Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
About Chris Cillizza  |  On Twitter: The Fix and The Hyper Fix  |  On Facebook  |  On YouTube  |  RSS Feeds RSS Feed

The Friday Line: Dems Hold Edge in Top 20 House Races

Democrats are growing increasingly confident of their chances of making major gains in the House in this year's elections -- and perhaps even seizing control of the chamber. Republicans privately acknowledge that they are likely to lose seats but believe they will remain the majority party at the start of the 110th Congress.

In order to show Fix readers a broader snapshot of the seats at the epicenter of the midterm elections fight, the Friday House Line is expanding from ten to 20 races. In the interests of space (and The Fix's sanity), the analyses will be shorter. But by mid-next week we should have all of the races on's interactive campaign 2006 map, so be sure to check back for more information on the top races.

Democrats have a decided advantage in the expanded Friday Line, as only five current Democratic seats crack the top 20, compared to 15 GOP-held seats. Seven of the 20 seats are currently open, with only two of those are now held by Democrats.

Criticisms and kudos are welcome in the comments section below. Remember: The no. 1 race is the most likely to change parties in November.

To the Line!

20. Georgia's 8th District: Republicans secured a strong recruit in former Rep. Mac Collins and insist he "gets it" after a disastrous Senate bid in 2004. The recent departure of Collins's campaign manager gives The Fix pause, however, as does the fact that incumbent Jim Marshall (D) is a savvy member of Congress. Witness his vote rating (as calculated by National Journal magazine) during 2005: Marshall is near the center of the entire House in terms of ideological voting. Note that Marshall currently represents Georgia's 3rd District; a GOP-led redistricting left him running in the 8th this year. (Previous ranking: N/A)

19. New York's 24th District: Rep. Sherwood Boehlert's (R) recent decision to retire after twelve terms sets off a competitive race in an Upstate seat that President Bush narrowly won in 2004 (with 53 percent of the vote). Republicans quickly coalesced around state Sen. Raymond Meier as their preferred candidate. Democrats are trying to do the same for Oneida County District Attorney Michael Arcuri. (Previous ranking: N/A)

18. Vermont At-Large: Yes, we know that John Kerry won Vermont by 20 points in 2004 and that Rep. Bernie Sanders, a Socialist who caucuses with House Democrats, appears to be running away with the state's open Senate seat. BUT ... Republicans are extremely high on their candidate -- Vermont National Guard Major General Martha Rainville. Regardless of Rainville's candidate skills, she faces a tough road, especially since state Rep. David Zuckerman, a Progressive, decided against running. In past Vermont elections, the Progressive Party has drained votes from the Democratic nominee. State Sen. Peter Welch is the likely Democratic nominee. (Previous ranking: N/A)

17. Illinois's 6th District: Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth's narrow win in the March 21 primary raises Democrats' chances of competing in this Republican-leaning open seat where President Bush received 53 percent of the vote last election. The national party's decision to weigh in on Duckworth's behalf has caused a rift with Christine Cegelis -- the second place finisher in the primary and the party's nominee in 2004. Cegelis has refused to endorse her primary opponent, although national strategists insist most of her supporters are already backing Duckworth. State Sen. Peter Roskam is the GOP nominee. (Previous ranking: N/A)

16. Texas's 17th District: Rep. Chet Edwards was the only Democrat targeted by the 2003 Republican redistricting plan to win at the ballot box in 2004, but Edwards is a marked man again in 2006. National Republicans got their preferred candidate in the state's March 7 primary when Iraq war veteran Van Taylor emerged victorious. Taylor's military background and personal wealth (he spent $475,000 of his own money in the primary) make him an attractive candidate. But Edwards has deep roots in the district (a contrast to the newcomer Taylor) and has shown he knows how to win tough elections in a district that gave President Bush 70 percent of the vote in 2004. (Previous ranking: N/A)

15. Connecticut's 4th District: In one of several rematches on the Friday Line, former Westport First Selectwoman Dianne Farrell is challenging Rep. Chris Shays (R). Democrats believe that the national atmospherics will be enough to push Farrell from the 48 percent she got in 2004 to a win this November. Shays is paying much more attention this time around, however. Looking for evidence? He was one of six Republicans to vote with Democrats on a resolution Thursday calling for an immediate ethics investigation into members with ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. (Previous ranking: N/A)

14. Kentucky's 4th District: The last time we did a House Line, former Rep. Ken Lucas (D) had just jumped into the race and his campaign immediately released a poll showing him with a ten-point edge over freshman Rep. Geoff Davis (R). While Democrats are right to be optimistic about their chances here, this is a very conservative district and Lucas is now the challenger, not the incumbent. (Previous ranking: 8)

13. Connecticut's 2nd District: If the national political environment alone will defeat a single Republican incumbent, Rep. Rob Simmons could be the one. He has compiled a moderate voting record since ousting longtime Democratic Rep. Sam Gejdenson in 2000 and was able to save the Groton submarine base after it was initially targeted to be shuttered by the Pentagon. Even so, this is a strongly Democratic district that may decide Simmons needs to go simply because he has an "R" after his name. Former state representative - and 2002 nominee - Joe Courtney (D) could be in the right place at the right time. (Previous ranking: N/A)

12. Florida's 22nd District: We've been wary about this race for one main reason -- Elaine Bloom. For those Fix readers who don't know the name, Bloom was the Democrats' nominee in 2000 against Rep. Clay Shaw (R). A state representative, Bloom raised better than $2 million and, in this heavily Jewish district, benefited from the presence of Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman on the national Democratic ticket. In spite of those big advantages, she came up short against Shaw -- albeit it narrowly (losing by just 599 votes). A Republican-led redistricting in 2001 removed the most Democratic areas of the district, and Shaw has won easily since. State Sen. Ron Klein (D) is a top-notch candidate, however, and Shaw's medical problems (he is battling lung cancer) leave open the possibility he will not run again. (Previous ranking: N/A)

11. New Mexico's 1st District: Rep. Heather Wilson (R) has withstood Democrats' slings and arrows since winning this seat in a 1998 special election, but she faces her most difficult race yet in November. State Attorney General Patricia Madrid is a star Democratic recruit and is likely to benefit from the tilt of the national playing field toward her party in a district that gave Kerry 51 percent in 2004. Wilson will raise millions of dollars and run a strong campaign -- just like she has done in each of her reelection races. But it may not be enough this time around. (Previous ranking: N/A)

10. Illinois's 8th District: Investment banker David McSweeney's victory in the March 21 Republican primary could hamper Republican chances here. While the district leans toward Republicans (Bush took 56 percent here in 2004), incumbent Rep. Melissa Bean is likely to once again peel off moderate women who, though they tend to favor the GOP in presidential and statewide races, are open to the right pitch from a Democrat,. McSweeney's personal wealth makes him a legitimate candidate, and Bean must show she can win a race that is a referendum on her time in Congress, not that of her opponent -- as in 2004 when she ousted longtime Republican Rep. Phil Crane. (Previous ranking: 9)

9. Indiana's 9th District: Another rematch from 2004 as former Rep. Baron Hill (D) tries to reclaim the southern Indiana seat he held for three terms until losing to Rep. Mike Sodrel (R) by 1,425 votes. President Bush won the district with 59 percent that year, and Republicans acknowledge that in a non-presidential year Sodrel would likely have come up just short. The political atmosphere has changed markedly since November 2004, a turnaround that should benefit Hill. (Previous ranking: N/A)

8. Pennsylvania's 6th District: The third -- and final -- 2004 rematch on the Line features attorney Lois Murphy (D) taking on Rep. Jim Gerlach (R). Given the Democratic lean of this southeastern Pennsylvania seat, we may have been underestimating Murphy's chances in recent Lines. Gerlach is clearly worried (he, like Shays, voted with Democrats to begin an immediate ethics investigation on members with ties to Abramoff) and has yet to really set down roots in the district, as shown by Gerlach's winning margins -- 51 percent in 2002 and 2004. Murphy should benefit if there is a Democratic wind blowing nationally. (Previous ranking: 10)

7. Indiana's 8th District: Little new to report here. Rep. John Hostettler (R) seems content to run his normal, unorthodox race (no national political consultants, little focus on fundraising). Vanderburgh County Sheriff Brad Ellsworth (D) looks like the right fit for this conservative southern Indiana district. Analysts have been predicting Hostettler's demise for years. Are they finally right? (Previous ranking: 7)

6. Texas's 22nd District: How should we read Rep. Tom DeLay's recent primary victory? On the one hand, he avoided a potentially dangerous runoff by winning 62 percent of the vote. On the other, roughly one-in-four Republican primary voters chose someone other than DeLay, despite the fact that none of the other three candidates were able to raise and spend any considerable sums. We tend to see the primary results as a sign of trouble but are loathe to count out a politician as savvy as DeLay. Former Rep. Nick Lampson (D) has used his congressional connections to raise scads of money, but his time in the House will be mined for evidence of liberalism by Republicans. Add to the mix former Republican Rep. Steve Stockman, who is seeking to run as an Independent, and you have the most intriguing House race in the country. (Previous ranking: 6)

