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The Line: Vulnerable '08 House Seats

Like it or not, less than a month after the 110th Congress convened, both sides are already culling their target lists and recruiting candidates they hope can unseat the weakest of the opposition party.

Some of the targets are obvious -- Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Texas) we're looking at you -- while others aren't on the radar screen just yet, but will emerge as the cycle unfolds.

Therefore this list of the ten most competitive House race should be taken cum grano salis. It is our best guess at the top ten contests both parties believe will come down to the wire in 2008. But 21 months is a lifetime in politics and circumstances can and will change.

At the moment, the races are ranked alphabetically rather than by their level of vulnerability. Until we see some candidates emerging, it's impossible to make distinctions.

To the Line!

* Florida's 13th District (Currently R): As we've said before, the longer 2006 nominee Christine Jennings (D) carries on the fight over the balloting in her race against Rep. Vern Buchanan (R) the more she endangers her party's chances of taking the seat in November 2008. Whether or not Jennings is within her legal rights isn't the question; her unwillingness to step aside coupled with the unlikelihood of Congressional Democrats overturning the election results means that her fight is likely to do more harm than good. Buchanan's 369 vote margin means this race should be a major target for Democrats.

* Florida's 16th District (D): To the surprise of no one, state Rep. Joe Negron (R,) who was the party's last minute replacement candidate for scandal-tarred former Rep. Mark Foley, (R) has said he plans to run again for the seat in 2008, challenging Rep. Tim Mahoney (D). But Negron may not have the primary field to himself as state Rep. Gayle Harrell is also mentioned as a candidate. Mahoney has much to prove as he only narrowly defeated Foley/Negron last November despite the nightmare scenario that played out for GOPers in the seat.

* Indiana's 8th District (D): Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D) ran one of most strategically sound campaigns of 2006. He emphasized his socially conservative credentials early and often -- a must in this southern Indiana seat. But, national Republicans are already seeking to redefine Ellsworth as voting more liberal in Washington than his rhetoric in Indiana suggests. The history of the "Bloody 8th" suggests that this seat will almost always be a target for whichever party doesn't control it. Ellsworth is a solid fit for the district but should expect a serious challenge come 2008.

* Kansas' 2nd District (D): The news that former Rep. Jim Ryun (R) is preparing a rematch against Rep. Nancy Boyda (D) means that this seat will likely be hotly contested in two years' time. The question for Republicans is whether Ryun has the primary field to himself or whether he draws a contested race from the moderate wing of the party -- perhaps in the form of state Treasurer Lynn Jenkins. If Republicans decide to make the 2nd district the latest incarnation of the long-running feud between moderates and conservatives in the party, the result could well be a second term for Boyda.

* New Hampshire's 1st District (D): After losing one of the most surprising races in the country in 2006, former Rep. Jeb Bradley (R) has signaled that he will pursue a rematch against Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) in 2008. Shea-Porter galvanized a New Hampshire electorate angry about the war in Iraq to overcome the power of Bradley's incumbency and hefty financial advantage. But, unlike the neighboring 2nd district that has long been a Democratic target, the 1st tilts slightly toward Republicans in a neutral year (President Bush won it 51 percent to 48 percent in 2004). It's hard to imagine the political environment will be as bad for Granite State Republicans in 2008 as it was in 2006. And Shea-Porter must show she is more than just a one-hit wonder.

* New York's 20th District (D): Rep. Kirstin Gillibrand draws rave reviews from strategists in her party as a potential rising star, but if she hopes to make good on that promise she needs to find a way to win re-election in a district that strongly favors Republicans in terms of party registration. No serious Republican candidates have emerged but it's hard to imagine the party would nominate someone as deeply flawed as its 2006 candidate -- former Rep. John Sweeney (R).

* North Carolina's 8th District (R): It remains to be seen what effect Rep. Robin Hayes' (R) 329-vote victory over unheralded Democrat Larry Kissell has on the incumbent. A recent poll showed Hayes atop the GOP field in the 2008 governor's race but it's not clear whether he has any real interest in making a statewide run. Kissell seems committed to a rematch regardless of Hayes' decision, but Democrats would clearly prefer an open seat contest in this district, which gave Bush a nine-point victory in 2004.

* Ohio's 18th District (D): From the start of the 2006 race, Rep. Zack Space was underestimated. National Democrats offered early support to his Democratic primary rival and many thought his general election race against state Sen. Joy Padgett (R) would be far closer than the end result. Because of his stronger-than-expected showing last cycle, we're hesitant to dismiss Space's chances of holding this seat in 2008. That said, he must prove that he can win a race that is not a referendum on corruption within the GOP ranks both locally and nationally.

* Pennsylvania's 10th District (D): Like several other seats on this Line, Republicans lost this district in 2006 thanks to the gross flaws of a sitting incumbent. The underlying GOP nature of this Scranton-area seat where President Bush won 60 percent in 2004 should make this a prime pickup opportunity in 2008. Democrats will make sure Rep. Chris Carney (D) has all the financial and organizational support they can muster but he still faces a tough road assuming Republicans don't nominate another Sherwood-type candidate.

* Texas' 22nd District (D): Rep. Nick Lampson deserves considerable credit for the well financed and steady campaign he ran in 2006. And, his final margin of victory was larger than many observers (The Fix included) thought it would be. But, 2008 is an entirely new cycle and the reality is that Lampson sits in one of the most reliably Republican districts in Texas. In a presidential year, the Houston-area seat should perform closer to its GOP roots, which means that Lampson needs a bit of luck to hold it. A crowded, nasty and expensive primary and perhaps a flawed nominee would up Lampson's chances. But Republicans are unlikely to repeat the mistakes of last November.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 2, 2007; 12:24 PM ET
Categories:  The Line  
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Comments

Your analysis of Robin Hayes' race is backwards. You said yourself that the 8th is a GOP district, which begs the question, "Why is Hayes so vulnerable?" The reason is Hayes. Remove him, and you've got an easy open-seat win for the GOP. The Dems need Hayes to run against to have a chance here.

Posted by: Adam Swope | February 6, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Chris -- you're usually better than this on picks. Ellsworth is a lock for re-election. No viable Republican to run -- Gibson County Prosecutor Rob Kreig, what a JOKE!

Posted by: Midwest Demo | February 5, 2007 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Steve,

I could possibly see the Senate go back but only if Republicans hold the White House by a fairly comfortable margin. The House has never switched without the Senate switching.

Posted by: Ray | February 5, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Ray:

I agree with some of your assumptions, and see the seeds in 2006 of a realignment in the NE, where Repubs become as endangered as Dems in the South.

I can see a vague scenario where the Dems hold the House but lose the Senate and the White House, but that only happens with a very very weak top of the ticket, in other words, everything has to fall right for the Repubs, including MN and SD, two states that I know very well.

Frankly that scenario only works with Hilary or Obama at the top of the ticket.

Posted by: Steve | February 5, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

to the poster who posited a win by the mittster - keep it down, already. some of us just ate our breakfast.

seriously, he is a self-interested haircut whose policy positions are for sale to the bidder with the most to offer. the salt lake olympics? eh, get over it. his priorities are wrong, his background is wrong, and with a substantial sincerity deficits, mitt romney himself is wrong - for massachusetts and for the presidency.

Posted by: eew, mitt romney | February 5, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Besquared, I might agree with you on CA, FL(assuming you mean Mahoney's), KS, PA(Carney), TX(Lampson), and WI, but the Dems in AZ, IN, NH, OH, and NY are either a solid fit for their district(Ellsworth in IN, Space in OH) or were elected in districts that are have trended more Democratic than they used to be(Mitchell in AZ, Shea-Porter in NH, and Gillibrand in NY).

AZ,CA,FL,IN,KS,NH,NY,OH,PA,TX and WI

Posted by: Ted | February 5, 2007 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Fortunately, not everyone at the WaPo is smoking what CC is smoking. I was starting to wonder if there were any sober reporters still working there.

Iraq Vote Could Resonate In 2008
Resolution Against Adding Troops Set for a Showdown
By Shailagh Murray and Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, February 5, 2007; Page A01
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/04/AR2007020401384.html

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | February 4, 2007 11:52 PM | Report abuse

FL-16 is not that Republican. Bush only won 53% there, two points more than his national average in 2004.

Bradley is not coming back in NH-01. He was way too conservative for this Dem trending district.

NY-20 is my district, and Ill tell you right now that Gillibrand will be tough to knock off. The district is much less Republican than the one that Sweeney was elected first elected in in 1998. Bush ony got 53% here and many of these Republicans registered in this district are liberal Rockefeller Republicans and are voting more and more Democratic.

In IN-08, Ellsworth beat an incumbent in a landslide and has a very Conservative voting record so far. He even voted against Stem Cell Research. He won't be easy to beat.

OH-18, Bob Ney was the first Republican elected to this district ever. Zach Space won here by a large margin and is the type of populist Democrat that used to win this district.

In KS-02, I agree that Boyda should be on the list, but this district is socially moderate. Moderate Democrats won this district easily before Ryun did in 1996 and moderate Democrat like Boyda has at least a decent chance of survival.

Both PA-10 and TX-22 belong high on the list.

I would also note that the Republicans will not take back the House unless they take back the Senate and hold the Presidency as well.

I see a couple of possible scenarios here in 2008 in order of likelyness.

1. Democrats hold both Houses of Congress and win the White House.

2. Democrats hold both Houses of Congress but Republicans hold the White House.

3. Republicans win it all in 2008.

I don't see any other scenario happening.

Posted by: Ray | February 4, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

A potential in ID-01: IF Sali makes as big an ass out of himself in Congress as he did in the state legislature, IF the Dems pump '08 money into the district unlike '06, IF Grant runs again for the Dems, and IF '08 is another big Dem year, than Idaho's first district could potentially be competetive. It will take 3-4 of these ifs to be true, though.

