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The Friday Line: A Few Bright Spots For GOP in House Rankings

Regular readers of past House rankings in the Friday Line will immediately notice one major change in the latest list: Texas's 22nd District, currently held by Rep. Tom DeLay (R), has dropped out of the top 20 altogether.

Why? DeLay's decision to resign soon from Congress makes it much more difficult for Democrats to win the seat this fall; the race has changed from a referendum on the controversial DeLay to a more conventional contest in which the Republican nature of the district should assert itself.

With the removal of Texas's 22nd, we're required to add a new seat -- West Virginia's 1st District. Rep. Alan Mollohan (D) has been forced to step down from the House Ethics Committee due to questions surrounding his personal financial disclosure statements and some property he has purchased over the last few years. Even prior to Mollohan's troubles Republicans were enthused about their chances in the district, which President Bush carried in 2000 and 2004.

Meanwhile, Rep. John Sweeney (R-N.Y.) didn't crack the Line's top 20 this week, though it remains to be seen how badly this will damage his reelection hopes.

As always, the no. 1 House race on the Line is the one most likely to change parties this fall. Your thoughts (and own rankings) are welcome in the comments section below.

Away we go!

20. California's 50th District: Special elections are strange creatures. The heavy spending by the National Republican Congressional Committee against Democratic nominee Francine Busby has The Fix wondering if there is something going on in this race that we're missing. Busby is a proficient, but far from outstanding candidate, while former Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) is a battle-tested moderate. This seat looks likely to stay in Republican hands when voters go to the polls on June 6. But special elections are always closer than the conventional wisdom dictates, meaning Busby has an outside chance of pulling an upset. And no matter who wins in June, there's likely to be a rematch in November as the main candidates will likely vie again for a full term. (Previous ranking: N/A)

19. West Virginia's 1st District: Rep. Alan Mollohan's growing problems make this a trouble spot for Democrats. While the longtime incumbent finally began raising real money in the first quarter of 2006 ($413,000), the national spotlight on his personal finances, combined with his work to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarks for nonprofits he founded, has all the markings of a scandal in the making. State Del. Chris Wakim (R) is no worldbeater, but he may not have to be if Mollohan's problems continue. (Previous ranking: N/A)

18. Vermont At-Large: This open-seat race remains on the Line because national Republicans remain convinced that Vermont National Guard Major General Martha Rainville is a star in the making. Rainville had a solid (but not spectacular) fundraising quarter, bringing in $234,000. State Sen. Peter Welch continues to stockpile cash -- over $600,000 on hand at the end of March -- and should benefit from the state's strong Democratic tilt. (Previous ranking: 18)

17. Texas 17th District: National Republicans got the candidate they wanted when Iraq war veteran Van Taylor narrowly won the March primary. Rep. Chet Edwards (D) is a tough incumbent, however, as he showed in his most recent FEC report -- $1.1 million on hand at the end of March. Taylor closed the period with $198,000 on hand but can write a personal check to his campaign, which he must do to stay competitive with Edwards. This district is strongly Republican, but Edwards managed to eke out a win in 2004 even as President Bush was carrying the district with 70 percent of the vote. With Bush significantly less popular (even in Texas) this is a tough race for Taylor. (Previous ranking: 16)

16. Illinois's 6th District: This race is sure to garner considerable national attention due to the candidacy of Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth (D), who lost both of her legs in the conflict. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) personally recruited Duckworth and will go all out to put her in a position to win. But this district leans toward Republicans (President Bush took 53 percent of the vote here in 2004), and state Sen. Peter Roskam (R) is an extremely solid candidate. Duckworth has struggled to raise money from donors within the district and spent heavily to win the primary. She closed March with $331,000 in the bank; Roskam had $1.1 million on hand at that time. (Previous ranking: 17)

15. New York's 24th District: Rep. Sherwood Boehlert's (R) decision to retire and the likely drubbing New York Republicans will take Upstate this November make this an intriguing contest. Republicans are doing all they can to hold the seat, quickly uniting behind state Sen. Raymond Meier. National Democrats are hoping Oneida County District Attorney Michael Arcuri wins the September primary; if he does this could be a race to watch in a district where President Bush took 53 percent of the vote in 2004. (Previous ranking: 19)

14. Connecticut's 4th District: Can Democratic nominee Diane Farrell convince voters that Rep. Chris Shays's support for the war in Iraq is a fireable offense? The southwestern Connecticut district went for John Kerry by six points in 2004, but Shays has always been able to use his image as a moderate GOP renegade to win reelection. The environment in Connecticut should help Farrell, but Shays is now heavily engaged -- a major change from his approach to their 2004 race. (Previous ranking: 15)

