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The Friday Line: U.S. House Races

The silly season is upon us. Television ads are hitting the airwaves, mailboxes are stuffed with direct mail appeals and average voters are beginning to pay attention to the campaign.

Volatility is the rule in these finals two months as campaigns often yo-yo from neck and neck to non-competitive in the blink of an eye. That volatility led to the addition of several races to this month's Line -- most notably Indiana's 2nd district, which has emerged as one of Democrats' best chances for a pickup, and Connecticut's 5th district, where both public and private polling show Rep. Nancy Johnson in for her toughest race in more than a decade.

Given how much is changing daily on the electoral landscape, we will now be doing the Line twice a week until Election Day. It will rotate between House, Senate and governors' races (we'll pick up the presidential Line shortly after the 2006 midterms conclude) and will normally appear Fridays and Mondays. Look for a new Senate Line next Tuesday (Monday is Labor Day and an official Fix Day of Rest.)

Remember the #1 ranked race is the most likely to switch parties, and your comments are welcome below.

To the Line!

20. Pennsylvania's 7th District: Rep. Curt Weldon (R) needs to remember two names: George Gekas and Phil Crane. Both were Republican congressmen who hadn't had a real race in years and when faced with strong challengers were unable to restart their political operation. And, Weldon currently represents a district much more favorable to Democrats (Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry won 53 percent there in 2004) than those of Gekas and Crane. But Republican insiders insist Weldon understands he's in trouble and that he is campaigning hard. Still with retired Rear Admiral Joe Sestak's strong fundraising -- $994,000 on hand at the end of June -- this is a race to watch. (Previous ranking: 17)

19. Iowa's 3rd District: This district has the ignominious distinction of being the lone Democratic-held seat on this month's Line. Yes, we know the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recently halved their planned independent expenditure on behalf of Rep. Leonard Boswell (D) (figuring he will need less help), but this race still intrigues us. State Sen. Jeff Lamberti (R) has largely focused on raising cash to date, a strategy that has paid off in the amount of $775,000. Boswell seems to have recovered from the health problems that plagued him earlier in the cycle, but even Democrats acknowledge Lamberti is the best candidate the incumbent has ever faced. In a neutral year, Boswell might be in worse trouble. (Previous ranking: 12)

18. Virginia's 2nd District: This race was on no one's radar screen at the start of the cycle. But Rep. Thelma Drake (R) has struggled to build on her 2004 victory, and Virginia Beach Commissioner of Revenue Phil Kellam (D) has gained some traction for his change message. Drake is an unapologetic supporter of the war in Iraq and rejected the idea of adopting a timeline for withdrawal. Kellam has been more difficult to pin down -- he supported invading Iraq but has described the current state of affairs as a "mess." The question is which viewpoint will win support in a district that boasts one of the largest military populations in the country. (Previous ranking: 19)

17. Connecticut's 4th District: This race slides down the Line as we hear that Rep. Chris Shays' (R) favorable ratings are extremely healthy -- making it difficult for 2004 nominee Dianne Farrell to peel away the necessary votes to defeat the incumbent. Shays, who recently made his 14th trip to Iraq and proclaims that he understands the situation there better than any other member of Congress, is expected to lay out a plan for a withdrawal timeline next month. After years of support for the war, will voters see this as a flip flop on Shays' part? Or will the move win him support among war opponents who will give him credit for searching for solutions? (Previous ranking: 9)

16. Ohio's 18th District: A month has been like an eternity in this district. Rep. Bob Ney (R) bowed to the inevitable by announcing his retirement, and a special election to choose the replacement Republican nominee is set for Sept. 14. State Sen. Joy Padgett (R) should win the primary, but Democrats believe the fact that she called herself Ney's handpicked candidate could give them an opening in the fall. Attorney Zack Space (D) is a passable candidate, but if the race is not about Ney it will be hard for him to win in a seat in a district that President Bush won by 14 points. (Previous ranking: 4)

