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The Friday Line: House Playing Field Expands for Dems

When the 2006 cycle started, talk of a Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives was dismissed by most political professionals. With Republicans sitting on a 15-seat majority, there simply didn't appear to be enough seats that would be truly competitive in November 2006 to warrant legitimate talk of a change in control.

2006 Campaign Map
Interactive Campaign Map: More Election Data and Analysis.

Seventeen months later much has changed. President George W. Bush's job approval ratings are mired in the 30s and Congress is not faring any better. Republicans privately acknowledge that the toxic political environment has led to a softening in their incumbents' reelection numbers, which, in turn, has put a number of seats in play that would not be competitive in a neutral year. (The Post's Dan Balz and Michael Shear wrote a terrific piece about this trend recently last week.)

There is little doubt that the playing field has expanded. But it remains to be seen whether the number of truly competitive seats is large enough to give Democrats any sort of margin for error come this fall. As we have said before in this space and elsewhere, a Democratic takeover of the House is a real possibility -- but not a probability just yet.

With that in mind, let's look at the 20 most competitive House races in this year's midterm elections. Remember: The top-ranked race is the most likely to flip. Critiques and kudos are welcome in the comments section below.

To the Line! Click the district names below for more analysis and links.

20. Georgia's 8th District: This race returns to the Line as Republicans remain enthusiastic about former Rep. Mac Collins's candidacy against Rep. Jim Marshall (D). Collins had performed admirably on the fundraising front with $699,000 in the bank at the end of March, although Marshall had $1.04 million on hand at that time. Marshall is a savvy campaigner and the current favorite, but the redrawn district's demographics -- it went for President Bush by more than 20 points in 2004 -- make this one to watch. (Previous ranking: N/A)

19. West Virginia's 1st District: Rep. Alan Mollohan's (D) problems seem likely to get worse between now and Election Day. State Del. Chris Wakim (R) will raise money and run a real campaign, two things that no Mollohan opponent has done in years. Even so, Wakim needs a badly damaged Mollohan on the ballot to win this seat in the fall. He just might get it. (Previous ranking: 19)

18. California's 50th District: The decision by wealthy real estate investor Bill Hauf to run for the Republican nomination on June 6 complicates the GOP's winning equation in the special election between former Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) and Democrat Francine Busby, which will be held the same day. Both national parties have sunk millions of dollars into this San Diego-area seat and will continue to do so in the final weeks of the campaign. Special elections are typically closer than expected, and given the Hauf candidacy this one could be surprisingly competitive despite the clear Republican tilt of the district. This is the district vacated last fall by Rep. Randy Cunningham, who left after pleading guilty in a corruption probe. (Previous ranking: 20)

17. North Carolina's 11th District: We've been hesitant to include this western North Carolina district on the Line until we got a better sense of whether or not former NFL quarterback Heath Shuler (D) was a strong candidate or not. From everything we hear, Shuler is solid -- if not spectacular. His fundraising has been strong ($553,000 on hand as of April 12) while incumbent Charles H. Taylor's (R) has lagged ($99,500); Taylor has immense personal wealth, however, and is likely to spend as much as he needs to win reelection. Taylor has run increasingly less aggressive campaigns since suffering a stroke in 1997 and recently made a misstep when he was the lone House member to oppose the building of a memorial to United Flight 93's victims in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. (Previous ranking: N/A)

16. Illinois's 8th District: Rep. Melissa Bean (D) continues to be haunted by her vote for CAFTA: The latest sign was when a group of Teamsters stood outside a fundraiser for the Democrat on Capitol Hill. Still, Bean has won the endorsement of the local AFL-CIO, which should help blunt the idea that she and organized labor are on the outs. Businessman David McSweeney (R) emerged from the March primary flat broke, but a cavalcade of high-profile Republicans -- former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to House Speaker Dennis Hastert -- are signed on to raise money for him. It's hard to see why Bean loses in what is shaping up to be a strong Democratic year, but she remains vulnerable. (Previous ranking: 13)

15. New York's 24th District: On the one hand, Republicans -- including retiring Rep. Sherwood Boehlert -- have lined up behind state Sen. Ray Meier's candidacy while Democrats must wait for the results of the September primary. On the other, Upstate New York looks like a major opportunity for Democrats, with state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton cruising to victories in the gubernatorial and Senate races, respectively. Oneida County District Attorney Michael Arcuri is well liked by national Democrats and will run unopposed in the September primary after epidemiologist Les Roberts dropped out of the race. (Previous ranking: 15)

14. Iowa's 3rd District: The biggest oversight in our last Line was not including Democratic Rep. Leonard Boswell. Boswell's Des Moines-area seat is extremely competitive between the two parties (Bush won it by less than 300 votes in 2004), and Republicans have fielded a strong candidate in state Sen. Jeff Lamberti. Lamberti is running as an outsider to Washington, insisting that Republicans and Democrats inside the Beltway are simply not delivering for Iowans. It remains to be seen whether he can convince people in the district that choosing him amounts to a vote for change. (Previous ranking: N/A)

13. Connecticut's 4th District: Unless your name is Jodi Rell, Connecticut is a bad place to be a Republican at the moment. Rep. Chris Shays has held this Democratic-tilting district since 1987 (he won it in a special election) thanks to his image as a moderate maverick within the Republican Party. Democrat Dianne Farrell, who came within 14,000 votes of defeating Shays in 2004, is using the congressman's support for the Iraq war to drive a wedge between the Republican and his past supporters. (Previous ranking: 14)

12. Kentucky's 4th District: Little change in this northern Kentucky seat where former Rep. Ken Lucas (D) is running against the man who replaced him -- freshman Rep. Geoff Davis (R). The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recently went up with ads attacking Davis for his support of Bush's Social Security overhaul (the president was in the district to raise money for Davis on May 19), but that tactic may have backfired somewhat as five radio stations in the district either changed or edited the ad. (Previous ranking: 12)

11. Indiana's 8th District: What to make of Rep. John Hostettler (R)? As of April 12, Hostettler had a meager $56,000 in the bank; Vanderburgh County Sheriff Brad Ellsworth (D) had $533,000 in the bank. But Hostettler never raises any real money or runs a 21st century campaign -- yet he always wins. His southern Indiana district favors Republicans, but this year that edge will be significantly blunted. Ellsworth is the right fit for the seat -- a pro-life, pro-gun Democrat. That noise you hear may be the fat lady singing for Hostettler. (Previous ranking: 10)

10. Ohio's 6th District: State Sen. Charlie Wilson's (D) convincing primary victory as a write-in candidate proved that his campaign has rebounded nicely from its major hiccup earlier this year. And while Republicans insist that the attacks on Wilson's record that they splashed all over television are simply the tip of the iceberg, the fact that Wilson won the primary so easily raises our level of skepticism about the GOP's ability to turn voters against the Democrat. State Rep. Chuck Blasdel (R) has had some problems of his own of late, and Democrats will hone in on those as the general election draws closer. This seat is still Republicans' best pick-up opportunity. (Previous ranking: 2)

9. New Mexico's 1st District: Rep. Heather Wilson (R) is in the fight for her political life against state Attorney General Patricia Madrid (D). Both candidates are raising money at a furious pace; Wilson has had First Lady Laura Bush in for a fundraiser while Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) will help collect cash for Madrid next month in the Empire State. Wilson has held this toss-up district since 1998 thanks to her fundraising ability and solid campaign skills. But with popular Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson leading the ticket and the national environment looking less and less friendly to Republicans, this could be Madrid's year. (Previous ranking: 8)

8. Florida's 22nd District: It was a toss-up for 8th place between this seat and New Mexico's 1st, but we put a finger on the scale for Shaw. State Sen. Ron Klein (D) is hoovering up campaign cash -- a key in this costly district -- and bashing Shaw on his support for the Republican prescription drug benefit. Shaw seems to overcome concerns about his health from earlier in the cycle (he battled lung cancer successfully) and has shown he can beat back a well-funded Democrat in a tough year (see Elaine Bloom, 2000). But Klein is doing everything right at the moment and Shaw looks vulnerable. (Previous ranking: 9)

7. Indiana's 9th District: Rep. Mike Sodrel's (R) ouster of Rep. Baron Hill (D) was the biggest upset on election night 2004. Hill is back for a rematch and seems to have learned some lessons from his loss. Without a Republican wind at his back, Sodrel likely would not have won the seat in 2004, and given that the prevailing political winds are now blowing in the Democrats' direction, he will struggle to hold it this November. (Previous ranking: 7)

6. Connecticut's 2nd District: If you believe (as we do) that the national political climate will overwhelm local concerns in many House races, then Rep. Rob Simmons (R) is in real trouble. Simmons has held the seat for six years despite its decided Democratic tilt, thanks to his moderate voting record and a team of skilled political operatives. After losing to Simmons in 2002, former state Rep. Joe Courtney (D) is back for a rematch, and his advisers insist that he's a much improved candidate. Whether Courtney is better as a campaigner may not matter much if voters in eastern Connecticut remain as sour on the war in iraq and President Bush as they are currently. Simmons could do everything right and still lose. (Previous ranking: 11)