5. Ohio's 18th District: The sentencing this week of lobbyist Jack Abramoff reminded us just how hard it will be for Rep. Bob Ney (R) to win reelection this fall. Despite his assertions to the contrary, Ney appears to be deep in the Abramoff scandal. Ney has pledged to stay in the race whether or not he is indicted, but should that come to pass he would be under enormous political pressure from national Republicans to vacate the seat. Democrats favor Chillicothe Mayor Joe Sulzer as their candidate, but he faces a May 2 primary. (Previous ranking: 5)

4. Arizona's 8th District: Rep. Jim Kolbe's (R) retirement and the subsequent candidacy of former state Rep. Randy Graf (R) make this seat a prime pick-up opportunity for Democrats. Kolbe, who beat back a primary challenge from Graf in 2004, insists that his former opponent is too conservative for this southern Arizona seat, which Bush carried by seven points in 2004. Two leading moderates have entered the Republican primary, but it's not clear that they can defeat Graf who is hoping to ride his ardent opposition to illegal immigration to a primary victory. The Democratic race is between former television anchor Patty Weiss and former state Sen. Gabrielle Giffords. (Previous ranking: 4)

3. Iowa's 1st District: This is the quietest top-tier race in the country. Four Democrats and three Republicans are vying for their party's nomination in June, but there has been almost no back-and-forth between the campaigns as of yet. Attorney Bruce Braley's status as the Democratic frontrunner was cemented when he secured the backing of the Iowa Federation of Labor. The Republican race seems likely to come down to state Rep. Bill Dix and wealthy businessman Mike Whalen. The Democratic nominee will have an edge in this eastern Iowa seat; Kerry carried it by seven points in 2004. (Previous ranking: 3)

2. Ohio's 6th District: As expected, national Republicans are going all out to keep state Sen. Charlie Wilson (D) off the ballot this November following the Democrat's inability to secure the 50 signatures necessary to qualify for the May 2 primary ballot. The National Republican Congressional Committee spent $90,000 on an ad this week detailing Wilson's role in raw sewage being dumped into the Ohio River. Wilson is responding with an ad in which he casts himself as an opponent of President Bush and Ohio Gov. Bob Taft and urges viewers to reject "Republican distortions." Wilson's campaign is also sponsoring an automated call into the district by current Rep. Ted Strickland, who is running for governor, in which Strickland decries the GOP ads. This is still a sticky wicket for Democrats as they must educate voters to write in Wilson's name on the primary ballot. If he becomes the Democratic nominee, this race would likely drop a few slots on the line. State Rep. Chuck Blasdel is the likely Republican nominee. (Previous ranking: 2)

1. Colorado's 7th District: This suburban Denver seat retains its no. 1 ranking. Colorado was one of the few bright spots for Democrats in the last election, as they won an open Senate seat and an open House seat. Any momentum for Democrats is sure to carry over in the 7th District, which was drawn as a swing seat in the 2001 redistricting process. Kerry won it with 51 percent in 2004, and many Republicans believe privately that Rep. Bob Beauprez (R), who is vacating the seat to run for governor, is the only GOPer who could have held the seat. Democrats will have an August primary between former state Sen. Ed Perlmutter and former state Rep. Peggy Lamm. Republicans have aligned behind Rick O'Donnell, former deputy chief of staff to Gov. Bill Owens (R). (Previous ranking: 1)

The Fix's last ranking of House races is online here.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 31, 2006; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  House , The Line  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Crying Foul, Netroots Note Some Big Wins
Next: Focus Grouping the 2008 Dem Field


Is there a list of the Top 25 challengers who raised the most money?

Posted by: Michael Morey | April 24, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse


Congressman Collins Out Raises Opponent... AGAIN!

Fundraising totals show Collins with momentum in GA 8th district race.

Warner Robins, GA - Congressman Mac Collins (Ret. R-GA), has once again out raised Democrat Jim Marshall for a second consecutive quarter in what political analysts are calling the most watched and competitive congressional race in the nation.

Congressman Collins raised $259,544.60 in campaign funds compared to his Democratic challenger Rep. Jim Marshall who raised 21% less than Collins with $201,829.91.

"It is humbling and exciting to get support from so many people that want effective representation in Washington. This campaign is about the people of the 8th district and we will keep talking about the issues that affect them", Congressman Collins said on Saturday.

The majority of Collins Campaign funds for the quarter came from grassroots individuals compared to Marshall who relied on PAC money for almost 50% of his fundraising. Mac Collins raised $207,403.60; while, Marshall's campaign was only able to raise $107,060 from private individuals. Contributions from private individuals may be the most important aspect the first quarter reports of 2006 as they are the first true indicator of candidate support in the new Georgia 8th Congressional District which traditionally votes in support of GOP candidates.

"This report along with our strong grassroots support shows that we have the momentum in this race. Residents of the 8th district are showing that they want a strong, experienced leader to represent them in Washington. They are also showing that what they don't want is a liberal democrat who answers to Nancy Pelosi", said Collins Campaign Spokesman Ted Prill.

Posted by: politics101 | April 17, 2006 2:28 AM | Report abuse

Chris, I'm also curious to your take on the race in the PA 8th district. My feeling is that part of it could really depend on what President Bushs' poll numbers look like, since incumbent Fitzpatrick seems to be a big supporter of the Presidents agenda. Should be intresting.

Posted by: PhillyModerate | April 5, 2006 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I'm curious to your take on Pennsylvania's 8th District just north of Philadelphia. Patrick Murphy is another Iraq war veteran running against a freshman republican. I personally haven't seen any polling on the race, but with Murphy's charisma, war record and relatively moderate stances, will it be enough to seriously challenge in this Republican leaning district?

Posted by: PhillyDem | April 5, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Ohio's First District will get hotter. Cincinnati City Councilman
John Cranley has as much name recognition as the
incumbent, came in first in the council race last November,
knows how to raise money and get press and, most important,
is a native-born West Side Catholic just like the incumbent.
Steve Chabot is in for a fight!

Posted by: CincyDem | April 5, 2006 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I forget if it was JLAGF or viva who claimed that security was the #1 issue for voters, but the following fact may disabuse them of that myth:

Just 9 percent of respondents told a recent ( National Public Radio survey that terrorism and national security was the most important factor in their vote for Congress; the economy and "moral values" topped the list.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | April 4, 2006 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Cegelis endorsed Duckworth today in IL-06. Not sure if that will be enough, there's still a lot of bad feelings.

The Zogby poll cracks me up. Its like he's now actively trying to be inaccurate. Using the internet to poll remains an awful idea.

Posted by: JoshA | April 3, 2006 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the sober and objective analysis, RMill. I think the Dems will gain more seats than that, but what you've compiled is fair and probably more informed than anything else on here. I think in the next few months you'll see more races shifting the Dems' way, for example Chuck Todd indicated to me that OH-15 is likely to end up in his Top 25 next time. Things will solidify as the last filing deadlines pass and we finish more primaries. And we'll start getting a clearer picture of what the issue environment of the year is and how that affects races.

How many more indictments, guilty pleas, chairmanship-strippings, resignations, and convictions are pending from the Abramoff scandal? And the wild card--what if SCOTUS throws out DeLay's TX map and returns it to the previous one? That could mean an easy 5 seat gain for Dems.

OH SEN: We have 2 recent polls. Rasmussen (with questionable methodology, as Chris has written) reports DeWine ahead by 3. Zogby/WSJ find Brown up 9. Those average to a 6 point lead for Brown.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | April 3, 2006 2:18 PM | Report abuse

The polls however, do show a nice rebound for Brown from the Hackett withdrawl. Dems are continuing to come back to him which should build numbers to equal the cons that relent and support DeWine. This one goes down to the wire.

Posted by: RMill | April 3, 2006 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Consensus between The Fix, Sabato and CQ:

I should have also included the Cook Politcal Report. List amended as follows:

All four identified the following as highly competitive (Top 20 - 30/Cook top 36)

CO 7, CT 2, CT 4, FL 22, GA 8*, GA 12*,IA 1, IN 8, IN 9, IL 8*, KY 4, NM 1, OH 6*, OH 18, PA 6, TX 22 and VT (I-D*)
(12 R and 5 D*)NO CHANGE

Three of the four:
AZ 8, CA 50, CO 3*, IA 3*, IN 2, IL 6, LA 3*, MN 6,NC 11, NY 24,
PA 8 and TX 17*
(8 R and 4 D*)

Two of four:
IL 6, NC 8, OH 13*, WA 8, WI 8
(4 R and 1 D*)

Only 1:

AZ 5, FL 13, OH 1, OH 15, SC 5*, WA 2*
(4 R and 2 D*)

Forty races identified by the four with large consensus on 17, moderate consensus on 12 more and 11 others.

Of the Top 40 mostly consensus competitive races, 28 are R-held seats and 12 D seats and one Independant who voted with Dems often.

Say half of the first tier switch parties (we'll say for argument sake 6 and 3 for a Dem net of 3).

In the second tier, we'll go with a third (3 and 1 for net Dem of 2).

This is a net gain of 5 seats for Dems, not enough to retake control.