Posted by: Nathan E. | February 4, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Dusty had a lot of potential. But he didn't know how to run a statewide campaign and unfortunately didn't hire anyone who did. Someone even approved highway signs done in such a way they could not be read from the highway.
I don't know if you keep up from where you are, but this past election, he was elected District Judge in Missoula, surving a surprisingly close race against his former Chief Deputy, Karen Townsend.
McGrath on the other hand has a lot of experience with statewide elections. He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 1988, before his two successful runs for AG.

Posted by: Alan in Missoula | February 4, 2007 8:15 PM | Report abuse

"With Bush leaving and Democrats in control of congress, people annoyed at things like Iraq won't have as clear a target to punch."

Hard to understand why Republicans are so eager to paint Bush as the Worst President in History with remarks like the above. So suddenly the Executive Branch has no responsibility for anything? Why would that be? Oh, I see the only possible explanation: Bush is an idiot. And the electorate that is supposed to overlook Bush's 270 days in office prior to 9/11 will turn around and blame any intelligence failure on his successor.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 4, 2007 8:08 PM | Report abuse

zack:

Landreiu is the only one of the group that you listed that is in any real danger, unless the Dems do a self-immolation and nominate someone dumb. Assuming that Johnson recovers, he's safe, Repubs aren't winning statewide races in AR right now, and Biden is safe as safe can be unless there is a very strong Republican wind.

In the meantime, Norm Coleman is going to be DOA in MN, John Sununu is in trouble by the #s in NH, and Gordon Smith is running for cover in OR. In addition, Larry Craig could be vulnerable for the first time since being elected, to the right Dem in ID, Sue Collins is acting like she believes she's in trouble in ME, Mel Martinez is up in FL, and he won't have the Repub tide of 02... plus GA could be interesting if Cleland runs again (which I acknowledge probably won't happen).

The Repubs are playing defense in 08 in the Senate, and I think maybe 6-8 Dem pickups in the House depending on retirements and Dem recruitment, which is going to be heavily dependent on Dem top of the ticket.

Posted by: steve | February 4, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

The NYT's lead says spending on federal contracts has nearly doubled since 2000. At the same time, the number of contracts open to competition has greatly decreased. The situation has become almost absurd: The government recently hired contractors to process cases of fraud by federal contractors.
The potential conflicts and problems with these arrangements seem never-ending. The companies, of course, spend huge amounts on lobbying, and they are not forced to comply with the Freedom of Information Act.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 4, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Source: Bush wants $145 billion in 2008 for wars

Bush will ask for $100 billion more for military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan this year and seek $145 billion for 2008, a senior Pentagon official said Friday. Those requests come on top of about $344 billion spent for Iraq since the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

...
White House budget director Rob Portman said Friday that Bush's plan will result in a budget surplus in 2012. That's assuming strong growth in tax revenues, continued cuts on domestic agency spending and other cuts to farm programs, Medicare and the Medicaid health care program for the poor and disabled.

Bush proposes to curb payments to health care providers, such as hospitals.

There's your future folks -- we borrow and spend hundreds of billions on war profiteers, and we leave the poor and disabled to starve.

god bless america--a beacon of hope for the corrupt foreign contractors of the world, getting rich and fat off our pain and suffering.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 4, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

'My prediction: GOP wins the White House and picks up approximately 12 seats in the House. '

Where do you buy your crack, zack?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 4, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Great analysis, Chris. Seems like most of your readers are of the "liberal washingtonian" stripe. Or should I say "washingtonienne"?

My prediction: GOP wins the White House and picks up approximately 12 seats in the House. Too early to judge which way the Senate will go but Landrieu, Pryor, and Johnson should start packing their bags now.

If Mike Castle runs for Biden's seat, the GOP could pick up 3-4 seats in the Senate.

Posted by: Zack | February 4, 2007 8:05 AM | Report abuse

I live in Sarasota and Jennings sore loser stance has severly
dented her popularity. If the election were held today she would lose. Also she may not even be the nominee in '08.

Posted by: Michael | February 3, 2007 9:46 PM | Report abuse

People are severely underestimating the ability of some of the Dem freshman to hold their seats. For example, Jason Altmire won a supposedly "safe" GOP seat in Pennsylvania this year. But what no one necessarily talks about is that prior to Hart winning the seat, it was a DEMOCRATIC stronghold for decades. Conservative Democrats, but traditionally democrats nonetheless. Bob Ney's seat is similar, as before Ney won in 1994 the seat had been held by a Democrat for decades.

Now, obviously that isn't to say that ALL these districts will stay Democratic. But they don't need to. The current Democratic majority is larger than any the GOP held after 1996. A lot can change between today and 2008, but if I could choose to be the Democratic party or the GOP today the c hoice wouldn't be hard.

Posted by: Colin | February 3, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

If the Republicans nonimate a candidate that is seen to far right, then the House will stay Democratic. People are TIRED of war.
My picks for a Democratic Cabinet are the following:
VP: Evan Bayh (If Hillary wins the nonimation)
State: Joe Biden (best Democrat on foreign policy)
Defense: Wes Clark (former general familiar with secterian strife in Yugoslavia)
Energy: Al Gore (I would love to see Gore but doubtful he would accept the job)
Treasury: Robert Reich (FOB and FOH with prior experience in Clinton I).
Interior: Bill Richardson (need a Westerner in this post)
Homeland Security: Admiral Thad Allen ( I do not know his political leanings but he was the only one who seem to what to do in New Orleans after Katrina)
VA: Max Cleland( good choice on him in earlier postings)
Agriculture: Blance Lincoln ( good vp pick if Hillary does not win and knowledgable on farming policy)
Housing and Urban Devleopment: Rahm Emmanual(reward for 06' elections and former Clinton I official)
Attorney General: Rudy Guliani (former DA who is tough on crime, liberal on social issues, and need a Republican in the Cabinet for bipartianship)
My fun pick: Secretary of Health and Human Servics is Dr. Howard Dean.


Posted by: afam212 | February 3, 2007 9:14 PM | Report abuse

If the Republicans nonimate a candidate that is seen to far right, then the House will stay Democratic. People are TIRED of war.
My picks for a Democratic Cabinet are the following:
VP: Evan Bayh (If Hillary wins the nonimation)
State: Joe Biden
Defense: Wes Clark
Energy: Al Gore (I would love to see Gore but doubtful he would accept the job)
Treasury: Robert Reich (FOB and FOH with prior experience in Clinton I).
Interior: Bill Richardson (need a Westerner in this post)
Homeland Security: Thad Allen ( I do not know his political leanings but he was the only one who seem to what to do in New Orleans after Katrina)
VA: Max Cleland( good choice on him in earlier postings)
Agriculture: Blance Lincoln ( good vp pick if Hillary does not win and knowledgable on farming policy)
Housing and Urban Devleopment: Rahm Emmanual
My fun pick: Secretary of Health and Human Servics is Dr. Howard Dean.


Posted by: afam212 | February 3, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Mark:

I'd say Sali is probably safe, but Barb Cubin is holding on for dear life, the only way the GOP holds that seat is if they put the thumbscrews on and get her to retire, in which case the structural advantage would keep this seat safe.

Adam:

If Romney is the GOP nominee, the Repubs will not only not retake the house, they'll lose 7-10 seats and fail to win the White House. He is not ready for the type of scrutiny a national campaign would require, or his religious beliefs, of his past policy positions, any of it. The GOP got one "uniter" by, and its been adisaster.

Posted by: Steve | February 3, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

""After losing one of the most surprising races in the country in 2006..."

It wasn't a surprise to many of us"


And herein lies the problem. Your a little too eager to believe your own press. Chris is no right winger. He works for the Washington Post for heaven's sake. Very few core Republicans even READ the Washington Post let alone work for it.

A little perspective is necessary here.

In 2008 the Democrats will have been in charge of both Houses for nearly 2 years, so for starters some of the "enthusiasm," for the Democratic Party among independents is going to have deflated by the election day. They can't even seem to make headway on Iraq they're so cowed by Bush. Even after the election. Don't forget that the Democrats spent most 2006 in the same condition. This, I believe is why Chris has put 9 Democratic seats in the top ten.

In 2008 Republicans will have two targets to shoot at: the Congress and the Democratic nominee. That wasn't true in 2006. So, at least on the House side 2006 is something of a high-water mark for the Dems. Will they win additional seats in 2008? Without a doubt. But the GOP will win at least as many because of staunchly Republican districts that were lost last year due mostly to scandal. At least ten seats. The seats fomerly held by Delay, Ney, Foley, Sherwood, Weldon, Pombo, Green (WI), Ryun, and Sweeney (NY) and at least ONE of the New Hampshire districts will likely ALL go back to the GOP because those incumbents are gone.

Now there were at least 17 seats the Dems missed winning by 2 percent or less of the vote. It's very likely they will win a few of those. Possibly more. But then you have to take into many districts in addition to the two in Georgia where Republicans would have shown strength in any other year. Seats presently held by Mellisa Bean (IL), Chet Edwards (TX), Charles Melancon (LA), and Jim Matheson (UT) are all endangered in 2008.

Now, there is no doubt in my mind that 2008 is going to be a fairly decent Democratic year given President Bush's challenged character. The Dems are certain to win the Presidency. Either because the GOP will nominate McCain or shoot itself in the foot trying to nominate someone else. In any case, it's very likely a 3rd party immigration-issue candidate will siphon votes from the GOP nominee.

The side-effect of this however will be a more energized congressional vote on the Right for Republican candidates putting the House into play for the GOP. But the odds are less than 50-50 that will happen. The Democrat's Senate margin will grow. It's only a matter of how much (1-4 seats).