15. Connecticut's 5th District: Given her demonstrated fundraising ability ($2.6 million on hand at the end of June) and her longevity in Congress (24 years), Nancy Johnson (R) isn't an obvious target. But, Republican insiders say that's "red handed" commercials that ran earlier this cycle did damage to Johnson's image. Plus, state Sen. Chris Murphy (D) is running an extremely active campaign with $1 million in the bank. The district is extremely competitive (Kerry won it by 1,100 votes in 2004) and if voters are looking for a fresh face Johnson could be in trouble. (Previous ranking: N/A)

14. Ohio's 15th District: Since coming to Congress in 1992, Rep. Deborah Pryce (R) has never won re-election with less than 60 percent of the vote. But, her district has grown increasingly more competitive in statewide races. In 2000 Bush won the district by 8 percentage points; four years later he won it by just 2,000 votes. Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy (D) has a base in the district and has raised a creditable amount of money, though Republicans insist they have a thick book of opposition research that will make her life difficult. (Previous ranking: N/A)

13. Kentucky's 4th District: Having just returned from this northern Kentucky district, we are at a loss to predict who will win this fall. Former Rep. Ken Lucas (D) still carries considerable name recognition from his six years in Congress (1998-2004) and is the right ideological fit (anti-abortion rights, pro-Second Amendment) for the seat. But Lucas won the seat against a less than stellar opponent in 1998 and nearly lost to current incumbent Rep. Geoff Davis in 2002, despite the fact that national Republicans barely spent a dime in the district. Davis (R) has outdistanced Lucas in fundraising and is touting his ability to bring home pork to the district. This is certainly a Democratic opportunity, but far from a slam dunk. (Previous ranking: 13)

12. Indiana's 9th District: Republicans are feeling better and better about Rep. Mike Sodrel's (R) chances to win another term against former Rep. Baron Hill (D). They believe the attacks they used to defeat Hill two years ago remain potent, and Sodrel is better financed this time around. We are wary. The combination of President Bush's dismal approval rating and the ongoing struggles of Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) is creating a VERY hostile environment for Republicans in the state. Sodrel may be in better shape than his colleagues in the 2nd and 8th districts, but he is far from out of the woods. (Previous ranking: 6)

11. Connecticut's 2nd District: There are two ways of thinking about this race. If voters in this eastern Connecticut district see their vote as an expression of dissatisfaction with President Bush and the war in Iraq, then Rep. Rob Simmons (R) is in serious trouble. If, however, the main motivating factors for voters are more local in scope -- like Simmons' help in saving the Groton submarine base from closure -- then the incumbent could pull it out. Republicans note that Simmons already beat Democratic nominee Joe Courtney soundly in 2002, but the environment has changed drastically since then. (Previous ranking: 7)

10. Florida's 22nd District: The battle lines are drawn. Rep. Clay Shaw (R) is painting himself as an independent voice for the district and attacking state Sen. Ron Klein (D) for his ties to the sugar industry. Klein, in turn, calls Shaw a loyal foot soldier for President Bush and labels himself a voice for change. Both candidates have raised stunning amounts of money and the bashing should continue unabated through election day. It's tough to tell how the top of the ticket will impact this race. Republicans are favored to hold the governorship, but Rep. Katherine Harris' ill-fated Senate bid could counteract any positive trickle-down effect for GOPers. (Previous ranking: 8)

9. New Mexico's 1st District: Democrats admit that Rep. Heather Wilson (R) effectively scored points over the past month by hitting state Attorney General Patricia Madrid (D) over her failure to investigate former state Treasurer Robert Vigil. Madrid may have finally changed the subject with a stirring ad that attacks Wilson for never raising questions about the war in Iraq and missing a vote on setting a timetable for withdrawal to attend a fundraiser with President Bush. Wilson is as savvy as they come, but her district is split absolutely down the middle -- meaning even a slight wind could push her out of office. (Previous ranking: 11)

8. North Carolina's 11th District: This race keeps moving up the Line. Former NFL quarterback Heath Shuler (D) has proven to be a solid candidate, although we have been led to believe that his business career after football could be easily mined for negative television ads. On the other hand, Rep. Charles Taylor (R) has never run particularly professional campaigns, and national Republicans worry that he may not be ready for the onslaught that is sure to come. One ace in the hole for Taylor is the state's Republican lean; Bush won by 14 points in 2004. (Previous ranking: 14)