Further reading shows consensus of the three showing highly likely turnover in the following seats of tier 1: CO 7, IA 1, IN 9, OH 6* and PA 6. Lets say these all switch (4 and 1, net 3 Dem) and the remaining split 50-50 (4 and 2 for Dem net 2). Tier 2 splits the same (4 and 2 for Dem net 2) for a total Dem net of 7.

This is what I had predicted a few weeks ago (March 15- Parsing the Polls- Too Early to see the Wave?)and thus agrees with Cavalier of 5-7 seat pick up for Dems.

The impact of Abramhoff and further developments in Iraq could shift this to a more decisive Democratic year. That remains to be seen.

The final analysis does not change with the inclusion of the Cook Report List. 5 to 7 seats, possibly a wild care in Tier 3 or 4 adds a seat or tow. At this point, I see no more than 9 seats for Dems, more likely 5 -7, unless there is an politicalquake.

Posted by: RMill | April 3, 2006 1:33 PM | Report abuse

LOL, viva doesn't believe in polls this early--that's why he cited the Rasmussen one!

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | April 3, 2006 11:45 AM | Report abuse

MoveOn is running TV ads starting today against Deborah Pryce (OH-15), Thelma Drake (VA-2), Chris Chocola (IN-2), and Nancy Johnson (CT-5).

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | April 3, 2006 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Right now the polls are fluid and only a snapshot of the moment, hardly a predictor of anything for sure.

Any candidate with 50% poll favorability is in good shape for the moment and certainly up until November.
My guess is that that will be the case with Brown and Dewine. GOP cons are what are holding down his #'s for now and until he can win them over, they may sit it out.
It's DeWine's race to lose.

Posted by: vivabush04OH | April 3, 2006 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I love using Republican polls for races because it sets the floor and any republican candidate who is within the margin of error or losing in a republican firms polls is in big trouble. However, someone took me to task some weeks ago for only using Rasmussen as a source, so while Chris was on vacation, I used the "downtime" to compile as much polling data as possible from a number of sources, namely ARG, Mason-Dixon, Quinnipiac, Survey USA and WSJ/Zogby. There is also a scattering of other local state polls.

Yes, Rasmussen has DeWine up 45 -42% (within the polls margin of error). WSJ/Zogby has the race at Brown 45.9% to DeWine's 37%. Survey USA has DeWine's approval rating at 46%, below the 50% generally the beginning of the comfort zone for incumbants.

Posted by: RMill | April 3, 2006 10:09 AM | Report abuse

You ask about Tom Sawyer's lead in OH-13?

FYI, the Cleveland Plain Dealer gave a strong endorsement Friday to Sawyer based on two things--experience as a former MC and, a reputation for working with the majority caucus, something which Brown was unable and unwilling to do, thus losing $$ for us constituents.

Given the shortness of the primary campaign, Sawyer is up due to his greater name recognition over all the others.

If Sawyer wins he will prove what a paper tiger labor is since they are backing Sutton and Cafaro big time. Brown is another loser since he is backing Sutton.I've met Sutton and think she is pleasant and capable, certainly not a demogogue like Brown.

I am yet to meet Sawyer and will this Wednesday. I have always admired his gutsy vote for NAFTA in 1993, a vote which lost him the 2002 race with Tim Ryan.

Will it lose him votes in November? Enough to tip the race to Lorain GOP Mayor Craig Foltin who is anti-Nafta?

Stand by...

Posted by: vivabush04OH | April 2, 2006 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Sherrod Brown is not ultraliberal?

He along with 57 other Dem Reps is a member of the Progressive Congressional Caucus, a far-left wing group that can be found on the web site of the Democratic Socialists of America.

By the time November rolls around Ohio voters will see a race between Mike DeWine and Che Guevarra.

Sure Brown has been elected 6 times from OH 13 but he will see that Ohio is not the 13th and he's not in Lorain anymore.

This guy is anti-capitalist, pro-abortion, tax and spend, anti-war, anti-Patriot act pro gay marriage--all positions that do not resonate with middle America Ohio.

Today's Rassmussen has DeWine up on Brown 45-42. These are similar stats for Kerry- Bush in Ohio 2 years ago, largely due to Ohio voters not knowing Kerry but once they did...well, can we say "loser."

Posted by: vivabush04OH | April 2, 2006 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Laura Ruderman is who I was thinking of. She'd be a strong challenger to Dave Reichert in WA-8.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | April 1, 2006 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Big Dave: You talk big, but not necessarily logically or fact-based. Can you specify which 45, let alone 100, districts you think Democrats can win this fall?

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | April 1, 2006 11:49 PM | Report abuse

No, not Thibadeau, she was my state senator in Seattle. I'm thinking of the woman from the Eastside, likely Bellevue.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | April 1, 2006 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Sandwich repair

You are probably think of Pat Thibaudeau, Senate Majority Caucus Leader from WA-43.

Posted by: RMill | April 1, 2006 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Dems could pickup 90-100 seats if they would hammer home the message that a vote for a Republican is a vote for a Christian version of the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. Dems should run commericals morphing republicans into Osama Bin Laden quickly detailing how the GOP has helped Osama Bin Laden accomplish almost every goal he had in the middle east.

Posted by: big dave from queens | April 1, 2006 8:41 PM | Report abuse

IN a year like this, EVERY democratic incumbent should be safe. Then any retiring republican in a tossup district should go Democratic. Throw in any district in which Bush got 51-55% of the vote and you're talking Democrat in charge.

We could conceivably pickup 45 seats, far more than the 16 we now need. Look for California and NY to provide a few, along with CT. Then Dems pickup a few seats out west in Arizona and Colorado, chalk up 2-3 in Florida, 1-2 in Texas, add maybe 2-3 through the rest of the deep South, but then expect major Democratic gains in PA + Ohio. Throw in another 1 in Minnesota, another couple in Illinois and Indiana, + a couple of squeakers in areas like MIssouri, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Posted by: big dave from queens | April 1, 2006 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Laura: Probably the best bet would be that female state senator, from the 45th district I think. Forget her name at the moment...

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | April 1, 2006 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Bean's upset in IL-8 was no sudden surprise. There were weeks of warnings that Phil Crane was about to go down. Sodrel's upset caught me off guard.

Actually, polling shows that defense and security are NOT the top issue priorities for Americans. And in fact, Democrats have the people's trust to handle Iraq over the Republicans, who are now dead even in public trust on handling terrorism. Iraq is the main reason why Bush's approval ratings have been below 40% longer than any president since Jimmy Carter; just over 1/3 of Americans now support the war in Iraq. Americans trust Dems more on education, health care, and the economy too. There is virtually no issue left where Republicans have an advantage. I don't know what Kool-Aid you're drinking, but even inside Republicans admit that they're going to lose seats in both houses of Congress this year, the only question is how many. Half the country supports Russ Feingold's resolution to censure President Bush--hardly a ringing condemnation of Democrats' patriotism. What have the Republicans even done to catch bin Laden? They attacked a country that had nothing to do with al Qaeda or 9/11. Osama is still free. The Republicans are not the party of security or terrorism prevention; just starting needless wars to kill innocent people and drain our public coffers. The national debt has almost doubled since Bush took office--they can't even run on fiscal responsibility anymore; just unaffordable tax cuts for wealthy campaign contributors.

Sherrod Brown is hardly an ultra-liberal. How then do you explain his winning statewide elections twice and being elected to Congress 7 times? How do you explain the latest poll by Zogby and the Wall Street Journal showing Brown ahead of DeWine 46-37? DeWine's base is upset with him--witness all the county Republican parties failing to endorse him. Meanwhile Brown is talking about issues people care about: health care, jobs, trade--and has positions and solutions on those that are much more closely aligned with most Ohioans than DeWine. Is he going to campaign on Gov. Taft's 14% approval rating? The loss of 220,000 manufacturing jobs from the state? We already saw him boycott Bush in his Cleveland trip this week.

Mike: Can you offer a single shred of evidence that Doc Hastings is vulnerable in WA-4? I'm trying not to laugh at your contention. You might as well say that Butch Otter's vacant seat in Idaho is ripe for a Democratic gain.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | April 1, 2006 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Why haven't Dems found a better candidate than Darcy Burner? There's no way she'll beat Dave Reichert, and he should be vulnerable. At age 35, with no prior political experience, and a job doing marketing for (puke) Micro$oft, she's not the person her boosters would like you to think. Isn't there a local politician who can jump in and save this race???

Posted by: Laura | April 1, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Polls do not matter now that FRAUDULENT ELECTIONS are rampant. Watch 2006 and see, it'll be just like '02 and '04, "the dems were leading in all the polls, but when the results came in...."

Posted by: Organik | April 1, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

No one in Ohio is left of Dennis Kucinich.

Posted by: RMill | April 1, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't count on a Duckworth victory in Il-6. The extremely heavy-handed way in which the Democratic establishment (with the exception of the DNC and Dean) destroyed the candidacy of Cegelis has left a very bitter taste and will propably suppress Democratic votes. In addition, Duckworth, despite her press, comes across as a well-prepped, but vacuous candidate with little real understanding of the problems facing the voters in the district.