Posted by: cavalier829 | February 3, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I think some of the comments posted here are really off. Chris's analysis is actually quite sound. Whenever you have an earth-moving election that goes entirely one way, there are some who get elected who would have never been elected in any other year. For example, in 1994, a Republican won Rostenkowski's IL highly Democratic Congressional seat (now held by Rahm Emmanuel) and was tossed out two years later by more than 60-40. And indeed the GOP lost 9 seats in 1996.

Could things get worse for the GOP? Perhaps. But even if it stays the same, they are NOT going to lose a lot more seats because to do that, the Dems would have to overcome harder and harder GOP leanings, and this time, those that had close races and survived will be better prepared (e.g., Cubin in WY).

Some have suggested that Sali will have trouble in ID. It is one thing to lose an open seat, but now he is the incumbent in the 2nd-most GOP state in the US. The only way he loses is if he does something totally immoral.

I don't view Chris's analysis as biased at all -- just like I would have been shocked if it weren't the reverse in 1996.

Posted by: Mark Abramson | February 3, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Wow, some "rigorous" analysis by the pro-GOP crowd. Just for the record, there were 20+ seats where Republicans very narrowly won in 2006 -- thanks in large part to there outspending their opponents by substantial amounts. The Democratic leadership will be able to target those races ore this year than they could in 06, which will not be a good thing for the GOP.

Will some of the Democratic Freshman lose in 08? Sure. But the optimism on this board, two years out, with no prospect of the current head of the Republican party doing anything to help the party's image during that time, seems quite foolhardy to me.

Also, Republicans might have to spend a little time on the Senate side in 08 too. You know, since 2/3 of the seats up are GOP controlled?

Posted by: Colin | February 3, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

How could you leave off Dr. "I kicked your ass" Millionare - or shall we say, "Dr. Liar" Steve Kagen, WI-08? He was lucky to squeak by with 51% becuase of his personal wealth and a lackluster opponent who had his own baggage. This is a reliably GOP seat - with the former Rep. (Green) garnering 70% plus in 3 re-elects. Not to mention, Kagen is only the 3rd Dem to hold the seat in decades, and one was a priest in the heavily Catholic pro-life district.

Posted by: ConcernedGOP | February 3, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, 7 of the seats which shift in 2010 will all but automatically change from D to R, and some of the others are likely to do so as well.

Yes, as Hispanics became more important in Texas and Arizona politics, could see voting patterns change in favor of Dems, but that's years away.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 3, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

BTW: House control in 2008 might allow Dems to manage the 2010 census rules, and so prevent shifts which make the Dems a permanent Congressional minority:

http://www.polidata.org/census/st006nca.pdf

Posted by: Anonymous | February 3, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

With the threat of a Dem clean sweep in 2008, Republican turn-out will be substantially higher than in 2006.

If an up-beat fence-mender like Romney is able to unite the Republican coalition, they will retake House in 2008.

Posted by: adam | February 3, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Republicans will net about 10 seats in '08 unless they tank in the '08 presidential election. If it's close, the GOP will win back seats in AZ,CA,FL,IN,KS,NH,NY,OH,PA,TX and WI.And they'll probably pick up one of the GA seats and take out Melissa Bean. They'll lose a couple somewhere for a net of 10.

Posted by: Besquared | February 3, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Alan:

Interesting comment on Rehberg, I haven't met him, but I had spent some time with Conrad Burns, and personally found him to be a very likeable guy, not likeable enough to vote for, but...

On the LDS factor, yes, Ut has a Dem congressman, and yes Dick Stallings represented the 2nd district for awhile and ran a strong race against Kempthorne in 1992, but... there aren't a ton of Dem LDS members, nor a ton of independent ones.

I'd see unseating Larry Craig in 08 with his rumor problems as more likely than Sali, unless somebody like the native guy who ran for Gov in 94, his name escapes me, was to get in the race.

As usual, your posts are vigourous, and I'd have to agree that McGrath is the strongest candidate the Dems could put up, but then I thought that Dusty DesChamps would put up a good race a decade ago, and he got dusted up.

Posted by: Steve | February 3, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Steve:

I neglected your question on Idaho's 1st congressional district. I based my rating of Sali as vulnerable by the fact that an incumbant who can't pull 50 percent in a reelection campaign has to be counted as vulnerable.

Rather than seeing Idaho as Republican though, I believe the key, much as in Montana, is a large middle ground of independent voters who lean conservative.

I do know LDS friends, by the way, who are Democrats, so they shouldn't be stereotyped. An LDS Deocrat once held a seat in Congress from Idaho.

The independent votes may have been easier for Republicans to get, especially after the 1994 congressional "revolution," but they aren't impossible for a Democrat.

Sali isn't vulnerable to "any Democrat." But he is vulnerable to one that can organize and run an effective camapign.

Posted by: Alan in Missoula | February 3, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Here's a same-day update to what I said about John Morrison being a potential candidate. I just talked with someone in the Missoula Democratic Central Committee who said that Morrison told Demiocrats at a meeting in Missoula that he would not run in another election.

Apparently he is embittered by the negative press during his primary campaign, which centered on ethics questions raised by his having an old affair with someone who was the wife of a person Morrison's office later investigated.

So take that for what it's worth. I guess we will know when filing deadline comes around in spring 2008.
Without Morrison in the race, the Democratic primary seems a walk for McGrath. But I'll add the caveat that few people saw Tester beating Morrison this last time around. Another Democrat, with a similar, well-organized grass-roots campaign, could rise to the surface in the primary, just as Tester did. I just don't have an inkling who that may be at the moment. I'll also add the warning that McGrath has not said anything about running for Congress, at least not publicly.

Basicly I'm doing a little thumb-sucking here. But it's so much fun.

Posted by: Alan in Missoula | February 3, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

William:

Tester actually raises several different organic grains and legumes on his farm. His family had a meat-cutting business (they butchered meat, not necessarily raised it). Tester lost his middle three fingers in a meat grinder while doing that work.

Posted by: Alan in Missoula | February 3, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Steve:
As I said, Rehberg is probably safe. But he has never had more than token opposition since beating Nancy Keenan in his initial election to the seat.

If one of the three term-limited Democrats decides to challenge Rehberg, they would present him with a much bigger challenge than he's faced in previous re-elections. This past election, state Senator Monica Lindeen was so poorly funded and poorly organized that she went into election day still carying a big name-recognition factor. Of course, in the state press, the US House race took a back seat to Tester's successful challenge of Conrad Burns.

Rehberg ran very little TV, just a few feel-good ads. (Which means he's still got a pot of money left over from the 2006 camapign).

Of the three, McGrath makes the stronger candidate. Morrison wants to go to Washington, as evidenced by his run for the US Senate in the 2006 primary. He was the front runner in that race, but a grass roots campaign by our new US Senator, Jon Tester, overcame and swamped him.

One thing that didn't help Morrison in the primary was the revelation, not only of a extra-marital affair, (that, by itself wasn't a big deal, the affair was some time ago) but that the woman's husband had been under investigation (ater the affair) by Morrison's own State Auditor office (In Montana, the State Auditor regulates insurance and securities) So Morrison has negatives that can be exploited.

McGrath may be another Western Montana lawyer which is usually not a good thing in a state-wide election, but he overcomes that negative by a career as a tough-on-crime prosecutor and Attorney General.

The Superintendant of Schools, Linda McCullogh, unfortunately comes from an office that has not proved to be a springboard to higher office in past elections. She does not have near the profile McGrath and Morrison do.

McGrath and certainly Morrison (he outspent Tester 2-1) are proven fund raisers.

So to answer your question: Is Rehberg vulnerable? I would say no. He has no major negatives. He's a likeable guy. I've met him and personally like him. (One of the benefits of living in Montana is that anyone who wants can have face time with our politicians) He has ag ties, which are very important in a Montana state-wide election. I don't see a "chink in his armor."

But is he unbeatable? I would have to say no. People outside the state may see us as impossibly "red," because of our history of voting for the GOP presidential candidate, but Montana is fairly even, with a lot of independant voters. A majority of voters can be pursuaded to vote for a Democrat for the House seat.

My bet at this early stage goes to Rehberg. But I do predict he will have stronger opposition in the 2008 election than he has ever faced. I wouldn't say he's in a precarious position, but his reelection isn't a slam-dunk deal in 2008. We'll know a lot more in the spring of next year.

Posted by: Alan in Missoula | February 3, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Christine Jennings has a chance to overturn the election in court. In one county there was a badly designed ballot screen that made the House race almost invisible to the eye, even though it was there in plain sight. (The ballot screen had 2 races with a 2-candidate House race at the top, a line and a multicandidate local race below the line) That in and of itself was not illegal. However, in order to pack the house and local races onto the screen they omitted any entry for "write in". That plainly IS illegal. Voters have to have an opportunity to place a write in vote. The omission of a place for "write in" also helped to make the race less visible since all other races had it. There is clearly enough cause for a court to order a new election.

Posted by: Andrewp111 | February 3, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Who is REALLY supplying our enemies with weapons -- Saudi Arabia. Makes sense, they are sunnis, like the insurgents. You know, the same Saudi Arabia responisble for 9/11, the same one Bush says we have to go to war again Iran to protect. See, we have to spend the money and blood, because the Saudis think their own people are too precious to fight.

And you STILL think we're not getting gamed?

'As you can see below, I spent some of today looking at the issue of the sharp rise in the number of American helicopters shot out of the sky in the last two weeks in Iraq. And then I posted an excerpt from an AP article from December noting US intelligence reports that wealthy Saudis are shipping money and arms, including anti-aircraft missiles, to the Sunni insurgents who are still the primary force fighting US soldiers and marines in Iraq.

This suggests a series of questions, the most obvious of which is whether we're in the process of being gamed much as we were in 2002 when we allied with Saudi Arabia (which had a lot to do with 9/11) against Iraq (which had nothing to do with 9/11) to defend ourselves against another 9/11. Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how we were also allied with Pakistan (a highly unstable, quasi-Islamist regime with nuclear weapons and a big nuclear weapons program proliferator) to make sure secular Iraq didn't get nuclear weapons it didn't have to give to terrorists it wasn't allied with. But I digress ...