13. Illinois's 8th District: The fact that Rep. Melissa Bean is the most endangered Democratic incumbent on the Line should tell you something about how this year is shaping up politically. Bean has voted extremely carefully -- in keeping with the Republican tilt of the district -- and has amassed a huge $1.75 million warchest. Republican businessman David McSweeney's personal wealth makes his current cash position ($20 on hand, and, no, that is not a typo) a relative non issue. Communicating in this district is not an easy proposition because of the cost of the Chicago media market, a difficulty that should benefit Bean. (Previous ranking: 10)

12. Kentucky's 4th District: Democrats insist this race should be ranked higher, pointing to a February survey conducted for former Rep. Ken Lucas that shows him with a ten-point lead over Rep. Geoff Davis (R). But Davis had a three-to-one cash-on-hand margin over Lucas at the end of March and represents a district that went for President Bush by 27 points in 2004. Lucas is the right kind of Democrat (read: conservative) to win this northern Kentucky district, but we're not sold yet on this race. (Previous ranking: 14)

11. Connecticut's 2nd District: No district currently held by a Republican has a stronger Democratic base than this eastern Connecticut seat. Rep. Rob Simmons (R) has compiled a moderate voting record since defeating longtime Democratic Rep. Sam Gejdenson in 2000. This is a rematch of the 2002 race when Simmons beat former state Rep. Joe Courtney (D) by eight points in a Republican-friendly atmosphere. The landscape has changed drastically since, and although Courtney is far from a world-beater as a candidate it may not matter. (Previous ranking: 13)

10. Indiana's 8th District: Looking at the cash-on-hand positions of Republican Rep. John Hostettler ($56,000) and Vanderburgh County Sheriff Brad Ellsworth ($533,000), this looks like a sure pick-up for Democrats. But Hostettler never raises any significant money and always pulls out a win. This southern Indiana district is decidedly conservative and seems to have taken a liking to the quirky Hostettler over the years. If Ellsworth can't beat Hostettler in what's expected to be a bad year for Republicans nationally, it's likely no one can. (Previous ranking: 7)

9. Florida's 22nd District: Much like New Mexico's 1st District and Pennsylvania's 6th, the strength of the Democratic challengers' fundraising ensures this race moves up the Line. State Sen. Ron Klein (D) closed March with $1.5 million in the bank -- an astounding total even in this affluent, Gold Coast district. Rep. Clay Shaw (R) had more than $2 million on hand and will watch the number climb on May 8 when President Bush comes to the district for a fundraiser. Shaw seems to have put his health problems behind him, but he will have to contend with a difficult national environment in a district Kerry won with 52 percent of the vote in 2004. (Previous ranking: 12)

8. New Mexico's 1st District: State Attorney General Patricia Madrid (D) made a believer out of The Fix with her fundraising in the first three months of the year -- $612,000 raised, $826,000 on hand. Rep. Heather Wilson (R), one of the best fundraisers among House Republicans, retained a $600,000 cash-on-hand edge, but in this prototypical swing district (Kerry won it by three points in 2004) Madrid is already ensuring she will have enough cash to be financially competitive with Wilson. The Republican incumbent is tough to bet against, but Madrid is doing everything right and is likely to benefit from a Democratic wind at her back. (Previous ranking: 11)

7. Indiana's 9th District: Freshman Rep. Mike Sodrel (R) squeaked by Baron Hill (D) in 2004 on a night when President Bush was carrying the district by 19 points and Republicans were breaking a 16-year stranglehold on the Indiana governor's mansion. Fast forward 18 months: Bush and Gov. Mitch Daniels are no longer the assets they once were, and Hill is back for a rematch. A recent poll conducted for Hill showed him with a 10-point edge over Sodrel, with only one-in-three voters saying they would reelect Sodrel -- numbers that suggest a bit of buyer's remorse. (Previous ranking: 9)

6. Pennsylvania's 6th District: Democrat Lois Murphy outraised Rep. Jim Gerlach (R) by nearly $200,000 in the first three months of 2006 and continued to narrow the incumbent's cash-on-hand edge. In two Republican-tilting cycles (2002 and 2004), Gerlach has not received more than 51 percent of the vote -- a warning sign for 2006 when the national landscape clearly favors Democrats. (Previous ranking: 8)

5. Ohio's 18th District: Tom DeLay's resignation gives Rep. Bob Ney (R) the dubious distinction of being the most vulnerable incumbent in the country. Ney should roll over financial analyst James Harris in Tuesday's primary, while Chillicothe Mayor Joe Sulzer faces a tougher-than-expected challenge from attorney Zack Space on the Democratic side. Nothing we've heard or read makes us think Ney is out of the woods in the Jack Abramoff investigation, which means that no matter who winds up as the Democratic nominee, this will be a toss-up race in the fall. (Previous ranking: 5)

4. Arizona's 8th District: Former state Sen. Gabrielle Giffords put together a strong fundraising quarter (better than $320,000 raised) to put some distance between herself and former television anchorwoman Patty Weiss ($183,000 raised) in the Democratic primary race. Moderate state Rep. Steve Huffman is the best-financed Republican but will likely need to spend heavily to overcome the name identification and organization of former state Rep. Randy Graf. The outgoing incument, Rep. Jim Kolbe (R), recently repeated his past observation that Graf is too conservative to win this seat if he is the GOP nominee. (Previous ranking: 4)