5. Pennsylvania's 6th District: In a race largely overshadowed by the primary losses of 17 Pennsylvania state legislators earlier this month was the victory by a Democrat in a special state Senate election in Chester County -- the Republican base of Rep. Jim Gerlach (R) 's district. That win bodes well for 2004 nominee Lois Murphy's chances in this rematch, as does her outstanding fundraising. (Previous ranking: 6)

4. Ohio's 18th District: Rep. Bob Ney (R) is still in considerable trouble in this district -- thanks to his alleged involvement in the ongoing federal investigation into disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. But we hear more and more that if Ney is not indicted in connection with the Abramoff probe before November, he could well win a seventh term. Attorney Zach Space (D) is a fine candidate, but the race is a referendum on Ney. (Previous ranking: 5)

3. Arizona's 8th District: Much of the vulnerability of this seat depends on whom Republicans put forward in their primary later this summer. Former state Rep. Randy Graf is the best known of the candidates and also the least likely to hold the seat in the fall. Retiring Rep. Jim Kolbe (R) has said Graf cannot win a general election and has endorsed moderate state Rep. Mike Huffman, who led the GOP field in fundraising through the first quarter of the year. Democrats have a competitive primary of their own between former state Sen. Gabrielle Giffords and former television anchor Patty Weiss. We still expect Graf to be the GOP nominee, which is why this race stays so high on the Line. (Previous ranking: 4)

2. Iowa's 1st District: Both parties host competitive primaries on June 6. For Democrats, former trial lawyer Bruce Braley is the frontrunner, although Republicans believe he would make a slightly easier general election foe than Rick Dickinson, a former state representative with strong ties to the business community. On the Republican side, the race is down to state Rep. Bill Dix and Heart of America founder Mike Whalen. (Previous ranking: 3)

1. Colorado's 7th District: Former state Rep. Peggy Lamm (D) has turned her primary with former state Sen. Ed Perlmutter (D) into a real race. Meanwhile, Republican Rick O'Donnell sits on the sidelines and collects cash -- $686,000 on hand at the end of March. Still, this suburban Denver seat is moving away from Republicans demographically, and 2006 is shaping up to be another good year for Colorado Democrats. (Previous ranking: 1)

For Further Reading:

* See The Fix's last ranking of top House races here.

* Track top races across the country with washingtonpost.com's interactive campaign 2006 map.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 26, 2006; 5:45 AM ET
Categories:  House , The Line  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama Staff Move Prompts Renewed '08 Speculation
Next: The Politics of Global Warming

Comments

Some years ago, Republicans made "liberal" a dirty word and began using it to smear Democrats. Democrats never responded effectively; instead, recently, they've taken to shunning "liberal" in favor of "progressive", a feeble defense, unlikely to blunt Republican smear campaigns. To fight back Democrats need to respond in kind.

Fortunately, the party in power (PiP) -- which gave us George Bush and two dicks (Cheney and Nixon) -- has provided plenty of ammunition:
- It attempted to gut social security.
- It created an absurdly complex prescription dug program designed by, and mainly for the benefit of, the big drug and insurance companies.
- It recently proposed these cuts: Medicare funding by $36 billion; the education budget by 38%; $600 million from science & technology; $300 million from environmental protection, and $276 million from
the Center for Disease Control, while a virulent bird flu pandemic is in the offing.
- It has proposed to eliminate a Census Bureau survey that provides of information about the impact of government social programs on needy families.
- It has amassed a mountain of national debt that will impoverish our children and grandchildren.
- All of these while transferring more and more of the nation's means and resources from those who need to those who have.

Add the PiP leadership's tricking us into the misguided, disastrous George-Bush-Iraq-adventure plus the totally inept, initially lackadaisical response to Katrina. Surely, it must be obvious, to anyone who's been paying attention, that the Republican Party should be known for what it has become "THE SCREW THE PEOPLE PARTY"

Posted by: Giddian Beer | June 5, 2006 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Some years ago, Republicans made "liberal" a dirty word and began using it to smear Democrats. Democrats never responded effectively; instead, recently, they've taken to shunning "liberal" in favor of "progressive", a feeble defense, unlikely to blunt Republican smear campaigns. To fight back Democrats need to respond in kind.

Fortunately, the party in power (PiP) -- which gave us George Bush and two dicks (Cheney and Nixon) -- has provided plenty of ammunition:
- It attempted to gut social security.
- It created an absurdly complex prescription dug program designed by, and mainly for the benefit of, the big drug and insurance companies.
- It recently proposed these cuts: Medicare funding by $36 billion; the education budget by 38%; $600 million from science & technology; $300 million from environmental protection, and $276 million from
the Center for Disease Control, while a virulent bird flu pandemic is in the offing.
- It has proposed to eliminate a Census Bureau survey that provides of information about the impact of government social programs on needy families.
- It has amassed a mountain of national debt that will impoverish our children and grandchildren.
- All of these while transferring more and more of the nation's means and resources from those who need to those who have.

Add the PiP leadership's tricking us into the misguided, disastrous George-Bush-Iraq-adventure plus the totally inept, initially lackadaisical response to Katrina. Surely, it must be obvious, to anyone who's been paying attention, that the Republican Party should be known for what it has become "THE SCREW THE PEOPLE PARTY"

Posted by: Giddian Beer | June 5, 2006 12:32 PM | Report abuse

First of all let me make it perfectly clear that I'm not attached to any political party or religion. I am first and foremost an American. I also happen to value truth, honesty, freedom, democracy, and the principles that Jesus taught. Neither am I gay, but I wonder what all the wonderful intelligence-gathering that this country has done is for if some people still don't understand that it has long been scientifically proven that abberations occur in nature that are within the norm and that homosexuality is no more a choice than handedness is; it simply is. Likewise, the research that has repeatedly shown the best way to educate children is ignored and they continue to be treated like robotic force-fed geese when it comes to teaching and the brightest are all too often bored to death with school before they're out of grade school, which usually doesn't auger well for their continued education unless fate intervenes.

Apparently the Republican party has decided that it wants to go down in history as the party of political hacks who prefer hateful, divisive, undemocratic, unconstitutional, diversionary, corrupted AND un-Christian politics just at the time when the country is yearning for statesmanlike leadership to unite the country.

I guess this is a good time for me to put in my two cents' worth about the proposal to make English the official national language, yet another smoke 'n' mirrors ploy to make Republicans look to their hard-core base like they're actually accomplishing something good.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if English became someday the officially-recognized language of the world. It has been for some time now the language of aggression, both commercial and military. In fact, it is my opinion that the majority of humans speak English to some extent, and most of the rest understand it somewhat. I might add that those who speak it probably speak it better than the grammatically-deficient English heard even on the news these days, which makes the whole situation pretty ironic. But, back to the primary topic of this email: Republican "family" values as they see them.

Imagine for a moment that you're Republican Bill Frist, the Senate's Majority Leader, and you have the power and awesome responsibility to control what issues the Senate considers and when it considers them. Knowing everything you do about the crises facing our nation and the things that most concern Americans, would your top priority be to:

A) Force the administration to change its failed strategy in Iraq

B) Help consumers walloped by $3.00 a gallon gas and take steps to reduce our oil addiction

C) Pass the first minimum wage increase in 10 years and develop plans to create good jobs in America

D) Expand educational opportunities for college by providing relief from skyrocketing college tuition

E) Ensure access to health care for every American

F) Amend the Constitution to deprive gay people of equal rights under the law

As someone who cares deeply about this nation, its problems and its future, you probably said A, B, C, D, or E. But Republican Majority Leader Frist chose F.

Why? Because it's an election year, and Republicans are in deep trouble. So they've decided that instead of addressing the things Americans really care about, they're trying to change the subject and using wedge issues in hopes of distracting from their failures and dividing Americans to win elections.

This time, LGBT families are the pawns in their political game. And this time, the American Constitution is their political playing field.

Majority Leader Bill Frist plans to bring up the "Federal Marriage Amendment" as the first order of business when Senators return on Monday. And to drive the message home, President Bush will host a Rose Garden event that same day, to reiterate his support for this divisive, unnecessary and diversionary attack on LGBT Americans and on our Constitution--even though his own Vice President opposes the amendment and his own wife says it's wrong to use this issue as a campaign tool.

This is a sad moment in American history. Over two hundred years ago, our nation's founders and framers thought guaranteeing rights and protections was so important that the first ten Constitutional amendments they proposed, which the states soon ratified, were an explicit Bill of Rights for individuals and for states.

Now, in an unprecedented move, Bill Frist and George Bush hope to convert this bedrock document that confers liberties and freedom into one that erases them. They want to deny equal rights under the law because of individuals' sexual orientation--and they want to deny to states avenues that would allow them to recognize and extend equal rights and protections to the LGBT community and their families.