The point is that there's a certain illogic in our thinking that Iran is the prime destablizer of Iraq when you consider that we are currently allying ourselves with the forces in Iraq that the Iranians would be happy to see run the place. '

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/

Posted by: drindl | February 3, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

'Secretary Gates arranged a sentence today in a way that seemed to imply that Iranian supplied materiel is responsible for 70% of US casualties in Iraq. In his press conference today, he said:

I think the principal area where we have seen evidence of Iranian involvement is in providing these EFPs, these very powerful IEDs, to the -- either or both the technology and the weapons themselves that have been killing American soldiers. And so our effort is aimed at uprooting the networks that are providing these EFPs. We're also trying to uproot the networks that provide the IEDs as well that are being provided -- or being used by al Qaeda and others. These darn things account for about 70 percent of our casualties. And so there's a huge effort under way to try and uproot these networks and try and stop this. So that's the principal area.

Wow, so Iran is providing these EFPs, and EFPs are IEDs, and "these darn things" account for about 70 percent of US casualties.
But back up. Other sources have recently indicated that approximately 85% of US troop casualties in Iraq are attributed to the Sunni insurgency. And EFPs are only a subset of IEDs killing US troops in Iraq. Is Gates deliberately trying to suggest otherwise? Or was it unintentional, the likelihood that some listeners will mistakenly assume that 70% of US casualties are due to Iranian-supplied IEDs? The small matter of the failure to mention that he hasn't told you how many of the IEDs are allegedly Iranian-supplied EFPs?

I called the Pentagon. They said that is not what Gates intended to imply. A spokeswoman told me tonight, "What we have been saying generally is that about 70% of our casualties have been because of IEDS. Not that 70% are coming from Iran." How many of the IEDs killing US troops are thought to come from Iran? For that, she said, I would have to ask the insurgents. You don't have an estimate, I asked? No. A small percentage, large percentage? No answer. Call Centcom'

http://warandpiece.com/

Posted by: propaganda in action | February 3, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

'The Dems are what they are. Weak, selfish, lazy and to top it off cowardly. That will become evident when we get attacked again due to democrat incompetence.'

ROFLOL --'democrat' incompetence? republicans invented incompentence! you're masters of it! Repugs are what they are --corrupt, lazy, vile and bedwetting cowardly chickenhawks.

'Partial list---

VP --Jeb Bush

State --John Bolton

Supreme Court --Theodore Olson, Frank Easterbrook, Alex Kozinski, Edith Jones'

--what is this, a lineup of Satan's favorite handmaidens from hell?

'It may have been the war, illegal immigration, corruption, or whatever.

No matter how you slice it, on the average every Democrat in every race throughout America got an extra 5% than what they otherwise would have.

Assuming that incumbency adds 2% to what you would otherwise get, every Democrat who won by less than 3% in 2006 is vulnerable. And every Republican who won is safe.'

completely loony, republicans aren't going to change. the atmosphere in 2008 will be the same, if not worse... so probably every democrat who won is safe, by your own logic.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 3, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

2006 was a revolt by the electorate.

It may have been the war, illegal immigration, corruption, or whatever.

No matter how you slice it, on the average every Democrat in every race throughout America got an extra 5% than what they otherwise would have.

Assuming that incumbency adds 2% to what you would otherwise get, every Democrat who won by less than 3% in 2006 is vulnerable. And every Republican who won is safe.

Posted by: True Observer | February 3, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Chris: You mention that 21 months is a lifetime in politics but I have also heard that 2 months is an eternity i politics. Is there a universal standard politics to time equation that we can all settle on in advance of '08. I think it has become particularly necessary in this age. I am up for epochs, millinia, sitting through the Ice Capades anything really but it is time for some consistancy would you not agree?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 3, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Just wondered, and then I'll leave it alone for a while, but are there any Republican seats that anyone else "out there" feels might be up for grabs, that aren't included in today's latest "Beat the Dem!" fix-list?

Posted by: JEP | February 3, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it a curious, cosmic coincidence, KU's school colors are blue and red, and K-State's school color is purple?

Just what did those Kansas folks know back then, when they picked the colors for their teams???

Posted by: JEP | February 3, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

You all forgot about MI-CD07. There was an interesting article about it in the NY Times yesterday. Basically, the race was decided in a primary between a scio-con and a moderate. The wonderful Club for Growth was involved, and that should be all anyone needs to know! Sounds like the former rep is going to decide in the next 6 months if he is going to run again.
Heres the article if you are interested:
http://www.nytimes.com/cq/2007/02/02/cq_2228.html?ex=1171083600&en=c7d7ddb384dae590&ei=5070&emc=eta1

Posted by: Karma | February 3, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

"After losing one of the most surprising races in the country in 2006..."

It wasn't a surprise to many of us.

The r's are fighting an ongoing losing battle, it has deteriorated too much to call them "over the hump". It may just be a mountain, and not a hump.

If Bush had departed along with the 109th, the R's might have had some time and an opportunity for damage control between now and 08'.

But every day our weakest of all American Presidents in history continues to wreak international havoc WITHOUT his Republican majority behind him to legitimize his mistakes, the more obvious it becomes that we are in need of a veritable sea change in government.

The story for the R's hasn't gotten any better, and as more of Bush/Cheney's mistakes, deceptions and denials are exposed by this Democratic Congress, more and more Americans, no matter how conservative, will feel morally abandoned by the Republican Party. Some, like the Evangelicals, might even feel betrayed.

Then they will either stay out of the process, or they will convert to another party. And they don't have many options in that choice, now, do they?

Also, anyone who thinks only blue state R's are in trouble hasn't seen the damage done here in Kansas (THE original purple state) by Phil Kiline and the Kansas Republican leadership. I asgree that the blue state R's are severely endangered, but more and more "red" states are saying "no" to the Republican political game.

The Kansas attorney general's race is a great example of how low these rogue R's will go just to slap each other on the back.

It was bad enough that Ks AG Kline at one time assumed the authority to subpoena private medical records of abortion patients.

But the fact that, after Paul Morrison changed parties won the AG race as a Democrat, they (Republican statehouse majority leadership) proceeded to annoint Kline into the very county prosecutor's office his opponent, Morrison, had held, just exacerbated the issue.

That may have gotten them an inner-circle laugh or two at the public's expense, and exacted some twisted revenge on the many former-Republicans-turned-Democrat in that county, but it surely did not improve the GOP's respectability with rank and file Kansans.

Republicans are not just endangered in blue states, as long as they continue to play these political shell games, they only diminish their chances of ever growing powerful again, nationwide, and that includes red states like Kansas.

Posted by: JEP | February 3, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

"even many Republicans don't like the fact that Vern Buchanan doesn't care one iota about the missing votes."

Did you read that, Mr. Cillizza?

Whether you want to believe it or not, it is quite true, so whoever you are bieng loyal to by offering this convoluted reasoning, they may not be worthy of such loyalty.

The fact that old Vern is willing to jump right in without the benefit of a reliable outcome is only more proof of what I posted earlier, so many of these R's don't want to govern fairly, they just want to govern at any cost.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 3, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I couldn't disagree more with Chris Cilizza saying that Christine Jennings willingness to fight the outcome in Florida works against her. Excuse me--there were 18,000 missing votes. She's just supposed to say "Oh, well, too bad" and give up. Come on, that is the most ridiculous thing I ever heard. One of the things that keeps Democrats from gaining a larger hold with voters is that many people see them as "wussies" who aren't strong. Christine Jennings is no wussy and people like that the fact that she is fighting to see what happened to those missing votes. If she runs again, I think she will have a big win, because even many Republicans don't like the fact that Vern Buchanan doesn't care one iota about the missing votes.

Posted by: Jason | February 3, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

"As always this list seems a bit GOP friendly."

Jon, you are very good at understatement... But it is much more selective than just "R's", it is very particular "R's", like Steele and Buchanan (Vern), who get special treatment here.

We will never get the whole story, the real "who's who" of "The Fix's" inner circle, but no doubt it would be fascinating to peek through the political curtain at that particular kegger.

Posted by: JEP | February 3, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

"Florida's 13th District (Currently R): As we've said before, the longer 2006 nominee Christine Jennings (D) carries on the fight over the balloting in her race against Rep. Vern Buchanan (R) the more she endangers her party's chances of taking the seat in November 2008."

No, Chris, the longer people with influence ("top poundits" such as yourself) refuse to take a moral stand on this Florida ballot BS, then you endanger the nation's chances of ever re-establishing the public faith in our government and our election process.

You are starting to sound like you would like the issue to just disappear, without any reconcilliation of the dispute, or any consolation for the truth, if it can ever be established. At least Florida election officials have "seen the light"and are demanding a paper trail, so this can never happen again.
But apparently, the truth is not so important to our noble blog host(s).

Jennings owes it to her Florida district, and to every honest American voter, to push this issue until something breaks. And if Congress refuses to take action to assure candidates like Jennings a certain outcome to their hard-fought campaigns, then we will just have to continue to change who is "in" Congress until the voters are once again more important than their candidates.

Your admonitions that she end her fight for what she deserves, in order to save the Democrats' chances next time around, sounds convoluted, at best, and devious at worst.

Do you think the people of District 13 who believe their votes were not counted will suddenly just forget their loss?

Think about it, Chris, and look up the word "integrity", all of it's meanings apply to this issue. If we can not demand integtiry in our election process, and we "go along to get along," allowing questionable results to stand, in order to continute on without some kind of Congress Interruptus, then we have made a mockery out of our constitution and the dreams of our founding fathers.

That foundation depends, more than any other factor, on integrity in the election process.