3. Iowa's 1st District: The long wait for a clearer picture of the playing field in this eastern Iowa district is almost over. The state holds it primary June 6. Trial attorney Bruce Braley looks like the Democratic nominee, while the Republican primary -- oddly --- has become a battle over which of the three candidate is the most conservative on illegal immigration. State Rep. Bill Dix, Heart of America founder Mike Whalen and former political operative Brian Kennedy are battling it out for the GOP nod. This is a must-have seat for Democrats as John Kerry won the district in 2004 by seven points. (Previous Ranking: 3)

2. Ohio's 6th District: Republicans are throwing everything at Democrat Charlie Wilson in the run-up to Tuesday's primary in an attempt to keep him off the general election ballot. Wilson did them a favor by failing to collect enough signatures for the primary, forcing him to run a write-in campaign. Should Wilson win Tuesday, this seat will drop a few slots on the Line. (Previous ranking: 2)

1. Colorado's 7th District: Democrats in this suburban Denver district are headed for an Aug. 8 primary between former state Rep. Peggy Lamm and former state Sen. Ed Perlmutter. Perlmutter still looks like the favorite, ending March with $444,000 in the bank, compared with Lamm's $216,000. When the seat was created in the 2001 redistricting process, state and national Republicans said Rep. Bob Beauprez was the only Republican who could hold it. Now that Beauprez is leaving to run for governor, that prediction looks likely to come true. (Previous ranking: 1)

Here's the last Friday Line ranking of House races, and here's washingtonpost.com's interactive Campaign 2006 map.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 28, 2006; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  House , The Line  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Clash in Connecticut's 5th
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Comments

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Posted by: insurance auto | June 8, 2006 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Democrats in Idaho are cautiously optimistic about Idaho's 1st District race. True, Idaho is the reddest of the red states, but the republican Bill Sali (running for Otter's empty seat) is so obnoxious he's not expected to get much help from Idaho Republican groups. Republican speaker of the Idaho House Bruce Newcumb called Sali the biggest idiot in the legislature. Republican 2nd District Rep Simpson once told Sali if he stepped foot in his office he'd throw him out his window. Sali doesn't play well with others and the more he campaigns the worse he'll look to moderate Republicans.

Posted by: Tim Hohs | May 30, 2006 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate the fact that there is no mention of Alabama's District 2 Congressional race. Let's keep it that way, "under the radar." It's the one you do not see, that will ruin you whole day.

Posted by: MORYKWAS FOR US CONGRESS | May 28, 2006 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm surprised MN-6th hasn't come up on this list. It is an open seat, as Rep. Kennedy (R) is running for Senate. State Sen. Michele Bachman, quite a conservative (she led the charge for a Marriage Amendment this last session), is facing off against Patty Wetterling, a somewhat liberal child advocate. As a political neophyte she ran a fairly competitive campaign against Kennedy 2 years ago. I'm really not sure how this will go. The district leans right but Sen. Bachman may be too far right for some.

Posted by: Phil | May 26, 2006 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chris, any thoughts on the Minnesota 6th?

Posted by: Joe | May 1, 2006 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Right on, Jimbo!

Chris, take a look at the latest Mellman Group poll relating to the race to fill Green's 8th CD [WI]: http://graphics.jsonline.com/graphics/news/img/apr06/spice042706.pdf

As you can see, this seat is defintely in play despite a visit by Dick Cheney on Gard's behalf [before Gard even wins the GOP primary]. Gard will emerge from the primary a winner [too bad], but will fall to whomever becomes the Dem nominee -- and the Mellman poll shows just how likely that is.

Posted by: 8th CD Gal | April 30, 2006 8:48 AM | Report abuse

How on earth could Jim Moran (D-VA-8) or Cynthia McKinney (D-GA-4) be in any danger??? Both districts are solidly Democratic, and Moran beat back a challenger in the primary when he should have had the hardest time doing so. He's a horrible rep. and a waste of the seat, but there's little chance of him being ousted. Are you expecting Denise Majette to take on McKinney in the primary again?

In his latest House rankings, Chuck Todd moved OH-15 up 7 spots from #29 to #22; the biggest mover on his list. Kilroy, who he called very impressive, represents 89% of the voters in this district as Franklin County Commissioner. Franklin County voted for Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004. The district as a whole voted 50-50 for Bush in 2004. The environment for Republicans in Ohio is toxic, and the Democrats have a strong statewide ticket. Kilroy has an excellent shot of knocking off Deborah Pryce.