This is shameful and wrong. It hurts LGBT Americans and their families (including their families of origin, who are obviously not gay!), and it is inconsistent with the constitutional values that set us apart as a nation-and with how we do things in America.

I always thought that this country committed to equal rights for every American as set forth in the Constitution--at least that's what I was taught in a government-run school! I thought that we collectively, on paper at least, opposed discrimination in all its forms. Based upon my education and subsequent study of government and the Constitution I think it's wrong for the federal government to bar states from extending rights and protections to all their residents. I further believe no church, synagogue or mosque should be told by the government who they may or may not marry. And that when it comes to government services and benefits, every citizen and taxpayer should receive equal treatment.

You can show Bill Frist just how wrong he is by signing this petition to stop this divisive amendment and tell him to put the Senate to work on the things that really matter to America and to Americans. Sign on here, and your message will be delivered the day the Senate begins debating the issue:

http://www.democrats.org/page/petition/lgbtdiscrmntn

Republicans have intentionally put divisive, anti-gay initiatives on the ballot in many states as well, and no doubt many nervous GOP Congressmen hope they can get reelected by scapegoating LGBT Americans instead of dealing with the challenges confronting our nation.

Sending a powerful message to Bill Frist and George Bush that legislating discrimination defames good people and defiles our Constitution is an important first step in turning our nation around and in beating back efforts at both the federal and state level to scapegoat Americans for partisan gain. Success depends on you -- so please take part in this action to truly return to the fundamental principles of our government and country.

With hard work and the participation of every American who has had enough, next year we could have a Congress whose answer to the above opening quiz looks a lot more like yours.

Yours in truth, freedom, and democracy.


Posted by: Electric Lady | June 2, 2006 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I see you've taken VT-AL off the Top 20 list of House races - that's probably the correct decision, since national trends are moving in favor of Welch-D. Plus Rainville-R didn't get as much $ from a Laura Bush visit ($100-150K) as the GOP would have liked. When you run your Senate line again, take another look at the VT Senate seat. Sanders-I is still in the lead, and this race may not yet be in the top 10 on the Senate side, but Tarrant-R seems to have found his footing as a candidate and is starting to open up some distance between himself and Bush on Iraq, the budget deficit, and health care. Tarrant will probably end up spending $12-$15 million of his own money on the campaign, and could outspend Sanders by nearly 2-to-1. Sanders is still likely to be Jim Jeffords' replacement, but Welch could end up winning the House race by a bigger margin than Sanders wins the Senate race.

Posted by: eld from vt | May 26, 2006 10:02 AM

Are you really from Vermont? The VT senate race is one of the least ocmpetitive in the country, I'd put it possibly even behind the Maine Senate race. Here we have a popular (semi-incumbent)liberal politician vs. a republican in a year that most liberal and moderates will dislike republicans. Add to that so far Sanders has raised 2 mil. If the house race becomes competitive sanders will pull Welch across the line.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 29, 2006 7:20 PM | Report abuse

All Washingtonians unite! We can't allow Heath Shuler to come back to DC -- remember all the pain he caused last time?

www.stopshuler.com

Posted by: Stop Shuler | May 29, 2006 5:53 PM | Report abuse

www.wsws.org
www.takingaim.info

http://www.unknownnews.org/0606020509comvot.html

Ohio election fraud investigated ... by the man who caused it

by M.R. Kropko, Associated Press

May 9, 2006

CLEVELAND - Democrats called Monday for Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell to remove himself from an investigation into what went wrong with the primary election in Ohio's largest county.

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern said Blackwell should step aside because his office is responsible for the rules that govern county election boards that had scattered problems last Tuesday, including poll workers who did not know how to turn on new electronic voting machines. Blackwell, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, faces too many conflicts of interest to properly oversee the probe, Redfern said.

"It's a silly request," said James Lee, a spokesman with the secretary of state's office. "The people of Ohio twice elected Ken Blackwell to serve as secretary of state. He will continue to serve."

Blackwell asked the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections on Friday for an investigation of voting glitches during the county's first attempt at electronic voting using Diebold Inc. touch-screen and optical scan systems.

The board, which met Monday for the first time since the primary, said an independent committee would try to determine what caused failures at polling places. Committee members will have expertise in electronic voting technology and elections administration, and the panel will be asked to provide a report by July 15, said Bob Bennett, who is chairman of both the Cuyahoga County elections board and the Ohio GOP.

In Cuyahoga County, which has a little more than 1 million registered voters, some poll workers did not show up to open voting sites. Officials also ordered the hand-counting of more than 18,000 paper ballots after new optical scan machines produced inconsistent tabulations. The counting was not complete until Sunday night, leaving several local races in limbo for days, and the outcome of one race for state representative was reversed.

Questions remain whether the equipment or the paper ballots, or both, were at fault, said Michael Vu, the county's elections director.

Posted by: che | May 29, 2006 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chris-don't forget about MN-6. Although it is a Repub leaning district, Wetterling outpaced Kerry - she took 46% while Kerry only took 42% and 2006 has the Democratic winds blowing and Mark Kenneedy is running for Senate. The Repubs nominated the most conservative (extremely conservative) of their candidates and Wetterling is more seasoned this time around - this race will be a good one.

Posted by: P Shunmug | May 29, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chris-don't forget about MN-6. Although it is a Repub leaning district, Wetterling outpaced Kerry - she took 46% while Kerry only took 42% and 2006 has the Democratic winds blowing and Mark Kenneedy is running for Senate. The Repubs nominated the most conservative (extremely conservative) of their candidates and Wetterling is seasoned this time around - this race will be a good one.

Posted by: P Shunmug | May 29, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

still touting parties instead of truths...


you're like a bunch of crooked little small time thugs...


pressing for your team to control the liquor market in prohibition times...


no thought for honesty or for actually working for your citizens...


just making sure that you have control...what kind of people are you?

.crooks, criminals, small time hoods with masters in the political process...


why don't you use your degrees to help your fellow citizens?


cowards?


apparently.


truth doesn't find a home in your mouths.
.

Posted by: I think it's interesting that you're | May 28, 2006 9:42 PM | Report abuse

IRAQ JUST HIGHLIGHTS/CALLS ATTENTION TO THE FACT THAT THIS ADMINISTRATION HAS BUNGLED ALMOST EVERYTHING, HELPING TO CAUSE A WAVE OF DEMOCRATS BEING ELECTED. Bush may be in a damned if he does, damned if he doesn't situation, but look who got him into this place -- HE did, He and his neocon, hellbent-for-war Cheney and friends. No matter what the intelligence said, the UN inspectors (who were right), the CIA, foreign intelligence, etc. I could tell from the little I read in the NY Times and WashPost that Saddam wasn't a real threat. Or really tied to terrorists. He was a terrible dictator, But to all his brilliant pols and advisers, who probably don't read or listen to anything except the same drumbeat on Fox News, and their own paranoid or secretive suspicions, it all meant WMD and war. Now the American people AND our soldiers, the lifeblood of a younger generation, ARE STUCK in this mess with no good way out -- The same thing with the way everything else has been managed, from No Child Left Behind unfunded mandates to programs passed without appropriations behind them. Bush even said that it is up to future administrations on when we will leave Iraq. So, esentially he and his decided to do this, stick us with it, and leave it up to others to resolve. The height of irresponsiblity. No one else would have done this if they were president, this is his and entirely his fault, his war, his bungling and now everyone else's mess and headache. So, the American people are sick of all of it and will throw his party out. BUT DON'T THINK THIS MESS IS THE END OF IT, NOT ON YOUR LIFE, NOT THE WAY THEY OPERATE! To wit: when the NSA so-called limited program first broke, I said to myself, wait a minute, after five years of all this, I've gotten used to the way these folks operate, there's got to be something even more outrageous -- sure enough, it was revealed that they've been tracking millions of calls. Now, you've heard it hear first, folks, there has to be something even worse coming down the pike. Knowing what these folks are like, based on what we've seen so far, it must be something on the level or lunacy of a national emergency or martial law plan, perhaps when terrorists strike, to keep these whackos in office beyond elections/or cancel elections so they can be our leaders and really take over forever, to finish starving the beast of government and ensure the domination of big business, the military and the wealthy. Think I'm kidding? Wait around, folks...

Posted by: Roblea | May 28, 2006 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Nor'Easter

Even if Bush came out tommorrow and said that he was reducing troops in Iraq by 50,000, I don't think his approval numbers would go up on Iraq.

People would see troop reduction as a political ploy. That he was forced to do it to buys some votes for November.

I am sorry to say that Bush is in one of those situation where he is damned if he does and he is damned if he doesn't with Iraq.

Bush's best option is to distract the public with some other issue like "gays are the true axis of evil" its seems to work very well for Bush/Rove. Bush can run around talking about how gay relationship are destroying american society while posing with some child-molesting priest who slap him on the back. You know same-0 same-0. Trick the voters and exploit their fears and prejudices.