Also, you fail to even mention in your Kansas 2nd district "coverage" that Boyda has already distinguished herself dramatically as a leader of this historic freshman class. Ryun did less in his entire tenure than Nancy has done in her first few days, especially relating to COngressional accountability.

So while Kansas R's may consider offering an alternatives to Ryun themselves, if Boyda continues to shine brightly, her "political capital" will put her so far ahead of any potential adversaries, it will take more than another run by Jim Ryun to move her out of the office.

Personally, I can't see a single Kansas R in the entire mix who could give Boyda a run for the office, especially if she continues to assert herself so powerfully.

Kansas R's aren't the only endangered political species. After the entire Libby tale is told, and the truth of the Neo-R's massive and egregious, almost systemic, process of misleading the public with false reports about WMD, etc., it will be much harder for ANY Republican to win an election, in Kansas or anywhere else for that matter.

Even those R's who had little or nothing to dpo with the mass deception will suffer for their casual complicity. Hang out with the hogs, and you WILL smell like manure.

Posted by: JEP | February 3, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Partial list---

VP --Jeb Bush

State --John Bolton

Supreme Court --Theodore Olson, Frank Easterbrook, Alex Kozinski, Edith Jones

Posted by: DSC | February 3, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

I think it's ODD that Brad Ellsworth, who won in a huge landslide in 2006, is supposed to be in such danger.

As always this list seems a bit GOP friendly.

Posted by: Jon | February 3, 2007 3:51 AM | Report abuse

Dave S.,

Wait a minute, though. The WTC attacks were basically caused by Clinton's Presidency, right? Bush did not have nearly enough time to properly recover from Clinton's Trespasses.

We need to be Really Careful to be able to really explain to everyone because it is Important for them to Understand that if there is an attack once the liberals take Power, it is not in any way caused by the preceding Eight Years of a Republican President.

Posted by: roo | February 3, 2007 2:58 AM | Report abuse

Good job there Dave S! Name calling, how original.

If we get attacked again, it won't be Democratic incompetence, but the foreign policy disaster exacerbated by the Bush adminstration. Another terrorist attack would only accelerate the collapse of the creditability of the GOP as a national party. There is only so much that Congress can do to check the executive branch, especially with a president that uses signing statements to pick and choose what parts of new laws he will actually obey.

By the way, it's the Democratic Party, not the Democrat Party. I know that the president can't quite sound it out, but surely you can.

Posted by: JamesCH | February 3, 2007 2:51 AM | Report abuse

I cannot believe CA-11 isn't on there.

Posted by: Jay | February 3, 2007 1:18 AM | Report abuse

ok, the game:

i'm hoping we have barack in the white house. if so, wes clark could be either vp or secretary of defense. i'm also interested in sweitzer of montana, but do not know enough about him yet. maybe him at agriculture. al gore as secretary of the interior, hands down. sam nunn would also be good at defense, and cleland is a no-brainer for the va. robert rubin at treasury, and bill clinton and george mitchell at the u.n. and state... both would work for either. i'm going to go out on a limb - cause it's getting late and i'm tired - and say arnold schwarzenegger either in charge of immigration or maybe epa, although i'm not sure about the 2nd... however, i do believe that his star power, such as it is, would be helpful in these 2 relatively unpopular roles. and he does have a unique perspective on immigration - both as an immigrant himself and as governor of the state which receives more immigrants than most if not all others (not sure vis a vis new york) - and epa, as the governor of the first state to adopt mandatory carbon controls. maybe eliot spitzer of new york as attorney general- i'd like to use him for something.
and let me echo someone else in saying - this game was fun and a good idea, william. good show, old boy. i still disagree with you strongly as far as firearms, religion, and climate change go - actually, in many other areas, but the fact that we can disagree and still have fun playing what if is what is still great about america.

Posted by: meuphys | February 3, 2007 1:05 AM | Report abuse

You all must be kidding me.. The Dems are what they are. Weak, selfish, lazy and to top it off cowardly. That will become evident when we get attacked again due to democrat incompetence. 2008 will be great for republicans as we take back the house and senate. Not sure who will be pres but it sure wont be billary

Posted by: Dave S | February 2, 2007 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Look, I'm a liberal and I think that 2008 will be a relatively good year for Dems, but it is hard for me to believe it will be as good as 2006. With Bush leaving and Democrats in control of congress, people annoyed at things like Iraq won't have as clear a target to punch. And even if it is a pretty good year instead of a great one, it will still be a step down and more Dems than Republicans will be vulnerable in the House. The Dems might pick up seats from the retirements of Republicans not used to minority status, but we don't know what those seats are yet. So cut CC a little slack here.

That said, I do have to agree with the posters who say that Wilson is vulnerable. Especially if she becomes a midcycle gerrymandering target, which is quite possible. And after a 22 point win, it is hard for me to see Ellsworth going down unless he really moves left.

Posted by: Abraham | February 2, 2007 10:00 PM | Report abuse

I am pretty sure that kerry took a dive...

it would be hard to believe otherwise.

Posted by: actually | February 2, 2007 9:25 PM | Report abuse

If Larry Kissell runs in NC-8, he will likely have tough primary opposition. No one should assume that he will be the Dems' nominee.

Posted by: Me Too | February 2, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

about the comment of picking the vp early, just look at 2004 when kerry waited until very late in the game, thereby forcing everyone wanting the vp slot to go out bash bush, raise money, and get out the message to compete for the slot. instead of just having one guy to do all that work, kerry had at least three or four. it was a brilliant move on his part to allow that to happen, the stupid part was picking a neophyte pretty boy who did absolutely nothing for the ticket and then runnning one of the worst campaigns the world has ever seen. whoever the dem nominee is this pray they have the intelligence to pick either wes clark or anthony zinni as the running mate, just as kerry should have done.

Posted by: david | February 2, 2007 9:05 PM | Report abuse

William -- you're a tough one. On the one hand, you're capable of saying intelligent things and providing decent analysis of political races. On the other hand, you seem to support both people and ideas in such a dogmatic fashion that it is trully scary at times. I honestly don't mean this unkindly, but have you had much experience interacting with people who are different than you in any significant way? And by that, I mean different religions, race, ethnicity, nationality, etc.? I suspect the answer is no, and that's a shame. It's more difficult to vilify "liberals" "muslims" or "immigrants" if you know anyone on a personal level that falls into one of those categories.

Again, you're a smart kid and I don't say any of this because you're a self identified "conservative." There are lots of principled, honest, good conservatives out there. I just find it discouraging when your insightful comments are mixed in with praise for reactionary individuals like Tancredo, etc. who truly represent the worst elements of the modern GOP.

Anyway, with sadness I will prepare to be called a "communist" or something of similar import. Regardless, on a whole interesting day of discussion.

Posted by: Colin | February 2, 2007 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Fail to understand how you detect all this Democratic weakness. McCain in polls is imploding because of his Iraq views. Bush is not going to do anything to solve Iraq on his watch and he even may expand the war to Iran. Fail to see how you ignore the possiblity that 2008 maybe the biggest Republican debacle since 1932.

Posted by: Tom | February 2, 2007 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Back to the vulnerable House seats, Heather
Wilson should definately be on the list (from N.M.) she won by 800 votes in a Democratic district. Her opponent made a bad decision to debate her or Wilson would have lost.

Posted by: David | February 2, 2007 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Back to the vulnerable House seats, Heather
Wilson should definately be on the list (from N.M.) she won by 800 votes in a Democratic district. Her opponent made a bad decision to debate her or Wilson would have lost.

Posted by: David | February 2, 2007 6:17 PM | Report abuse

'EPA: James Inhofe, just to drive Dem's crazy.'

Wiiliam, you are being a child. Try to remember, we want to place people in positions of power so that they can actually try to accomplish something for the country, not for childish revenge.

James INhofe is a crack addict of pseuoscience. It would be nice for a change, to have someone at EPA who actually believed in facts. We do face some challenges...

Posted by: drindl | February 2, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Hilary's VP? Why not Barak Obama...of course, I wouldn't mind a flip on that...Barak Obama president, with Hilary as VP....Either way, the VP could crush the Republican nominee for president the next time around after serving the eight years.

Posted by: Don Berghuis | February 2, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

William

Why is there air?

Posted by: Cos | February 2, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Even as a Republican, I like Tester (so far.) He seems more paleo-con than liberal, and he seems like a decent, hardworking dedicated guy. Also, I had no idea he was fifty. He looks like he's in his late 30s or early 40s.


"when Herseth would be the stronger candidate."

Herseth is hands down the hottest member of the House. She is also pro-gun!

Posted by: William | February 2, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

My picks:

VP: Hayley Barbour (Gov - MS)

AG: Jeff Sessions.

National Security Advisor: Newt Gingrich

(whatever you say about him, he is a brilliant guy. I would like to make him Sec State, but I think his skill set would be most useful as National Security Advisor.)
Newt would also be my top advisor.

DOD: My first choice would be Gen.Norm Swartzkopf (sp?)

If he declined, then maybe John Warner.

Sec. Treas: Someone who supports the FairTax (national sales tax.)

I don't really have anyone I can think of.

Sec State: As much as I dislike him, probably Dick Lugar, for lack of a better choice. But if Swartzkopf took the DOD, then Warner would probably get Sec State. Or maybe Ron Paul. I wouldn't mind someone who was kind of isolationist.

Food and Drug Administration: Tom Coburn, hands down.

Wow, I am really vacating the Senate. I've already picked 4 Senators. Better stop.

Surgeon General :Retired Senator Bill Frist.

Interior: Maybe Bill Owen, the former governor of CO. Or Dave Heineman, governor of NE.

UN Amb: someone who hates the UN and thinks it shouldn't exist. Tom Coburn's already used, so...Pat Buchanan. Buchanan also wouldn't make a bad sec state.

EPA: James Inhofe, just to drive Dem's crazy.

Border Patrol: Virgil Goode or Tom Tancredo.