In Il-8, Bean has greatly disappointed her base by voting for bills that will hurt them, such as CAFTA and the bankruptcy bill. I don't think that she will inspire Democratic voters to come out for her since she is viewed as being indistinguishable from an Illinois Republican.

Posted by: alta | April 1, 2006 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Mark my words. Richard Wright (D) is going to defeat incumbent Doc Hastings (R) in Washington State's 4th Congressional District.

Posted by: Mike | April 1, 2006 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Regarding No. 1: Kolorado's 7th and wingnut Bob Beauprez's political ambitions to be state governor, I submit the following summation of his (among other Kolorful Khristian Kolorado Krazies') Kharacter:

With the Littleton Killins’ and the slappin’ around of his girlfriend, Gloria Sanak, by the Colorado House Speaker Doug Dean, the Kolorado State Legislature tabled and den enacted der concealed weapons bill, and have set itself to the meanful’ task o’resurrectin’ their Hate State image by pennin’ - the libretto to
The Miscarriage of Figaro
(An Opera in One Unnatural Act)

Out at Count Ramsey’s ranch near Boulder (or was it Littleton), Colo-raidar House Speaker/Hairstylist Doug Dean Figaro is measurin’ the stable of his horse, Columbine, with his common law live-in, O. Suzanna Sanak, when she drops the news that the boss’s gonna be takin’ her into Denver for a night of internet messin’ around. Enraged, DD Figaro draws his concealed 380 automatic, wildly brandishin’ it in the aria “Save-a me no balonie”. Meanwhile Republican Party Sheriff Bartolo Beauprez and his assistant Marcelina Gail Norton arrive to serve Focus on the Family summons on Figaro because of his moral bankruptcy. However, when Marcelina sees Figaro for the first time and starts making eyes at him (she wants him to do some drillin’ up north), O. Suzanna draws her Smith and Wesson from behind an empty milk pail religiously engaging Marcelina in the aria “Porkie Amorite”.

But before she’s through, a young high school junior name Cherubino, who has been rejected by the Born Again and Again Christian Reich because he’s a mezzo soprano and didn’t make track and field, enters the stable in a black, swastika-paisleyed trench coat. Because the Count also fired his favorite role models, Columnist Cal Thomas, Colo. State Rep. Charles Duke and Marilyn Manson, he lets loose a few “seig heils” in his openin’ recitative, grabs a horse whip belongin’ to Ramsey’s wife, Patsy (which she once used regularly in beauty pageants), and sings his lively hate aria “Not so pukey a sound”. Upon hearin’ the Count approach down from his Boulder spread in his armor-plated Mercedes SL, Cherubino pulls out a concealed pipe bomb from the trench coat to lob at him. But before he can, O. Suzanna and Marcelina pull him back, snuff him a little arsenic, and hide him behind a stack of hay in the corner of the stable.

Gunfire is heard just off stage of the stable door with Ramsey’s (the Great) singin’ “Oh Suzanna” in German. [Most of the work is actually written in Republican with Moral Majority supertitles] No sooner has the Count entered center stage with Colt automatics in both hands than he hears the voice of the Boulder District Attorney. (legally a bass) The Count himself hides in the same haystack displacing Cherubino. Enraged, the Count points both barrels at the little revenge seekin’ Cain. But before he fires, Figaro brings in the entire Denver Press Corp to interview the Count about his latest business adventure: wiring Elitch Gardens with high explosives to protect the Promise Keepers from gay influence attacks.

Ramsey temporizes on his family values’ pyramid schemes. But when the Count hears Figaro, now fully anointed and Republicanized by Marcelina and Bartolo, evangelize Cherubino in the sprightly, judgmental aria, “No puny android”, he too can’t help choiring his religious ridicule at the diminutive outcast. Finally as the two chorus the last refrain (“Cherubino, la victoria a la gloria militar.”), Cherubino starts laughin’ and lets go his pipe bomb at the Count. The mid-proscenium blowout quarters the Count all over the stage, dispatches Marcelina and Bartolo permanently back to Pikes Peak, and takes out the second violins. Members of the Press Corp draw their concealed weapons (mostly magnums) to swat Cherubino who likewise takes aim at his favored tormentor, Figaro. The curtain falls in a mile high hail of F-flat gunfire with O. Suzanna defendin’ herself with the whip subpoenaed by the Boulder DA. (still legally a bass) MORAL: taxpayers and 911 are saved mucho $.

Once completed, the libretto will be tendered to Governor (and self-styled administrative Mozart) Bill Owens for musical (as well as political) scorin’--probably in a minor key. The opera has already been scheduled for a Red Rocks premier by the KrisTian KoaliTion Khorus, Ralph Reed, Director, with a return engagement by National Rifle Lyric Symphony Orchestra, Charlton Heston conductin’—complete with his Moses’ staff (Joshua, Miriam, Aaron & God) who promise to give new meanin’ to the term “Partin’ o’the Red Sea.”

Posted by: Will Wyche | April 1, 2006 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Something to see would be the reaction of the American public (who loves so much to sleep through national disasters and scams) if every one of these elections resulted in ''upset victories'' of Repubs 51/Dems 49 percent a la Bush/Gore, Bush/Kerry, a la Diebold voting machines, etc. etc. Would ''We the People'' ignore such mass fraud or would we at last rise up and demand our rights?

Posted by: rick | April 1, 2006 9:18 AM | Report abuse

"Andrew" makes some interesting comments regarding polls. Actually, they mean nothing whether they are right or wrong. Turnout is the key factor in winning or losing mid-term elections. And.....when the campaign gets going in earnest, and the faces of Reid, Pelosi, McKinney, Murtha, Feingold, Sheehan, get plastered before the American public ranting their aiding and betting our enemies scenerio, the Pubbie base will turn out big time, even though the Pubbies and GW Bush have been whimps of the highest order!!! It happened in 2000, 2002, 2004, and it will happen again in 2006. Come on, lets face it, would you want weak sisters like Reid and Pelosi heading the ship of state. Shucks, the Dems will lead you to the stairway to heaven prematurely. Bin Laden and company will have a ball. There is only one enemy that can do the USA in, and that is the American people.

Posted by: JLAGRAYFOX | April 1, 2006 9:17 AM | Report abuse

You want an upset? I'll go out on a limb and predict one in the Senate. I predict that Webb will defeat Allen, as long as Webb is the Dem nominee (which is far from guaranteed). Also I predict that DeWine will retain his seat.

Webb is a tough guy, a former Reagan republican, and a good fit for his state (VA). Allen is an empty suit who got lucky enough to be Guv during good times. Allen is not very impressive when I hear him talk. He speaks in empty platitudes.

DeWine is a good fit for his state (moderate republican) and Sherrod Brown is to the left of Kucinnich. While the GOP has a lot of state level problems in OH right now, I doubt that affects the senator enough to elect an ultra-liberal.

Posted by: andrewp111 | April 1, 2006 8:25 AM | Report abuse

I have no solid info about the house races, but the anecdotal feeling out there seems very bad for the GOP. It seems like GOP voters are quite a bit demoralized at the same time the dems are very hungry. Also, the so-called "moderates" who get their news from TV have turned against the GOP. If this is predictive of turnout the dems will win landslides. The generic house polls are also bad. Of course similar predictions were made in the past based on similar generic polls, and we all know what happened then.. It is early, though, and a lot of things can change.

Posted by: Andrewp111 | April 1, 2006 8:17 AM | Report abuse

I think JLAGrayFox is rather biased. There may be the perception that the Republicans are "stronger" on national security, but that is a mere illusion. George Bush and crew has fought many sensible Democratic initiatives about spending on port security, etc. Bush (who originally opposed the Department of Homeland Security) has let the department become a "pork-barrell" enterprise, instead of helping to try to preserve endangered areas.

JLAGrayFox view of history is also skewed. First, events that took place in 1812 and 1864 hold absolotuely zero relevance today. Second, JLAGrayFox ignores completely the reasons why the parties at the time ran the candidates that they chose to run.

Polling would indicate that JLAGray Fox's assetion that the Democrats are viewed as "unpatriotic" by large swaths of the American public is simply untrue. At some points, the normally conservative public has become so frustrated with Bush's handling of the war on terror that they have indicated that they would like the Democrats to be in charge of handling the issue.

Posted by: Jeremy | April 1, 2006 7:59 AM | Report abuse

At the end of the day, no matter what Stu Rothenberg says, the Dems are going nowhere. The only issue that really counts is defense and security, and the Dems are woefully weak on this, and the American people know it. As for the insightful Mr. Rothenberg, he predicted that Tom Delay could likely lose his congressional seat in the recent Texas primary because of Republican voter distaste of his "Activities". Mr. Rothenberg was wrong as he has been for the past few years. Delay garnered 64% of the primary vote, and will go on to holding his seat this fall. If you want to know the real skinny, the Pubbies will pick up three (3) Senate seats and six (6) to twelve (12) House seats. Now, 2008 may be different, but Hillary Clinton isn't going anywhere!!! Only the Democrats, could screw this election up, after the Pubbies have stumbled all over themselves. I guess they never learned from their "copperhead" friends in opposing Lincoln with an idiot like George McClellan!!! And....they are going to take the same wrath from the voters that the Federalists took in opposing Madison and Jackson during the war of 1812. I just love these pundits living in their own little bubble worlds. It's rough being a Democrat when a good portion of the electorate considers them traitors to the USA!!! Democrat, Ms. Cynthia McKinney is a very good example of this lunacy!!! Open your eyes to reality pundits!!!, the American people do not consider most Democrats as patriotic. End of story!!!