7. Pennsylvania's 6th District: While Rep. Jim Gerlach (R) remains among the most endangered incumbents in the country, both sides believe this race will be decided by a few thousand votes. Democratic challenger Lois Murphy, the party's nominee in 2004, has run a superb campaign to date and will benefit from the Philadelphia voter turnout machines of Gov. Ed Rendell (D) and state Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. (D). A recent poll for Murphy showed her ahead 42 percent to 41 percent. That sounds about right to us. (Previous ranking: 5)

6. Indiana's 2nd District: No race has collapsed quicker for Republicans than this one, where Rep. Chris Chocola (R) finds himself in very serious trouble against 2004 Democratic nominee Joe Donnelly. The root of the incumbent's problems appears to be the unpopularity of the president and governor, but Chocola seems to have also taken his re-election for granted -- a cardinal sin for a Republican in this type of environment. Can Chocola come back? Republican strategists are very skeptical. (Previous ranking: N/A)

5. Indiana's 8th District: We've been hesitant to write off Rep. John Hostettler (R) because he has shown a past ability to run and win without raising much money or hiring professional political consultants. However, not many Republican insiders hold out hope for Hostettler this time around. Vanderburgh County Sheriff Brad Ellsworth is a good ideological fit for this conservative district and polling shows him with a comfortable lead. Is that the fat lady we hear singing? (Previous ranking: 10)

4. Arizona's 8th District: The math in this southern Arizona district is simple. If conservative ex-state Rep. Randy Graf wins the Republican primary on Sept. 12, Democrats will almost certainly win this seat. If moderate state Rep. Steve Huffman is the GOP nominee, the road to victory for Democrats is much bumpier. Graf has to be considered the favorite in the primary (he remains the best known candidate due to his primary challenge to Rep. Jim Kolbe (R) in 2004), so this seat keeps its high ranking on the Line. Former state Sen. Gabrielle Giffords is the likely Democratic nominee. (Previous ranking: 3)

3. Texas' 22nd District: Former Rep. Tom DeLay (R) isn't as smart as we thought he was. Although DeLay resigned from office and moved his official residence to Virginia, the courts refused to allow him to be replaced on the November ballot -- meaning that Republicans must run a write-in campaign. Their chosen nominee? Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs. Not exactly the easiest name for a voter to remember and write-in. Former Rep. Nick Lampson (D) is sitting on $2.2 million and, despite the strong Republican lean of the district, he should be considered a favorite this fall. (Previous ranking: N/A)

2. Iowa's 1st District: Neither attorney Bruce Braley (D) nor businessman Mike Whalen (R) will bowl voters over with their candidate skills, but both national parties are already engaged in this race and their spending is sure to overwhelm that of the candidates. This eastern Iowa district clearly favors Democrats (Kerry carried it by seven points in 2004) and may be ready to return to type after supporting Rep. Jim Nussle (R) for the past 16 years. Whalen has a chance, but it is a slim one. (Previous ranking: 1)

1. Colorado's 7th District: Former state Sen. Ed Perlmutter's victory in the Democratic primary earlier this month makes Republican nominee Rick O'Donnell's strategy even more complicated. Republicans were privately hoping former state Rep. Peggy Lamm would be the Democratic nominee because she was to Perlmutter's ideological left and would have given O'Donnell a chance to co-opt moderate voters. Perlmutter is not easily stereotyped as a liberal, and this suburban Denver district grows more Democratic by the day. (Previous ranking: 1)

By Chris Cillizza  |  September 1, 2006; 6:01 AM ET
Categories:  The Line  
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Next: The Senate Line: Dems Still Stuck at Five



Nevada CD2 (Open Seat) is one to watch.

1.Jill Derby is better funded than her Republican opponent Dean Heller, who spent most of his money to win a nasty primary by 400+ votes, and survived a court challenge.

2. Latest poll has Heller ahead 45-37 in a district the Republican incumbent won his last three elections with 63 to 73% of the vote.

