article from the Chicago Sun-Times called "Barack Obama and his slumlord patron, "Obama, who has worked as a lawyer and a legislator to improve living conditions for the poor, took campaign donations from Rezko even as Rezko's low-income housing empire was collapsing, leaving many African-American families in buildings riddled with problems -- including squalid living conditions, vacant apartments, lack of heat, squatters and drug dealers." Do you have any regrets about teaming up with a slumlord to further your own political career on the backs of the very poor people you claimed to be helping?

Posted by: questions - run for it | April 11, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

bonjedi challenge: Go ahead, but do it 5/7.

Agreed. I have saved your post on my computer and will do exactly as you requested.

stonecreek posted:

"The wildcard in Congressional races is the top of the ticket. Dems stand far less chance of making large gains under Hillary, who would run a conventional Ohio-PA-Florida campaign and ignore red-purple states. The lack of a Democratic presidential campaign has cost states like Texas several Dem house seats. If Obama is the nominee, even if he doesn't anticipate winning states like TX, OK, LA, etc., he will run a serious campaign in those states, thus markedly improving Democratic downballot performance"

As someone who worked tirelessly in Tx for HC I can tell you you are wrong at least here in Tx. HC received over 62% of the Texas Hispanic voters and at least with my Hispanic clients who I have spoken with since and many of them are 25-35, they show very little interest in voting for Sen Obama in Nov which could decisively hurt our judges and downballot candidates here. But as mark in austin will tell you, that will depend on which district you look at. Inner City Houston districts, or El Paso, Valley, Rural, or Suburban Texas voters. Each candidate has their strength, but Obama is stronger in places like urban parts of Houston where Sheila Jackson Lee or Gene Grene have little opposition or rural parts of the state where Lampson in the 22nd or Dohtery in suburbs of Houston, Bastrop, Burleson and Washington where I believe HC actually outvoted Sen Obama.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 11, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

"I was for public finacing before I was against it"

Jimmy Hussein Kerry Obama Carter '08

Posted by: USMC_Mike | April 11, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Dave: I Posted a few days ago, I had seen some speculation about the Dems losing even Ca., should Obama be the nominee. With Pa., Fla., and Ohio the critical swing states for Dems, it seems now they would go Repub, but it is early and I'm kinda thinking there will be a Convention FIGHT.

Posted by: lylepink | April 11, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

"...Obama has an excuse for everything."

Jimmy Hussein Obama Carter '08

Posted by: USMC_Mike | April 11, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

You clowns can't even come up with anything good to say unless Howard Dean feeds it to you, and even then it's really bad.

But, what can one expect from the minions of a leader like Howard, the lying opportunistic weasel. He's becoming the Eliot Spitzer of the Dem party.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 11, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

John McCain is creaky.

John McCain is just a by-product of the past.

John McCain is just a typical white person.

Voting however Dubya and Dick tell me over 100 times is the same as taking a principled stand.

As the most out-of-touch US Senator, you can count on me to reach out to big oil and corporate lobbyists.

McCain has an alibi for everything. Next he'll come up with a new excuse for losing 3 Middle East countries in a row.

Posted by: ProudtobeGOP | April 11, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

The Federal election financing system is creaky.

Rev Wright is just a by-product of the past.

My white grandmother is just a typical white person.

Voting "present" over 100 times is the same as taking a principled stand.

As the most liberal US Senator, you can count on me to reach across the aisle, except I've never done it before because those Rs were just plain mean.

Obama has an excuse for everything. Next he'll come up with a new excuse for losing 3 states in a row.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 11, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

"May I save that post for April 23,2008 bonjedi and repost your prediction on that day?

"Since he is going to sweep NC, PA, and IN"

I ask that all Obama now join bonjedi in her prediction."

Go ahead, but do it 5/7. I know you are plugged into all sorts of secret information, but it is public knowledge that only PA will have voted by 4/23.