Posted by: JLAGrayFox | April 1, 2006 3:14 AM | Report abuse

I find it interesting that people make their predictions for the house in general based on seat by seat analysis, yet even in a very stable year like 04 there were some major upsets (aka. Bean). That's what's exciting about election night, someone will pull off an unexpected victory, the question is who.

Posted by: charlie | April 1, 2006 3:09 AM | Report abuse

I think it is more accurate to describe Bernie Sanders as a "Social Democrat" than a socialist.

Posted by: DavidNYC | April 1, 2006 1:07 AM | Report abuse

TO STAN in DAYTON: I read the online article because the title of the article proclaiming the "Democratic Edge" CAUGHT MY EYE - and reinforced my observation that the WP affirms the "democratic edge" warranted or not. I responded because the WA-POST reaches many people. I do not want their shoddy ethical and journalistic practices to go completely unremarked.

In addition: When Gen. Patton was questioined as to how he defeated German Gen. Goebels, he said (I parahrase), "I read his book."


Jeanette" wrote:

"As an inveterate reader of news, I have, for many years kept up with local and national news and news media.

I have come to discount the news out of the WA-POST because fact is so intermingled with fiction, that it takes too long to sort out.

As a former teacher, I am mindful that the most damning thing a purveyor of knowlege/information can have said about them is that they are discounted - and discounted you are, WA-POST.

I can't COUNT on a thing you say........"

So just why are you on the Washington Post website? Makes no sense to me.

In fact it's so senseless, that I can't COUNT on a thing that "Jeanette" says.

Posted by: Stan in Dayton | March 31, 2006 10:53 AM

Posted by: Jeanette | March 31, 2006 11:57 PM | Report abuse

If all of Chris' top 20 seats here switch hands, and no other seat does, the Dems will gain 10 seats.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | March 31, 2006 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Oh, we're definitely going to pick up more House seats this year than we have since 1996--if not more! Stuart Rothenberg has already written that the Dems could gain 20+ seats this fall.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | March 31, 2006 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Quoth RMill: "The impact of Abramhoff and further developments in Iraq could shift this to a more decisive Democratic year. That remains to be seen."

Yes, these shoes have yet to drop. But.

No way any good news comes out of Abramoff for the Repubs. Unless it's that there are no collateral indictments of Reps based on his testimony prior to the elections. Justice Attorneys may be forced into a go-slow mode by delayed or withheld higher-up approvals, but it strains credulity to think they can put the impact of the lobbying scandal off for eight whole months.

No way there is any actual good news out of Iraq ever again. Their gov't structure is a shell solely propped up by Administration hot air. Massacres, executions, maimings, roadside bombings, there is no way to defend against that stuff except to have put in enough troops to begin with.

Either factor would be a multiplier for Dem chances that cancels out the Repub financing advantage. Effectively the whole climate is one where the Dems have the equivalent of a country-wide financial advantage.

The Lying, Spying, Torture, Corruption and Incompetence Congress and Administration might still survive, especially if they manage to outlaw sources of Dem money while protecting their own.

But based on current trends, a 5-7 seat Dem House gain looks pretty much like a floor, not a ceiling.

Posted by: slangist | March 31, 2006 7:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm particularly intrigued with PA 8. The Dems have an Iraq war veteran who is raising money named Patrick Murphy running. The Dem candidate in 2004 was very weak as it turned out she had not ovted in half the local elections. THe district did go for Kerry in 2004 and the Republican Congressman, Mike Fitzpatrick is pro-life (in a somewhat liberal Philly suburb) and only been there for one term. I wonder if this race should crack the top twenty? I do agree that Patrick does not have as great a chance as Lois Murphy in the PA 6 (another Philly suburb) to win.

There seems to be a lot of Democratic candidates named Murphy making decent challenges this year. At least three so far.

Posted by: Jeremy | March 31, 2006 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Gallup is registering a 16 point advantage for Democrats in the generic ballot test. That's the biggest lead they've had since 1982 (when they gained 26 seats). This is going to be a blowout year for Democrats.

Somehow the 40 year old argument about CT-4 doesn't remotely convince me. I wasn't even born then! In fact I think about half of all Americans weren't. Voting trends in the US have shifted DRAMATICALLY since 1966. Remember the Solid South? Where is it today? CT hasn't elected a Republican Senator since 1982, and it hasn't voted for a Republican presidential nominee since 1988. The times they are a-changin!

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | March 31, 2006 6:12 PM | Report abuse

What's going on in the Democratic primary race in OH-13? Why would Sawyer be blowing Sutton away so handily?

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | March 31, 2006 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Stick a fork in Clay Shaw, he is done. That race is Klein's to lose.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | March 31, 2006 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I want to deeply thank you for expanding this list from 10 to 20 seats. I know it's double the writing, analysis, etc. but I think it will help all of us following the House immensely.

Have you seen the latest news and poll numbers out of Ohio??? Rasmussen just came out with a poll showing Strickland at 50% in the Governor's race, 10 points ahead of Blackwell and 13 ahead of Petro! I think the discussion on that race should be switching from whether Strickland will win to how long his coattails will be. Along those lines, note that Roll Call this week reported on a poll showing Mary Jo Kilroy trailing Rep. Deborah Pryce just 44-41; and Pryce has a 33 point advantage in name recognition! And that was BEFORE today's story in the Columbus Dispatch about Pryce's office claiming not to have known of a request from Franklin County for $700,000 to reimburse it for overtime it paid to catch the I-270 sniper (MD, VA, and DC were compensated for our sniper in 2002).

Pryce is in serious trouble. I think OH-15 will be moving up the analysts' lists of House races soon, and you might want to give a hard look at including it in your next top 20.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | March 31, 2006 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Zippy, but have you seen him lately. He seems to be losing it. If Roberts and Alito don't tow the line he could burst a blood vessel.

We won't hold our breath, but maybe he will hold his. :)

Posted by: Cavalier | March 31, 2006 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Keep your eye on NY-20. It is understandable that you might not list it in your top 20 but as we get closer to election time watch for this campaign to creep up your list of likely turn-overs.

Especially as the NY Republican party fights it's own internal battle over their future minority share of power.

All 9 Republican held House seats in NY are vulnerable. The question is which one's will have solid candidates with serious funding and a real field organization to retire the incumbent.

Watch for Kirsten Gillibrand in NY-20.

Posted by: Andrew C. White | March 31, 2006 5:16 PM | Report abuse


There is always Scalia though

Posted by: zippydw | March 31, 2006 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Wow RMill, You got my head swimming but a good analysis nonetheless.

I'd live with a -5-7 next November, assuming all remains status quo.

Things will look slightly clearer once the primaries are over and we know who is matching up.

Posted by: vivabush04OH | March 31, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Consensus between The Fix, Sabato and CQ:

All three identified the following as highly competitive (Top 20 - 30)

CO 7, CT 2, CT 4, FL 22, GA 8*, GA 12*, IA 1, IN 8, IN 9, IL 8*, KY 4, NM 1, OH 6*, OH 18, PA 6, TX 22 and VT (I-D*)
(12 R and 5 D*)

Two of the three:

AZ 8, CA 50, CO 3*, IA 3*, IN 2, IL 6, LA 3*, MN 6, NC 8, NC 11, NY 24, OH 13*, PA 8 and TX 17*
(9 R and 5 D*)

Only 1:

FL 13, IL 6, WA 8, WI 8
(5 R and 0 D)

Thirty six races identified by the three with large consensus on 17, moderate consensus on 14 more and 5 others.

Of the Top 30 + 1 (VT-I) mostly consensus competitive races, 21 are R-held seats and 9 D seats and one Independant who voted with Dems often.

Say half of the first tier switch parties (we'll say for argument sake 6 and 3 for a Dem net of 3).

In the second tier, we'll go with a third (3 and 1 for net Dem of 2).

This is a net gain of 5 seats for Dems, not enough to retake control.

Further reading shows consensus of the three showing highly likely turnover in the following seats of tier 1: CO 7, IA 1, IN 9, OH 6* and PA 6. Lets say these all switch (4 and 1, net 3 Dem) and the remaining split 50-50 (4 and 2 for Dem net 2). Tier 2 splits the same (3 and 1 for Dem net 2) for a total Dem net of 7.

This is what I had predicted a few weeks ago (March 15- Parsing the Polls- Too Early to see the Wave?)and thus agrees with Cavalier of 5-7 seat pick up for Dems.

The impact of Abramhoff and further developments in Iraq could shift this to a more decisive Democratic year. That remains to be seen.

Posted by: RMill | March 31, 2006 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Zippy. I like your thinking. There is always Anthony Kennedy.

