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The Line: A First Look at 2008 House Races

The 29-seat Democratic pick-up in the House of Representatives this year means that Republicans will have more opportunities for takeovers in 2008 than they did in 2006.

Several of the seats Democrats won on Nov. 7 have a decided GOP lean and look likely to be two-year rentals for the Democrats rather than long-term leases. Other Democratic incumbents who benefitted from the strong national wind at their backs could find themselves in real trouble if the breeze stops blowing in '08.

On the flipside, several Republican incumbents who barely squeaked by in 2006 are sure to face well-financed and serious candidates in 2008.

Here's The Fix's first take on the 10 seats most likely to switch parties in November 2008. The races are not yet ranked; until we know more about candidate recruitment, it will be difficult to do that kind of sorting. For now, the districts are listed alphabetically.

Agree or disagree with this list? Use the comments section below to sound off.

To the Line!

Arizona's 1st District (R): Rep. Rick Renzi (R) beat unsung challenger Ellen Simon (D) 52 percent to 43 percent in this massive district that takes in portions of central and eastern Arizona. But at the end of the campaign Renzi was battling allegations of wrongdoing in a land deal. The matter is still under investigation by federal authorities and could well haunt Renzi well into the new cycle. By the numbers, this should be a good target for Democrats -- 41 percent of registered voters in the district are Democrats, 33 percent are Republicans and 26 percent are independents. But the size of the district makes it difficult for a challenger to raise his or her profile among voters. Democrats have fielded flawed candidates against Renzi in each of his three races; don't expect them to commit that error again.

California's 11th District (D): Jerry McNerney (D) wasn't supposed to win the Democratic primary this year, much less the general election. McNerney beat Steve Filson, who had the support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, in the primary and took advantage of ethical questions surrounding Rep. Richard Pombo (R) to topple the incumbent 53 percent to 47 percent. With Pombo gone, it remains to be seen whether McNerney, who is to the ideological left of a district that gave Bush 54 percent of the vote in 2004, can prove his own mettle and win an election likely to be a referendum on his first two years in office. Pombo has not ruled out another bid. State Assemblymen Greg Aghazarian and Guy Houston are also mentioned on the Republican side.

Florida's 13th District (R): While banker Christine Jennings (D) continues to contest the results of last month's vote, auto dealer Vern Buchanan (R) has been declared the winner by 369 votes. If that result holds, Buchanan will almost certainly face a serious challenge in 2008 -- potentially from Jennings. The Sarasota-area district should favor Republicans -- President Bush carried it 56 percent to 43 percent in 2004 -- but former Rep. Katherine Harris (R) never performed up to expectations and this year's race was extremely close. Buchanan has considerable personal wealth, which may help scare off a top-tier challenger. But given the importance of Florida in the 2008 presidential election, Democrats seem likely to play heavily in this seat.

Florida's 16th District (D): Democrat Tim Mahoney's victory on Nov. 7 was much more narrow (49 percent to 48 percent) than expected against state Rep. Joe Negron, the GOP stand-in for the disgraced Rep. Mark Foley (R). The Foley scandal made this a late-breaking opportunity for Democrats and, despite a heavy investment from the National Republican Congressional Committee, Republicans couldn't erase the taint and hold the seat. But with Foley likely to be a distant memory in voters' minds by 2008 and Negron already looking ready for a rematch, it could be very tough sledding for Mahoney. The district was carried by President Bush 54 percent to 46 percent in 2004 and clearly likes voting Republican -- as evidenced by Negron's near victory.

Georgia's 8th District (D): Despite assertions from Democratic strategists that Rep. Jim Marshall (D) was in solid shape heading into Election Day, he emerged this year with an extremely narrow 1,700-vote margin over former Rep. Mac Collins (R). The district was redrawn by the Republican-controlled legislature prior to the 2006 election to favor a GOP candidate. If Marshall seeks another term, he is sure to face a serious challenge, as this district will likely perform even more strongly in a presidential cycle. Marshall is also talked about as a candidate against Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R); if the seat is open it will be a major pick-up chance for Republicans.

Kansas's 2nd District (D): No result was more shocking than Nancy Boyda's (D) 51 percent to 47 percent win over Rep. Jim Ryun (R) in this eastern Kansas district that includes Topeka and Manhattan (home of Kansas State University). The ongoing fight between moderates and conservatives in Kansas's Republican Party likely cost Ryun the seat -- Boyda was able to co-opt the political center from Ryun who was seen as too conservative by some in the state. But now Boyda must win reelection in 2008 in a district that Bush carried by 20 points in 2004. She should draw some optimism from the example sent by Rep. Dennis Moore (D), who has held the state's Republican-leaning 3rd District since 1998 and seems to have fallen off the GOP target list.

North Carolina's 8th District (R): For several cycles, Democrats spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to unseat Rep. Robin Hayes (R). Who would have thought that Larry Kissell (D), who was almost entirely ignored by national Democrats, would come within 329 votes of ousting the incumbent? Kissell conceded the race to Hayes earlier this week but immediately announced that he will run again in 2008. While Kissell will surely have more money this time around (he raised $450,000 for the 2006 race), Hayes will also be paying much closer attention. The central North Carolina district has a Republican lean; Bush won here by nine points in 2004.

Ohio's 2nd District (R): Yes, we know that this suburban Cincinnati district went for Bush by 28 points in 2004 and should be an easy hold for Republicans. But in back-to-back elections Rep. Jean Schmidt (R) has underperformed, saved only by the prohibitive cost of advertising in the Cincinnati media market. After narrowly defeated Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett in an August 2005 special election, Schmidt struggled against a little-known opponent named Victoria Wulsin (D) earlier this month. Wulsin conceded Wednesday after a counting of provisional ballots showed her 2,500 votes behind Schmidt. She has said she is interested in running again but is also being mentioned for a slot in Gov.-elect Ted Strickland's (D) cabinet. If a Democrat can raise enough money to go on Cincinnati television, Schmidt could be in real trouble.

Ohio's 18th District (D): When seeking to replace a scandal-scarred incumbent on the ballot, it's best not to choose someone with personal bankruptcy problems. Republicans learned this the hard way on Nov. 7 when state Sen. Joy Padgett (R) lost by 24 points to attorney Zack Space (D). Space's big win masks the inherent Republican nature of the 18th District, which gave Bush by 57 percent of its vote in 2004. With memories of the ethically challenged Bob Ney long gone by 2008, the district's GOP nature should reemerge. State Sen. Jay Hottinger (R) appears to be the preferred candidate.

Texas's 22nd District (D): Much like Florida's 16th and Ohio's 18th, Democrats were able to win this strongly GOP seat thanks to the ethical transgressions of its outgoing Republican officeholder. Former Rep. Tom DeLay's (R) resignation seemed to seal this seat for Republicans, but the party's inability to remove his name from the ballot forced a write-in candidacy by Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs against Democrat (and former congressman) Nick Lampson. Texas is Republican country, however, and President Bush carried this district by 22 points in 2004. Republicans would be wise to avoid a costly and divisive primary, but even if they don't this will be a top target. Sekula-Gibbs, Sugarland Mayor David Wallace and Harris Co. Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt are all mentioned on the GOP side.

The comments section is open for discussion.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 1, 2006; 7:15 AM ET
Categories:  House , The Line  
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Posted by: Arnab | December 31, 2006 5:22 AM | Report abuse







Posted by: GUY FOX | December 10, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Chris please try to settle down some...we still have a long way to go in the world of politics.

For all you pundits out there...lets see how the news shapes ups.

Posted by: eNews Reference | December 10, 2006 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Great and interesting analysis, Chris.

I've just got one minor gripe with today's piece. As someone who writes for the Post, you get to shape rather than merely report what happens in American politics. That's why I'm troubled when you seem to give legitimacy to an issue that isn't really legitimate, especially in the eyes of the growing number of Evangelical leaders who've had some actual exposure to Mitt Romney and his ideas: "We still believe Romney must find a way in the not-so-distant future to address his Mormonism and his Massachusetts roots. Neither of the two "M's" is likely to sit well with conservative activists."

I probably will not vote for Romney in the end, but his faith should no more disqualify him than the faith of any other candidate you mention in your piece. By continuing to mention Romney's faith, you are stoking the fires of an issue that ought to be dying out.