Jean Schmidt should have little trouble getting renominated. The type of troubles she's had mean little to people in OH-2, and Bob McEwen carries too much baggage and evokes hard feelings. In a more normal district Schmidt would be vulnerable, but this is KKK country.

http://sandwichrepair.blogspot.com

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | April 28, 2006 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and another thing Chris...

Why do you rank OH-6 so high? I understand I guess you have to rank it this high before the primary, but if and when Wilson does get on the ballot, it should fall WAY WAY WAY WAY down...not just 'a few spots' as you say. Have you seen the heads-up polls between Wilson and Blasdel? Wilson destroys him. Also, this is the seat Ted Strickland is vacating and he will very handily carry this district in the governor's race, helping Wilson in the process b/c the two of them have been campaigning hand-in-hand.

Posted by: Ohio guy | April 28, 2006 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Chris - What about OH-15?

Mary Jo Kilroy has been rasing money like an incumbent, was just endorsed by EMILY'S List so she will raise even more money, and the last poll had her down only 2 points to Deborah Pryce. She is a well-known commissioner and very high popular vote getter in her last county election, which largely overlaps the 15th District. She will be helped by Ted Strickland at the top of the Ohio ticket as well, who is out-polling his republican opponents by 17-21 points.
Also, Deborah Pryce being the #4 House Republican leader will make it very easy for Kilroy to tie her to the corrupt Republican leadership of Tom DeLay and Dennis Hastert.

Posted by: Ohio guy | April 28, 2006 5:46 PM | Report abuse

RMill: I live in in Virginia's 11th (Tom Davis) on the border of Jim Moran's district. If Jim has any problems, they are off the public radar screen.

There's more intrigue in the development of the race for the 11th district seat in 2008. Small spit balls are already being thrown by Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (Yup, Tom's wife) and Fairfax County Chairman Gerry Connolly, in anticipation of them running for the seat when Tom runs for John Warner's Senate seat. [Yeah, there are a lot of "ifs" in that picture.]

Posted by: Duh! | April 28, 2006 4:29 PM | Report abuse

NY Congressman John Sweeney drunk at a frat party at an expensive private school?
When did this become a liability for conservative Republicans?

Robert Chapman
Lansing, New York

Posted by: robert chapman | April 28, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

As far as using Sabato as objective source.

I try to balance them.

I think CQ is pretty neutral while Cook leans to the right and Sabato to the left. The consensus of the three, I think, gives a fairly balanced look at the most comptetitive races. While the Fix focuses on likely to change party, it amounts to the same and is interesting for comparison purposes.

I realize that the GA or VA seats are unlikely to change party hands but the incumbant members have made various gaffes and I do not have a handle on local sentiment or primary challengers.

I would guess that if Moran was going to have a problem, it would have surfaced in 2004 but he makes me uneasy from what I have read and seen.

McKinney has already lost the seat once in a primary and her actions of late could open the door. Just curious and if there are other Fix readers who could give insight from on the ground, I would be interested.

Posted by: RMill | April 28, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse

If McKinney goes down, it will be in a primary. Republicans have no shot at the seat.

Posted by: Mitch | April 28, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Hi Chris. I enjoy your column very much.

One house race I have not seen mentioned is Mark Green's old seat in Wisconsin (Green Bay area). The annointed Republican is John Gard who is a horrible candidate. He's a leader in the Wisconsin Assembly who's done a great job representing extreme Republican special interests... Milwaukee cops who brutalize innocent blacks, rich property owners on lakes, oil & gas interests, etc.

I'm not real familiar with the 2 Dems vying to face him, but if the winner is an average or better candidate, it's an easy pickup for the Dems.

As for Mark Green facing Jim Doyle, I only wish Doyle was a better candidate. But he has the money & resources to expose the slick talking Green for who he really is.

Jimbo

Posted by: Jimbo | April 28, 2006 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Follow-up to RMill along with DC/VA Mike: Why would there be any thought that Jim Moran could be in trouble? His biggest problem was within the party in the last primary, because he dared say what he thought (apparently the biggest gaff a politician can make)?

McKinney should be in trouble every time she runs. Is there a responsible challenger for the nomination within the party, or do the Republicans have a good candidate of their own? She was "bounced" by the voters once already and made a comeback. Do you know if that was due to re-districting, other "scandals" or "poor performance?"

Lastly, do you trust the Sabato polls? It's only every once in a while (such as when he moderated the Virginia Governor campaign debates) that I find him objective. His polls may be valid though. What's your take?