Posted by: Cavalier | March 31, 2006 2:54 PM | Report abuse


Who knows. There might be 5 more if the Supremes decide in time that the DeLay redistricting is unconstitutional. Would that be a glorious mess......

Real outside shot :-)

RMill-I spotted the #10 on IL-8 after I hammered out the submittal. Thanks

Posted by: zippydw | March 31, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse

The problem with being a budding pundit today is that it's really hard to accept the degree to which House elections are no longer competitive. We all just want to believe something interesting can happen here.

The truth is, however, that the last real opportunity for the Democrats to retake the House was 2000, and only then because the GOP was only 5 seats away from Control, not 15.

Since then (and really since 1996) the House has become the equivalent of the British LONG PARLIAMENT, where no general elections were held and only special elections contested. In this case the general is pointless everywhere except in open seats, only SOME of THEM are truly competitive and the opposition is typically defending a number of those.

We'd like to think that the GOP could be in danger in this year's election, if only for some form of suspense here, but the truth is it doesn't matter much what the GOP does, there is literally NO CHANCE, short of documented treason, that the GOP will lose any more than about 9 seats, let alone control.

Of the 20 mentioned only 3 are genuine national bellweathers: (CO-7),(AZ-8th),(NY 24th). The Ohio-6th was botched. Who is going to bother to write-in someone who doesn't care enough to get 50 names?

Iowa's 1st will probably go the way of it's occupant's gubernatorial campaign: Nussle has a good reputation as a reformer and budget cutter, but it's still open.

That's 4.

Ney is toast. Collateral damage of the former Majority Leader. The only sure thing. Delay, however, unless he is acrtually convicted of something, will survive. His constitutency is still right-wing enough for them to believe the accusations are merely partisan. His two opponents (1 Dem/1 Ind)are previously defeated incumbents who faced each other in 1996. Both have since been defeated, a death mark for future candidacies.

That also leaves out IN-9th and Ky-4th. Even if the incumbent had retired they'd lose the open seats for this reason.

That's only 5.

As such, retreads are just a no go. Many times they do well in an election because the incumbent got lazy, in effect LETTING the challenger nearly win.

The rule is people want someting new, not yesterday's news. In these cases, on the other hand, had the incumbent retired it would be a different story (remember john Ensign in NV lost to Harry Ried in '98 and then came back in an open race) but they haven't, and so it's not. Unless the incumbent just lets the seat go by being stupid (not beyond their capabilities mind you), the second time is NOT the charm.

That leaves out FL-22, Ct-2nd, Ct-4th, and PA-6th.

THe one caveat of this incumbent controlled-environment is that an incumbent from a different office can make it competitive: Heather Wilson in NM-1st is therefore vulnerable to the state's Attorney General.

Melissa Bean in the IL-8th won a GOP district by beating a 15-term veteran (that's 30 years) who got lazy one-time too many. She's ripe for plucking.

Rainville in VT can win, but in Dean country she's going to have to stay as far away from President W. as possible.

We're at 8.

Henry Hyde's district is pretty Republican, (The Hyde amendment outlawed federal abortion funding) but Roskam could make an *ss of himself defending the War: 9.

That leaves Edwards (Tx-17th) and Marshall (GA-8th), Democrats who in contesting GOP territory have shown HOW IT'S DONE.

So we stand at only 9 real possible turn-overs: 7 Republicans and 2 Democrats defending.

So a good Democratic year is probably 5-7 seats, probably a surprise or two thrown into the mix. So 8 or 9 at most in a very good year for the Dems.

But that's in a party Democratic year.

So what it looks like is this: Short of documented treason the Democrats have NO chance of winning the House (or the Senate for that matter) in '06.

In fact, the big news is that they could even win the popular vote for the House nationally while they go on to lose the chamber again. (I believe that will happen. Hello, Deja Vu.)

If they close the gap, however, '08 could be a different story.

Posted by: Cavalier | March 31, 2006 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Bill wrote:

I guess now the paper takes sides?

You have misunderstood the context here pretty dramatically. They've been wary of putting this race into the Friday Line because a past Dem candidate who should have done well did not. The implication being that the Repub incumbent is in a lot better shape than he would appear otherwise. Nothing to do with taking sides.

Although it's funny to see Chris always getting bashed for leaning too Dem/too Repub! Must be doing something right :)

Posted by: Beth | March 31, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse


If you want to see news about IA-01, pick up major newspapers from across the country. Brian Kennedy made front-page news in both the Chicago Tribune and the Houston Chronicle for his tough stance on illegal immigration. If you care to research, it's all on his

Posted by: ProudIowan | March 31, 2006 2:21 PM | Report abuse


IL 8 is ranked at #10

Many of you are probably aware but for those who are interested, there is a good list of 50 races to watch at Sabato's Crystal Ball, which includes the Dirty 30 plus 20 to watch. Many of the races discussed here are handicapped at that site.

There is also the CQ Politics site which assigned risk assessments to each race.

Others I neglected to mention but are worth looking into:

NV 2, NY 20, PA 8, WA 8

Posted by: RMill | March 31, 2006 2:20 PM | Report abuse


I found your come-back most intriguing. It is an insightful addition to this thread- Really-no kidding.

Are you Karen Hughes by some chance? Very nice turn of the phrase to redirect discussion of a very complex issue to a simple, emotional, irrelevant preconception and values loaded reference. (I avoided that path by ending where I did in my comment.)

"Smart"? I'm old enough to have stepped in my share of "it" and hit my share of home runs.....I'm sure that is the case for most folks sharing the Human Condition. "Smart"- an meaningless word on its face in context of a seemingly flip comment. But the "fear" value comes through loud and clear. I prefer not to tailor actions based on the paranoia of the 60's. But not everyone is past that.

My comment was simply intended to illustrate that some people appreciate diversity and the synergy it brings, while others do not.

And since the President's party clearly has little appreciation for diversity, areas traditionally and thoroughly steeped in that party's values is unlikely to support a new voice.

Q.E.D. Democrats really don't stand a chance there! No harm no foul.

Posted by: zippyd | March 31, 2006 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Just noticed someone talking about WA-8, that's one of the WA districts in heavy play. There are a lot of supposedly safe R seats that aren't this year, as well.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | March 31, 2006 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Nothing for WA or MT?

The word on the ground in both states is major upsets going down.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | March 31, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I remember hearing all this same stuff in 2002 and 2004. Don't put a lot of stock in polls weighted with 10% more Dems in a country where the GOP has solidly won the House, Senate and Presidency.

And as Evan Thomas of Newsweek noted, Dems get a 15 point bump from the media, which tends to fade once the public starts actually hearing from politicians instead of being told what to think about them from a media that self-describes as 5:1 liberal. This is why the GOP got a boost from the 2004 RNC convention while the Dems got nothing.

Posted by: TallDave | March 31, 2006 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Glad I do not pay to read this paper, this is basically a cheering section for the Democrats. this is such a telling comment "We've been wary about this race for one main reason -- Elaine Bloom. For those Fix readers who don't know the name, Bloom was the Democrats' nominee in 2000 against Rep. Clay Shaw (R)." I guess now the paper takes sides?

Posted by: Bill | March 31, 2006 1:40 PM | Report abuse

You've got to start looking at WA-8. First termer Dave Reichert is facing a tough challenge from Darcy Burner in a district that has been trending Democrat for years, and loves to elect women.

Burner is a sleeper, a hard worker and good campaigner, who is beginning to open some eyes in DC with her fundraising prowess... almost entirely from individual donors. She is also a perfect fit for the district. (See her profile in The Stranger: )

To make things even tougher on Reichert, the local blogs are going to make sure he gets the kind of personal scrutiny he didn't get two years ago.

Posted by: Gordon | March 31, 2006 1:20 PM | Report abuse

While the GOP has many, many faults, the Dems often don't offer a better alternative (See Kerry 2004).

Mass illegal immigration is the #1 issue in 2006 and the #1 threat to the future of the United States. While the GOP is divided on the issue, the Dems are united in selling out this country to fight for a few more votes. If the Dems regained control they would surrender this country to Mexico.

Both parties are wrong, but there are only a handful of GOP members left fighting for us.

Posted by: VA Patriot | March 31, 2006 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Chris, what about the Wisconsin 8th?

Even Dick Cheney's recent visit to the district to shore up support for John Gard [before district voters even have a chance to choose between him and his primary opponent -- a big no-no in Wisconsin] and to impugn the character and patriotism of Russ Feingold [another no-no here] doesn't make this seat a lock for the GOP. As you have pointed out before, one only has to look at Jay Johnson taking the seat for the Dems in the 1990s. And the Dems have an even better chance this year.

Posted by: WI 8th Gal | March 31, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse


1. The races are local, but what is making swing voters take notice is how their local republicans are wedded to the disastrous agenda of their national party leaders.

2. The generical congressional number is far more relevant this year when it's (a) the biggest gap in 20 years and (b) coupled with historically low approval ratings for Bush, Cheney and other Republican leaders.