Posted by: Rob Eaton | December 8, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse


If I had only one Ohio House seat to choose as "flippable," I might switch out Jean Schmidt for Debra Pryce.

Schmidt IS an extremely flawed Congresswoman and future candidate. However, the district hurdles are real and substantial.

Pryce's extremely narrow victory over Mary Jo Kilroy reflected the changing character of Franklin County -- as you noted in previous columns.

With Pryce tossed back into the middle of a now-minority pack, expect her to have to work much harder to raise money.

Combine that with a resurgent Democratic Party here and Pryce's next challenger can count on even more money and organization.

I think that spells this as her last term.

Posted by: Kurt Landefeld | December 6, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

No, it is not too early to think about 2008! You
know all the 33 senators due up that year already
have money in the bank. and presidential hopefulls
are making headlines.

Chris, you are right about Ohio 2. Dr. Victoria
Wulsin came very close to beating Jean Schmidt.
She actually won in Hamilton Co. (eastern Cincinnati) but lost in nearby Warren and Clermont.If the DCCC had caught on to what a good candidate she was earlier in the game, she would have won. Despite the cost of Cinti tv, there were a lot of commercials from both sides.

Posted by: Cincinnati Kathy | December 5, 2006 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Wyoming GOP Represenative Barbara Cubin barely survived a challenge from political newcomer Trauner. The decision went down to the last precints counted. Expect a rematch in 2008.

Trauner is now well-known in the state and will not have to start with a name-recognition handicap in 2008. Moderate Democrats may very well continue to gain in the West. This is one area where it's likely to happen.

In Montana, it will depend on if a Democrat with state-wide election experience decides to challenge Republican Denny Rehberg. Since his close initial victory over Nancy Keenan in 2000, Rehberg has faced only unfunded token candidates.

Max Baucus will run for re-election to his Senate seat. That leaves Rehberg's seat as a possible target for Washington-minded, term-limited Democratic Office-holders like Auditor John Morrison, who lost in the Democratic primary to eventual Senator Jon Tester.

Democrats going for either of these GOP-held at-large congressional districts could also be helped by a strong Democratic run for the White House, if that national campaign listens to Howard Dean and his 50-state campaign philosophy.

Running in the "battleground states" has served up two Democratic losses that could have been wins the last two presidential elections.

Posted by: Don't forget Wyoming | December 5, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

The GOP is pretty steadily losing ground in Arizona, as the electorate becomes more Hispanic, and the GOP retreats into narrow nationalism. Rienzi should be watching his back, and Mitchell should benefit from a continuing trend in his favor.

If McCain is the nominee, however, it would make a significant difference in favor of his party's candidates there.

Posted by: wmp | December 4, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse


We know you take licks from all three sides of every issue so we know you can take it, but for the record when it comes to politics it is NEVER too early, is NOT AT ALL silly, and SHAME on those who would call into question your jouranlistic integrity.....

Oh, wait a minute. That's riiiiiiiiiight. THIS IS A BLOG you nattering nabobs.

Considering the accuracy of the predictions of even the most, "accomplished," pollsters it's probably too early to predict House races very much before election night.

I mean, come on. WHO predicted the losses of J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ), Jim Ryun (R-KS), Jeb Bradley (R-NH), Melissa Hart (R-PA) or Jim Leach (R-IA) for heaven's sake. Even the morning-OF these were on no one's radar.

Or for that matter the survival of several previously marginal Republicans such as Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Geoff Davis (R-KY), or Christopher Shays (R-CT) (especially after he denied any torture even happened at Abu Graihb.)

Point is, you could throw darts at these any time between now and Nov. (what 2nd , 3rd?) of 2008 and you might surprise yourself at how well you compete with Charlie Cook, Stu Rothenberg (who just got done today patting himself on the back for a rather mediocre Nov. 6th/ A.M. Nov.7th analyses. Actually he made TWO different analyses) or Larry Sabato (who actually won the pollster's lottery this time).

Actually I like Stu. I just don't think he should be patting himself on the back in HIS blog today.

Anyway, as for the House result, I think what 2006 proved was that redistricting makes ANY signicant shift in House seats nearly impossible, EXCEPT for that once-in-a-decade election when the party in charge can't seem to BUY it's way out of the doghouse. (Not like the GOP didn't try and do JUST THAT.)

By that token we're probably looking at Democrat control of the House for more than just two years. The seats mentioned by Chris are definately at the TOP of the list for targets, but I'd be surprised if the GOP gains more than the nine seats Dems won when THEY attempted a House comeback in 1996. Granted, that would be significant reduction in the Dem margin, but short of retaking control.

P.S. If we ARE soliciting other ideas for Chris to FIXate on, then I'd like to request more information on the give and take (including the rationales for) of the Presidential primary schedules for both parties.

It seems like the GOP is embracing the trend of the last two decades in bring Super Tuesday to within a WEEK of New Hampshire, (how's THAT for frontloading?) while the Dems are pushing many of them back?

Is it really possible the parties could deviate SO much on their respective schedules?

Posted by: Cavalier829 | December 4, 2006 2:42 PM | Report abuse

What about the MI 7th? Yes there is a republican lean here but Tim Walberg is way too extreme for this district (he's an evangelical minister). Walberg only took 51% against an organic farmer/paralegal who barely ran.

Posted by: Keith | December 4, 2006 1:32 PM | Report abuse


He should be as liberal as you want; he has the necessary qualifications to win this race if he should run. He is a good speaker, he is a good fundraiser, and as you say, he is liberal...

Posted by: Moshe | December 3, 2006 10:43 PM | Report abuse

A 2007 preview/rundown would be nice, I agree.

Posted by: jojo | December 3, 2006 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Moshe, is Ed Diana a liberal Republican? Because that is the only kind of Republican that can win in the northeast anymore.

Posted by: Sean | December 3, 2006 4:03 PM | Report abuse


You should make a bigger line for the 08 house races; nobody is even considering NY 19, why? John Hall won by 4000 votes. And he is going to loss in 08 if the republicans are going to succeed to recruit Ed Diana the orange county executive to run. Sue Kelly did poorly in the county and Diana can win big in his county as he did in his previous races and overcome Halls margin in the other counties.

If Diana runs, Hall is history!

Posted by: Moshe | December 2, 2006 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Keeo an eye on Tim Murphy's seat in western Pennsylvania.

Murphy hasnt nailed down the district which is long and thin, running from the West Virginia border almost to Johnstown. A number of prominent Democrats passed on running against Murphy; had they realized that 2006 would be a big Democratic year, many of them would have run.

Murphy has gotten some negative publicity about his staffing problems. Some questions about Murphy's ethics have begun to arise.

I would expect that Democratic State Sen. Sean Logan (a protege of U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle) to make the race in the near future

Posted by: Conan The Librarian | December 2, 2006 7:15 PM | Report abuse

You left off Michigan's 9th District. Joe Knollenberg, the 7 term Republican incumbant won his seat again, but by a relatively small margin given his past results.

The Democrats ran a very weak candidate named Nancy Skinner. Their most competent candidate dropped out during the primary due to lack of funding.

So it wasn't that they were voting for the Dem candidate herself, they were voting Democratic because the the makeup of his District is shifting towards being over 50% Democratic. That plus the anti-Bush/anti-Republican vote pushed it into a 6 point race. Knollenberg used to win by at least 16 points.

If the Dems pick a candidate that can pick up the votes of the auto executives that live in the Northern parts of this District, the Dems will win this seat.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 2, 2006 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Q, with a likely competitive Presidential election in 2008, it is likely that there will only be little net change in the House. The House gains will probably be a couple seats either way like we saw in 1988, 2000, and 2004.

Posted by: Sean | December 2, 2006 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Want to know how the House results in 2008 will turn out? If the Democrats win the White House, there's no way they lose the House. If a Republican narrowly wins, the House probably ends up as a narrower Democratic majority. It would probably take a Republican presidential landslide to swing the House back to the Republicans, and given how Bush is currently doing, that doesn't seem too likely.

Posted by: Q | December 2, 2006 4:36 AM | Report abuse

In NC-08, there will be many Dems looking to take-on Robin Hayes. I will be surprised if Kissell wins the nomination in '08.

Posted by: tru2deth | December 2, 2006 4:22 AM | Report abuse

I used to live in AZ-05. It's getting bluer every day, along with the rest of the West.