Posted by: Wells | May 27, 2006 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Jeremy and others - Thanks for the specifics on the Contract. Few of us would disagree that it was a gimick in the election. But, sometimes gimmicks work. How much effect did it have? If only 29% going to the polls had heard of it, you have to think that it had very little effect on how people voted. However, don't dismiss it out of hand; remember that it became a blueprint for post election action.

I'm still not buying that Hackett to Busby to Tsunami is an obvious straight line progression. It may be, but I still say that five months is way too much time to speak with the degree of certainty that many bloggers are doing. When do I start surfing the Tsunami also? I don't know yet.

The October Surprise comment wasn't serious, because that actually hardly ever happens.

However, "troop draw downs" for purely political reasons is more than just a possibility. Word for months (with virtually no change) has been that the Administration (and many Republicans in the Congress) want there to be under 100,000 troops in Iraq by the election. What I wonder is, now that the "retired Generals/Admirals" have been quiet for a month or so, will they re-emerge if the Administration weakens the presence in Iraq for strictly political purposes? They kept quiet when the invasion of Fallujah was postponed for months by orders from the top (Washington not Baghdad). Will they do so again if their brothers doing the fighting are compromised by Rove-like tactics?

So, how soon will draw downs begin? Will it be subtle, so as to not foster questioning of our policy? Or, a major draw down hoping for positive publicity? And, what will be the reaction of the military, who have seen the Powell Doctrine virtually thrown aside?

Posted by: Nor'Easter | May 27, 2006 12:47 PM | Report abuse


Please bookmark the following sites:

http://www.waynemadsenreport.com/
www.wsws.org
www.onlinejournal.com
www.takingaim.info
otherside123.blogspot.com

CIA, MI6 Gave bin Laden
Al-Qaeda Training
Camp In 1995

By Wayne Madsen
5-24-6

WMR has obtained a confidential "France Only" report of the French intelligence service, Direction Generale de la Securite Exterieure (DGSE), that states that the CIA and Britain's MI-6 maintained effective control of an important Al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan as late as 1995, fully two years after the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, an attack that was launched with the help of Sudanese intelligence officers loyal to Osama Bin Laden. The CIA and MI-6 permitted control of training operations at Darunta, an "Arab Afghan" base located near the camp of Osama Bin Laden and used to manufacture explosives and chemical weapons and train in their use, to pass to the control of Ibn Cheikh, a Libyan leader of Al Qaeda.

The DGSE report, dated January 9, 2001, is classified "Defense Confidential" and "National (French) Use Only" states, "Besides the Maghreb enclave, the training at Darunta, which, for approximately 2 months, mainly involved the manufacture and the use of the explosives by terrorists. This training, initially provided at the camp of Khalden, in Paktia, was transferred during 1995, on the order of Ibn Cheikh, to Darunta, in order to slide [the training] from the control of the security services of certain countries, in particular the United States and the United Kingdom."

Classified French DGSE intelligence report: Al Qaeda training camp passed from control of CIA to Bin Laden in 1995.

The report continues by stating that in 1998, the training was expanded to include the use of C-4 plastic explosives and different types of detonators (electric, acid, etc.). Training also included the use of homemade explosives (like improvised explosive devices killing so many in Iraq today) and poisons such as arsenic, cyanide, gas, diamond powder, nicotine, and ricin. After Al Qaeda took control of Darunta from the CIA and MI-6, the camp was used to train Al Qaeda operatives to launch a series of deadly attacks, including the November 19, 1995 attack on the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad, the 1998 attacks on the US embassy in Nairobi, the abortive Dec. 31, 1999 "Millennium" attack on Los Angeles International Airport by Algerian Ahmed Ressam, and the attack on the USS Cole.

In 1995, James Woolsey left as CIA Director and was replaced by John Deutch. Deutch's deputy was George Tenet, who previously served in Bill Clinton's National Security Council. The National Security Adviser was Tony Lake. George Tenet The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) was chaired by Larry Combest of Lubbock, Texas and 1995 was the year Porter Goss joined the CIA oversight committee. On November 12, 2002, only a week after winning his 10th term, Combest suddenly announced his resignation from the House. Goss took over the HPSCI gavel from Combest in 1997, after serving only two years on the committee. In 1995, the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was Arlen Specter, a person whose fingerprints, like those of Goss, have been all over shady intelligence operations since the early 1960s. CIA intelligence analyst Michael Scheuer formed the CIA's Bin Laden Unit in 1996.

Two significant items emerge from the DGSE report. One is the fact that the CIA and MI-6 were dealing with a Libyan Al Qaeda member at the same time Libyan leader Muammar el Qaddafi had declared war on Al Qaeda. Unlike the United States, Libya issued an Interpol arrest warrant for Bin Laden on March 16, 1998. With this treasure trove of proof of U.S. (and British) support for Al Qaeda, Qaddafi had the U.S. and the neo-cons over the barrel. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Bush administration now considers Qaddafi (once branded as terrorist number one) to be a good friend.

Interpol arrest warrant for Bin Laden.

The other item is the training of Ahmed Ressam at Darunta. Bill Clinton's National Security Adviser Sandy Berger was charged with removing classified documents from the National Archives concerning the Ressam bombing plot. The question remains -- what were in these documents and did they have anything to do with the CIA's fingerprints on the Darunta camp?


Posted by: che | May 27, 2006 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Jack

They were saying that two month ago about IL-Bean.

But now she has raised 1.5 million to protect herself so I thinks she is looking safer everyday.

I know the union is mad at her on her CAFTA vote. But, what are the union loyalist going to do - vote republican - highly unlikely. She probably won herself some extra moderate republicans that will vote for her. And, she already has 1.5 million on hand (I say safe). Yeah I read Chris analysis on this - a little sloppy- I think he needs to do a little more homework and update based on current stats. You can't be a lazy analyst based on what was going on 2 months ago. Are worse yet how Bush was polling in a district 18 months ago in the Nov. 2004 election. Come on ? District leans republican because Bush carried it by 2 point 18 months ago. What about Bush's approval in the district now is 32 down -20 points from 18 months ago. That is like looking for WMDs based upon intelligence from 3 years ago. Hmmm sounds familiar.

Posted by: Wells | May 27, 2006 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Ohio guy is right. Paul Hackett's 48% in the OH-2 special election last summer was a wakeup call to Republicans, and he didn't even win. A Busby win represents a coup for Democrats.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | May 27, 2006 12:10 AM | Report abuse

"A Busby win at 50.1 to 49.9 is not significant of a national trend."

Nor'Easter I gotta say I really disagree with that statement. You do know that CA-50 is 44% REP and 30% DEM don't you? A Busby win no matter by how small a margin would be hugely indicative of a national wave given how overwhelmingly republican this district is.

Posted by: Ohio guy | May 26, 2006 11:39 PM | Report abuse

"but in 94 the Repubs had the Contract with America, a real promise to change things." - koz

Koz in '94 the repiglicans did not come out with the Contract for America until 5 weeks before the election. Democrats will come out with The Plan probably about the same time this year. And just b/c you don't agree with this plan dosen't mena it dosen't exist.

"but in 94 the Repubs had the Contract with America, a real promise to change things."

And what did the republicans actually change zouk? Oh yes...I forgot....they created the K Street Project...the slimy arrangement between corporate lobbyists and corrupt republicans that has hijakced our governmentand put it in the complete control of the ultra wealthy and the energy and insurance industry giants.

Posted by: Ohio guy | May 26, 2006 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | May 26, 2006 10:24 PM | Report abuse

from National Journal:

"If the election were held today, the Republican majority would likely yield to a new Democratic majority," Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., the chairman of the conservative House Republican Study Committee, said during a recent interview with National Journal.

Another House GOP member privately predicted that if the election were held this month, his party's lack of accomplishments could cost Republicans as many as 30 House seats.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | May 26, 2006 10:10 PM | Report abuse

"If you really think there is one dem that could flip to republican I would like to know. "

Wells-Illinois 08(Melissa Bean)

"Still too far out. Plus who knows what October Surprises await us. Troop drawdowns, maybe?

Noreaster-Don't you think that voters will just see this as a political stunt? Especially if its done in October.


Posted by: Jack | May 26, 2006 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Attention Candidates

I guess this says a lot about the state of our democracy. More people cast votes in this week's "American Idol" final than they did in the last presidential election.

Posted by: Wells | May 26, 2006 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Northup in KY-3 has been a perennial target for Dems. I don't know how many times we've thought we could win that seat and come up short. Yes, we might be able to do it this year, based on the atmospherics favouring Democrats and challengers over incumbents. But it's no sure thing. I think lopsided turnout favouring Dems--demoralized Republicans staying home and energized Dems wanting to send a message (and Independents look a lot like Dems in any recent polling) could be the key to this fall's elections.