Posted by: Duh! | April 28, 2006 2:12 PM | Report abuse

"3. Iowa's 1st District: The long wait for a clearer picture of the playing field in this eastern Iowa district is almost over. The state holds it primary June 6. Trial attorney Bruce Braley looks like the Democratic nominee, while the Republican primary -- oddly --- has become a battle over which of the three candidate is the most conservative on illegal immigration. State Rep. Bill Dix, Heart of America founder Mike Whalen and former political operative Brian Kennedy are battling it out for the GOP nod. This is a must-have seat for Democrats as John Kerry won the district in 2004 by seven points. (Previous Ranking: 3)
1. Colorado's 7th District: Democrats in this suburban Denver district are headed for an Aug. 8 primary between former state Rep. Peggy Lamm and former state Sen. Ed Perlmutter. Perlmutter still looks like the favorite, ending March with $444,000 in the bank, compared with Lamm's $216,000. When the seat was created in the 2001 redistricting process, state and national Republicans said Rep. Bob Beauprez was the only Republican who could hold it. Now that Beauprez is leaving to run for governor, that prediction looks likely to come true. (Previous ranking: 1)"


Why is Iowa-1 less competitive then CO-7, Iowa's first is several points more democratic and seems to ahve a competitive republican primary while CO-7 has a somewhat competitive democratic primary.

Posted by: rtaycher1987 | April 28, 2006 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Moran is my Rep (I guess I should be VA Mike).

Even though he's not the best at times, and has made some not insignificant mistakes, he's in a district that voted for him with over 60% last time, and is heavily Democratic. What makes you think this district is going to swing GOP suddenly? I would think that a fair number of Arlingtonians would love the Sudan protest thing.

Posted by: DC Mike | April 28, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Other interesting OH Rep Primary race:

OH 2

Everyone's fav- Mean Jean Schmidt is slapped down with reprimands from the Ohio Elections Commission for lying about how many college degrees she has and falsely portraying as being endorsed byb Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo.

Her GOP opponent, former congressman Bob McEwen will not be investigated on Schmidt allegations that he impropoerly voted in the Ohio district while actually living in Virginia.


Zogby
April 4
McEwen 33%
Schmidt* 35%

Survey USA
April 20
McEwen 33%
Schmidt 56%

Big disparity in polls. All done before these revelations. Considering her performance against Paul Hackett last August and against an experienced former US Congressman, she could be headed for a disaster on May 2.

Posted by: RMill | April 28, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for sloppy post above-

Two I am interested in hearing more about, knowing they are NOT listed as in danger on any of the lists, are VA 8 (Moran) and GA 4 (McKinney). I think there is a chance these could move to the endangered lists shortly.

Posted by: RMill | April 28, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Re: Rep. Sweeney

Irregardless of political party: What a dumba**!

He isn't even going to get votes from the fraternity brothers for this.

From Times-Union:

I also spoke to John Tomlin, who wrote story. Tomlin described Sweeney in print as "acting openly intoxicated." He told me the congressman was "very loud and cursing," and also slurring his words while trying to discuss policy with the students.

So it was like being on the floor of the House.

Posted by: RMill | April 28, 2006 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Two I am interested in hearing more about, knowing they are listed as in danger on any of the lists, are VA 8 (Moran) and GA 4 (McKinney). I think there is a chance these could move to the endangered lists shortly.

Posted by: RMill | April 28, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

CQ Politics
PA 4- Hart
Republican Favored

Cook Political Report
PA 4
Safe Republican

Larry Sabato Crystal Ball
PA 4
not competitive

Posted by: RMill | April 28, 2006 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I am curious how the Pennsylvania 4th is viewed. Can either of the Democrats in the primary oust Melissa Hart?

Posted by: Lee Rutledge | April 28, 2006 12:17 PM | Report abuse

The Madrid-Wilson (NM 1st) post is way off. Patsy Madrid is getting creamed every day in the Albuquerque and Santa Fe papers over her lack of initiative in investigating corrupt Insurance Commissioner Eric Serna. This may sound like a small deal back east, but it is a HUGE story in NM because it involves the Gov. and many of his top fundraisers. Heather Wilson is tied to her district like no one I've ever seen. Patsy also comes off as a phony candidate, and her statewide vistory is less impressive than it seems as she was able to waltz into the AG seat when Tom Udall left to run for congress.

Bottom line: the race looks good for Madrid on paper, but the situation on the groud is far less positive.

Posted by: NMGuy | April 28, 2006 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Also May 2, there is Republican primary in a solid Bush district, OHIO, 4th.

Iraq war vet Nathan Martin is the David against a Goliath millionaire Republican in the primary. Radio ads started yesterday, and continue to Tuesday, getting out his message. The winner in this Republican district will be the next Congressman.

Posted by: Holly | April 28, 2006 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Sweeney's wasted at a college party with underage kids. Posing for photographs with total strangers. As an elected official in the U.S. House of Representatives.

It's not like he was there with friends, or that his kid goes to school there and he stopped by.

Universities have fired coaches for things like this - see Larry Eustachy at Iowa State. But it's okay for someone elected to serve our country? I'm hardly a teetotaler or a Bible thumper, but don't you think we might want to hold slightly higher standards for our Members of Congress?

Posted by: DC Mike | April 28, 2006 12:05 PM | Report abuse

The IL 8th is too high. About a third of the CD is part of a state senate district represented by the senior senator in teh IL legislature, Adeline Geo-Karis. She got dumped in a heated primary. Probably a lot of Geo-Karis supporters will stay home in November. That would make Bean a better shot at re-election.