Of course, the goal posts will be moved once more, and the Clintons will shift from emphasizing PA pre-4/22 to marginalizing it post-4/22, due to the Obama victory.

Posted by: bondjedi | April 11, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"Obama does lines on the campaign bus"

"that was the fault of my staff"

Posted by: obama | April 11, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

wouldn't it just be so delicious if Obama goes off the public teat only to find that all that money was strictly anti-clinton dough and the well dries up promptly upon his garnering of the nomination.

"I was for public finacing before I was agin it"

Posted by: kingofzouk | April 11, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

For all the Clinton diehards out there:
"Say Clinton wins all the remaining contests by a 10-point margin. (That's impossible, barring revelations that Obama does lines on the campaign bus, but bear with us.) Obama would still be ahead in pledged delegates, 1671 to 1563. Add on their current superdelegate tallies--226 for Obama and 251 for Clinton, according to Politico--and they'd be at 1897 and 1814, respectively. Even then, Clinton would need to win 211 of the still-uncommitted 300 delegates, or about 70 percent."

Good luck with that.

Posted by: Blarg | April 11, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"McCain is taking steps to accept the public funds, returning money he has raised so far that was designated for the general election. "

That's because McCain is at this stage, a marginalized, third-party candidate. He couldn't do much worse financially by using public money. As far as political stunts go, it would rank with Mondale running with Ferraro - what the hell, right?

Posted by: bondjedi | April 11, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I am getting my money from the public. that is what I meant the whole time.

Of course it depends on the meaning of the word public.

If elected I will hire the clintons as co-propoganda ministers.

vote for me.

Posted by: Obama | April 11, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Gary Hart just told Linda Douglas that as an Obama supporter, if Sen Obama loses Pa across racial lines in his words "that would be a real problem for his campaign" on POTUS 2 minutes ago.

He agrees with you bonjedi that Sen. Obama will win Pa, so the bar has now been officially raised, Sen Obama should win the April 22, 2008 Pa primary.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 11, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Why do D's loath Connolly? I know why I do but then I am conservative. My perception is that he is quite popular with the electorate in general. And Connolly seems to possess that trait that is sometimes missing in Byrne - consistently winning elections.

Posted by: Dave! | April 11, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I thought that since I told you that I will not be supporting McCain and that Harold Ford deserves to have a cabinet position, become head of the dnc or be elecetd Gov of Tennessee you would stop your nonsense. Apparently not.

Actually I am absolutely thrilled with your prediction that Sen Obama will clearly win Pa and Indiana. We expect your candidate as well as you to live up to your prediction and that anything short of an absolute win by Sen Obama in Pa and Indiana you will agree that will now be a loss by him and that you are absolutely sure of that. Especially after outspending HC 4:1 your prediction, you should agree is now a given

May I save that post for April 23,2008 bonjedi and repost your prediction on that day?

"Since he is going to sweep NC, PA, and IN"

I ask that all Obama now join bonjedi in her prediction.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 11, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Uh-oh ...Obama is fixing to waffle again on accepting public financing in the general. The nation's system of public financing presidential elections is "creaky" Obama said today, offering another possible argument for bypassing , waffling, going back on his promise.

If he is the Dem nominee he would be the first presidential candidate to forego federal funds in three decades.

McCain is taking steps to accept the public funds, returning money he has raised so far that was designated for the general election.

McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said the campaign "will always welcome an open discussion with Barack Obama, but he has clearly committed to public financing in the general election should he win his party's nomination, and we expect him to keep his word."

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 11, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Couple you left off that might be competitive.

NC-08: Kissell's back for another crack at Robin Hayes, having lost by the narrowest of margins last time. DCCC is also getting involved this time. The 8's a funny district - as with much of NC, statewide Republicans don't win there, but Republicans in federal races rarely lose. As I said, could be worth watching (though on second thought it's probably in the 11-20 category).