The Contract With America wasn't released until September 27, 1994. The truth is it had virtually no effect on that year's elections at all. Stuart Rothenberg wrote a column on that not long ago. A veto-proof majority in the Senate? What the hell are you smoking, KZ? We have most people predicting a 3-7 seat gain for Dems and you come up with a 12 seat gain for Republicans? Which seats exactly are you predicting Republicans will pick up? Kennedy's in MA? Please! As if George W. Bush could find a veto pen anyway...

I agree with Wells--there may indeed not be a single Democratic incumbent defeated or open seat lost this year. That's part of how the Republicans did so well in 94. I think OH-6 does have a slight Democratic lean, especially with Republicans doing so amazingly poorly in OH this year and Strickland 16 points ahead in the Gov. race.

http://sandwichrepair.blogspot.com

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | May 26, 2006 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Come on.

You haven't fallen for Gingrich cheap marketing ploy of the Contract with America. This was just Gingrich ego trying to tell people the only reason why republicans won was all because of him and every republican should worship him.

This is like Jerry Falwell saying that the only reason why republicans won the house in 1994 is because he prayed to God.

A lot of forces were in play in 1994 and I don't think the number one issue was the Contract with America. Gingrich wants us to think that so he can take all the credit. If it wasn't for Gingrich's Contract of America you know Republican would still be picking cotton. This is totally Gingrich with the Messiah complex. I believe republicans would of won in 1994 without the "Contract with America". It's all about the wave.

Posted by: Wells | May 26, 2006 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Also,

The Contract With America was unveiled on September 27, 1994--only a little more than a month before the election. We are still 5 months before this election--which is a worry, things can change over that long of a time period.

Posted by: Jeremy | May 26, 2006 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Nor'Easter,

Yes I do. The CBS/New York Times Poll preelection poll taken just before the election showed that 29% of voters had heard of the Contract With America.

Posted by: Jeremy | May 26, 2006 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Brittain33 - If I'm correct, the Cunnignham successor election is Busby v. Bilbray as the two major party candidates(with minor party candidates included). Kauf is not a candidate in that election; but is a factor because he is on the ballot in the primary vs. Bilbray for the November election at the same time (goofy ain't it).

So, unless some of the minors get a significant number of votes, either Busby or Bilbray have to get a majority of close to 50% to win the successor election. A Busby win at 50.1 to 49.9 is not significant of a national trend. 60% probably would serve as a possible indicator. Pick a number, any number!

KOZ: The Red Sea may have parted down the middle, but "sea change" elections don't. We won't know for quite a while if this is shaping up to be a sea change election nationally. Still too far out. Plus who knows what October Surprises await us. Troop drawdowns, maybe?

Posted by: Nor'Easter | May 26, 2006 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Jeremy: It wasn't that "late" when all of the Republican candidates began pulling the contract out of their suit jacket pockets at every opportunity. It was a "signature" of that campaign.

Do you have any polling data supporting the "most voters never heard of it comment?"

Actually, maybe many had never heard of it and were going to vote to "throw the bums out" anyway. But the contract was visible, and "got credit" as a significant factor.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | May 26, 2006 6:34 PM | Report abuse

King of Zouk--

The Contract with America was not outlined until late in the campaign in 1994. Most voters had never heard of it when they went to the polls. That part of your argument falls flat.

Posted by: Jeremy | May 26, 2006 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Your #20 ranking today -- concerning Cognressman Jim Marshall's Georgia seat --contains inaccurate information. His district is the 3rd, not the 8th.

There's been a lot of confusion about this since the fool Georgia legislature redrew the districts (again) this term.

You may be using old and invalid data based on the previous lines. Please review.

Posted by: Tom Bordeaux | May 26, 2006 6:11 PM | Report abuse

The leaders of the national Republican party realized that after the Clinton era of peace and prosperity that they no longer had enough support to win national elections. They knew they would have to cheat and lie to ever get their facist anti american agenda in a position of power. The American people never elected Bush he was chosen by supreme court. The Bush presidency is just a fluke in history. When the Dems regain control of the House and Senate in 2006 and the presidency in 2008 we true americans will have the huge task of repairing the damage this gang of criminals have done to this country. As always the Dems will repair America after the mess the Reps leave it in.

Posted by: Larry | May 26, 2006 5:38 PM | Report abuse

King of Zouk

You are in fantasy land. There are not 10 dems seat in play that repub have a chance are capturing.

Charlie Cook on list Strickland old house a a slim possible pickup for repubs. And, that has been re-configured for Charlie Wilson write-in win.

Charlie Wilson got more write-in vote than the top republican candidate got votes on the ballot ( also factor in that republicans spent 1.5 million dollars against Charlie Wilson to keep him off the ballot). Charlie will easily win this district - and this was republicans best shoot of actually winning one seat.

Prediction republican will not win one single house seat currently held by a democrat. If you really think there is one dem that could flip to republican I would like to know.

Republican are playing defense with no chance of offense. Dream on KOZ. The only question is how seats will republican lose. How many currently held republican seats will flip over to dem.

Posted by: Wells | May 26, 2006 5:30 PM | Report abuse

King -- we've had the "dems have no ideas" discussion before. I've outlined in detail for you what the Democratic party's platform is. I understand that you disagree with it - and that's perfectly fine - but repeating your mantra that the opposition party has no agenda isn't going to make it so.

As far as whether Dems will or won't take control of the House/Senate, obviously time will tell. I'm not treating a takeover of either as a done deal, but it's truly hard to imagine Dems not picking up a substantial number of seats given the current political environment. Maybe you are happy with the current state of things KZ, but it doesn't seem that the rest of the country agrees with you.

Oh right, I wanted to ask. You mentioned previously that you don't actually agree with the Republican stance on social issues and I gather that you're something of a libertarian republican. If that's the case, why exactly is it that you agree with a party that has expanded government more than any administration since LBJ (Clinton shrunk government to its lowest levels since...wait for it...another Dem, JFK)? Seems like a tough position to reconcile if you actually believe in limited government.

Posted by: Colin | May 26, 2006 5:21 PM | Report abuse

there is that. but in 94 the Repubs had the Contract with America, a real promise to change things. these days the Dems have um, let me think for a minute.........Oh yeah, raise the minimum wage and issue subpeonas. that really gets me all fired up. It is possible the house switches over for the next two years (50/50 shot). but at the end of that, the people will be so sick of it, they will put the Rs in charge for the next 50 years. a small price to pay. Hillary will be the nomination and she will lose. the senate is not moving except maybe to eventually a veto proof majority. but the real question is whether the voters will get rid of incumbants (with all the fundraising and name recognition advantage) to get back at the bottom of the list for committee assignments. BTW, all the Dems will get re-elected also. That is just the way it is.

Posted by: king of zouk | May 26, 2006 5:05 PM | Report abuse

perhaps they should ask why

Tom Delay was allowed to keep his seat after having violated his oath of office


and Why Pelosi and Hastert said nothing about that?


seperation of church and state,


attempting to control the Judiciary system through control of the funding process/congress...


I didn't hear that mentioned.


and where else do you get the leader of a country, is this paraguay, nicaragua, or El Salbador'?

stepping in and excusing his cronies from acquiring money illegally and literally


"keeping it on ice?"


when small time thugs/drugusers/alcoholics/liars/hypocrits/gawd-users


run your country


it aint friggin America, I feel like it's 1948 in a small hot town in Louisiana and boss hawg is calling down the numbers to his boys inthe congresssssssss


and theya doin what he say...

where else do you have a president intervening to make sure an old friend doesn't get arrested for a crime he did?


why, HE DOESN'T WANT THE SAME THING HAPPENING TO HIM.........


SIMPLE ENOUGH?


you watch my back, I got yours, we'll work together to loot America...


doesn't matter that Jefferson didn't pay taxes on it? Or that there was a videotape of it? Or that that is "business as usual" around the Bush Whitehouse...


you can almost hear the STINK coming off the place the howl of the Attorney generalisimo asking for all the little pedros to be given the jobs of your out-of-work tradespeople and factory workers....blue collar used to make up 56% of the MIDDLE CLASS

think working retail is middle class?

maybe if you have three jobs...

Posted by: and the beat keeps on....laaa dee daaaa dee doh! | May 26, 2006 4:41 PM | Report abuse

As a general rule, King of Zouk is actually right -- incumbents rarely lose today, which is why there hasn't been any huge turnover in Congress since 1994. But what he doesn't note is that in those rare instances when a tidal wave election does occur, the pundits always end up drastically under-estimating turnover b/c of a focus on race-by-race analysis rather than on the elections as a whole. As Charlie Cook Notes:

*In 1994, the last wave election, Democrats were protected by many of the same barriers, particularly in the House. The tsunami that slammed into their party had looked perhaps 10 stories tall, not enough for the GOP to shift the necessary 40 seats. But the wave ended up being 15 stories high, and Republicans picked up 52 seats (plus two party switchers).