3. It's reported ( the daughter-in-law of a former 7 term Republican Congresswoman for the District is thinking about voting for the Democrat.

This race is drama central.

Posted by: Nevada Blue | September 15, 2006 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I love The Fix but agree that it would help to know the current party holding the seat and whether there is an incumbent in the race. Thanks for the suggestion, sc.

Posted by: chris in bama | September 10, 2006 1:08 PM | Report abuse

The Pundits' predictions for the results of the 2006 House of Representatives election:

Andy R
249 Democrats 185 Republicans 1 Independent
225 Democrats 210 Republicans
220 Democrats 215 Republicans
Truth Hunter
219 Democrats 216 Republicans
217 Democrats 218 Republicans

Andy, I gotta ask--1 Independent?

Posted by: Mouse | September 6, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I have to disagree with the poster about the 3 Connecticut races. While I do believe that Rell will coast to victory of DeStefano, I think the victory will not be the landslide everyone expects.

Lamont is clearly a Liberal, and anyone voting for him will vote DeStefano and all 3 Dems in the house races.

Leiberman is the real wildcard and he supports the Democratic challengers. With his support for these Dems, the rest of the Dems and many of the indies who support Leiberman will vote Democratic.

The only reason Rell wins is because of her cross over appeal to Dems that will support Leiberman, that will be enough to get her over 50% but she will have very very short coattails. The only reason that the Republicans will take the Lt Gov slot is because Glassman is a very unimpressive candidate.

Posted by: Rob Millette | September 6, 2006 5:52 AM | Report abuse

My prediction:

Democrats: 220
Republicans: 215

Bonus Senate Prediction:

Republicans: 51
Democrats: 49

Posted by: Scott | September 6, 2006 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Wisconsins 8th is an open seat with Green leaving to lose to Doyle in the Gov race.

Gard had a major image problem and geographics will make things hard for him.

He's from the less populated northern part of the district probably running against Nancy Nusbaum who has great name recognition in the Greater Greeen Bay area.

Before Green it was a Dem seat so it could swing back easily.

It's too bad if the national Dems don't make a strong push to support the Dem candidate, it is too close to lose from lack of attention. It's there for the taking.

Posted by: ajohng | September 5, 2006 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Florida's Sixth District -- this race is a sleeper -- as the challenger who has been talking to voters I can tell you first-hand that my incumbent is vulnerable in spite of his big bank account. After 18-years of his "leadership" he only has 35% voter support.

Posted by: | September 5, 2006 3:13 PM | Report abuse

What I am seeing in the field is simply strong anti-incumbent sentiment. It's not anti-Republican or pro-Democrat. Weak or tarnished incumbents will lose regardless of Party- especially those who can be labeled as "do-nothings".

Posted by: James O'Brien | September 5, 2006 11:04 AM | Report abuse

My prediction:

Democrats 225
Republicans 210

I know this looks optimistic, but I expect the wave to just get bigger and bigger.

Posted by: Zathras | September 5, 2006 7:07 AM | Report abuse

The 3 Conn. races on this survey, in my view, propably won't hold it's weight come November. With the mood feeling so badly for Republicans nationwide, in Conn. they have a savior: Jody Rell. Rell is so popular that not only will she cruise to victory in November, but will propably take these Simmons, Shays and Johnson with her. In fact, Johnson could propably win a 3 way senate seat, had she choosen to run! Republicans will propably pick up state house/senate seats and the Lt. Gov. position because of Rell. Those 3 congressman are safe!

Posted by: reason | September 4, 2006 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Chris: Any chance you could update future rankings by including the current party and whether its an open seat or not in the heading? Something like (R-open) or (D-incumbent) to make it easier to scan the results? I guess if they're all republican seats this doesn't matter as much, but it would help those of us who don't remember the current representative of all 435 seat off the top of our heads.