Posted by: GRS | April 11, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Illinois: few quibbles.
- Friends from the Seals campaign think they missed the boat when the D-trip waited till the end to get involved; they feel that they're unlikely to have an opportunity like that again, even with an Obama wave.

- 11's a goner for the GOP, I agree.

- 14 may be interesting if GOP gets Oberweis off the ticket, which may or may not happen. Then again if they replace him with Lauzen, who knows.

- 13. I'm sorry, but get your head checked. This is a district Bush won with 55% in both '00 and '04, so while it may be narrower for McCain, he'll still carry. Meanwhile Biggert won with 58% last cycle, down from 65% in '04 - she topped Bush by 10 pts and lost only 7 points in what was a once in a generation year for Democrats. Furthermore, she's already in a pretty good place financially (500k on hand) while Scott Harper has only 36k on hand. This one's on nobody's radar, and Biggert will hold it as long as she likes (though I won't be surprised if she retires in 2010...)

Posted by: GRS | April 11, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

lylepink - "...but from information being floated there is speculation about the Repubs actually gaining a few seats. BTW, the needle biopsy yesterday went well, and I'll get the results next Thursday when I visit the Dr."

First off, hope all goes well Th. I have to say that I think the only reason there would be speculation about R's gaining seats would be if D's were trying to keep expectations low. I am as optimistic a conservative as there is and no matter what deck of cards I look at, that outcome is not in them.

Posted by: Dave! | April 11, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Uh-oh - trouble for Hill. They've turned Bubba loose, and he's shooting from the hip again. Here he is, unable to let sleeping dogs lie with regards to the Bosnia fairy tale:

"'You know, I got tickled the other day. A lot of the way this whole campaign has been covered has amused me. But there was a lot of fulminating because Hillary, one time late at night [it was mid-morning, Bill] when she was exhausted, misstated -- and immediately apologized for it [she didn't spologize, she "misspoke"] -- what happened to her in Bosnia in 1995 [whoops, wrong year]. Did y'all see all that? Oh, they blew it up.

Let me just tell you. The president of Bosnia and General Wesley Clark - who was there making peace where we'd lost three peacekeepers, who had to ride on a dangerous mountain road because it was too dangerous to go the regular, safe way -- both defended her, because they pointed out that when her plane landed in Bosnia, she had to go up to the bulletproof part of the plane, in the front. Everybody else had to put their flak jackets underneath the seat in case they got shot at. And everywhere they went, they were covered by Apache helicopters. So they just abbreviated the arrival ceremony [never mind that it was sniper fire that was the issue, and Wesley Clark never defended that fib].

"Now I say that because what really has mattered is that, even then, she was interested in our troops [as a photo-op]. And I think she was the first first lady since Eleanor Roosevelt to go into a combat zone [Whoops! Pat Nixon was, but why invite Clinton/Nixon comparisons?]. And you woulda thought, you know, that she'd robbed a bank the way they carried on about this [Why rob banks when there are legal ways to thieve and cheat?]. And some of them, when they're 60, they'll forget something when they're tired at 11 at night [how fresh would she be at 3 a.m.?], too."

Next The Slick One will be telling us he was never impeached.

Posted by: bondjedi | April 11, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

The wildcard in Congressional races is the top of the ticket. Dems stand far less chance of making large gains under Hillary, who would run a conventional Ohio-PA-Florida campaign and ignore red-purple states. The lack of a Democratic presidential campaign has cost states like Texas several Dem house seats. If Obama is the nominee, even if he doesn't anticipate winning states like TX, OK, LA, etc., he will run a serious campaign in those states, thus markedly improving Democratic downballot performance. Remember, as Chris points out, it is a matter of how much the local candidates can outperform the presidential candidate, so the better the pres performs the less gap the locals have to make up. Hmmm. . . could this have anything to do with Obama's success with the Superdelegates? And could it in turn have something to do with the perception that Obama's fundraising prowess will allow him to actually SUBSIDIZE local Demo races? Let me tell you, brothers and sisters, I been there and done that and if I were on the ballot for a House seat I'd be jumping through hoops to try to get Obama nominated.