Indian Affairs: Tom Cole. (The only Native American in Congress.)

I think that's just about all the major ones.

For CIA director I might choose Jim Gilmore, a former army intelligence officer, and former chairman of an anti-terror committee.

SCOTUS Justices:

1. Rick Santorum, if only to see Chuck Shumer's facial expression. I also like Rick. He's a good guy.

2. I would move Sessions up from AG and give it to someone else.

3. Tim Pawlenty.

4. Janice Rogers Brown.

Posted by: William | February 2, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Colin:

Wouldn't argue with any of your picks, either...

Drindl: argument against Tester for a cabinet post, is it may be a tough seat to defend, I tried to avoid sitting Senators for that reason. Daschle is a lot more of fighter than most give him credit for, and it might keep him out of trying to retake his old Senate seat from Thune when Herseth would be the stronger candidate.

William:

George Mitchell was the Democratic leader in the USS in the late 80s and early 90s, he's a former Senator from Maine.

Posted by: Steve | February 2, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

William, Tester is a farmer. As far as his fingers, he might have been helping out at a neighbor's cattle ranch, or maybe got caught in his own equipment. Happens a lot to farmers.. anyway
'Jon Tester was born in Havre, Montana on August 21, 1956, and raised near the town of Big Sandy, Montana, (population: 710) on the same family land that his grandfather homesteaded in 1916.

Since the late 1980s Tester has put his stamp of leadership on the family farm by moving toward organic farming. The Tester family now grows organic wheat, barley, lentils, peas, millet, buckwheat, alfalfa and hay.'

'Agreed that Tester would be great in the cabinet, but my thinking was to avoid taking both Schweitzer and Tester away from Montana. That state deserves a fantastic Senator like Tester.'

I agree with you there, Colin, he is fantastic -- the real thin, solid as a rock. christ it's refreshing to see that actually happen in politics. But -- he could accomplish so much more for the whole country [I least I hope so] in the Cabinet.

And for Energy Secretarry -- AL GORE!

and you know, I like Hillary for SC, too. Interesting. Learned, moderate, thoughtful. We don't want 'liberals' William, we are not idealogical like 'movement' cons. We want someone who will act in our best interests.

I think Hillary would be a lot like Sandra Day O'Connor.

Posted by: drindl | February 2, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Awesome game!

Wow!

Posted by: Dude | February 2, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

"William -- Other differences aside, good idea on the VP/Cabinet picking game."

Thanks Colin!

"VP -- Brian Schweitzer

SOS -- Richard Holbrooke

DOD -- Wes Clark

AG -- Seth Waxman"

I like all your choices for Cabinet posts, and Sweitzer for VP. I definitely think Sweitzer will be a strong presidential contender, possibly in 2012 if he doesnt get the VP spot in 2008.

Seth Waxman though, I have never heard of. For a moment the Democrat from California came to mind, then I remembered his name is Harry.

"VA and Agriculture, I'll actually steel Steve's ideas of Max Cleland and Tom Daschle"

Cleland would be great at VA. Tom Daschle too would be a good pick.

"As far as Supreme Court picks go, that would obviously depend on the composition of the Senate. Assuming Dems still control, however, I'd go with:

* D.C. Circuit Judge David Tatel; and/or

* Hillary Clinton

I'm sure that last pick will rile some folks, but (1) I don't think she'll be the Dem nominee, so she'll be available; and (2) the Court could use a nontraditional yet qualified member who has served in one of the other co-equal branches. "

In a Dem controlled COngress, wouldnt you want someone more liberal than Hillary? Just wondering.

"Fun game."

Thanks!!

Posted by: William | February 2, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Drindl -- Waxman is fantastic. SG under Clinton and also a deputy AG before that. Generally regarded as the one of the three best S. Crt advocates in private practice right now (many consider him the best). He'd also make a great S Crt Justice.

Agreed that Tester would be great in the cabinet, but my thinking was to avoid taking both Schweitzer and Tester away from Montana. That state deserves a fantastic Senator like Tester.

Posted by: Colin | February 2, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"I'll decline to play the game."

Oh, you're no fun! ;)

"It seems to me that the VP pick really depends on the presidential candidate."

So pick someone who would fit well with you.

"It should be someone who has different strengths and can help cover up some of the candidate's weaknesses."

So, pick someone who would do that. I assume you are from the NE so pick Richardson or Sweitzer or someone from a different part of the US.

"If I were the presidential candidate, it would take some kind of demigod to cover up my weaknesses."

Oh, I don't think you're all that bad.

You never called an Indian man macaca or called Obama the "only clean black" did you?

And I assume you never broke into someone else's office while carrying a plunger with the intent of wiring the place?

And you weren't a drunkard in your younger years were you?

Come on, play!

Posted by: William | February 2, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

"As for the VP/Cabinet suggestion, were I the Dem nominee, I'd go with Sen Blanche Lincoln from Arkansas, because I'd try to peel off at least a couple of the border south states, and she's an impressive gal who wins consistently in a tough environment."

Hi Steve! Thanks for posting your picks!

Although I'm a Republican, Blanche Lincoln is a Dem I respect. I don't know a great deal about her, but she seems like a responsible, dedicated lawmaker, and as you said, she consistently won in a very conservative state. I think she's be a great pick. She would probably take AR and MO and possible LA for the Dems.

"On the cabinet side- i'd tender as follows:

State- WJ Clinton
Defense- Sam Nunn
VA- Max Cleland
Agri- Tom Daschle
HHS- Jerry Brown
AG- Deval Patrick
Interior- Al Gore
Treasury- Bob Rubin (again if he'd do it)
OMB- Larry Lindsay (heard he's looking for work)"

I like your cabinet choices too, though the rapist defence thing might make it hard for Patrick to be confirmed.

I think Sam Nunn would make a great Sec Def, and his wide experience with non-proliferation initiatives would be a great benefit to picking him as well.

"MY USSC picks- 1st Geo. Mitchell - easy to confirm
2nd- Jennifer Granholm"

Granholm is good, I think, and she would probably be acceptable to conservatives since she signed Castle Doctrine into law in Michigan.

I haven't heard of Mitchell though.

Posted by: William | February 2, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

"...the longer 2006 nominee Christine Jennings (D) carries on the fight over the balloting in her race against Rep. Vern Buchanan (R) the more she endangers her party's chances of taking the seat in November 2008."

It should be, "the longer Jennings carries on the fight, the more she endangers her chances."

The Democratic House seated Buchanan. They didn't have to. A Democrat other than Jennings can use that to deflect criticism.

Posted by: Nor'Eastser | February 2, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I'll decline to play the game. It seems to me that the VP pick really depends on the presidential candidate. It should be someone who has different strengths and can help cover up some of the candidate's weaknesses. If I were the presidential candidate, it would take some kind of demigod to cover up my weaknesses.

Speaking of vice-presidents, I'd like to see a candidate pick their VP early, during the nomination process. The VP candidate could do all the things that the VP candidate normally does, but earlier. They could deflect criticism, appeal to a different group of voters, do additional fundraising, speak in different places to cover more ground, etc. I think it would be a great way for a candidate to get ahead.

Of course, it's not likely. Most potential VPs are also presidential candidates, so they wouldn't agree to join someone else's ticket. But I like the idea anyway.

Posted by: Blarg | February 2, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

"How about Jon testor, who's an organic lentil farmer"

I thought Tester was a cattle rancher. Isn't that how he got 3 fingers cut off, in a meat grinder?

Posted by: William | February 2, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I like all your picks... tho sad to say not too familiar with Seth Waxman, altho I woudl bet that he, unlike gonzalez, has actually heard of the Constitution.

Cleland i love at the VA -- Daschle...umm. not much of a fighter. How about Jon testor, who's an organic lentil farmer -- we need to look ahead to sustainable ag practicesm vefore all our farm soil is stripped and depleted from overuse of chemicals.

Posted by: drindl | February 2, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I like all your picks... tho sad to say not too familiar with Seth Waxman, altho I woudl bet that he, unlike gonzalez, has actually heard of the Constitution.

Cleland i love at the VA -- Daschle...umm. not much of a fighter. How about Jon testor, who's an organic lentil farmer -- we need to look ahead to sustainable ag practicesm vefore all our farm soil is stripped and depleted from overuse of chemicals.

Posted by: drindl | February 2, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

William -- Other differences aside, good idea on the VP/Cabinet picking game.

VP -- Brian Schweitzer

SOS -- Richard Holbrooke

DOD -- Wes Clark

AG -- Seth Waxman

VA and Agriculture, I'll actually steel Steve's ideas of Max Cleland and Tom Daschle

As far as Supreme Court picks go, that would obviously depend on the composition of the Senate. Assuming Dems still control, however, I'd go with:

* D.C. Circuit Judge David Tatel; and/or

* Hillary Clinton

I'm sure that last pick will rile some folks, but (1) I don't think she'll be the Dem nominee, so she'll be available; and (2) the Court could use a nontraditional yet qualified member who has served in one of the other co-equal branches.

Fun game.

Posted by: Colin | February 2, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

"As long as we are still in Iraq in 2008, Americans will continue punishing the Republican party! Can you not see this?"

Dan, that was the source of my question regarding what CC is smoking. I am amazed that anyone could not have learned the lessons of 2006. Apparently the Potomac has now been joined by a certain very famous Egyptian river....

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | February 2, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

I don't know if anyone else has mentioned this yet, but about 80% of your list highlights Democratic seats in danger of being lost. Dude! As long as we are still in Iraq in 2008, Americans will continue punishing the Republican party! Can you not see this?

Posted by: Dan | February 2, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

As for Florida, this good news....

"Eager to end six troublesome years of touch screen voting in Florida, Gov. Charlie Crist wants every county to switch to paper ballots by 2008," the St. Petersburg Times reports.