Posted by: IL 8th too high | April 28, 2006 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Consensus Top 10
Cook Political Report, CQ, Sabato

1. CO 7 (R)
2. IA 1 (R)
3. IN 8 (R)
4. IN 9 (R)
5. OH 6 (D)
6. OH 18(R)
7. PA 6 (R)
8. NM 1 (R)
9. AZ 8 (R)
10.NY 24(R)

TO WATCH:
DEMS
WV 1
IL 8
LA 3
TX 17
REPS
CA 50
CT 2
CT 4
FL 22
IL 6
TX 22

Hard to get polling

Survey USA
April 20
Dem Primary
Wilson 54%
Carr 9%
Luchansky 6%

Rep Primary
Blasdel 41%
Ginter 11%
Harmon 11%
Stobbs 2%

Posted by: RMill | April 28, 2006 11:44 AM | Report abuse

April along with Sam prove a point - we are so obsessed with hating the other guy we will abandon any set of values to justify not voting for the other party - just because Kennedy is immoral does not make it okay for everyone else

So the game continues - no values just I hate you politics - and then we ask why Washington is such a mess? Washington is nothing more than a reflection of We the People

Oh, April points out why a NE Republican will never win the south in a republican primary - they are not Baptists

April and Sam also prove that regardless of how bad the Republicans have messed up the budget - spend no morals Republicans are better than Democrats - for the record die hard Dems are no diffent - this is basically why I believe Repubs are going to do a lot better in NOvember than the Beltway no nothings are predicting

BObby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | April 28, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

What's the big deal with Sweeney? He didn't drive his car in the water and "forget" to take the girl drowning with him. For Congress, considering there wasn't an affair or bribe involved, this ranks on the low end of things.

Posted by: Parker | April 28, 2006 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Adam. Obviously fundraising is an important part of the equation, but NOT the sole reason why individuals win races. Look at Indiana's 8th where Hostettler keeps eeking out wins despite little fundraising. This is also a reason why I think it was a mistake to take Florida off the top 10 list for Governor's seats to change. Take a look at sorrycharlie.com an anonymous website that blasts FL Atty Gen Charlie Crist (No doubt a Gallagher supporter made it). While Crist and Gallagher have significantly outraised Jim Davis and Rod Smith, there primary is going to be extremely nasty. Add to that the fact that Katherine Harris is likely on the ticket in the Senate race, and the GOP could very well loose the race.

Posted by: TLH/FL DEM | April 28, 2006 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I live in a decidedly different part of NY than the 20th, but really what is the story? Congressman gets drunk? Which member hasn't been seen imbibing in public?

The NY Republican party is a mix of economic conservatives and Catholic social conservatives - I doubt either group has much of an issue with a few drinks, even at a frat house. There aren't any firebrand Baptist evangelical tetotallers in NY. I would still vote for him.

Posted by: Sam | April 28, 2006 10:15 AM | Report abuse

What about the 7th in PA? Weldon has never had a serious challenger, but this year he's got a very serious challenger in Joe Sestak, a retired Admiral with White House experience.

Posted by: Michael, Washington DC | April 28, 2006 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I'm born and raised in NY-20, and I think the Sweeney story might be one of the more entertaining, ridiculous things we've seen from a Member of Congress. I know, Members have a right to socialize, and I know Members who go out with their staff in DC after work. But at a frat party? Drunk? With underage students? Grinning for pictures? How freaking stupid!

NY-20 is solid Republican, but this year, the Dems have found a candidate (Kirsten Gillibrand) who could at least raise a good amount of money to make it a real challenge. Things like this just play into Gillibrand's hands.

Classy guy, John Sweeney is.

Posted by: DC Mike | April 28, 2006 9:55 AM | Report abuse


www.onlinejournal.com
www.wsws.org
www.takingaim.info
otherside123.blogspot.com

"False Flagg" op called Rosetta Stone of 9/11

By Jerry Mazza
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Apr 28, 2006, 01:10

You know. A false flag op is when a nation attacks itself but makes it appear that an enemy has committed the attack. This way it stirs its more or less peace-loving people into going to war with the demonized "enemy." It's false flag ops 1.1.

And Flagg is not a misspelling of flag but the name of a former FBI agent, Warren Flagg who (along with a former federal prosecutor) helped direct the New England investigation of the Sept. 11 attacks. Flagg was nice enough in a Newsday.com piece by Michael Dorman to mention that "one bag found in Boston contained far more than what the commission report cited, including the names of the hijackers, their assignments and their al-Qaida connections." Gee, what luck!