Posted by: Stonecreek | April 11, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

"And would he view a loss to HC in Indiana as well as Pa, would in fact be a big deal to his campaign or will hear never mind if that should happen?"


Since he is going to sweep NC, PA, and IN, I don't think this is something you need to worry about.

Posted by: bondjedi | April 11, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

More Obama lies:

"I think Senator Clinton will get the nomination."

"The nomination is Hillary's to lose."

"I see Hillary standing tall at the August 2008 convention."

"Senator Clinton is a gallant opponent."

Posted by: gutter ball | April 11, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Pa = N. Carolina according to Sen Obama, hardly. And would he view a loss to HC in Indiana as well as Pa, would in fact be a big deal to his campaign or will hear never mind if that should happen?

"Sen. Barack Obama said today that Indiana could be the "tie breaker" in his race for the Democratic presidential nomination with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton."

"Clinton, he said, is favored in Pennsylvania, which holds its primary on April 22. He has the edge in North Carolina, which holds its primary on the same day as Indiana, May 6."

Indiana, he said, is "very important" in settling the nomination.

-Indianapolis Star-

Posted by: Leichtman | April 11, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Please fist me.

Posted by: gutter ball | April 11, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

gutter ball: You could easily take all day pointing out the "MisStatements" made by Obama and only touch the tip of the ice-berg. The Media has been shameful by not reporting so many of these that are important to most voters. Mean Jean in Ohio seems to be in a little trouble, although her Dist is strongly R.

Posted by: lylepink | April 11, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I noticed that CC singled out Pennsylvania's 10th District, Florida's 16th and Kansas's 2nd as the GOP's best pickups, but none of them were in the top ten. Where do folks think these fall out? I know Jim Ryun is running against Boyda again, and Chris Hacket is running against Carney in PA, but I haven't heard anything at all about who is even running against Tim Mahoney in FL-16. So far, I don't actually have any of these flipping - if Obama is at the top of the ticket, it will help Boyda somewhat in KS, and for Carney, he seems about as good a D fit for that district as it gets. Still no ideas about FL-16 though. Anyone know anything about that race?

Posted by: Erik | April 11, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

It's possible KS-2 could swing back to the GOP, but so far the Republicans are setting up for a primary battle almost guaranteed to alienate segments of their own.

Former Rep. Jim Ryun, who evidently squandered Olympic celebrity through ten years of ideological posturing and ineffectiveness, appears poised to go negative against Lynn Jenkins (the comparatively moderate State Treasurer) in the primary. The result could be a replay of recent internecine Kansas Republican struggles that pushed many of their moderates to the D Side.

The potential beneficiary is freshman incumbent Nancy Boyda, who took Ryun's seat at least in part due to late district visits by both Bush and Cheney on Ryun's behalf. Boyda's a capable campaigner who's done pretty much what she told voters she'd do - support the military rather than the war.

Posted by: FlownOver | April 11, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

He criticizes public financing but then does not check off the $3 box. What is that about? Shouldn't he at least have bothered to read and review his tax return before signing off on it?

"Obama noted that participation in the $3 checkoff had declined, reducing the amount of money in the fund. Obama himself, however, did not check off the $3 designation in his 2005 and 2006 tax returns.

Obama, who had checked off the box in previous returns, said it was an oversight.

"It may be a situation where my accountant didn't do it," he said.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 11, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Change: More and more contact with slum lord Tony Rezko admitted, but only after the press digs it up.

"When Obama launched his bid for the Illinois Senate in 1995, Rezko was his first substantial contributor. Obama said it was his "best guesstimate" that Rezko raised $10,000 to $15,000..." The number turned out to be more like $250,000 total.
- Chicago Tribune story

Posted by: gutter ball | April 11, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Change: Truth and integrity, to good old-fashioned political speak:

2004: "I can unequivocally say I will not be running for national office in four years, and my entire focus is making sure that I'm the best possible senator on behalf of the people of Illinois."