Posted by: sc | September 4, 2006 7:15 PM | Report abuse


Tomorrow is primary day in the Sunshine State, two Republicans and two Democrats are vying for their party's respective gubernatorial nods. The GOP candidates, Attorney General Charlie Crist and state CFO Tom Gallagher, have both previously run statewide. Crist, according to most polls, holds a double digit lead over Gallagher. Crist has run a barrage of attack ads challenging Gallagher's conservative bona fides and ethics. Crist's right-wing salvo Gallagher has met with little in resondence. Gallagher did foist "Focus on the Family" founder James Dobson before the media. His endorsement was offered as a testament to Gallagher's radical right extremism. Gallagher hasn't answered the Crist attack with paid media, to my knowledge.

Dobson has said: as "If you look at the cultural war that's going on, most of what those who disagree with us represent leads to death--abortion, euthanasia, promiscuity in heterosexuality, promiscuity in homosexuality, legalization of drugs. There are only two choices. It really is that clear. It's either God's way, or it is the way of social disintegration."

Gallagher has amassed many of the old guard Florida GOP establishment. Crist has been able to cast himself as the rightful successor to Governor Jeb Bush. He describes himself as a Reagan Republican. He strongly supports Second Amendment rights and advocates policies that strengthen Florida families, including fighting to uphold Florida's Defense of Marriage Act. He was victorious in defending parental notification rights before the Florida Supreme Court.

So, according to Crist, what Florida needs is more guns, no same-sex civil unions, and parental notification with regard to teenage abortions. Here we are again. The same arsenal of feigned social issues designed to focus voter attention away from real issues. These tactics will probably succeed once again this year.

In the Democratic primary two candidates are also vying for the gubernatorial nod, Rep. Jim Davis (D-Tampa) and State Senator Rod Smith (D-Gainesville) neither have run statewide. Smith describes himself as a crossover candidate able to attract both Republican and Independent voters in the Fall.

The I-4 Corridor, the east and west interstate connecting Tampa to Orlando fast becoming more important than South Florida in statewide elections will be the battleground in November if Davis and Crist are their partys' nominees.

If Crist is the GOP nominee, Davis needs to immediately label him an extremist. In past elections, Democrats in Florida have been too shy to make this case. Instead, they have listened to the advice of Washington consultants who want them to run "cookie cutter" campaigns; hence, MacKay's loss in 1998 and McBride's debacle in 2002. The 2002 campaign was ripe for a Democratic win in the aftermath of the Gore 2000 imbroglio.

Since she has stubbornly ignored the pleas of party leaders to dropout of the Senate race, Krazy Kitty Kathy Harris should be a terrific target for Democratic attacks.

Rod Smith's bio reads like a good candidate for Attorney General not Governor. One heretofore unmentioned issue of the campaign, to my knowledge, is Smith's opposition to amending the State Constitution by citizen initiative.

In Smith's view this process permits special interests to amend the state constitution at will. How many citizen initiative measures appearing on the ballot in recently years fit this category? The two initiatives one may consider business-oriented are the high speed rail which was passed and later rescinded by the voters and the polluter-pay amendments.

Senator Smith's opposition to the citizen initiative process may be the result of these three so-called "Everglades Amendments" which cost Florida's sugarcane industry $40 million to defeat. In this campaign, agribusinesses versus environmentalists, the most expensive in Florida history, sugar interests defeated just one of the three amendments, a penny-per-pound fee on Everglades grown sugar.

Davis and Smith are campaigning on the standard mantra of Democratic issues, except for the "sideshows" that has become a part of Florida politics--a pas de deux between candidates and various 527 committees.

One such committee, sugar-haters masquerading as environmentalist and sugar agribusinesses formed shill groups are engaged in what can only be characterized as "swamp stomp".

In an attempt to defeat Rep. Davis these agribusinesses have ponied-up nearly $5 million, the pseudo-environmentalists approximately $1 million; again, the sugar-haters have gotten in with too little too late for there to be any impact. This year, in particular, environmental issues mean little, unless the subject is global-warming.

The agribusinesses attack campaigns never mentions the word "sugar". They attack their prey on more relevant issues such as questioning support for Israel,distortions of voting record and facts on economic issues construed as anti-middle class and anti-African American. See, analysis.