Posted by: Venicemenace | December 2, 2006 2:47 AM | Report abuse

CA 11 was all about ethics in 2006. Mcnerney is already reeling after getting leaned on by Pelosi to vote for the corrupt Murtha. The GOP will get behind Aghazarian who comes from Stockton, the largest city in the district.

Posted by: Eric Rogers | December 1, 2006 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Another vote for the removal of CA-11 from consideration. As long as McNerney comes across as competent, is engaged with his constituency and gets full funding/support from the DNC his prospects look good. The district IS changing and it wasnt as "Republican" as the typical CA gerrymandered republican district (which is usually R by 20 points, not 5-10).

Repubs best chance would come with a respectable state or local pol, not Pombo.

Posted by: Patrick | December 1, 2006 7:14 PM | Report abuse

On Romney, the illegals and The Globe: "Romney was not their direct employer; he hired a service, Community Lawn Service With a Heart, that employed the workers in question. ... Questioned by a reporter, the Globe says, Romney said, "'Aw, geez,' and walked away."

Sounds like a reasonable reaction to an ambush to me. Do you really expect Romney (or anybodyelse) to be checking the Green Cards of the employees of the companies he employs?

I don't. Sounds to me like the Globe reporter didn't have anything better to do. It gets boring between Sundays in New England with the only interesting major league sport being politics given the state of the Bruins and Celtics.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | December 1, 2006 6:54 PM | Report abuse


It is far tooo early to be doing a column like this. When Gene Taylor was elected in a by-election in Mississippi, he was supposed to be a one-term wonder. That was almost 20 years ago. And who would have thought that a Republican could represent Montgomery County, MD for 16 years.

With regard to Topeka, Jim Slattery held that district for 7 terms not that long ago.

Posted by: Vadranor | December 1, 2006 5:52 PM | Report abuse

TG -- thanks for the info. I agree with you, this needs to be done. And you'd think the Dems would want this, even if only to be able to crow about it [I'm not such a partisan that I don't get it all works].

So WHY wouldn't they, is the point. And where is it coming from? Steny Hoyer? Nancy Pelosi? Rahm Emmanuel? Harry Reid?Because that matters. Is it because they have defense contractors they don't want to offend? Or because of, as I said before, being bullied by Negreponte or Gates, afraid to look 'soft' on 'national defense?' Because if you reallty started digging at what the CIA, FBI, Homeland Security, etc. was up to -- in terms of illegality, negligence and incompetence, you would pretty much have to get rid of almost all of them. So I'm curious. I will be happy to call various Dems and ask why. I would like an answer as much as you.

Posted by: drindl | December 1, 2006 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Dude! You totally missed OH-15! A seven-term incumbent ranking 4th in the House leadership wins reelection by 1000 votes (or 0.4%)??? There is CLEARLY no Republican who can hold this Democratic-trending district anymore except Pryce, and even she admitted being out of touch with her own district (see link to Columbus Dispatch article on my blog). When Pryce leaves, this seat is definitely Democratic. Even if not, she's going to have to fight hard to keep this seat every cycle she has it. Ohio 15 is a top tier Democratic target for 2008.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | December 1, 2006 5:21 PM | Report abuse

The Wisconsin 8th Congressional District was one of the dirtiest campaigns in recent memory here. The incumbent representative, Mark Green, did not run for reelection but chose to challenge Governor Doyle. Given that the Republicans had held that seat for an awfully long time, and that Wisconisn has become critical to both parties' electoral strategies for President, what do you think are the chances for first-term Representative Steve Kagen to win reelection in '08?

Posted by: Matt L. | December 1, 2006 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Ok Drindl, ask and you shall receive.

The commission recommended that congressional oversight of intelligence and homeland security by doing the following (I am limiting this to the re-structuring aspects). The commission generally found congressional oversight for intelligence and counterintelligence to be "dysfunctional"

- create a joint comittee of both houses or a single commitee in each house combinging authorizing and appropriating authorities (committee should have subpoena power)

- create an intelligence subcomittee of this joint or single committee specifically dedicated to oversight freed from the consuming responsibility of of working ont he budget.

- Four members appointed to the committee should also be members who serve on each of the following comittees: Armed services, judiciary, foreigh affairs and defense appropriations subcommittee (notion is that all major congrressional interests can be brought together in the intelligence commitee)

- Members of the committee shoudl serve indefinitely so as to gain expertise.

- The intelligence committee should be smaller in size, perhaps only nine members, so that each member feels a greater sense of responsibility.

And there is this tidbit quoted directly from the report ("leaders of DHS now appear before 88 committees and subcommittees of congress. One expert witness ... told us that this is perhaps the single largest obstacle impeding the department's successful development.")

- create a single, principal point of oversight and review for homeland security (permanent standing committee with non-partisan staff)

Guess we will just carry on with our 88 committees and hope it works.

- enact a resolution cre

Posted by: TG | December 1, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

"The Rev. Jerry Falwell quickly distanced himself from a published report that claims he has endorsed Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for president in 2008.

The Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson, Miss., had attributed a quote to Romney that implied the evangelical Falwell had in fact endorsed Romney, a Mormon, and his presumptive candidacy for the White House.

"It has come to my attention that a statement attributed to Governor Mitt Romney suggests that I have endorsed his candidacy for president," Falwell said in a statement. "I have met with and respect Governor Romney, as I do many of the other prospective candidates for president."

The Boston Globe reports that Falwell did not rule out a possible endorsement of Romney, but was just not comfortable making any endorsement at this time.

"If Governor Romney becomes the Republican candidate, I could certainly support him," Falwell said. "However, I have not endorsed or offered support for Governor Romney or any other candidate and have no plans to do so in the immediate future."

--Interesting... although really doesn't tell us much. Although the fact that the 'Reverand' gets a tax exemption for being an allegedly non-partisan religous figure who admits that he will support whoever is the specifically republican candidate means that he's violating the law, doesn't it? And I wonder if this means that fundamentalist christians will support any republican candidate, even if they have previously embraced gays, say, or were pro-choice? Seems to me like that would be putting partisanship over religions, wouldn't it?

Posted by: drndl | December 1, 2006 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I live in Sacramento so I know about the 11th CD which is just South of Sacramento County. One, it is a district in transition. And, two, Guy Houston has his own ethical problems.

As to Greg Aghazerian, there is very little of his AD that is part of that district.

They key to this district are the Bay Area portions of the 11th CD - not the Central Valley.

Posted by: Irwin Nowick | December 1, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I'd also like to see The 2007 Line, Chris: Lotsa districts will SpecialElection-up due to resignations and indictments.

Any predictions on which ones?

Posted by: TeddySanFran | December 1, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

you open up mitt's closet and all kinda stuff comes flying out--i'm afraid he's not ready for primetime...

"It's the return of the scandal that brought down Zoë Baird: A report in today's Boston Globe says outgoing Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has, for at least eight years, had illegal immigrants tending to the grounds of his Belmont, Mass., home. Romney was not their direct employer; he hired a service, Community Lawn Service With a Heart, that employed the workers in question.

And yes, folks, there is another shoe to be dropped here -- despite his residence in one of the country's northernmost states, Romney has maintained a tough stance on illegal immigration.

The story seems to have Romney spooked. Questioned by a reporter, the Globe says, Romney said, "'Aw, geez,' and walked away."

Posted by: drindl | December 1, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Oh B20, have to say -- I don't know if Webb has an official phone number yet, but I plan on calling him myself in solidarity. Now, there's a manly man!

Posted by: drindl | December 1, 2006 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm with azdryheat. You're way off on AZ, Chris. There is absolutely no reason to believe that the dems in that district will pull their heads out of their arses and put a real challenge to Renzi. They've had three tries and have failed miserably to remove a man who hasn't lived in the state he's supposed to be representing. It's pathetic.

It's CD5 that will be the battleground in '08. The GOPs are crawling all over themselves trying to groom Mitchell's challenger. It probably won't work if Mitchell keeps his head down, works hard and brings back the bacon for the district but that doesn't mean the GOP will be itchin' for a fight any less.

Posted by: nativeaz | December 1, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

'the dems have already determined to reject a major part of the 9-11 commission recommendations is both troubling and predictable.'

The 'predictable' is rather snide, isn't it? Now, that's giving them a chance..this part of the recommmedation is about oversight of intelligence.
Do you really know anything about this? I'd like a fuller explanation myself. Why don't we wait until we hear the 'whys' of it -- is it timing? Like right now, just before Gates' hearings? Have Dems been told it's a 'national security risk' by negreponte? I don't know yet.