2006: Tim Russert: "So you will not run for president or vice president in 2008?"
Obama: "I will not."

- Politico story - TownHall story

Posted by: gutter ball | April 11, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Change: From uncompromising liberal to somehow bringing Republicans and Democrats together?

Obama was the 16th most-liberal Senator in 2005, the 10th in 2006, and #1 in 2007, according to National Journal. He was also ranked #1 by the NAACP, NARAL, ADA, and CDF. This makes him the most-partisan Democrat in the Senate.

When does reaching across the aisle begin? After we vote for him? Again?

- National Journal story

Posted by: gutter ball | April 11, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Change: From a non-commital bystander to an outspoken opponent of the Iraq war:

July '04, Barack Obama in terms of how he would have voted on the war: "I'm not privy to Senate intelligence reports. What would I have done? I don't know." (He wasn't in the US Senate yet, and didn't have a vote.)

- LA Times story

Also in '04, on the proposition of war:

"There's not much of a difference between my position on Iraq and George Bush's position at this stage." - Barack Obama

His excuse in 2008? " probably was the wrong time for me to be making a strong case against our party's nominees' decisions when it came to Iraq." (John Kerry supported the war) - LA Times story

Posted by: gutter ball | April 11, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Change: From Islam to Christianity

Barack Obama's campaign said he never practiced Islam, and has never been a Muslim.

However, the LA Times found that Obama was registered as a Muslim at both private and public schools he attended, and he also studied at his local Islamic center.

His campaign backtracked and confirmed those facts after the LA Times reported them.

- LA Times story

Posted by: gutter ball | April 11, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Want change - Obama changes his mind when he needs to:

Change: From Mentor and Pastor to Ex-Campaign Member

Obama is now a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.

His Pastor, "mentor" and "spiritual advisor", Jeremiah Wright's quotes from the pulpit:
"America is still the No. 1 killer in the world. . . . "
"USA started AIDS virus to kill black men..."
"G*d d*mn America."

- Wall Street Journal story

Posted by: gutter ball | April 11, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

You need to take a serious look at Rep. Jim Marshall, D-Ga., and his reelection bid ... He is a sensationally strong campaigner, but with McCain on the ticket and a retired Air Force officer as the GOP House candidated, I think his number might finally be up

Posted by: Keith Demko | April 11, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Where's the OH-15? That one should definitely be on the list. The MO-9 is a very real takeover possibility too.

Posted by: JoeyJoeJoe | April 11, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Great news, Lyle, that your procedure went well.
Jackie, AggieMike, and Leichtman, thanks for your TX comments. M. Edmund, do you have info to add?

Mike, I have seen Doherty signs and they are kindly described as "simple".
Probably does not hurt him, however. Think about yard signs and try to remember if any ever turned a vote on design. It's all about perception of the neighborhood, I think.

Leichtman, Please see:

Lakeway, south of Lake Travis, is not in the 10th. Lago Vista, north of Lake Travis, is. Katy is just outside the southernmost border for CD10. Depending on where you are in Lakeway, either Doggett [D] or Lamar Smith [R] will represent you.
Remind me in May, OK?

As for Gen. Powell, at this link,
please read the "Wilkerson" interview, the 7th on the page, although all are useful.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | April 11, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I'm surp[sed that you only rate IL 11 among your top ten.
I'd bet on Seals money in IL 10.
IL 13 is a longer shot, but with Obama opn the top of the ticket, it'll be quite competitive.

Posted by: Illinois | April 11, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Interesting to note so many other Rs are also open. The whole thing changes depending on who heads the Dem ticket. With the Economy and War in Iraq, one would think this should be a banner year for Dem's, but from information being floated there is speculation about the Repubs actually gaining a few seats. BTW, the needle biopsy yesterday went well, and I'll get the results next Thursday when I visit the Dr.