"Crist will ask the Legislature to spend more than $30-million to replace touch screens with an optical scan system that allows a voter to mark an oval next to a candidate's name before slipping a ballot into an electronic reader -- the same way absentee ballots are cast."

The New York Times: "Voting experts said Florida's move, coupled with new federal voting legislation expected to pass this year, could be the death knell for the paperless electronic touch-screen machines."


http://politicalwire.com/archives/2007/02/02/florida_moves_to_end_touch_screen_voting.html

Posted by: Shaun | February 2, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

drindl wrote: But there were 18,000 undervotes. It just ain't possible, statistically. She may not be able to 'prove' that she was cheated, but I'd say enough doubt certainly exists that a re-vote should is the only fair outcome.

What makes it so apparent that there was a big problem in this case is that all 18,000 lost votes came from the same county (Sarasota). Buchanan's theory that the flood of negative campaign ads soured those voters is pathetic. Why were only voters in this one (Democratic-leaning) county so soured?

There may be some "sore loser" effect, but there should be a much larger "we got screwed last time and we won't let it happen again" effect this time, ESPECIALLY in Sarasota.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | February 2, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse


Russia probes smelly orange snow

Russia has flown a team of chemical experts to a Siberian region to find out why smelly, coloured snow has been falling over several towns.

Oily yellow and orange snowflakes fell over an area of more than 1,500sq km (570sq miles) in the Omsk region on Wednesday, Russian officials said.

Chemical tests were under way to determine the cause, they said.

Residents have been advised not to use the snow for household tasks or let animals graze on it.

"So far we cannot explain the snow, which is oily to the touch and has a pronounced rotten smell," said Omsk environmental prosecutor Anton German, quoted by the Russian news agency
The origin of the orange effect is still a mystery "We are waiting for the results of a thorough test on samples."

But Vladimir Gurzhey, an official with the civil defence ministry in Omsk, told the Russia TV channel that the snow had four times the normal levels of iron in it.'

Posted by: weird sh** | February 2, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I have two questions.

1) This blog always bangs on about the power of incumbency, but then questions Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) ability to win next time?

2)In 06 we saw a huge impact from the incumbent president. What is the historical trend when both nominee's are not incumbents in the white house?

Posted by: Aussie Bill | February 2, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

If Chris Carney in the PA 10th has any sense, he will copy the approach of Tim Holden in the 17th, who beat dinosaur Republican Gekas in a very conservative central PA district and is not at all vulnerable. PA rural voters vote the person, if the person stands up for what they believe. Tim Holden's mixture of traditional conservative positions with a strong dose of working man populism plays very well in rural PA, and if Carney studies Holden's playbook, he has a permanent job.

Posted by: by | February 2, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Alan: curious about two things. while people who live outside the area may not be aware that ID two congressionals seats were both held by Dems as recently as 1992, the LDS influence in Southern Idaho certainly seems to dampen Dem chances, so question 1) do you think Sali is so bad, that a Dem, any Dem can break through the problems in and around Boise and win that seat, and question 2) do you really think Rehberg is at all vulnerable? Everybody I know in MT, including my Dem activist mom down in the Bitterroot thinks he's safe.

Posted by: Steve | February 2, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

i'm sorry, shuold be, militas are mostly Shia...

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

'as far as'... you should post a link...

if people here understood which players in the middle east are sunni and which are shia, they would have a far better understand of how we are being played as fools by both sides--and both of them are equally ripping us off by billions a day.

some of you probably thought middleeasterner were 'simple' not so much. that wuold be your president, who is outclassed and outsmarted by all of them.

clue: bin ladin was sunni, the 9/11 attackers were sunni from saudi arabia, the baathists insurgents are sunni

iran is shia, iraq is majority shia also, the militias are primarily sunni

our troops are geeting attacked by sunni and shia both.

Posted by: cassandra | February 2, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

being, is the United States actually operating in the best interests of the citizens or


in the best interests of International Monied who are bribing their way into controling a democracy through


plutocratic methode?

Posted by: the point | February 2, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan J. Bush,

the Presidents uncle. Jonathan Bush's "Pioneer Profile" in "George W. Bush's $100,000 Club" cites him as the "head" of the Riggs Investment Management Co.; "Bush's uncle Jonathan ... founded its subsidiary, J. Bush & Co., of which he is chair. He also is an ex-chair of the New York Republican State Finance Committee. Bush credits the investors sent his way by this banker uncle as a key to his 'success' in the Texas oil industry in the early '80s." (17)
Jonathan J. Bush, is a top executive at Riggs Bank, which this week agreed to pay a record $25 million in civil fines for violations of law intended to thwart money laundering. Jonathan Bush, who is a major fundraiser for his nephew, was appointed in 2000 to run Riggs Investment Management Co. His association with Riggs began when he headed J. Bush & Co., a New Haven, Conn., company he created in 1970 and built to offer advice on money management. (18)

According to the 5/14/04 New York Times, Federal regulators fined the Riggs National Corporation, the parent company of Riggs Bank, $25 million yesterday for "failing to report suspicious activity, the largest penalty ever assessed against a domestic bank in connection with money laundering. The fine stems from Riggs's failure over at least the last two years to actively monitor suspect financial transfers through Saudi Arabian accounts held by the bank." The 5/14/04 Wall Street Journal reported that of particular concern, Riggs failed to monitor "tens of millions of dollars in cash withdrawals from accounts related to the Saudi Arabian embassy," including "suspicious incidents involving dozens of sequentially numbered cashier's checks and international drafts written by Saudi officials, including Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan." According to the 4/18/04 Washington Post, Saudi Prince Bandar's wife, Princess Haifa al-Faisal, "may have used a Riggs account to donate money to a charity that then gave some of it to the Sept. 11 terrorists."

Marvin Bush,

the president's brother was on the board of directors of a company providing electronic security for the World Trade Center, Dulles International Airport and United Airlines, according to public records. The company was backed by an investment firm, the Kuwait-American Corp., also linked for years to the Bush family. The security company, formerly named Securacom and now named Stratesec, is in Sterling, Va.. Its CEO, Barry McDaniel, said the company had a ``completion contract" to handle some of the security at the World Trade Center ``up to the day the buildings fell down." The suite in which Marvin Bush was annually re-elected, according to public records, is located in the Watergate in space leased to the Saudi government. The company now holds shareholder meetings in space leased by the Kuwaiti government there.

Posted by: or how about these jewels... | February 2, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Well JimD, perhaps you were right. But there were 18,000 undervotes. It just ain't possible, statistically. She may not be able to 'prove' that she was cheated, but I'd say enough doubt certainly exists that a re-vote should is the only fair outcome.

It's not just about her, though, it's about Democrats standing up and fighting when they've been ripped off. Perhaps some will see her as a poor loser, but others may strongly back her, as I do, for fighting back. We need to fight back every time -- we can never allow ourselves to be the victims of what happened in 2000 and 2004 again.

Never again.

Posted by: drindl | February 2, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

financing our government...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006 The Bush Crime Family: Texas Yankees in the Gulf Emirs courts: Dubya, Poppy, Neil, Marvin, and Jeb. February 21, 2006 -- The Houses of Bush, Sabah, and Maktoum. The Bush Crime Familys close business dealings with the royal houses of Kuwait the Sabah family and Dubai the Maktoum family either borders on or is treason according to information received from U.S. military and Persian Gulf sources by WMR. The Sabah family and their business cohorts are reportedly skimming hundreds of millions of dollars from the shipping of military materiel through Kuwait to U.S. forces in Iraq. Moreover, much of this money is being used to fund the Sunni insurgency in Iraq that is directed against U.S. troops

Posted by: as far as | February 2, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"No one would energize the Republican base like Senator Clinton at the head of the Democratic ticket."

That is a Republican talking points and it is ridiculous. I am not a big Hillary fan myself, but she will be very formidable should she secure the nomination. One thing I do have to give her is that she is doing a superb job redefining herself right now. Everyone said that would be impossible, but it's happening as we speak.

With that said, I am holding out hope for a late Gore entry. Let the others beat the hell out of each other. Then, when everyone is entirely sick of all of them, Gore can swoop in and bring out the Democratic base like no one else can. Put up somebody like Gore, who the base already elected once in 2000, and who will be more than happy to elect again. Combine that with a Republican nominee that their base just isn't all that fired up for (McCain, who's hated, Guiliani, who's liberal socially, or Romney who is the ultimate flip-flopper), throw in Iraq for good measure and you have the ingredients of a Republican annihalation in '08. It is going to be awesome!

Posted by: Shaun | February 2, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

William, did you get better sleep last night? The posts by you are much more substantive than usual.

I think you're right about Sali, and I think Alan is right about Cubin, I'd put Cubin easily on the 10 most vulnerable incumbents ahead of Gillebrand.

As for the VP/Cabinet suggestion, were I the Dem nominee, I'd go with Sen Blanche Lincoln from Arkansas, because I'd try to peel off at least a couple of the border south states, and she's an impressive gal who wins consistently in a tough environment.

On the cabinet side- i'd tender as follows:

State- WJ Clinton
Defense- Sam Nunn
VA- Max Cleland
Agri- Tom Daschle
HHS- Jerry Brown
AG- Deval Patrick
Interior- Al Gore
Treasury- Bob Rubin (again if he'd do it)
OMB- Larry Lindsay (heard he's looking for work)

MY USSC picks- 1st Geo. Mitchell - easy to confirm
2nd- Jennifer Granholm

Posted by: Steve | February 2, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

again...

Al Gore didnt lose in Florida, he was intimidated/persuaded into not following through... being a good sportsman...


good people _need_ to become comfortable breaking some knees and looking good doing it...


taking action effectively is sexy...


good sportsman? please, point at one in the executive branch.

Posted by: poor sportsmanship? | February 2, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

'To identify 9 out of the 10 most vulnerable races as Dem held is pretty far out on a limb. '

In fact, considering the way things are actually trending in the world, I woud say the limb broke and chris is down on the ground.