Sandy, Bobby is a regular poster -- you may find his posts irrelevant, but many don't --and It doesn't seem to be like you have much to contribute yourself.

Posted by: drindl | December 1, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse

For those who don't like advance political speculation, that's fine. Go read the sports section (where you can speculate who's going to win the World Series 11 months from now). Or the front page, where you can speculate what's going to happen in Iraq when (or if) the troops withdraw in 1 or 2 or 3 years.

Why is speculation one month or one day prior to an election more justifiable than two years prior? To me, more variables make for better conversation. Certainly, there are a lot of wild cards out there, like who else is going to be implicated in the Abramoff scandal, but that's what makes this stuff fun.

The last day of one election cycle is the first day of the next one. Bring it on!

Posted by: Georgia Political Hack | December 1, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse


Even though most of your readers have a left bent and you tend to preach to those masses--it is never too early to talk about the run for the House, Senate and President. I enjoy your blog, given that above mentioned bent and you seem to have your ear to the ground as far as predictions.

Posted by: SC Erik | December 1, 2006 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Great article! What are your thoughts on these two candidates chances in 2008?

Musgrave (r) Colorado
and the big shocker: Cubin (r) Wyoming

Posted by: Tyler | December 1, 2006 2:21 PM | Report abuse

What about "Bobby White-Man-Servantes" or whatever his name is? Doesn't this "blog" need at least another 1,000 irrelevant posts from him?

Posted by: Sandy | December 1, 2006 2:18 PM | Report abuse

The text of my letter to Sen. Jim Webb today:

Dear Senator Webb:

I'm not one of your constituents, but I wanted to say how proud I felt to have supported you when I read your frank but civil comments to the president the other day. For too long the Congress and the Washington Establishment has mistaken our Constitutional Republic for a monarchy. If a citizen - let alone an elected Senator - cannot speak his mind (politely, if pointedly, both of which you did) to the President of the United States, then our Constitution is not worth the paper it is printed on, and the Founding Fathers have failed in their brave and visionary experiment.

I do not think there was anything disrespectful or inappropriate in that exchange with your co-worker and my employee, the POTUS. I thank you most sincerely, and wish you and your son the best.


Posted by: B2O | December 1, 2006 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I admit, at first I was going to cynically rant about how this is so early, but some of these thoughts are at least valid. Schmidt's days are numbered, as her fighting words make Republicans in Cincy ashamed to have her as their rep. With that said, if you ranked these races anytime before the summer of '07 I'd puke.

Posted by: jojo | December 1, 2006 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Green's old Wisconsin seat was not "strongly Republican," he was just a quite popular rep. Who, incidentally, lost the district while running for Governor. I grant you the district generally leans towards the GOP, but not decidedly so. COULD be competitive in two years, but I wouldn't count on it unless Green really does run there again -- which I doubt will happen.

Posted by: Colin | December 1, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Number one on your list should be Wisconsin District 8 which was an open seat. It's a strong Republican district but went to Democrat Kagen with 51-49 percent. But in 2004 it went to Republican Mark Green 70-30 percent. He ran for Governor and lost and likely will rerun in 2008 for the Congressional seat. He's a lock to win if he does.

Posted by: IndyWasDem | December 1, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Texas 22 you are unfortunately right on in you analysis, It was a fluke and Lampson the dem is going to try and be Republican lite.He needs to bring his head into the sunshine of what real people need, face the religious right face on and ask that rhetorical question, "What would Jesus do?"
Me thinks it would look like a progressive solutions for plain folks agenda. If he's smart he'll be in a different church every week discussing true Christian values. He cannot be a shrinking violet!

Posted by: Don Patterson | December 1, 2006 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Does Chris C. have to justify his employment to his editors? I don't know, but i can easily image the "What are we paying you for?" question, if he didn't provide something here. [Does his being a talking head on MSNBC and C-Span generate revenue for the Post?].

And, Chris made it customary for the Friday Fix to be about races. So....

However, there was a story in the Post today which probably would have generated at least as good a discussion.

The National Institue of Standards and Technology issued a report which is being categorized as "...the most sweeping condemnation of such (electronic) voting systems by a federal agency."

Six years after the debacle of the 200 Presidential election and many states still can't get it right. Amazing!

If any organization has computer security credibility it is NIST.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | December 1, 2006 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Than there is the Arizona 5th, where a very popular school teacher, Harry Mitchell, knocked off Big Mouth No Brain JD Hayworth. I love Harry but the district is republican by 20 percent. Can a good candidate in turn knock off Harry? The republicans are already slapping each other around looking at that seat.

Posted by: Ralph H | December 1, 2006 1:19 PM | Report abuse

'If you're not interested in analysis of the 2008 races, why are you reading the column? If you think it's too early, don't read the column and do something more productive with your time. Let those of us who are interested enjoy the column. Some people have too much time on their hands'.

Jeff, most of us who are very interested in analysis of 2008 races. We just constructively question the choice of the US House as a thread topic (OK, I admit, it will (hopefully) probably be the only one for a while) I suspect that many of us simply think that it is more appropriate and meaningful to discuss the Presidential contest (which in all fairness the Fix has been covering quite a bit since the mid-term elections) and perhaps 2008 US Senate races. Trying to make projections of the 2008 House races at this point is much more speculative (even by the usual standards of this kind of political prognosticating) to the point of meaninglessness than the other, afore-mentioned contests. There is more data available and the timing/nature of the Senate (with its six year term) lends itself to more meaningful analysis and discussion. Four years into the current cycle, the current chort of sitting Senators at least have a voting record for us to chew on, there is news or the potential for incumbent retirements and emerging candidates (especially current and former governors and US. Reps) who are positioning themselves for runs for the 2008 Senate, etc.

Posted by: sturmgrenadier | December 1, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I live in Indiana, and I'm wondering about my state's new three Democratic congressmen. How vulnerable would they be?

Posted by: Evan | December 1, 2006 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Hi Chris,

As a Californian who just spent two years living in Modesto, I'm not sure if I agree with your analysis of Mr. McNerney's risk. It is true that the area was quite unfriendly to Democrats in 2004, but the demographics are shifting blue rather rapidly. The district has a major freeway running through it that is used by commuters from the San Joaquin valley (where real estate is cheap, at least for California) to work in the Bay Area. These bay area commuters have been settling in the district, steadily painting it more blue.

As has been said many times already, we have to see how the Democrats handle their newfound power before making any predictions. However, nobody will have an easy time contesting Mr. McNerney's seat in 2008. Especially not Pombo, who would again have to battle the Democrats and a very well-organized group of environmental-activist enemies.

Posted by: Loren Williams | December 1, 2006 1:07 PM | Report abuse

A few notable omissions:

--CO-4 (Marilyn Musgrave won only 46% of the vote, and Angie Paccione was hopelessly outgunned in advertising spent against her. . .I don't believe any other R congress member was returned with so small a percentage. . .)
--The four R seats in CT and NY where the incumbents were returned with 51% of the vote or less--Reynolds, Kuhl, Walsh, and Shays are all significantly endangered.
--The Heather Wilson seat in NM. . .either another run at the seat finally results in a D victory (see Anne Northup) or she runs in the Senate primary if Domenici retires and is either the R nominee or loses the R nod.

Posted by: DaveInDenver | December 1, 2006 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Fine with looking at 2008 posters are right. This site are for those with the infirmity of political junkitis.

As for '08. I have posted here before about how I was impressed with nearly all of the dem platform items for '06. The news (appearing briefly on the front of that the dems have already determined to reject a major part of the 9-11 commission recommendations is both troubling and predictable. Call me sentimental but I had pretty high hopes moving into this new congress despte the fact that I am a conservative. Those hopes were based in part on the supposed promise of working to quickly enact 9-11 commission reforms. The fact that a major prong has already been dumped may prove to be an issue for '08 depending on how many other promises fall by the wayside. '06 was about accountability not a liberal trend. It was about the middle which broke from the right. It is the middle that is watching and keeping score and they are a fickle sort.

Posted by: TG | December 1, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Azdryheat, Harry Mitchell is quite popular and well known in AZ-05, as he has served in public office there before. Also, the district is not that Republican, as Clinton carried it twice and Bush only won it by a few points.