How wonderfully thoughtful of the hijackers to leave what Flagg termed this "Rosetta stone" behind so everything could be figured out so quickly and with such ease. You have to admit that was white of those dusky Mid-Easterners. One of the pieces of luggage was said to include "Arab-language papers amounting to Atta's last will and testament, along with instructions to the other hijackers to prepare themselves physically and spiritually for death." Boy, this Atta guy thought of everything. But why go blabbing it all in two suitcases? He was supposed to be a terrorist not a PR man.

And if that weren't enough, Mohamed Attta, purportedly the leader of the gang of 19, and who purportedly piloted Flight 11 into Tower 1, reminded the guys: "Check all of your items -- your bag, your clothes, knives, your will, your Ids, your passport, your papers. . . . Make sure that nobody is following you." Then, by another amazing coincidence, similar papers were found in the wreckage of another airliner.

In still another coincidence, slugabed Atta and co-conspirator Abuldaziz AlAlmorai checked out of room 232 of the Comfort Inn south of Portland at 5:33 a.m. on 9/11, driving their rented blue Nissan Altima to the airport, arriving in a lot at 6 a.m. with only a few minutes to catch a commuter flight to Boston's Logan Airport. In fact, their last-minute check-in caused their two bags not to make that flight. What? Yes, start the day with a screw-up and it ends in disaster. Or did it, at least for them?

I mean, as they go off to catch their later American Airlines Flight 11, their bags (or should we call them Baggs to rhyme with Flaggs?) came late to Logan and, 'mirable dictu' as Virgil would say, were discovered by the right security people. What's more, Atta and Almari's bags had all kinds of goodies in them: correspondence from the University Atta went to in Egypt, Almari's international driver's license and passport, a videocassette for a Boeing 757 flight simulator, a folding knife and pepper spray, extra heavy duty weapons they figured they didn't need.

As agent Flagg would say, "It had all these Arab-language papers that amounted to the Rosetta stone of the investigation." His sidekick, a former federal prosecutor, who did not wish to be identified publicly (and who could blame him?), certainly supported Flagg's account. Aren't you wondering by now why these "turrists" would want to lug their plans, scams, IDs et al, in a couple of bags and dump them in a last minute check-in? Generally, a gate attendant will tell you if your baggage will make your flight or land on a later one. This means you'd be leaving all this heavy-duty info spinning in the wind.

I mean, did Dillinger leave his home address in a bank safe he busted into? Did Al Capone leave a box of chocolates with a card with his name on it at the "Valentine Day" massacre in Chicago? Did John Gotti leave a calling card on Paul Castellano's bullet riddled body after the dapper don and buddy popped the Gambino crime family boss and chauffeur in front of Spark's Steak House in Manhattan? C'mon, you're pulling my leg.

I mean what kind of malefactors would be that stupid, unless they were setting up a false-flag op? Like, "see, everybody we're the guys that did it, 9/11; we are Arabs, see the writing; hey, here's a knife, some maps, a CD to fly a 757; hello, don't look so hard. We give up, ha-ha, but we'll be dead by the time you read this. And so will some 2,900 people. So you can blame The War on Terror on us as soon as possible, ASAP. Right. Here are the clues." It's like Catch Us If Can, the ultimate reality TV show. Oh god, why has thou forsaken us. Cause we're so dumb.

But Flagg Asks the BIG Question

Yup, Agent Flagg goes on to ask . . ."How do you think the government was able to identify all 19 hijackers almost immediately after the attacks. They were identified through those papers in the luggage. And that's how it was known so soon that al-Qaida was behind the hijackings." Wow, is that how they made the connection? And so fast?

I was wondering about that. And how a couple of months later FBI Director Robert Mueller said on CNN, that there was no factual proof these were the guys. But hey, maybe he didn't have his coffee that morning. The thing is what if you, we, America, were set up that day? Er, say what?

What if the clues were put there to cover the tracks of the real Bad Bush Boyz, not these lap dancer hounds, boozing and coking joy boys, trained at American military bases, conspicuously leaving a paper trail so blatant it'd make Hansel and Gretel's breadcrumbs look like canary eggs. And yet these same document droppers were barely able to get to the airport on time? They must have been exhausted driving up to Portland just to fly back to make this smoke screen where supposedly there would be less security to halt their efforts.

But wait. Can we be sure when they got back to Boston, if they did, that they even got on the planes? They weren't on the manifests. Their DNA would have been boiled to a crisp in the hits. And was it clear they even flew the planes?

It's like the old Schnozzola, Jimmy Durante himself would say: "What a revoltin' development this is." It's revolting in every way, James. Nothing like we'd ever seen before. Except maybe in the "Sinking of the Maine," "Operation Northwoods," "Operation Mongoose," "The Murrah Building Blow-Up" in Oklahoma City, The Cuba-supporting lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald, and so on. Yeah, it's the Cubans. They did it all. Let's go smoke 'em out. Our cigars are bigger than theirs.