This barrage of anti-Davis ads has affected the Congressman's poll numbers. The latest polls show him within the margin of error. Senator Smith has gained momentum as a result of these attacks. No matter what we think, the Federal courts have ruled these sideshows run by special interest groups are protected speech.

Whatever happens the sugar-haters have bought themselves a seat at the table if Davis defeats Smith. There's no telling who the sugar-haters and the agribusinesses will play with in the Fall. Poll numbers will determine their dance card. Conventional wisdom is, whoever the Democratic nominee, Republican Crist will be elected come November. If Davis loses tomorrow, sugar-haters will support Crist, while the agribusinesses will stick with Smith. Since the sugar-haters and agribusinesses rage is so blindly focused on this single issue they could give a rats-ass about other public policy concerns.

For more go to

Posted by: Joe Garcia | September 4, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm too skeptical: I'll believe the predictions of a Democratic takeover when I see them but I sure hope it occurs. We need some balance in the national debate. How is that our politcal leadership seems bent on prioritizing an estate tax cut at the same time we're send our troops to police a civil war--often without body armor? Is allowing the rich to play hide and seek from Uncle Sam more important than preventing Walter Reed from overflowing with wounded vets? I gotta think 60B annually buys a lot of body armor. Go Dems!

Posted by: chris | September 4, 2006 2:08 PM | Report abuse

My prediction for the new U.S. House of Representatives:

Democrats 219
Republicans 216

Posted by: Truth Hunter | September 4, 2006 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Hey -- where's PA-10?

Winning a primary by 12 points when you outspend your opponent better than 60-1 AND you run against a Naval Reserve Lt. Commander/local poli science professor/Catholic family man with 5 kids... and you settled a case with a mistress alleging physical abuse... surely suggests that a man so inept at campaigning that he lacks a website [check ], any reserved TV time, or much evidence of a campaign... is WAY more vulnerable than, say, Boswell.

Posted by: Jeff Hauser | September 3, 2006 9:47 PM | Report abuse

My prediction for the new US House of Representatives:

Republicans 218
Democrats 217

Posted by: Mouse | September 3, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe that there's no mention of PA-8 on The Line. Here's a clearly Democratic district (voted for Clinton twice, Gore, and Kerry) that has the option of voting for a Democratic candidate who happens to be a Prosecutor and an Iraqi War Veteran. And there's the issue of Demorats coming out to support Bob Casey Jr. against Santorum in the Senate race.
Murphy's a lock to take PA-8 from the Republican (Fitzpatrick).

Posted by: Charles D | September 3, 2006 5:14 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe that there's no mention of PA-8 on The Line. Here's a clearly Democratic district (voted for Clinton twice, Gore, and Kerry) that has the option of voting for a Democratic candidate who happens to be a Prosecutor and an Iraqi War Veteran. And there's the issue of Demorats coming out to support Bob Casey Jr. against Santorum in the Senate race.
Murphy's a lock to take PA-8 from the Republican (Fitzpatrick).

Posted by: Charles D | September 3, 2006 5:13 AM | Report abuse

As far as Heath Shuler's race is concerned,Shuler has several advantages.Let's not forget, Heath is a local hero in the high country of N.C. He was a high school football star, and a local boy that went to the NFL.

Also, conervatism is the norm for Western NC, but the mountain counties have a streak of populism as well. That is why Heath was a good recruit for the Dems in that area. He is basically conservative, but can appeal to the populism of the area.

Heath's biggest advantage of all? Asheville, North Carolina. If you've been there lately, you would know why. There isn't much in Asheville a conservative would like. Asheville has a large, active gay community, artists have basically taken over downtown. For every M.D., there is a Holistic Healer, and the Wiccans have made themselves at home.

Heath seems to be a good business man (as far as a football player,well....)and he knows to win, He needs to energize his base in Asheville. And if he does that, bye bye Taylor.

Posted by: roadtrip | September 3, 2006 12:25 AM | Report abuse

They have decided to focus the majority of White House resources on defending embattled Republican House and Senate members in six crucial states, said party officials who did not want to be identified discussing internal deliberations. As of now, those states are Connecticut, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington, though officials said the battle lines could shift in the coming weeks.