Posted by: Sean | December 1, 2006 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Can we please stop speculating so far ahead about 2008 and instead return to keeping the focus on Chandra. Thank you.

Posted by: Gary C. | December 1, 2006 12:12 PM | Report abuse


i am curious to read about the breakdown of state legislatures - how many switched to dems, etc, and what the potential for democrats getting revenge and gerrymandering is, as 2008 will probably be at the very least less of a democrat victory. can anyone put up a link to somewhere that explains this or elaborate if you know details?

Posted by: minal | December 1, 2006 12:03 PM | Report abuse

While I love The Fix I have to agree this preview of 2008 House races is just a little premature. If you're looking for something to write about, break out of your box. Spend at least ten weeks and spend at least one day -- maybe the big states get more -- on the political climate in each state. Whose support is important in each state for the presidential nomination? Who are the up and coming state legislators, U.S. attorneys, etc., that will soon be in Congress. What are the big issues in each state legislature? True political junkies will eat it up. Just continuing the template from '06 is not that exciting. Thanks!

Posted by: Scott Farris | December 1, 2006 11:59 AM | Report abuse

For all those complaining about Chris analyzing 2008 House races - remember that this column is titled "The Fix" and it is aimed at political junkies.

Anyway, in my humble opinion, a big factor in the 2008 House races will be the 2008 presidential nominees. I believe that a Democratic ticket headed by Hillary Clinton or John Kerry will spell defeat for Democrats in districts with historically Republican leanings.

The Republican field looks pretty wide open. Should Giuliani manage to squeak by and get the nomination, I think you would see a major walk-out and a third party candidate from the religious right with possible support from the NRA. How far the Republican candidates support the nominee could have a substantial impact on the support they receive. In 1964 many Northeastern Republicans distanced themselves from Goldwater in order to win re-election. Many Southern Democrats distanced themselves from McGovern in 1968. Of course, committed party members resent that sort of thing. Will religious right voters supporting a third party nominee skip voting for Congress if the Republican candidate supports Giuliani? Will fiscal conservatives and national security conservatives who like Giuliani skip voting for congressional candidates who do not support Rudy?

If McCain wins it, his appeal to independent voters might be undercut by the hatred of him held by many in the Republican base. That could tempt many of them to stay home on election day and that would help first term Democrats.

Posted by: JimD in FL | December 1, 2006 11:46 AM | Report abuse

For those people who are upset that Chris has embarked upon the 2008 House seats analysis, you are misunderstanding the purpose of his piece. He, like many of us, is a political junkie and its NEVER too early to start handicapping the upcoming elections. Keep it up Chris!

Posted by: Political Junkie | December 1, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

In FL-16 and TX-22, lawyers for the Democrats were able to keep the names of the actual Republican candidates off the ballot. In the interim election for TX-22, the same Republican candidate won, and is serving out the last two months of Delay's term.

I once read that a Representative's toughest election is their first re-election, so we're in for an interesting two years.

Posted by: Sam | December 1, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Long dead the Gingrich revolution! Let them eat crow.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 1, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Hey Chris. With all of the Legislatures and governorships going Dem, what is the liklihood of Dems doing the gerrymandering in other states that Delay did in Tx and GOP did in Georgia. Iraq will get worse. I see these two issues as killing rhe GOP in 08. They are in exile -- Reagan Democrats have come home and the Gingrich revolution is dead.

Posted by: JF | December 1, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

For uncensored news please bookmark:

New Eminem Track References Wire Tapping, Political Assassinations, and 9/11

9/11 Blogger
Friday, December 1, 2006

Eminem - Public Enemy #1 - 2.4mb MP3

A track entitled 'Public Enemy #1' on Eminem's upcoming mixtape The Re-up caught my ear this afternoon. The track features a simple almost militant style beat somewhat similar in tone to his last politically motivated track Mosh. While Mosh (which New York magazine called "the most important piece of mainstream dissent since the 60s") alluded to 9/11 via caricatures of Bush reading 'My Pet Goat' and newspaper clippings on 9/11 (including the infamous 'Bush Knew' New York Post article), this new track goes into much darker subjects.

Frames referencing 9/11 in Eminem's 'Mosh' music video

The track makes references to his phones being tapped, how an FBI van might pull up and he might just disappear, or maybe get taken out by a sniper one day. He goes on to say how he is focused on writing as many tracks as he can just incase something happens, and takes it one step further saying that he has already accepted he would be killed and then painted negatively for his actions. This is the point where the track briefly references 9/11 (after mentioning tremendous tremors) before going on to talk about 2 Pac predicting his death, and JFK's assasination - an allusion to them both being killed for being 'public enemy #1' in the past.

(more after the break..)

Here is a rough set of lyrics:

I sense someone's tapping into my phones why do...
I got this feeling in my bones I might die soon...
The F.B.I might be tryin to pull my file soon...
I might be walking blind fold into a typhoon...
I might be seeing rockets light up the night sky...
Right outside of the window of my living room...
And if they do you can say goodnight and bye bye to my tunes...
If I don't try to record as much before I do...
The plan is to have as many in the can as I can...
As I stand before you in this booth a walking deadman...
Blank stare, dead pan look as my face as I gaze into space...
As I wait to be scooped up in that van...
Mysteriously disappear into thin air...
And they gon' say a sniper just appeared out of no where...
And I'll go down in the history as the blood sucking leech...
Who hid behind the freedom of speech...
Tried to take the fifth amendment use it, twist it and bend it...
The business way to end this...
I can feel the tremors tremendous...
In remembrance of September 11...
Flash back to September 7th...
When Tupac was murdered in Vegas...
He said that he predicted his own death...
Let us never forget it or should we ever live to regret it...
Like the day John F Kennedy was assassinated in broad day...
By a craze lunatic with a gun...
Who just happened to work on the same block in a library book depository...
Where the President would go for a little Friday stroll...
Shots fired from the grassy knoll...
But they don't know or do they?...
Who's they? Touché...
We're all vulnerable and it's spooky...
This is about as kooky as I've ever felt now...
Count down to Nuclear Meltdown...
7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...
You can run you can do what you want to...
But you know you ain't gonna do nuttin...
When its time its your time...
You are the prime target...
You have become Public Enemy Number 1...

While Eminem is not known for being a 9/11 skeptic, and he has not overtly stated that he is one, there is plenty to suggest that he is at least a questioner of the official story. Not only does this track and the Mosh track reference 9/11, but his former DJ - Green Lantern - had the track 'Bin Laden' by Immortal Technique (featuring Mos Def) alongside tracks by Eminem and other members of Shady Records. There are other past references to 9/11 as well such as a mockery of Bin Laden speaking to a camera, and having the backdrop fall down and reveal Dick Cheney and other members of the Bush administration. Most of these references have been scattered about so far, but perhaps that will change soon.

This is not Eminem's new album, it is a mix tape for his label Shady Records, but it may give an idea as to what direction Eminem will go in his next solo album - or at least we can hope. One thing is for certain, if he did go down this direction further in the future he most assuredly would become 'public enemy #1'.

Check out the song, post some thoughts, and check out our large 9/11 related hip-hop section on

Posted by: che | December 1, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse


Think you missed it in AZ-1. The real battle out west will be for AZ-5, the J.D. Hayworth seat. You can bet that all of the state's attention will be focused on re-claiming a GOP seat with a 17 point registration advantage.

Either way, too early to be making the predictions anyway.

Posted by: azdryheat | December 1, 2006 11:16 AM | Report abuse

'when Dubya thumbs his nose (actually already has it seems) at 41's bud Baker and blows off the Democrat Congress who even in the majority probably won't have the Cajones to stand up to him over Iraq.'

bob-- there isn't much they can really do if he won't cooperate. congress cannot move troops, only defund them and that will never happen. bush and cheney are so insane i wouldn't be surprised at all if they continued to engage in illegal behavior and totallyignored the will of congress -- and the people. they just don't care. here's whan an old friend, john dean, has to say about it:

'No wonder Dick Cheney worked so hard to prevent the Democrats from winning control of Congress, and is working so hard to push ahead now as if they never had. The DSCC-DCCC report shows that the Democratic Congress has good reason to be interested in Cheney, for he is at the center of the highly controversial activities that the Republican Congress conspicuously ignored.