Flagg Is Doing Okay Now

Guess what. After 22 years on terrorism and other cases, Flagg retired from the FBI before 9/11 and is now set up in his own Manhattan-based investigative firm, Flaggman, Inc. Clever, hah. He stays in touch with the Boyz at the FBI, both old buddies and prosecutors. In fact, he first heard about the old Rosetta stone (I mean luggage)'s importance to the whitewash (I mean investigation), on Sept 28, 2001, after attending the funeral of John O'Neill.

You remember O'Neill. He was the FBI chief of terrorist head-hunting who, frustrated by having his Osama-chases foiled time and time again, quit the FBI after 30 years of service. Unfortunately, he died in Tower 2. Yes, O'Neill died trying to help people out of the building, kind of guy he was, and maybe knew too much as well.

At the funeral, Flagg met a young FBI agent that he had helped train. The young agent had since left the agency for Dubai, gulp, and told Flagg all about the Suitcase Revelations. Name of the father, son and holy molly. Flagg rang up his old prosecutor buddy and got confirmation of the young guy's account.

"I was devasted because word had already leaked out of the hijacker's identities," Flagg opined. Then in a quick change of spirit added, "But I was also excited that the FBI had so much evidence so quickly." Frigging miracle.

Too bad the government couldn't put all its previous intelligence together and stopped the whole thing, seeing how it had been laid out before 9/11. Too bad NORAD fell apart that day. Too bad that five simultaneous terror hijacking drills were going on, that up to 22 planes filled the air controllers' screens, and nobody knew what the hell was real and what wasn't. Too bad, right.

But hey, the Bad Boyz left lots of breadcrumbs like suitcases along the way that led right to the White House: Dick Cheney in the Control Room, George Bush in a Florida school listening to kids read a goat story, the Pentagon and Donald Rumsfeld ducking the missile, NORAD, the CIA, FBI, Israeli and even Chinese black ops. And they lead to others in the US entrusted with protecting us who instead turned on us and took part in this Great American Tragedy. "What a revoltin development this is." Yes James, you're right again. So let's revolt, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.

And last but not least. Did you know that Flagg said it really was the second bag that identified all 19 hijackers? Got that? Though he didn't comment on the fact that at least seven of the "hijackers" have been noted alive, well and kicking in the Middle East. But hey, that's what a "False Flagg" op is all about, blaming the homegrown havoc on people you want to attack. Mmmm, gimme that Afghanistan, gimme theme pipelines, gimme Iraq, gimme that oil, gimme da Mid-east today, gimme da world tomorrow. Mmmm. Where'd I hear that song before?
Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York. Reach him at gvmaz@verizon.net.

Posted by: che | April 28, 2006 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Chris, the Delay issue is more interesting for what you did not say - Republicans are not being moved by the problems being faced by the Republican majority - while I would personally love to see the Dems take the House, I think the Repubs over all are in better condition than most people are reporting -

Conservatives have come to embrace the spending and now the $100.00 bribe in the form of rebate for high gas prices - budget deficits mean nothing to conservatives -

BObby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | April 28, 2006 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Watch Ohio 15th. It may not turn this year, but within the next couple of election cycles, it's going to be Democratic.

Also, Chris, does your analysis ever extend beyond fund raising? The only way you seemt to be able to deem someone a "good" candidate is by how much they've raised, and prospects for raising more. I don't deny that this is PART of the equation, but it's not all of it. Particularly on the Democratic side - many potential Democratic voters simply don't have the money to donate, and may show up in droves in November.

If outraising and outspending where the only two requirements, there wouldn't be one Democrat holding any seat in the country.

Posted by: adam | April 28, 2006 8:56 AM | Report abuse

How about NJ-3 (my district) where republican incumbent SAXTON is taking on democrat candidate SEXTON for the right AND privledge of being my voice in Congress for the next few years.
My vote? Sexton or course. SEX always beats SAX.
http://einkleinesblog.blogspot.com/

Posted by: jay lassiter | April 28, 2006 8:35 AM | Report abuse

You put Ney at number 5 yet admit "this will be a toss-up race in the fall." If it's a toss-up then shouldn't it be ranked lower? It is definitely one of the more important races (incumbent in trouble), but by your own admission it isn't one of the most likely to change hands. I'd love to see Ney gone, but your rankings will lose credibility if you rank a "toss-up" race at number 5.

Posted by: Ranking? | April 28, 2006 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Nancy Johnson is down 10 points in a recent poll to Chris Murphy and this was left off the list!

Posted by: anon | April 28, 2006 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Chris - Did you see the poll with Eric Massa only trailing Randy "shotgun" Kuhl by 3 points yesterday? With the race already in the margin of error, the dynamics seem to heavily favor Massa, who will have much of Wesley Clark's resources in the final stretch...

Posted by: anon | April 28, 2006 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Rothenberg not predicts a gain of 7 to 10 seats for the Democrats. Every month their estimate keeps climbing higher.

http://www.intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | April 28, 2006 6:37 AM | Report abuse

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