In four out of five elections, the micro analysis proves accurate. But in about one out of five, it doesn't. Will this year be one of those exceptions?*

http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0306/032806op.htm

Posted by: Colin | May 26, 2006 4:37 PM | Report abuse

"Assume all the seats in Cooks toss-up and leaning categories are in play. that makes 10 D and 36 R. now let's get really crazy and say that they split right down the middle. Result: 46 seats - 23 go to D and 23 go to R. Net loss to R is 13 seats."

Wow, really fuzzy math. Let's get really REALSISTIC and say that all of those seats flip. That's a net gain of 26 seats for the dems. Much more likely of happening.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 26, 2006 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Northrop is on Cook's list as leaning Repub with a D+2 rating. It will be a good race to watch. The fundrasing angle is interesting because it translates to ad buys but also perception about success. Once you file an FEC report with little money raised, the national party writes you off.

Posted by: king of zouk | May 26, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe that you and other national pundits continue to overlook my district, Kentucky's 3rd. True, Rep. Anne Northup (R) is a machine at fundraising and brilliant at attack ads and has continued to win this seat since '92, aided by her ability to win pork for her district. But Northup is a hard-right Republican in a very liberal Democratic district--Kentucky's MOST liberal district. Her opponent will be John Yarmuth (D), former publisher and columnist of a free weekly paper, the Louisville Eccentric Observer, in which he has become very popular for his progressive columns. He won the primary handidly despite the Democratic Party's predictable support for Andrew Horne, an Iraq war veteran with no platform other than being an Iraq war veteran determined to take on Northup.

If Yarmuth can raise enough funds, he can beat Northup. Her support of the war, which would win her support in most of the rest of Kentucky, makes her very unpopular in her own district. Yarmuth's support for single-payer healthcare, for education, labor, and human rights all play well in this district. However, his opposition to the Religious Right could come across as opposition to religion itself and that would sink him anywhere in this state. This race should be a nailbiter in November and, if Northup falls, it will be unlikely that the GOP will reclaim this district in the near future.

I should add that Yarmuth's chances are aided by Republican scandals, both nationally and in Kentucky. Northup took much of Tom Delay's money and refused to return it even after his indictment--which did NOT play well in the district. In Frankfort, the state capital, the Republican governor has been mired in scandal which has led to both anti-Republican and anti-incumbent feelings throughout the Commonwealth.

Posted by: Michael Westmoreland-White | May 26, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Since this is all pure specualtion lets play a little game. Assume all the seats in Cooks toss-up and leaning categories are in play. that makes 10 D and 36 R. now let's get really crazy and say that they split right down the middle. Result: 46 seats - 23 go to D and 23 go to R. Net loss to R is 13 seats. still 3 shy of a takeover. It is going to be a razor thin election and very exciting I am sure. but I made a very big assumption there, which goes against all previous results. Incumbants in fact are re-elected almost 98% of the time. In non-fuzzy math called Bayesian probability, this is referred to as a prior probability. It is very difficult to budge this number much. this is why the Tradesports betting site is still giving less than 50% chance of the House changing hands. Believe me, these guys know what odds are. All this wishful thinking can't alter the basic math of the situation. Isn't it nice that Mathematicians rule (or at least understand) the universe and not engineers or politicians?

Posted by: king of zouk | May 26, 2006 3:40 PM | Report abuse

King of hypocrisy - during the 2002 midterm elections Bush's approval was still above 60% due to 9/11.

Now it is 2006 and his approval is 30%, and the majority of the electorate does not approve of his decision to invade Iraq, a war which has made this country less safe, not to mention all of the other scandals coming out of this administration, which are too many to go into.

If you think the repubs will gain seats this year, you are dreaming again.

Posted by: Ohio guy | May 26, 2006 3:34 PM | Report abuse

knows that the former senator to Congress from New Mexico,

is lobbying for _illegals_


to be given citizenship and suck up the New Mexico State Money...


Romero the III,


he's of spainish descent and was talking about the "reconquista"...


you know, Spain reinhabiting the United States, giving us all their poor and homeless as our

own number living in poverty increases by the millions yearly and the fastest increasing sector is the elderly


living on fixed income, companies disappeared to overseas and took the pension with them....


$30 bucks a month out of the pocket of each elderly person that used to go to medicine now going to suppor t

"bush's debackle," otherwise known as scam #WTC7 (what we can get the military to buy into because they are afraid of peace, and how we can use it to corner the oil market....


ala Hunt brothers silver market, another TEXAS fraud, and where was Kennedy killed?

and why did the bushes move to TEXAS to begin with....and where is Goss from Florida?

didn't geo.h.w.bush used to work in florida with the cia and mafia?

.


thanks so much for your mad dawgs and butlickers...

.

Posted by: I guess the NM Mom also | May 26, 2006 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Adam, I think those automated phone surveys, like Rasmussen, have to be taken with a grain of salt because I don't think it's the best methodology. Still, to show an incumbent in the hole by 4 points already definitely would worry me if I were a Republican.

On AZ-5: I believe Charlie Cook does rank this race as "Leans Republican" right now. In other words, it's a 2nd tier race. Competitive. Not good news for the Blowdried Blowhard, J.D. Hayworth.

Yes, there are definitely at least 4 competitive Republican-held House seats in PA (6, 7, 8, 10), and 6 in NY. With Clinton and Spitzer leading statewide blowouts at the top of the ticket, NY Dems should be taking aggressive advantage to flip a few House seats our way.

KZ, you're doing fuzzy math again. Even if your premise were true (and it does NOT comport with Cook's May 19 rankings), a 7 seat Democratic loss coupled with a 14 seat Democratic gain would result in a net GAIN for the Democrats of 7 seats; not a loss. If you think the Republicans stand any chance of gaining House seats this fall you must be spending too much time in a cave with Dick Cheney.

As for NM, Pete Domenici has been in the Senate since 1972 (same year as Biden, but the former is much older) and has been having embarassing memory problems for at least 4 years. Rumours on the Hill were that he's in the early phases of Alzheimer's. I don't think he lasts in the Senate much longer, 2008 may be the end of his line.

Kz has his facts wrong yet again. But we know from last week that facts don't matter to him. In 1998 the Democrats gained 5 House seats despite controlling the White House. They broke even in the Senate. It was the first time since 1934 that the party controlling the White House gained seats in Congress. The media didn't cover this at all. Both of the last 2 midterm elections (1998 and 2002) have broken the 1938-1994 historical rule. It could be that that rule isn't what it used to be.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | May 26, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse

"However, if Busby wins and wins big (let's say over 60%),"

Wow, talk about moving goal posts. That's a bit like saying President Bush didn't really "win" the election unless he carried New Jersey, Illinois, and Califonia by at least five points.

This is a Republican district and if Hauf helps Busby win the election it's going to be by lowering Bilbray's numbers, NOT adding additional votes to Busby. Simply winning here with 50% is winning big. And better than what people predicted after the primary, when Busby was stuck in the low 40s.

Posted by: Brittain33 | May 26, 2006 2:56 PM | Report abuse

How about Phil Kellam vs. Thelma Drake-Bush-Cheney in Virginia's 2nd CD?

Posted by: KellamFan | May 26, 2006 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Midterm elections were always, historically a loss until the last one, when despite all the naysayers in the press, Bush went out and activly campaigned. the result - picked up seats in a midterm election. shocking! the historical trend is against gaining seats for the Pres, but in this case, since the National Dem party is so bereft of any ideas and leaders, the loss will be minimal. still going to chair all the committees next year. and appoint another Supreme. And win in 2008. All because you and your ilk are living in an echo chamber and can't get out. Keep shouting to the hills, we win, we are smart, we offer you what you need. Maybe someone who is not paying close attention will convert. But you honestly think that so many districts are going to suddenly do some sort of magical Kerry flip-flop where they vote against thier own interests just because the WaPo and NYSlimes says it is so. No one reads that NY paper anymore and they have been unbelievable for a long time. Have you seen their debt rating this week? Have you seen Nancy Pelosi's approval rating? She makes Bush look like Lindbergh. Speaker Pelosi is a fantasy that will never happen.

Posted by: king of zouk | May 26, 2006 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Again, I have to say I'm so thankful The Fix now ranks the top 20 races instead of 10. Any chance we could cajole you into 25? ;)

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | May 26, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

KOZ

If you read Charlie Cook's Analysis you know damn well republicans are in trouble. The republican advantage part is referring to how Bush did in 2004 in the district. Based on Bush current polling numbers in the 30s - it should now be renamed to the republican disadvantage.

If you check Bush's lastest "Save the Republican Campaign Fundraising Stop", you will see a pattern - they were all in district he used to carry by +10 to +20 points in 2004. NOT anymore - now he even has to send in the troops to districts that were previously overwhelmly republican. ALARM ALARM ALARM. Can money save them now - time will only tell. 5 months and counting, tick, tick, tick.