3. Compare the fundraising and organizational status of Dem challengers this year to where it was in 2004 at this time, or where either party's challengers were in previous years at the end of the 1st quarter, and you'll see there's a real difference. Dems in at least 30 R seats are ready and able to run serious races and are already ramping up their fights.

Posted by: 3 Races in CT | March 31, 2006 12:44 PM | Report abuse


Your premise is all wrong on IA 1. Rather than "no back and forth", I'd say it's been a back alley knife fight between the Republican candidates. Mike Whalen, one of your front runners, has a serious FEC complaint filed against him on illegal corporate ads being used to promote his campaign. Whalen is a no-show at most major events, and has hit his ceiling among activists in the district. While he has residual name ID from years of advertising for his businesses, his support is a mile wide and an inch deep.

Dix has been mired down in the Statehouse, and his feeble attempt to pass a measure stopping illegal immigrants from obtaining mortgages died a silent death in the Iowa Senate. For a guy who is running on his record, he's going to have to answer to a lot of questions about his stewardship of the ballooning Iowa budget and spending excesses.

Kennedy trails in fundraising, but not in attacking the issues, sewing up party activists, and campaigning like there's no tomorrow. Dix won't open his mouth to make a statement, as his familiarity with federal issues is almost nill. Whalen can't open his mouth, because his handlers are afraid he's gonna blow a gasket publicly and let his ego show through.

This race is between Kennedy and Dix. One may have the money, but the other one has the ideas, activists, and issues.

Posted by: Bill | March 31, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Every two years, we hear the generic polls show dems beating republicans. In 1994, the dems were ahead in the generic poll by 5% points. I think these are all local races, and Bush doesn't even factor in them. The ethics issues will bug the voters most.
I think it is funny that zippy criticizes his relatives for leaving one state for another and the way they vote. Zippy, did they leave a high crime/bad school area for a better one? Maybe they are much smarter than you.

Posted by: Karen | March 31, 2006 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I wish the entire country was as knowledgable about local races as this group appears to be.

Thank you all for adding to the list Chris made.

Posted by: Dan | March 31, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse


IA-01 has been anything but quiet. Not much has been said by the Dems, but on the GOP side you have one candidate (Whalen) with a pending investigation by the FEC hanging over his campaign for violating campaign finance laws, and a lot of back and forth on immigration. Brian Kennedy, who you left off your summary, has been the leader on the issue, which is really taking off among Republicans across the district.

Posted by: ProudIowan | March 31, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse


I'd like to agree with you but alot of my cousins and extended family have moved to the conservative exurbs around Valpo...ultra white flighters from Illinois. I am not hopeful for Indiana.

They wouldn't vote democratic if the Republicans ran a chimpanzee-trained or untrained...Hey they voted solid for the president last time....

I think Ohio is in for a really cathartic change though.It's on my normal travel route. I thought it was going to swing democratic in 2004. But this time alot of conservatives may sit it out.

Posted by: zippydw | March 31, 2006 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I think the CT-02 (Simmons-Courtney) and CT-04 (Shays-Farrell) races are pretty fairly handicapped here, but you missed the third hot challenge in Connecticut, CT-05. There, Nancy Johnson, who used to be thought (and probably was) totally unbeatable, seems to have her hands full with a young state senator, Christopher Murphy.

In fundraising, Murphy is out-raising all previous challengers to Johnson so far - it will be worth watching how he does this quarter on that front.

In other areas, he's getting a lot of attention very early in the race.

Johnson has already started an aggressive negative campaign against him, even though he's a 32-year old kid and she's a 23-year incumbent, which may suggest that she has poll numbers showing she's got trouble. That wouldn't be surprising, seeing as how she takes credit for writing the medicare drug program and she voted for the Bush budget bill this year and Bush energy bill late last year.

The Hill did a story on the race this week, and the national party is clearly focusing on it. It may look like a long-shot at the moment but I think that's a race where the Dems have momentum on their side. Plus, with the other two districts hotly contested, there's a real economy of scale for the national party and independent expenditure groups to go ahead and focus on CT-05 and Johnson as well, which could give Murphy the boost he needs to knock her off once and for all.

Oh - and before he was a state senator, Murphy managed the 1996 campaign against Johnson, when the Dem candidate was outspent about 6-to-1 and still came within 1% point of beating Johnson.

Keep your eye on that one. It'll end up on this list sooner rather than later.

Posted by: 3 Races in CT | March 31, 2006 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I think there are two more that are very competetive in Ohio - the 1st and 15th. Both districts are trending Democrat, Bush barely broke 50% in both districts in 2004, and in both districts the Dems lined up dream candidates: Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy in the 15th and Cincinnati City Councilman John Cranley in the 1st.

Kilroy has run almost district-wide (it's not a perfect overlap) and won, and Cranley was the top vote-getter in last year's Cincinnati City Council race with strong ties to the West Side and a reputation as a very moderate Dem.

Posted by: Murphy | March 31, 2006 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Connecticut's 4th district has always been a Republican bastion. In 1966, I worked on the re-election campaign for Donald Irwin who had been the first Democrat in 75 years to win election and only the first Democrat in 100 years to win reelection. In 1968 he lost and the seat has been Republican ever since!!

Posted by: Beej | March 31, 2006 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Southie writes:

"I think you need to start looking at Indiana 2 as well. Chris Chocola won with 51% in 2002 and only 54% in 2004 when he outspent his opponent 3 to 1 (And a good year in IN for R's)

"Now, Chocola will not only have to deal with the President's demise in the polls, but will deal with Governor Mitch Daniels' plummet in the polls. And, the fact that Daniels sold the Indiana Toll Road (which runs throught the district) to private foreign interests and forced all the counties in the district into the Eastern time zone when they wanted Central.

"Should be interesting."

Noah from CA replies:
"Who is the Democratic candidate against Chocola? I thought that the Dems have not really put up a very strong candidate against him, otherwise I would agree with you that he is in trouble."

I live in South Bend right now, and actually I think the Democrats have a chance here. The one running against Chocola is Joe Donnelly, the same one who ran against him in '04 and really did quite well, despite being underfunded. Things aren't as pretty for Republicans here this time around, not just because of national issues, but also because of local ones.

Posted by: Beren | March 31, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I don't want to sound like a "homer", but you missed the Melissa Bean race in Illinois' 8th (I think).

Dead Eye Dick Cheney has been in fund raising for for anyone who will run against her. Melman has been here. The place is crawling with administration and RNC types. They want Bean's seat back badly...

And this year, you've got what looks like a potential internecine race for the gubernatorial with the current Democratic Governor having tepid popular support, little or no enthusiasm from Hizzonner, and a relatively popular moderate in Judy Topinka running against him. Oh did I forget to mention that Governor B. has not missed any opportunities to shoot himself in the foot. Oh did I forget to mention that the extremely popular Local Minister Meeks of a Roseland African American mega-church is raising a campaign that could split a traditional Illinois Democratic base.

The Democrats in Illinois are leaderless at this point. This party warfare will only dminish a golden opportunity to take over/hold some important national seats.

The Tammy Duckworth elimination of popular local Cegelis with support by the national party has bloodied alot of solid Regular Democratic noses. If Cegelis' folks stay home, 6 stays Republican no net gain.

If Bean loses, one down for the Democrats.

I am a very Regular Democrat and am very concerned over the chaos in the Illinois Democratic Party. I actually considered registering Republican to vote for the radical right Oberweis in order to maybe keep Topinka from running in November.

I think the Illinois elections are going to be alot dicier than people think.

And I think the DNC is showing too much arrogance too early.

Posted by: zippydw | March 31, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

How does Chuck Blasdel's failure to pay $50k in back taxes affect the race in OH 6?

Posted by: Mike | March 31, 2006 11:00 AM | Report abuse

"Jeanette" wrote:

"As an inveterate reader of news, I have, for many years kept up with local and national news and news media.

I have come to discount the news out of the WA-POST because fact is so intermingled with fiction, that it takes too long to sort out.

As a former teacher, I am mindful that the most damning thing a purveyor of knowlege/information can have said about them is that they are discounted - and discounted you are, WA-POST.

I can't COUNT on a thing you say........"

So just why are you on the Washington Post website? Makes no sense to me.

In fact it's so senseless, that I can't COUNT on a thing that "Jeanette" says.

Posted by: Stan in Dayton | March 31, 2006 10:53 AM | Report abuse

As an inveterate reader of news, I have, for many years kept up with local and national news and news media.

I have come to discount the news out of the WA-POST because fact is so intermingled with fiction, that it takes too long to sort out.

As a former teacher, I am mindful that the most damning thing a purveyor of knowlege/information can have said about them is that they are discounted - and discounted you are, WA-POST.

I can't COUNT on a thing you say........

Posted by: Jeanette | March 31, 2006 10:47 AM | Report abuse


Who is the Democratic candidate against Chocola? I thought that the Dems have not really put up a very strong candidate against him, otherwise I would agree with you that he is in trouble.


I would like to second RMill's advocacy for putting the CA-50 on the top 20 races. RMills has already cited Busby's poll results, to which I would add that the SurveyUSA's poll had a 5% margin of error that could mean that Busby could avoid a run-off and run in November as an incumbent. Furthermore, Democrats have done really well in the off-year elections since 2004. Kaine, Corzine, Hackett have all show greater strength than many thought possible after a Bush victory in '04. Finally, Arnold's bad numbers have to be depressing Republican turnout this year.