For example, the report notes the following damning facts: The Republicans refused to investigate the mishandling of the intelligence leading to the war in Iraq. The GOP Congress ignored the fact that Cheney's office was involved in securing a $7 billion no-bid contract for Halliburton, which Cheney headed before becoming VP. The Republicans ignored Cheney's refusal to provide information about his energy task force, which developed policy for the Administration in secret while working with energy company executives. The Republicans refused to investigate the White House's outing of a covert CIA agent (Valerie Plame Wilson) in order to attack her husband, a critic of the Administration. And last, but very much not least, the Republican Congress has ignored the abuses (and torture) of detainees.

In short, Cheney is a key witness with respect to all these questionable - if not illegal -- activities.

Since the election, Cheney has made it clear that he has no interest in cooperating with the Democrats. He told ABC News host George Stephanopoulos he would not testify if subpoenaed. In addition, he told members of the Federalist Society, gathered in Washington for their national convention, that notwithstanding the election results, nothing had changed: The President was going to stay the course in Iraq, and continue sending conservative judicial nominees to the Senate for confirmation.'

Posted by: drindl | December 1, 2006 11:13 AM | Report abuse

If you're not interested in analysis of the 2008 races, why are you reading the column? If you think it's too early, don't read the column and do something more productive with your time. Let those of us who are interested enjoy the column. Some people have too much time on their hands.

Posted by: Jeff | December 1, 2006 11:12 AM | Report abuse

No Josh. You must lead a very sheltered life.

Those house seats in DC are owned by K Street, and White House is owned by AIPAC and the Saudi royal family. Just because the House is more Blue than red, doesn't mean title to those seats transferred.

Posted by: poor richard | December 1, 2006 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Of course its too early to have any real ideas about what will happen in the 2008 house elections. That should not keep us from holding discussions.

Here in MN, the political table could be wide open. Will Oberstar be up for another run after running the Transportation Committee for 2 years? Will Tim Walz establish some wins for his district, such that he moves from the 'rent' category to 'lease' for MN-01; or - as some locals are already speculating - will he attempt to move up to the Senate after 1 house term & oppose Sen Coleman? Will Keith Ellison's religion be an asset or liability - the result could be the deciding factor in whether this seat stays Democratic or MN-05 sends and Independent to Congress. Will Michele Bachmann accomplish enough to retain her seat or embarrass herself with some lunatic fringe quotes and provide openings for a strong opponent?

None of these seats are yet worthy of the Fix, but all bear watching, as any could easily swing into contention in the next two years.

Posted by: bsimon | December 1, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"You would think that by now we would have "supp'd full with horrors" on the New York Times op-ed pages. What could be worse than the atrocities that have filled those gray columns in the past few years, the loud brays for war, the convoluted excuses for presidential tyranny, the steady murmur of chin-stroking bullsh** meant to comfort the comfortable elite and confirm them -- at all times, at any cost -- in their well-wadded self-righteousness? Surely, you would think, we have seen the worst. If this was your thought, then alas, alas, alack the day, you were bitterly mistaken, my friend. Comes now before us the portly, fur-lipped figure of Thomas Friedman, Esq., who this week penned what must be the most morally hideous and deeply racist column ever to appear in those rarefied journalistic precincts: "Ten Months or Ten Years."

Posted by: Anonymous | December 1, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

What about all the races in the Northeast? CT, NJ and PA had some squeakers. Look at PA's 6th with Jim Gerlach, he has not one any of his 3 elections by more than 1 or 2 points.

Posted by: Katahdin | December 1, 2006 11:03 AM | Report abuse

That would mean that reporters would actually have to do some real reporting and think for himself, instead of feeding off of all the pablum he is fed by overpriced consultants on both sides of the aisle.

Posted by: Perish the thought | December 1, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

What about constituent servies; aren't those worth watching too?

Posted by: college kid | December 1, 2006 11:01 AM | Report abuse

A small complaint:

All elected offices are rented by their occupants. The American people own those seats.

Posted by: Josh | December 1, 2006 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Chris, it's still 2006. Heck, even before the mid-terms, you ran a piece handicapping the '08 contenders when there was so much news that you could have given treatment in your column. I like your columns, but I find myself rolling my eyes more and more. Don't you think it's time we pick some harder topics to cover with, dare I say, some deeper analysis?

Posted by: Henry | December 1, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

A) I think you are nuts for even thinking about the House race in two years.

B) How can you not include the surviving Republican seats in Connecticut? Surely the GOP will continue to bleed seats in the Northeast until they are all but extinct.

Posted by: patrick in baltimore | December 1, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Glad that Chris is stirring the pot for 2008.

It was getting real boring with all the Turkey at Thanksgiving and the Turkeys inside the beltway.

It is going to be interesting to pontificate and speculate about what level of panic will affect both parties when Dubya thumbs his nose (actually already has it seems) at 41's bud Baker and blows off the Democrat Congress who even in the majority probably won't have the Cajones to stand up to him over Iraq.

The electorate was pretty clear in its rebuke of the Republicans and expectations for the new unlikely, motley mix of Democrats.

I think 43 fully intends to tough it out and have 150,000 troops there in November 2008.

He is taking his advice from the battered and bruised Nixonians who are trying to compensate for that little enterprise in Southeast Asia when I was a kid. THey still think they can win if only we don't "cut and run". (it felt sooo good saying that! The Thanksgiving triptophan must be wearing off....)

Those who don't understand history tend to repeat it.

Iraq will be the pink elephant under the coffee table in the next election. Chris had better keep talking about '08. If not, another 3,000 may not come back by that time.......

Posted by: bob | December 1, 2006 10:41 AM | Report abuse

We've been following NC-08 closely at and were sorely disappointed that the DCCC missed this one and, some NC Dems kept their hands in their pockets too. Larry is charismatic and attracts smart people. He has already overcome the exposure obstacle and has proven his ability to compete. This one is going blue. "08 in 08"

Posted by: gregflynn | December 1, 2006 10:40 AM | Report abuse

What would be the main attraction at political Disneyworld? Maybe the Capitol Thrill.

I wanted to add that what happen in 2004 has no relevance on what will happen in 2008. All because Bush won a district by 8 points doesn't make it a 'solid GOP' district. What happened in these places when Clinton ran for reelection? Politics and political leanings of a certain area are not rigid and defined. I mean he 30 years ago Republicans didn't even go to the South.
In my humble opinion 2006 redefined political labeling for these districts you named. You should save you list here CC and compare it to the one you make 5 months before the 2008 election.

Posted by: Andy R | December 1, 2006 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Exactly how racist does a guy have to be to lose an election in Virginia? If Senator George Allen had scheduled a photo op burning a cross on a black family's lawn on the eve of the election, would it have helped or hurt him in the polls? And if he had won, would it have mattered that voters in a half dozen counties received phone calls giving them fraudulent "new voting locations?"

Posted by: Anonymous | December 1, 2006 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Halt inquiry or we cancel Eurofighters

Saudi Arabia has given Britain 10 days to halt a fraud investigation into the country's arms trade - or lose a £10 billion Eurofighter contract.

The Saudi government is on the verge of cancelling the contract

The contract supports up to 50,000 British jobs and there are now fears that the deal may go to France.

The Saudi government is on the verge of cancelling the contract - an extension of one brokered by Margaret Thatcher 20 year ago - because of a Serious Fraud Office investigation into allegations of a slush fund for members of the Saudi royal family, according to authoritative sources.

Tony Blair has been told that the deal faces the axe in 10 days unless he intervenes to bring the two-year investigation to a close.

The Saudis are said to be "outraged" by the probe into the activities of companies linked to BAE Systems. The investigation concerns alleged illegal payments made to members of the Saudi royal family and their agents.

The country's advisers have made clear through diplomatic channels that unless the inquiry is closed, the kingdom's arms business will be taken elsewhere.

The Saudis are understood to have already opened negotiations with the French about buying 36 rival Rafale jets.

The Daily Telegraph has learned that President Jacques Chirac has been to Saudi Arabia twice in recent months to offer full French co-operation on such a deal.

There has since been a series of meetings in Paris. Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the Saudi national security council secretary general, visited the French president on Wednesday of last week.

Last Monday, an envoy from the Saudi government is understood to have gone to Paris to confirm details of a potential new deal.

At stake is the future of the Al-Yamamah arms deal, Britain's biggest ever overseas defence contract. It is said to have been worth £40 billion to BAE Systems over the past 20 years.