Posted by: Wells | May 26, 2006 2:27 PM | Report abuse

"This seat is still Republicans' best pick-up opportunity. (Previous ranking: 2)"

OH-06 is the republcians' BEST pick-up opportunity?? Wow - I guess it is safe to say that the republicans won't be picking up a single democratic seat in the House this year. This is the seat Ted Strickland is vacating to run for governor and Charlie Wilson is very popular in this district - it will flip when hell freezes over.

It seems the question is not whether democrats will pick up seats but just how many seats they will pick up.

Posted by: Ohio guy | May 26, 2006 2:22 PM | Report abuse

NM Mom - if Bill Richardson is so unpopular, why is he considered a lock for reelection and why have the the republicans had such a hard time coming up with a decent challenger? I highly doubt people equate him with Bush/Rumsfeld.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but Gov. Ricardson and Sen. Bingaman are both at the top of the ballot this year in NM and both are expected to be reelected with about 65% of the vote. This will be of huge help to Patsy Madrid. I don't see what Pete Dominici's alleged popularity has to do with anything given tha he is not on the ballot this year.

Posted by: Ohio guy | May 26, 2006 2:17 PM | Report abuse

To: King of Zouk (aka Parrot)

King of Zouk "Why do you insist on attributing everything I say as some sort of parroting of bush Administration policies. I agree with some and disagree with others."

Wells: I have never seen you(King of Zouk) criticize the Bush administration on anything. That how I call you the "King of Status Quo".

King of Zouk, YOU DISAGREE WITH BUSH ON WHAT ??? Come on, name some Republican or Bush policies you disagree with. I DARE YOU !

Posted by: Wells | May 26, 2006 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Where is it that Fat Bill is considered so popular? Certainly not here in New Mexico, where most people see him as the other side of the Bush/Rumsfeld coin. Arrogant entitlement and all that.
In some ways Americans see members of congress like neighborhood schools -- they are all bad except mine. Here in the district, Patsy is likely to be as discolored by the Richardson connection as Heather is by Bush. Added influences are recently indicted state treasurer Robert Vigil (D) and the almost universally popular Pete Dominici (R) known as "St. Pete" by both his fans and detractors.

Posted by: NM Mom | May 26, 2006 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Here are 13 independent polls(over the past 2 months) all confirming that 60-73% of Americans think that our present leaders(Bush and Company) are leading us in the Wrong Direction.

Direction of Country Poll
Date, Right Direction, Wrong Direction

RCP Average 05/01 - 05/15, 25.0% ,71.3%
ABC News/Wash Post 05/11 - 05/15, 29% ,69%
Newsweek 05/11 - 05/12, 23%, 71%
Gallup 05/08 - 05/11, 25%, 72%
AP-Ipsos 05/01 - 05/03, 23% ,73%
CBS News 04/28 - 04/30, 24%, 71%
NBC/WSJ 04/21 - 04/24, 24% ,67%
Gallup 04/10 - 04/13, 27% ,71%
LA Times/Bloomberg 04/08 - 04/11, 26%, 65%
Harris 04/07 - 04/10, 27% ,65%
AP-Ipsos 04/03 - 04/05, 28% ,69%
Time 03/22 - 03/23, 34% ,60%
Democracy Corps (D) 03/16-03/20, 30% ,63%

Posted by: Wells | May 26, 2006 2:04 PM | Report abuse

perhaps they should ask why

Tom Delay was allowed to keep his seat after having violated his oath of office


and Why Pelosi and Hastert said nothing about that?

seperation of church and state,


attempting to control the Judiciary system through control of the funding process/congress...


I didn't hear that mentioned.


and where else do you get the leader of a country, is this paraguay, nicaragua, or El Salbador'?

stepping in and excusing his cronies from acquiring money illegally and literally


"keeping it on ice?"


when small time thugs/drugusers/alcoholics/liars/hypocrits/gawd-users


run your country


it aint friggin America, I feel like it's 1948 in a small hot town in Louisiana and boss hawg is calling down the numbers to his boys inthe congresssssssss


and theya doin what he say...

where else do you have a president intervening to make sure an old friend doesn't get arrested for a crime he did?


why, HE DOESN'T WANT THE SAME THING HAPPENING TO HIM.........


SIMPLE ENOUGH?


you watch my back, I got yours, we'll work together to loot America...


doesn't matter that Jefferson didn't pay taxes on it? Or that there was a videotape of it? Or that that is "business as usual" around the Bush Whitehouse...


you can almost hear the STINK coming off the place the howl of the Attorney generalisimo asking for all the little pedros to be given the jobs of your out-of-work tradespeople and factory workers....blue collar used to make up 56% of the MIDDLE CLASS

think working retail is middle class?

maybe if you have three jobs...

ps. and Maria, if you got somea thet Jim Jones koolaid you're accusing everyone else of drinking I suggest you lay into it, because you're really not doing your country any good....so check out.

.

Posted by: nice to see that the terminally stupid keep on talking about kool aid... | May 26, 2006 1:13 PM | Report abuse

ID -01 is a Republican +19 according to Cook. good luck Ms. Fanselow, you will need it. we will be watching.

Posted by: king of zouk | May 26, 2006 1:12 PM | Report abuse

We had our primary election here in Idaho this week. The winning Republican from the six-way field was fundamentalist state representative Bill Sali, who took 25%. He will now go up against Democratic nominee Larry Grant, the former vice president of Micron Technology, the state's largest private employer. For more about the race, check out these links:

http://redstaterebels.typepad.com/red_state_rebels/2006/05/newcomb_no_comm.html

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/5/24/191652/185

Normally, the ID-1 would never be in play, but Sali's nomination instantly puts it on the map. As the links above attest, Sali is intensely disliked by the state's Republican establishment, and Grant's moderate views are much more in line with all but a fringe of the district's voters.

The Cook Report put this race on its radar last Friday for the first time, even before Sali's win. It was rated "likely Republican" last week, but Sali's win now will probably move it to "leaning GOP" - and we fully expect this to be a toss-up by November. If you want to know where one of the biggest surprises will be this Nov. 7, keep your eye on Idaho-1.

Julie Fanselow
Online campaign manager
Grant for Congress
www.grassrootsforgrant.com


Posted by: Julie Fanselow | May 26, 2006 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

I love these top ten (and twenty) lists. They provide a great way to watch the ebb and flow of these contests over time. I have one small suggestion for improvement. It would be very helpful if in the header line of each item, you could show which party was now in control of the seat. That would allow a quick overview instead of having to dig it out of the text. It could be further enhanced, maybe by underlining or bolding it if the incumbent was running.

Thanks,

Rich Evans
Orlando

Posted by: Rich Evans | May 26, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

the latest publication from charlie cook lists 7 democrats in the toss-up or leaning category with a R poll advantage. He also lists 14 Repubs in the toss-up or leaning category with a D advantage. If these results were frozen today, it would mean a net loss of 7 seats to the Dems. not enough to change committee chairs around.

Posted by: king of zouk | May 26, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

keep on drinking the kool-aid, mary

Posted by: maria | May 26, 2006 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Just thought it interesting that all your posters think the Dems will take the House. I'm here for the first time to tell you they will not. Keep thinking those happy thoughts!

Posted by: mary | May 26, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Will, I'd hedge the bets. Still too much time. I've seen local enthusiasm and positive local results give the locals rose-colored outlooks on races which weren't rosy at all at the higher levels (state and national).

Always maintain a healthy dose of scepticism until the final results are in.

Yogi was right; even if he was a Yankee.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | May 26, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

oh, and since we're betting, that means my official prediction is the GOP will lose both House and Senate.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | May 26, 2006 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Two more PA districts to watch: 7 and 10. Curt Weldon (7) is facing a real test against Joe Sestak in a district that Kerry carried 53-47 and Sherwood (10) performed horribly in the primary, barely surviving. He comes from a conservative district, yet his problems of being sued by a former mistress who accused him of choking her makes him vulnerable. There is the potential for four incumbent Republicans to lose in Pennsylvania on election night in this national climate.

Posted by: Jeremy | May 26, 2006 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Here in Washington State, tons of volunteers on the Dem side for candidates in former GOP strongholds, by the thousands.

It's sure looking like a tidal wave.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | May 26, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

RMill - As always, Thanks for the info and objective analysis.

On CA-50 though. The entry of Kauf into the race may keep it from providing any insight into "national" trending. Even though Kauf is there for the nomination for the November election, his presence could have an effect on the dynamic of the June election which clouds the "canary effect"

However, if Busby wins and wins big (let's say over 60%), then I'd consider the canary effect.

But even then, there's still a full five months until the General Election.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | May 26, 2006 12:11 PM | Report abuse

"Connecticut is a bad place to be a Republican at the moment"

Not so great for Republican wannabes like a certain Senator, either.