Who did you get this analysis from, Chris, Karl Rove?

In 2008, we will STILL be in Iraq, with even more troops and much bigger losses, in both blood and billions. We'll be sending in 50,000 [yes, it's actually 50,000] troops and they will be out of the Green Zone, going door to door in the most violent areas. they will be on patrol with the iraqi Army, which is completely infiltrated by Shi'ite militias.

Hence, many many more casualties. We will also be much deeper in dept to the Chinese. In fact, if our debt is big enough -- or they get pissy about certain disagreements we have,they might even stop financing our government altogether.

The republcan VP's daughter will be raising a child with her female partner.

I don't see how this will make voters more enamoured of republicans.

Posted by: drindl | February 2, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

drindl,

You are right that the election was flawed. The new governor has just announced a plan to replace all the state's voting machines that do not provide a paper trail. However, given the available tangible evidence, I see no way that Ms. Jennings can prove her case. That district is at best purple. While committed Democrats might favor an aggressive challenge, non-partisan voters will definitely be turned off by it. It will be perceived as poor sportsmanship.

Posted by: JimD in FL | February 2, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

asked for the recount and let it happen...

he withdrew when some paid demostrators began to intimidate the vote counters...


and that was with Katherine Harris in Jeb Bush's pocket...


source? John W. Dean, Worse Than Watergate... first 10 pages...


he also talks of how McCain was backstabbed by race baiting in South Carolina...interesting reading...


and if McCain only had a brain, would help him to understand that nothing bush is doing has anything to do with integrity or America...

Posted by: Gore shoulda | February 2, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

'Florida's 13th District (Currently R): As we've said before, the longer 2006 nominee Christine Jennings (D) carries on the fight over the balloting in her race against Rep. Vern Buchanan (R) the more she endangers her party's chances of taking the seat in November 2008. Whether or not Jennings is within her legal rights isn't the question;'

what utter bollocks and tripe, cillizza. She was cheated -- there was no way this election wasn't rigged or flawed.

Are Dems supposed to roll over and play dead? Not any more, buddy.

Posted by: drindl | February 2, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

It is facinanting how you define how republican a district is based on bush's 2004 result, when 2006 was essentially the same thing with switched results. In addition, how accurate is using 2004? Couldn't you make the case that the results could be skewed because kerry was such a bad candidate?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I actually agree with Chris that a protracted legal battle by Christine Jennings will hurt her chances in a re-match. Fair or not, most people will perceive it as being a "sore loser". I do not see any way to resolve the issue of the under-votes and the courts are highly unlikely to reverse an election result.

The key to Democratic chances in historically Republican districts will depend, in large part, on the identity of the presidential candidates. Should Hillary Clinton be the nominee, the battle will be much more difficult for these Democrats. No one would energize the Republican base like Senator Clinton at the head of the Democratic ticket.

Posted by: JimD in FL | February 2, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

You forgot the 9th Congressional District of Tennessee. While it will not change political parties, African American Democrats in Memphis will be looking to take back the one majority black district in the state with another African American. Ever since Steve Cohen won the Democratic Primary in 2006 to replace Harold Ford, Jr. there has been a grassroots movement in the community to win it back. The person who was second to Cohen is currently raising money for that very effort.

Posted by: Howie Morgan | February 2, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Chris: why not force yourself to do a 10 most vulnerable republican list and a 10 most vulnerable dem list? At this point, you have no idea about macro trends in '08. Will the Democrat be like Reagan in 1980 and nationalize the election favorably? Will we be celebrating the surge's success and McCain's fortitude? Will the narrow republican wins in '06 menitoned above mean better challengers and better funds in '08? You just don't know. To identify 9 out of the 10 most vulnerable races as Dem held is pretty far out on a limb. Better to go with 2 lists.

Posted by: jon | February 2, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Sali will win more of the vote next time. I really don't see his seat as vulnerable.

That's not because people like him. Even most Republicans in Idaho hate him. But ID is such a conservative place that the GOP primary practically decides the elections.

Posted by: William | February 2, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

On the congressional races in my neck of the woods DavelinDenver is right that Cubin should be considered vulnerable. She almost lost to a non-Wyoming native lawyer from the resort town of Jackson Hole. Also consider Sali of Idaho, who pulled only 49 percent of the vote in his district, which coveres the panhandle and Souther Idaho west of Boise. Montana is probably safe for reelection of Denny Rehberg in the at-large seat. But again, one should note that three Democrats who hold offices that are elected state-wide, Attorney General Mike McGrath, State Auditor John Morrison and State Superintendant of Schools Linda McCullogh are all term-limited out and one of them should present Rehberg with what he hasn't had since his initial election to Congress, a Democratic opponent who is known and has been elected state-wide.

Posted by: Alan in Missoula | February 2, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Kris Kobach is the new Chairman of the Kansas Republican party. The moderates are switching parties in droves here. Phil Kline has single handedly managed to anger all the moderates left in his party. You can bet it will be a battle between conservatives and moderates. It's always that battle in every race here in KS.

Posted by: ljm | February 2, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Shaun makes an incisive point. 2008 will be another nationalized election and the GOP is likely to be bleeding again. Whether Dems can take advantage is contingent upon the presidential nominees of the respective parties. That will have a ripple effect down the tickets of both parties. One glimmer of hope for the GOP is their party won't just be identified with Bush anymore but their party's nominee. If it's McCain I think they're in trouble. If the GOP manages to put forward a fresh face not associated with Bush's failures, then perhaps Dems may have difficulty defending their majority in the House. It's early. But as Yogi Berra once said, "it gets late early around here."

http://intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | February 2, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"Whether or not Jennings is within her legal rights isn't the question; her unwillingness to step aside coupled with the unlikelihood of Congressional Democrats overturning the election results means that her fight is likely to do more harm than good."

Are we supposed to accept this at face value? How, exactly, is a continued fight going to hurt? Is this supposed effect specific to Jennings only or to any potential Democratic candidate?

Posted by: Lanco Yokel | February 2, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I have to agree with one of the previous posters. Saying that 2008 won't be as bad an environment for Republicans as 2006 is a real stretch. Unless the Iraqis start throwing flowers at each other instead of shooting each other, 2008 will be just as bad, if not worse, because there will be a Republican presidential candidate supporting the continued fight in Iraq, dragging the whole party down.

Think about it: You're a swing voter and you see John McCain at the top of the ballot. He used to be a cool guy, but now he supports more troops staying in Iraq for even longer. Gee, am I going to vote for him or any of his party's Congressional enablers?

Posted by: Ryan | February 2, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Chris, you are smoking crack with this analysis. You make it sound as though only Dems are going to be on the defense in '08. I'm sorry, but did we just declare victory again in Iraq? '08 is going to be another bloody year for Republicans. Period. Shrub is going forward with this escalation and it will only get worse there.

To suggest that these are the most vulnerable seats is laughable. I would say that virtually any Republican left in any blue states will be in danger. R seats in Michigan and New Jersey have a better shot of flipping than Carney, Gillebrand or Shea-Porter losing.

Posted by: Shaun | February 2, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Interesting to me that you have not included here any of the seats won by incumbents--other than NC8--with 52% of the vote or less. I would include, or at least take a close look at Walsh, Kuhl and Reynolds in NY, Shays in CT, Cubin in WY, Wilson in NM, and of course, the very worst current member of Congress, Musgrave in CO, who managed to squirm back to the House with only 46% in 2006 after just 51% in 2004.

Posted by: DaveInDenver | February 2, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

OK, I have an idea of a game for anyone who is interested.

It's off topic, but these threads always go wildly off topic anyway, so why not?

OK, here it is.


YOU are running for president, and have just won the nomination of your party! Who would you choose for your VP and why?


Part II: This isnt as good as part 1, but here goes.

OK, YOU have won the general, and now you are president.

Who do you appoint to your cabinet to fill critical posts like National Security Advisor, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, etc.

You don't have to name someone for every post, like Sec Ag, or whatever, just the major ones.

Well, if anyone wants, post your VP and/or cabinet picks!!!

Posted by: William | February 2, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with some of your analysis.

Ellsworth is unlikely to lose reelection. He is a very conservative Dem, and he won 61-39. Also, his opponent, incumbent John Nathan Hostettler has retired from public life, so there is no high profile challenger to Ellsworth.

Incidentally, Hostettler is one of the most honest, honorable men in politics, and during his six terms in Congress refused to accept PAC money or out of state donations.

Also, I don't think Boyda will have trouble winning reelection. She won by a safe margin, and her seat on armed services will be currency in a district with a lot of veterans.

I do think Don Sherwood's district in PA, Bob Ney's district in OH, and Foley's district in FL will be EXTREMELY difficult, though not impossible, for the Dems to hold in 2008.

These heavily GOP districts were only taken by Dems due to the personal failings of their incumbents.

If there is still widespread dissatisfaction with the GOP over Iraq, etc, then the Dems may have another great year, though.

But the districts I mentioned above will be hard for the Dems to hold.

As for Gillibrand, I think she will win reelection, but the GOP stands a good chance of retaking this seat eventually.

Re: Hayes...he won't be caught off guard this time.

I think Barrow and Marshall have weathered their strongest challenges for a while and will safely be reelected in 08.

I think Lampson stands a good chance of being reelected.

Posted by: William | February 2, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

"It's hard to imagine the political environment will be as bad for Granite State Republicans in 2008 as it was in 2006. "

No, actually it's very easy to imagine that it will be even worse. Criminy, what are you guys smoking inside the Beltway?

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | February 2, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"As we've said before, the longer 2006 nominee Christine Jennings (D) carries on the fight over the balloting in her race against Rep. Vern Buchanan (R) the more she endangers her party's chances of taking the seat in November 2008."

This is very, very definitely one man's/Party's opinion.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | February 2, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

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