Industry analysts estimate that the Government has benefited from a two per cent handling fee on that sum worth £800 million.

In 2002 a law was brought in to forbid British companies from offering bribes to third parties to secure business.

Mr Blair is being pressured to ask the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, to speed up the SFO's investigation to avoid the loss of the Saudi contracts.

Another prominent Cabinet minister is also thought to have approached the Attorney General about the case.

Lord Goldsmith is understood to have been warned that the flow of vital intelligence from the Saudi Government to the British secret services could be impaired following a break between the two governments over the contracts, thereby endangering national security, particularly during the war on terrorism.

However, friends of Lord Goldsmith maintain that he still feels compromised by the way in which he was pressured in 2003 to change his advice to the Government about the legality of the Iraq war.'

Posted by: appeasing the saudis [remember who was behind 9/11?] | December 1, 2006 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Never too early for this kind of a discussion. Anytime one party picks up a lot of seats, the next election cycle is always key. After all, if you don't knock off a new member early it only gets harder.

Personally, I'm actually optimistic that the freshman Dems will do better than a lot of people think. What Chris's analysis doesn't necessarily note is that quite a few of these "Republican" leaning seats are quite used to having Democrats represent them in Congress even while they vote for GOP Presidents. For example, Ney's old seat was considered a Democratic strong hold till Ney won in the 1994 wave. Same with the seat in western Pa won by Altmire (not on this list, but still sure to be tested). I do think Marshall and Barrow could both be in trouble running in a presidential cycle in their new districts. Depends on who the nominees are though, I suppose.

Posted by: Colin | December 1, 2006 10:26 AM | Report abuse

bobby -- i think you're right about the vilsack discussion... no passion. same was true with mitt. or pataki. they just haven't got "IT" whatever it is...true also with john kerry. dean, on the other hand, could, and still does -- get people excited. so does obama, and gore too, now. edwards does it for some..

who on the republican side gets people emotional? you could certainly argue bush -- or used to. but who else?

you know what every DC politician should have to do? [and every DC pundit as well?] --just what bobby said. take a bus tour of the country and see how the rest of us live, and what challenges and issues real people are dealing with. DC is a bubble, a political disneyworld.

Posted by: drindl | December 1, 2006 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Yeah Mouse. Frank McCloskey (from my home town of Bloomington) was declared the winner in that race by something like 87 votes over Rick McIntyre. Another example of the "Bloody Eighth." Dems literally locked arms to prevent McIntyre from taking his seat. Not one of my party's prouder moments.

Posted by: Zach | December 1, 2006 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Yeah Mouse. Frank McCloskey (from my home town of Bloomington) was declared the winner in that race by something like 87 votes over Rick McIntyre. Another example of the "Bloody Eighth." Dems literally locked arms to prevent McIntyre from taking his seat. Not one of my parties prouder moments.

Posted by: Zach | December 1, 2006 10:19 AM | Report abuse

It's never to early to look ahead to the next cycle.

I'm surprised no Indiana seats are on the list. Granted, the Dems are good fits for their districts, but unless by some miracle Evan Bayh is the nominee, their going to be swimming upstream. Also, I imagine GA-8 will be competitive. Barrow won by less than 1,000 votes.

Where are PA-6 and CT-4? They are both should solid Dem seats, I don't care how moderate the GOPers are. PA-15 should also be targeted. Dent barely won against a challenger with no money or name ID.

Posted by: Zach | December 1, 2006 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Talking about 2008 Presidential is perfectly appropriate.

Talking about possible toss-up races before people have even taken office is downright stupid.

Posted by: Get a Life People | December 1, 2006 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Sean hannity is already condemning the voting record of the new Democratic Congress b4 it even takes power or has cast one vote - Chris is trying to predict 2008 - someone needs to kidnap these two from side the beltway so they can learn there is a political US outside Washington

elections are as local as national - until the beltway pundits are willing to travel the US to get a feel for the voters - they will have very little to say anyone wants to hear.

I understand this is a political blog - now how about leaving the comfort of the Beltway - getting on a bus - and pontificating the mood of the country -

it is time to get to the meat of the politics - namely the people.

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

what was most noteworthy about Velsick discussion yesterday was the lack of discussion or passion by anyone - now that portends for his future

Posted by: Anonymous | December 1, 2006 10:10 AM | Report abuse

How do you see the Buchanan-Jennings race playing out over the next several months?
As I recall, the House is the final arbiter of election results. Didn't the House refuse to seat a Republican victor in a disputed Indiana contest 20 years ago?
Could something similar happen with this race if the results from voting machines is not satisfactorily resolved by January?

Posted by: Mouse | December 1, 2006 10:09 AM | Report abuse


Don't listen to those thinking this is too early to talk about 2008. This is what political junkies like us live for. You're doing great.

Posted by: sidney finkel | December 1, 2006 10:06 AM | Report abuse


Don't listen to those thinking this is too early to talk about 2008. This is what political junkies like us live for. You're doing great.

Posted by: sidney finkel | December 1, 2006 10:06 AM | Report abuse

On Rahm's mistake. If he hadn't driven out Duckworth's primary opponent, he might have been able to take that seat too. She ran very strong against Hyde in '04.

Posted by: Ian Hoffman | December 1, 2006 9:58 AM | Report abuse

It's hard to call Ryun's lost the most shocking of all the GOP losses (oops "GOP" is superfluous in this context), given Leach's in Iowa and Bradley's in NH.

Posted by: Ian Hoffman | December 1, 2006 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Looks good to me. The only race I'm intimately familiar with is NC-8 and you can take that one to the bank on going Democratic.

Robin "CAFTA" Hayes is already wishing he had quit while he was ahead. Now he's going to go out a loser.

Posted by: Anglico | December 1, 2006 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Seems to me that Chris is trying to save his a** and his job by creating a story where there isn't one yet. Make 2008 House races a story and Chris will have something to do for the next year or so.

What a disgusting example of the media acting as "kingmakers" for their own self-preservation and self-importance.

You should be ashamed, Chris.

Posted by: Enough already | December 1, 2006 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Dumbest decision of Rahm Emannuel this cycle?
Spending 3 million on Tammy Duckworth and ZERO! on Larry Kissell.

And Chris, when you say, "who would have thought" that Kissell could have come some close? We'll many many thousands of us did. It doesn't take a political genius to see that Larry was authentic, people in the district saw him as one of them. It also doesn't take a genius to see that Hayes voting for CAFTA in a textile district after he said he would not, was a major problem for him.

Money is not everything in a campaign. Issues and the candidate themselves matter too. Having said that, money is very important though. And I have no doubt that if Rahm and his arrogant bunch had spent 5 minutes really looking at the dynamics of the race and had decided to put 200k of Tammy Duckworth's (i.e. Rahm's pride) money into NC-8, Larry would be the new congressman.

This district is not that republican. Wake up beltway boys.

Posted by: Adam Terando | December 1, 2006 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Add the 3rd district of Nevada to your list. Tessa Hafen, the 30-year-old aide to Senator Reid, lost to Republican John Porter by only 3500 votes, largely due to Porters early financial advantage. He was able to fill the airwaves with a barrage of ridiculous negative ads portraying Hafen, a third-generation Nevada who was born and raised in Henderson, as a carpetbagger. Early money is everything.

Posted by: Lilly | December 1, 2006 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I think Chris is just reflecting the "continuous campaign" that politics has become. I guarantee that the new reps who havent even been sworn in yet are already thinking about reelection.

And if Chris doesnt talk about 2008, what should this blog be about? It is a political blog. The blog can either go away (or simply dont read it if you dont want to hear about politics), it can focus on 2008, or it can be a daily update of what is going on with Michael Steele (sorry, couldnt resist that one).

Posted by: Mikepcfl | December 1, 2006 9:48 AM | Report abuse

'The term "New Middle East" was introduced to the world in June 2006 in Tel Aviv by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who was credited by the Western media for coining the term) in replacement of the older and more imposing term, the "Greater Middle East."

This shift in foreign policy phraseology coincided with the inauguration of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Oil Terminal in the Eastern Mediterranean. The term and conceptualization of the "New Middle East," was subsequently heralded by the U.S. Secretary of State and the Israeli Prime Minister at the height of the Anglo-American sponsored Israeli siege of Lebanon. Prime Minister Olmert and Secretary Rice had informed the international media that a project for a "New Middle East" was being launched from Lebanon.