Posted by: Noah from CA | March 31, 2006 10:31 AM | Report abuse

My substitutions-

GA 8 and GA 12 are both held by Dems with 2 to 1 fundraising leads. If GA 8 is on the list, we should have it tied with GA 12 in 20th.

The same goes for the CT2 and CT 4 races but in reverse. These are both Rep held and incumbants hold roughly 2 to 1 edge. I would put them tied at 15th.

I would remove the VT race and KY 4 and include WI 8 and MN 6 in their place.

WI 8 has Dem challenger Kagen with a huge lead in fundraising $1.23 M to $465 K for likely GOP challenger Gard for the open seat left vacant by Rep. Green (R) who is running for Governor.

MN 6 is also open due to Rep. Kennedy running for Governor. The GOP primary appears to be ready for a republican blood letting with very evenly matched and funded candidates(Bachmann, Krinkie and Knoblach), allowing Dems Tinklenburg to consolidate resources.

I would also move FL 22 into the top 10 (not sure what to replace, maybe replacing TX 22 (If DeLay loses it would incidcate a watershed event for Dems and most of the these contested seats will turn over).

Others to watch:

FL 13, LA 3 (Katrina effect?), NC 11 (former QB Shuler carpetbags into NC with some $), OH 13

Posted by: RMill | March 31, 2006 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I'd add Nevada's second congressional district race to the list.

Posted by: Susan Nunes | March 31, 2006 10:07 AM | Report abuse


I was curious on your take on OH-13. There is an interesting multiway Democratic Primary, as well as a possible tough general election. I think it really depends on what Dem is nominated out of the field whether its competitive or not. I was wondering if you had any thoughts on this.

Posted by: Ohio Exile | March 31, 2006 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Surprising that you have not included Andrew Horne in Kentucky's 3rd district, a much mroe favorable one to the Dems than Lucas's. Have you not seen the blind bio polls between Horne and Northup?

Posted by: Bluegrass | March 31, 2006 9:55 AM | Report abuse


Did you leave CA 50 out because of the special election in June?

This is the seat open because of the resignation of Duke Cunningham (R) and at the moment, Francine Busby (D) has a large lead according to Survey USA (March 28) 45% to the GOP candidates 14% for Roach, 12% for Kaloogian and 10% for Bilbray.

Posted by: RMill | March 31, 2006 9:51 AM | Report abuse

what we see in the Texas race is what is happening all to often on both sides of the aisle - if you cannot find support for your candidancy then spend large sums of your own money -

Remember that guy Ross P.?

Okay my bias is I support Edwards - but I do oppose all of the money being spent - until we take the money out of the campaigns things like National Security, Healthcare, equality, will all play second fiddle to politics - how sad

This very issue is before the United States Supreme Court - -

I hope as a group we understand that there is more at stake here than who we vote for - at stake is who can afford to run for public office

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | March 31, 2006 9:45 AM | Report abuse

What no mention of the Shuler race in NC? The democrats are high on his chances, especially this year.

Posted by: Andy R | March 31, 2006 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Today the Cleveland Plaind Dealer endorsed former rep Tom Sawyer for the 13th Dist, Sherrod Brown's seat. Present polls show him to be ahead by a wide margin over 7 other Dems.

Popular GOP Lorain Mayor Craig Foltin has the backing of the House Caucus as well as all party chairs in the District. Local feedback even from Dems is that they would rather have a congressman from Lorain county than someone from Akron.

Sawyer lost his seat in 2002 due to redistricting and loss of labor support for voting for NAFTA. How supportive will labor be if he's the nominee?

Furthermore, what with a strong candidate and lots of $$, THE National GOP has this seat as one of the top ones to grab along with OH6. The 13th is definitely one that can flip.

Posted by: vivabush04OH | March 31, 2006 9:35 AM | Report abuse

You should be looking at IA-3.

Posted by: Silent Cal | March 31, 2006 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Martha T. Rainville - (R) Vt at large -- I see that she has now announced her candidacy after running for almost a year exploratory mode and campaigning in uniform. reports that she has "Rainville defused criticism that she was campaigning in uniform by announcing in February she would step down at the beginning of April."

Has she really defused it or is this just wishful thinking? How effective will the re-write of history be?

From a Feb 1 report in prior to this weeks announcement that she's running.

"Politics VT reports that Martha Rainville, to no one’s great surprise, has met her “fundraising goal,” pulling in just over $100,000 this reporting period.

Which is interesting, given that she’s not supposed to have fundraising goals of that sort while in exploratory mode.

But not real interesting, at least to most media outlets. There’s been a cute sort of wink-wink nudge-nudge going on for about a year now, with every journalist in Vermont methodically positioning Rainville as the Republican candidate — in spite of constant denials on her part.

With the exception of a single, perceptive editorial in the Rutland Herald, almost every journalist in Vermont has ignored the ethical problems involved with campaigning while pretending to explore, and campaigning while pretending to explore in uniform — and campaigning while pretending to explore in uniform with a war raging overseas.

Why? Because that’s the treatment Generals get. Ask Colin Powell. And clearly a race between a female GOP General and a hard-charging Democrat would be the sort of marquee contest that wins reporters plaques and trips to Las Vegas.

And so they’ve allowed Rainville — or rather, her spokesperson — to garner free media on a near daily basis even as she states, again and again, that she is not a candidate. "

Posted by: MoreHonestGOPPlease | March 31, 2006 8:19 AM | Report abuse

What has to scare the GOP is that politics really isn't local anymore. Election cycles since '98 have demonstrated that. Looking at the most competitive races it's doubtful that difference will be split between the parties. One party is going to have the tailwind and the other won't. And how that wind blows will be the decisive factor in the close races in districts up for grabs. The GOP is in trouble. Remarkable because the Democrats have yet to present a credible alternative. The country is poised to go with the feckless party instead of the feculent party.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | March 31, 2006 8:06 AM | Report abuse

You've got the wrong front running candidates in AZ District 8. The field is large with 5 candidates, only two of which you named. In Washington it may look like a race between the DCCC candidate, a former republican, and a popular newscaster, but on the ground in AZ, Jeff Latas is the candidate to watch. He is a retired air force pilot who served in the first gulf war. His son served in the current war. The DCCC is supporting the wrong candidate in this one!

Posted by: PRR in AZ | March 31, 2006 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Chris, my daughter moved up to New York last year. She reports that Rep. Jim Walsh (R, NY 25th) is polling even with his opponent Dan Maffei - a former staffer for Bill Bradley.

Moreover, Walsh polls in the low 40s in job approval - always ominous for an incumbent.

When you have a second, you may want to check in on the race. It says something when a former Hill Staffer (sorry, nothing personal to any Hill Staffer who reads this) polls well against an incumbent.

Posted by: Vienna, VA | March 31, 2006 7:47 AM | Report abuse

As a Dem staff vet of the GOP blowout in '94, I see interesting parallels. Crazy interesting. For example, key committee chairs disgraced: Rosty ‘94, The Dukester ‘06. Widespread scandal: House bank ‘94, Abramoff ‘06. Usually all-important economy issue taking backseat, both years.

That said, the GOP has done a wonderful job of gerrymandering in the intervening years, so times have changed in that regard. I also think the speed of politics has changed significantly (i.e. no blogasphere in ’94). Way too early to tell.

I just can’t see how the Dems can muster the strength to win the Senate, but I’d put the House at 50-50 right now and trending “D.” With more to come on Abramoff and Plamegate, it’s likely that there will be plenty of additional distractions for the Rs.

On the other hand, the Ds are tanned, rested and utterly feckless. Did you see Pelosi holding the security placard upside down? I fear they will turn this opportunity into a cheesy roadside attraction.

Oh well. Meantime, a little parody for your early April fools enjoyment:

Tancredo Calls for Catapult to Return Aliens

EWM- (March 30, 2006) Anti-immigrant firebrand Representative Tom Tancredo (R-CO) said today that he’s looking forward to the upcoming House-Senate conference to reconcile differences in the immigration bill and will seek to add provisions that will make the final version even tougher.

“We’re going to build a wall to keep them out and I’m proposing a catapult to send those already here back,” said Tancredo, “when those alien rascals see their amigos being returned via airmail, they’ll think twice about climbing my wall to come here and take our jobs...”

Posted by: The Eyewitness Muse | March 31, 2006 7:47 AM | Report abuse

I think you need to start looking at Indiana 2 as well. Chris Chocola won with 51% in 2002 and only 54% in 2004 when he outspent his opponent 3 to 1 (And a good year in IN for R's)

Now, Chocola will not only have to deal with the President's demise in the polls, but will deal with Governor Mitch Daniels' plummet in the polls. And, the fact that Daniels sold the Indiana Toll Road (which runs throught the district) to private foreign interests and forced all the counties in the district into the Eastern time zone when they wanted Central.

Should be interesting.

Posted by: Southie from Indy | March 31, 2006 7:01 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company