Posted by: Steve in Boulder | May 26, 2006 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Reference kentucky 4th, how were the radio ad's edited or changed?How did it happen

Posted by: chet | May 26, 2006 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I see you've taken VT-AL off the Top 20 list of House races - that's probably the correct decision, since national trends are moving in favor of Welch-D. Plus Rainville-R didn't get as much $ from a Laura Bush visit ($100-150K) as the GOP would have liked. When you run your Senate line again, take another look at the VT Senate seat. Sanders-I is still in the lead, and this race may not yet be in the top 10 on the Senate side, but Tarrant-R seems to have found his footing as a candidate and is starting to open up some distance between himself and Bush on Iraq, the budget deficit, and health care. Tarrant will probably end up spending $12-$15 million of his own money on the campaign, and could outspend Sanders by nearly 2-to-1. Sanders is still likely to be Jim Jeffords' replacement, but Welch could end up winning the House race by a bigger margin than Sanders wins the Senate race.

Posted by: eld from vt | May 26, 2006 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget AZ-05. Mitchell should be in the second half of your top 20 - polling has him neck and neck with Hayworth. Mitchell is a legend in the Tempe area, and is competitive in the outskirts as well. With Hayworth refusing to give up his Abramoff money, this one is going to be a tight one.

Posted by: MK | May 26, 2006 9:49 AM | Report abuse

You continue to miss a very real and possible pick-up by the Dems in the WI-8th CD, an open seat that is being hotly contested. Gard, the likely GOP nominee isn't as popular as once thought and is vulnerable. Meanwhile, the Dems have a primary among three great candidates who understand tat ultimately the race is about November, not September. This will be close, but at the moment, the edge goes to the Dems.

Posted by: WI8thCDgal | May 26, 2006 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Just to recap from the week, my analysis indicates a minimum Democratic pick up in the US House of 11 seats. The upper end could range upwards to 46 seats, based upon linear progression of past Presidential approval ratings (highly unlikely unless the canary dies in that coal mine).

A more likely upper range, taking from a moving average of the same data could be 28-31 seats. Again, this would be in the worst case scenrio for Republicans (further indictments of Ney, etc., Busby wins CA-50 and continued low approval ratings of Bush and Congress). Based upon competitive seats available, I think it is more likely that the upper end of this range is closer to 21 seats, which would give the Democrats control.

In the Senate, I see a minimum of 3 and maybe up to 5 seats switching hands. TN is becoming more competitive and the GOP is losing grip in a number of top ranked seats (PA and MT especially).

At least that is what the current information leads me to believe at this time.

Posted by: RMill | May 26, 2006 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Chris,

when you say "As we have said before in this space and elsewhere, a Democratic takeover of the House is a real possibility -- but not a probability just yet," I don't know if I agree with you. I know the election is 5 months away, but at present Intrade has the house going Democratic:


Republican Party to retain control of the US House of Representatives in 2006 election: 46.9

Posted by: Lee | May 26, 2006 9:17 AM | Report abuse

RE: NC-11

Hey Chris, uh maybe you should check out these numbers. You might not be hesitant about listing NC-11 afterwards.

http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/webPPP_Survey_052406.pdf

Posted by: Adam Terando | May 26, 2006 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Discussed in prior threads during this week.

Cook Political Report has ranked competitive seats in the US House on an almost weekly basis. Since January, Dems have held to just 10 seats in competitive races while the Republicans have jumped from 18 to 36 this last report (May 19).

Generic polling has showing a widening gap between Democrats and Republicans and Bush's low approval ratings are not helping matters.

I would have to say that the Republicans best chances to pick up seats are from Democratic incumbants and would move OH-6 out of the top 10. Bean IL-8 is much more vulnerable, considering the problems with the top of the ticket embattled Illinois Gov. Blagojevich may become a drag on down ticket races.

Also, I would include in the top 20, two House seats in Louisiana, LA-2 and LA-3. Incumbants Melancon and Jefferson will be hard pressed. Jefferson in a heavily Democratic district has created his own problems with the bribery scandal but also you have to consider the Katrina factor. Federal response to the disaster has created a lot of anger and discontent. And with all of the displacement, it is impossible to tell what voter turnout will be like. This uncertainty has to make both these seats vulnerable for Democrats.

I would also remove WV-1 until there is some better indication of activity from both camps. At this point, PA-8 (Fitzpatrick), WA-8 (Reichert) and the Open seat in WI-8 (Green-running for Governor) are likely replacements. Kagen in WI 8 is nearly out-fundraising all other candidates combined and the districts are Democratic slanting.

All eyes on CA-50. This race is likely the "canary in the coal mine" for Republicans. A Busby win on June 6 could indicate the depth and breadth of voter discontent with Republicans. Obviously still a long way to go until November and the outcome will not be the final say - but a Democratic win will be a major indicator, much like the special election in OH-2 last year (Schmidt v. Hackett) only more so, that the foundation for a Congressional House cleaning is in the works.

Posted by: RMill | May 26, 2006 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Chris your Number 8 Shaw in FL-22

I live in Florida. And, you are forgetting that Bush tried to alter Social Security. Shaw wishes that Seniors were only pissed about Medicare prescription drugs. Seniors are livid with what Bush tried to do with Social Security, seniors do not forgive and forget - and they love to vote. Shaw invited the President and did public events with Bush to get some extra campaign money. This is going to prove to be a fatal mistake in the coming months. It will allow Klien to tie Shaw to Bush with graphic public pictures and all. This was plain stupidity on Shaw's part. Giving your opponent ammo, Shaw deserves to lose just for being so stupid.

Posted by: Wells | May 26, 2006 8:39 AM | Report abuse


Please bookmark:

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

Constitutional crisis over FBI raid on US congressman
By Joe Kay and Barry Grey
26 May 2006

Use this version to print | Send this link by email | Email the author

The conflict between the US Congress and the Bush administration over the FBI raid on US Representative William Jefferson's congressional office has rapidly escalated into a constitutional crisis. The episode highlights the contempt with which the Bush administration views such fundamental issues as the separation of powers and the autonomy of the legislative branch. It also reveals the atmosphere of crisis and tension which pervades the American political system.

The May 20 raid was carried out by more than 15 FBI agents, who barred the House of Representatives general counsel and the sergeant at arms from the rooms they were searching. It was the first federal search of a sitting congressman's office in US history.

Denunciations of the Justice Department by Republican as well as Democratic legislators reached such a pitch by Thursday that President Bush felt obliged to directly intervene. The previous day, the Republican speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, and the Democratic minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, issued a joint statement denouncing the raid as unconstitutional and demanding that the Justice Department return all of the documents and records removed by the FBI.

Bush sought to mollify congressional critics while insisting that the raid was legal and that the Justice Department had every right to use documents and records seized in the 18-hour search to pursue an investigation of Jefferson on allegations of bribe-taking.

In a remarkable acknowledgment of the sharpness of the confrontation between the executive and legislative branches, Bush said, "Our government has not faced such a dilemma in more than two centuries." He noted that the "bipartisan leadership of the House of Representatives believes this search violated the constitutional principle of separation of powers and the speech and debate clause of the Constitution."

He announced that the documents seized would be sealed for 45 days, during which time investigators would be prevented from examining them, and called for negotiations between congressional leaders and the Justice Department to work out a protocol for obtaining such documents in connection with federal criminal investigations. He insisted, however, that any resolution to the dispute had to ensure "that materials relevant to the ongoing criminal investigation are made available to prosecutors..."

He then declared, "Those who violate the law--including a member of Congress--should be held to account"--an utterance of stunning hypocrisy from a president who has demonstrated contempt for both US and international law during his entire tenure. This bit of cynicism was designed to uphold the pretext for the administration's assertion of virtually limitless executive power and its denigration of Congress: That

For the rest of this article go to:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2006/may2006/raid-m26.shtml

Posted by: che | May 26, 2006 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I am extremely impressed with Dean's strategy. I find him intelligent and an efficient manager (though his verbal gaffes are unfortunate). This is the same thing that Mike Dukakis has been talking about for years-- the 50-state strategy is the only way to bring back the Democrats and build a strong and durable Democratic majority.

Posted by: Jake | May 26, 2006 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Chris,

You might want to start looking a little closer at IN-2. Chocola's primary performance (30% protest vote against a nut), and local dynamics spell trouble. His Party's governor and president will do him in. Indiana Toll Road sale, Indiana Time Zone debacle, all of the National issues, and the guy still doesn't live in the District...spell Joe Donnelly upset in November.

Posted by: Southie from Indy | May 26, 2006 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Consider Dean's 50 state strategy vindicated as former DNC Chair Donald Fowler has recently written. Thankfully the Democratic state parties are in a better position to mobolize people within precints on the ground to expand the playing field where incumbent numbers are softening.

Contrast Dean's approach with what is happening in New York State - where Democrats are not likely to take advantage of a friendly political environment and capture the state senate. Reason being that Republicans use their resources better in New York to win the ground war. Dean however is making the Democrat's more competitive in the ground war in districts they weren't previously.

http://www.intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | May 26, 2006 7:31 AM | Report abuse

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