The White House is largely turning away from the 36 governors' races, although Mr. Rove and Mr. Bush will continue to help Republican candidates for governor raise money as part of their national fund-raising efforts, party officials said. The decision has broad significance because building a foundation of Republican governors had been a main part of Mr. Rove's goal of creating a long-lasting Republican majority.

The Republican National Committee expects to spend over $60 million, which would be a record, for the midterm elections. Officials say half of that would pay for get-out-the-vote operations in the targeted states.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

DK: I don't agree with all of them, but you make a bunch of good points. I also would love to see Musgrave lose in CO-4 and had seen the Survey USA poll but not the other one. Musgrave is indeed crazy and should not be in Congress. I was looking at the CO district map the other day (they're available easily at, and I suspect that the next redistricting will oust her if it doesn't happen sooner.

JEP: Yes, guns don't really make Americans crazy at all. The underlying problem is a very violent culture; guns simply make it far easier and faster to kill or injure people. Requiring all guns to be registered and all owners to be licensed (which I would do), and banning handguns, would not fundamentally make American culture less violent. But it would save a lot of lives. You can't stab someone from a far distance. There's also the idea, proposed not just by Chris Rock but earlier by Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, to simply impose an astronomical tax on bullets. Chris Rock says bullets should cost $5000 because then innocent bystanders won't get killed. Moynihan introduced at least one bill that would have imposed an 18,000% sales tax on bullets. I don't know that that's the solution, but it's an interesting idea.

Drindl: What?? Bush and Cheney don't really believe in a "culture of life"?? ;)

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

' The offices of at least six Alaska state legislators, including that of the son of Sen. Ted Stevens (R), were raided Thursday and Friday by federal agents searching for possible ties between the lawmakers and a large oil-field services company, officials and aides said.

FBI spokesman Eric Gonzalez said 20 search warrants were being executed across Alaska, but he would not say where.

FBI Special Agent Wade Dudley carried boxes out of Sen. Ben Stevens's office in Alaska's Capitol building on Thursday.

A copy of one of the search warrants, obtained by the Associated Press, links the investigation to a new production-tax law signed last month by Gov. Frank H. Murkowski (R) and to a draft natural gas pipeline contract that Murkowski and the state's three largest oil companies negotiated.

The warrant called for the seizure of documents concerning any payment made to lawmakers by Bill Allen and Richard Smith, executives of Veco Corp. Agents also looked for documents about contracts, agreements or employment of legislators provided by Veco, Allen, Smith and Veco President Peter Leathard.

Sought-after items named in the warrant included hats or other garments bearing the name "Veco" or the writing "CBC," "Corrupt Bastards Club" or "Corrupt Bastards Caucus."

Posted by: Anonymous | September 2, 2006 1:21 PM | Report abuse

For all you Lieberman-lovers out there--here's how you're being gamed out of your tax dollars by the mythological 'war on terror' and the pharma industry. What bush and leiberman are doing should more rightly be called The War on Taxpayers:

'Among Hill & Knowlton's clients when Mrs. Lieberman signed on with the firm last year was GlaxoSmithKline, the huge British-based drug company that makes vaccines along with many other drugs. As I noted in July, Sen. Lieberman introduced a bill in April 2005 (the month after his wife joined Hill & Knowlton) that would award billions of dollars in new "incentives" to companies like GlaxoSmithKline to persuade them to make more new vaccines. Under the legislation, known as Bioshield II, the cost to consumers and governments would be astronomical, but for Lieberman and his Republican cosponsors, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., the results would be worth every penny. Using the war on terror as their ideological backdrop, the pharma-friendly senators sought to win patent extensions on products that have nothing to do with preparations against terrorist attack or natural disaster.

As the New Haven Register, Lieberman's hometown newspaper, noted in an editorial headlined "Lieberman Crafts Drug Company Perk," that bill is even more generous to the pharmaceutical industry than a similar proposal by the Senate Republican leadership.'