Posted by: lylepink | April 11, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Again Texas's misplaced pride has displaced reality or the republicans are able to manipulate vote counts with impunity. Either way all of the Republicans in office here, McCaul, Hutchinson and the rest are the worst of the political scum and really don't give a damn about anything but their own skin. Wake up Texas! You were once a great State but you put your pride where brain should have been and elected miscreants and De Lays, sending respect for Texas into the depths of Oblivion. Send your own children to war and leave mine out of your misplaced patriotism. Republicans who continue to support the currernt evil regime are cowards and treasonous fools.

Posted by: m. edmund howse | April 11, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

When the top 2 competitive races this cycle are Open R held seats, it does not bode well for the Grand Ole' Party. We should be able to minimize damages with pick ups in Kansas, Florida, Texas & perhaps California. I think we should keep NM 1 & 2, as Darren White doesn't have a serious primary, has the establishment & grassroots support & has connected pretty well with voters. There is a fairly popular independent running in NM 3, which could put that one into play for the Ind. & Rep. It could all go either way.

All in all, no way we will be able to even break even & democrats will almost certainly control the House with a larger majority than they have now. The Senate outlook is about as bad for the GOP. Va. is pretty well gone. With McCain as the nominee, NM & NH may be savable. After the NM primary is over, then Udall will be the focus and Pete Domenici can step up support for the GOP nominee and make this a close one. We could also win La.

Posted by: reason | April 11, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

It is interesting that 8 of 10 on the Line are GOP held. Other GOP seats at risk - like the open MN-3 that I mention above - don't seem any less likely to switch now than they were when they made an appearance on the Line - which implies to me that we're still looking at a steep hill for the GOP to climb in this election.

Posted by: bsimon | April 11, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Here in MN, the DFL is nearing endorsement of a candidate for MN-3 (Ramstad's seat). The GOP has a candidate; once both candidates are known, the handicapping will be easier.

Posted by: bsimon | April 11, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

"Fellow Texans, is this whshful or accurate?"


I have friends in Brenham/Burton/Bellville, same District.

They all seem to like McCaul, although for no reason other than he's the R incumbent.

I hear the Larry Joe signs are kind of high-school-student-body-president looking, but everywhere.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | April 11, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse


I think we're seeing more contested primaries because of the mass exodus of GOP Reps. What is it now, up to 28 or so?

Even in districts that are GOP strongholds (like my district, PA-5), there's lots of competition for the D and R nod. You should see the array of GOP candidates we've got. Depending on who the R's nominate, I think we might actually have a competitive race in the fall -- none of the R candidates are inspiring, even to some R's. The ones that could have locked up the seat for the GOP chose not to run. Plus, the D's should be motivated to vote for whoever the Presidential candidate is. If the D's are smart, they'll nominate the Iraq war veteran Cahir, who seems more conservative than the other two and is more likely to get cross-over votes.

Posted by: mnteng | April 11, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

mark; how much of Doherty's Dist is from the super conservative Houston I 10 Katy burbs. Also we are moving to Lakeway 620; will he be my congressman? that part of Austin is more conservative. Will be in Austin May 8 maybe we could discuss.

Consumer Confidence at 63 lowest in qtr century and GE down 10 per cent today, not a pretty sight.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 11, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Lampson is well funded and his voting recod has been moderate to conservative which matches his constituents which Dems from very very conservative Districts have to do. Lampson once represented Galveston and is highly regarded there which more than cancels out the S.W. Houston very conservative area called Sugarland where Lampson garnered over 40 per cent. Olson has very little name I'd outside of Sugarland which makes up maybe 20 percent of the 22nd. Lampson has really connected with his District and unless the RNC spends 2-3 million to slime Lampson he is otherwise poised for re election. Lampson, which I don't agree with, remains an uncommitted superdelegate.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 11, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Greg, you might be right. Until we get some candidates in these races, it's tough to gauge how competitive these races will be. But I don't think that at the moment any of these races are mortal locks the way that the VA and NM senate races look.