This announcement was a confirmation of an Anglo-American-Israeli "military roadmap" in the Middle East. This project, which has been in the planning stages for several years, consists in creating an arc of instability, chaos, and violence extending from Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria to Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Iran, and the borders of NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan.

The "New Middle East" project was introduced publicly by Washington and Tel Aviv with the expectation that Lebanon would be the pressure point for realigning the whole Middle East and thereby unleashing the forces of "constructive chaos." This "constructive chaos" --which generates conditions of violence and warfare throughout the region-- would in turn be used so that the United States, Britain, and Israel could redraw the map of the Middle East in accordance with their geo-strategic needs and objectives.'

Posted by: what's really happening in hte Middle East? | December 1, 2006 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Though I do agree with the sentiment that it is too early, I understand that this is what this column is here for. To satisfy the biggest political junkies need for their Fix. Hey if you think its too early, then you don't have a bad enough habit, you think real junkies ever question whether its too early to be thinking about their next fix.

My issue with this being too early is that all the information I could basically get by looking at the last Fix House line and seeing who won in the most GOPish districts. When there is real news to report on races, that's when it won't be too soon. Right now only the Presidential or Senate races, maybe some Governors have any real news with them, like the previous poster said, the new Congress hasn't even been sworned in yet.

Posted by: RCD | December 1, 2006 9:36 AM | Report abuse

At first I thought this was a Christopher Guest-like parody of over-the-top, hopeless nerdy lack of perspective. But it seems to be serious. The irony is it doesn't satisfy my craving for analysis, even after reading it. What's going to happen with Missouri-04 in 2028? I'm concerned there's probably a credible Republican challenger out there about to graduate from middle school. Also, I'm thinking of having a barbecue next July 4. What does the likely weather look like to you, Chris, for about 1:30 that afternoon?

Posted by: Andrew | December 1, 2006 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Chris, thanks for getting an early start. As a political junkie it is never too early to start looking at what's in front of us for the next cycle.

Also, thanks for noticing that NC-08 is in play. I am a Kissell volunteer and big fan. While we will not have the advantage of the "surprise" because Hayes may choose to pay attention, Larry proved himself and his campaign staff proved they know what they're doing.

Thanks for the nod.

Posted by: The Southern Dem | December 1, 2006 9:29 AM | Report abuse

i say go for it chris. i hope you continue to do this stuff from time to time. i'm really hoping we have some great house and senate races in 2008. go Democrats in 2008. I live in the Ohio River Valley area so hopefully we'll be the epicenter again. Considering CT, IN, and PA have already done a lot of work. Maybe we can come back and focus on OH-02 and 0H-01. Still lots of opportunties here.

Posted by: aaron | December 1, 2006 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Chris, baby, I heart you, but please, please, please, can we lay off 2008 House races for just a few weeks, like until the NEW Congress is sworn in?

Posted by: Tab Khan | December 1, 2006 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, this is kinda crazy Chris. You can cite trends and past performances in districts, but predicting the landscape is 2 years is folly. The Democrats may win so many fans that they elect 300 reps to the next congress. They may fall completely flat and end up giving strong control right back to the Republicans. Who knows, they could all be Mark Foleys, or they could all be Mother Teresas. Let's just wait a while and see. I think this is part of the problem of 24 hour news. You're looking to create 'programming' to fill the entire 24 hours when sometimes there is just nothing newsworthy to talk about.

Posted by: imgoph | December 1, 2006 9:05 AM | Report abuse

What about PA-10? This district has been given the unkind-but-not-necessarily-untrue moniker of "Rocks, Rattlesnakes, and Republicans", stating what lives there.

Democrat Chris Carney ran a great campaign, but the district is nearly 2/3 Republican, and a MAJOR factor in Carney's win was the fact that outgoing Rep. Don Sherwood cheated on his wife, allegedly choked his mistress, and paid a $500,000 settlement to said mistress.

If the GOP runs any sort of candidate with a clean record, Carney will be a one-termer for sure (unfortunately).

Posted by: Not Joe McDade | December 1, 2006 9:02 AM | Report abuse

'Will writes: "Webb certainly has conveyed what he is: a boor. Never mind the patent disrespect for the presidency. Webb's more gross offense was calculated rudeness toward another human being - one who, disregarding many hard things Webb had said about him during the campaign, asked a civil and caring question, as one parent to another."

This is truly Washington, in case you wonder what Washington truly is. Washington is a place where politics is just something you do all day. You lie, you send kids to war, you give them inadequate equipment, they're wounded and permanently maimed, they die, whatever. Then night falls, and you actually think you get to pretend that none of it matters. "How's your boy?" That, according to George Will, is a civil and caring question, one parent to another? It seems to me that it's exactly the sort of guy talk that passes for conversation in Bushworld, just one-up from the frat-boy banter that is usually so seductive to Bush's guests. George Bush once said to someone I know, "How old is that seersucker suit anyway?" and my friend (who should know better) went for it lock stock and barrel.

So finally someone said to George Bush, Don't think that what you stand for is beside the point. Don't think that because you're President you're entitled to my good opinion. Don't think that asking about my boy means that I believe for even one second that you care. If you did, you'd be doing something about bringing the troops home.

George Will thinks this is bad manners.

I don't.

I think it's too bad it doesn't happen more often.'

Posted by: Anonymous | December 1, 2006 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I usually enjoy reading Da Fix (except when it occassionally gets too focused on issues of less interest/significance), but this thread topic is kind of silly. It's much too early for such discussion to have any meaning. Take a break for a bit. Enjoy. The cycle just ended

Posted by: sturmgrenadier | December 1, 2006 8:54 AM | Report abuse

If Rudy and Mitt get shot down for their previous embrace of gay men, will the base be able to bite the bullet and vote for McCain?

Posted by: drindl | December 1, 2006 8:53 AM | Report abuse

While we're talking about 2008, did you catch the New York Times piece about McCain crashing the Republican Governors Association annual meeting?

The RGA is headed up, of course, by Governor Mitt Romney, a potential 2008 hopeful for the GOP nomination.

Next to Rudy, I think these two are the front-runners, with McCain out front. Romney has a history that could ruin him in the primary, much like Rudy does.

Posted by: Matt | December 1, 2006 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I wonder how the Supreme Court decision about Tom DeLay's tactics in Texas will impact 2008. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Dems won't necessarily have to wait for the 2010 census to initiate redistricting. In states like PA where the Dems took over the state legislature and have the governor's mansion, we could see the Dems construct a firewall for '08 with redistricting before the census.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | December 1, 2006 8:25 AM | Report abuse

From your initial analysis, it sure does not look like the House is going back to the GOP in 2008. It looks like both parties have about an equal number of seats really at risk. If they all switch, then the Democrats would still retain control of the House. Since the GOP has 22 seats at risk to the Democrats 11 in the senate, it would appear that 2006 may have been a realigning election after all. If GOP incumbents look at this and their prospects for taking back the Congress appear bleak, will we be seeing a number of GOP retirements between now and 2008, which would further complicate any GOP plans to take back Congress?

Posted by: LouisXIV | December 1, 2006 8:04 AM | Report abuse

I have to agree with the first comment -- I was stunned to see this headline. A lot of the "incumbents" who are being identified as vulnerable won't be SWORN IN until more than a month from now.

Posted by: casp7 | December 1, 2006 8:02 AM | Report abuse

As a total political junkie, I think it is never too early to start talking about 2008, president, house, senate or governors. You might want to look at Illinois 10. There is talk Kirk might run for the senate. He barely beat out a little known challenger, who didn't live in the district in 2006. If the seat is open, the district is more Dem than GOP and this should be a very at risk seat for the GOP. If Kirk decides to run for re-election, it will be a tougher pick up for the Dems. If Obama is at the top of the Dem ticket though, I would expect this seat to flip no matter who the GOP candidate is.

Posted by: Dave | December 1, 2006 7:59 AM | Report abuse


I'm a big fan of yours, as you--usually--know what you're talkin' about. But, seeing as how I'm the first person (for the first time), let me be the first to say: give it break. We are barely 3 weeks from this year's elections!

Stop it already! Take a hiatus until there is actually some news to make news.

Posted by: Conservative, Texan Dem | December 1, 2006 7:50 AM | Report abuse

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