Anyone else think we're seeing more contested primaries this cycle than in previous elections?

Posted by: novamatt | April 11, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Novamatt, I'd say spots #1-5 are obvious takeovers, certainly #1-3 are.

Also CC, I think the special election in LA could soon produce another turnover. Heck, maybe even the MS seat that Wicker left vacant too.

I wouldn't lose any sleep if some of the freshman Dems that are AWFUL in voting record (Lampson, Carney, Mahoney) plus the two morons in GA that almost lost in 06 (Barrow and Marshall) lose on election night. They vote against us most of the time, while there are plenty of Dems in conservative districts (Boyda, Shea-Porter) that are much more moderate/progressive.

Posted by: Greg | April 11, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

CC, I think the Alabama 5th race is a stretch. The fact that you might have an Obama candidacy to drive out the black vote will definitly help any democrat in Alabama. Taken with the fact that the Democrat is up in polls and will have tons more money then I would expect that to be an easy keep for the Dems.

In the end I think the Democrats will increase their majority by 20-30 seats. Taken with a White house pick up and 6-8 seats in the senate and it is a really really bad time to be a Republican. It seems to me that the GOP is going into bunker mode and hoping for a comeback in 2010 as the opposition party.

Posted by: Andy R | April 11, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

It's interesting that there are no obvious turnovers in the House like there are in the Senate. But there are maybe 20-30 seats that could easily turn over, and another 30-40 behind them that could flip in the right circumstances. And a whole bunch of those are D to R flips, with maybe 10 or so D's total who are among the 50 most vulnerable.

One note about VA-11. The same energy that lifted Kaine and then Webb into office is bubbling up around Leslie Byrne. Connolly will have a lot of money, but that won't buy him much love among the D activists who loathe him and who are the ones who actually turn out to vote in primaries.

Posted by: novamatt | April 11, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Mark, From your lips to god's ears! I live in the eastern portion of the Tx 10, and McCaul sure does not represent me,heehee. As an aside, I'm certainly gonna miss Shelly and her foibles in the neighboring Tx22. Our end of the 10th has a large, and active bunch of Katrina evacuees, as I learned at the caucus. This may represent a secret weapon for Doherty...Jackie

Posted by: Anonymous | April 11, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Take a look at my TX CD 10. McCaul [R] is not a strong incumbent and Doherty [D] has a folksy touch we have not seen in a while.

By voting population, about 25% of the district is in central Austin. This area is solidly Democratic and is serviced by an effective Coordinated Campaign. Doherty will carry this area.

The north Austin suburbs (essentially TxHD50, represented by Democrat Mark Strama, my State Rep) are about 20% of the district. This is a swing area, but Strama has done an amazing job of making it more Democratic. Doherty's good-ol'-boy persona does not play well in the suburbs. Some advantage to McCaul in a normal year, but McCaul is a lightweight and has done nothing. Doherty will do OK.

The rural middle of the district (parts of Bastrop and Burleson counties and all of Lee, Washington, Austin and Waller counties) is also about 20% of the vote. Doherty's personality and Brenham connections may help him here, although it is strong R country.

Harris County is about 35% of the district, and is where I think this election will be won or lost. This area is exurban sprawl, making retail politics very difficult. I don't think that either candidate's background is very helpful. I'd give a small advantage to Doherty because of his Houston roots.

Fellow Texans, is this whshful or accurate?

Posted by: MarkInAustin | April 11, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

It's interesting to note that only one of the Line-makers is not an open seat. Form what I read, are there not anymore endangered incumbents?

Posted by: Brendan | April 11, 2008 6:18 AM | Report abuse

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