Posted by: drindl | September 2, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

'most of the gun nuts I guided (not a majority, by any means) had other issues and their guns were just a cover for bad psychology and feelings of inadequacy in other... areas'

As a younger woman, I unfortunately met a few of these...LOL you hit the nail on the head. The guys who talk the most aggressively, the hotshot armchair warrirors and warhawks like we get here, they've all got problems in that department. If they had any capacity for shame, they'd be embarrassed knowing how obvious their impotency is.

And to answer a poster above, I don't hunt anymore, but when I did, it was strictly for food and I cleaned and dressed it out myself. It makes you acknowledge what you have done. I give thanks for the animal's sacrifice as my native americans ancestors did.

The hostility to gun safety in this country I think reflects that same childish, selfish machismo that bush and cheney display, a reckless and callous disgregard for the lives of anyone else.

Posted by: drindl | September 2, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

As a former hunting guide (Sports Afield, Dec. 83)who no longer owns a gun, I found over the years that most of the gun nuts I guided (not a majority, by any means) had other issues and their guns were just a cover for bad psychology and feelings of inadequacy in other... areas.

Sorry, NRA, but until we Americans are willing to keep our deadly weapons under lock and key when we aren't hunting or shooting, our gun-death rates, intentional and accidental, will never diminish. Just why the gun lobby is so averse to actually and actively promoting the use of safety locks still mystifies me.

They give a lot of lip service to the idea, but under the covers, they are up to mischief, consistently resisting laws that are intended safen weapons, especially if it costs them a few extra bucks per gun.

As one of those boomers who grew up watching Matt Dillon (no, I mean the REAL Matt Dillon, the big guy with a big gun from "Gunsmoke") shoot and kill at least one "bad guy" every week, I can safely speculate that The Wild West is not a place out here Kansas, it is a wild place in our American psyche (wounded as it may be) that needs some serious community-based therapy.

While it isn't the guns themselves that make us crazy, the statistics about gun deaths in this country are surely a sad thermometer of our ongoing national identity crisis.

Posted by: JEP | September 2, 2006 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Regarding guns, hunting, etc...

As a liberal-leaning moderate, I have mixed feelings about guns. For instance, I enjoyed the competitive shooting during the Winter Olympics. I dislike hunting as a sport. What is "sporting" about killing an animal with a rifle when it doesn't even know it's in a competition for it's life? Still, hunting as a food source... okay by me though I think there should be a mandatory " YOU AND YOUR FAMILY,must eat at least 2/3 of the edible meat" law. I generally favor the idea of guns for protection but not when it involves carrying guns around in vehicles or when they are out of sight on a person. The better point is to prevent the incident not respond to it. You can't use a gun to prevent an incident if the aggressor doesn't see the gun. I'm not sure I like the idea of a gun locked up in a safe. I'd think it takes way too long to open it. Keep it in a locked nightstand with the key on your keyring under your pillow. Take your keys with you when you leave the probably do anyway.

As for the main point of this thread... house races....

I've been convinced for some time that Democrats will take between 15-20 seats with an outside of 25. The race that really interests me, though, is Musgrave in CO-4. I'd really like to see her take a fall. She is one of the most socially conservative Representatives in the House. I tend to the social liberal so you can understand my wanting her to go. She is a mean-spirited woman. The last two polls I've seen on that race have her over Paccione by 1 point and 4 points respectively. The last poll was a SurveyUSA poll. Don't remember what the first one was. Her district includes 2 college towns: Greeley and Ft. Collins. I don't think she's feeling too secure right now, especially with Colorado leading the national trend left in 2004 and continuing left now.

Posted by: DKinUT | September 2, 2006 6:27 AM | Report abuse

For uncensored news please bookmark:

Senate Judiciary Committee to Shred Bill of Rights

Tuesday August 29th 2006, 5:40 pm

Magic Bullet Specter and the the Senate Judiciary Committee are set to deliver a coup de grâce to the Bill of Rights, as the Constitution is wounded, having endured the marching tromp of black boots over the last six years.

"A bill that expands President Bush's ability to wiretap American phones and conduct other forms of domestic surveillance will likely appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee next Thursday," writes Brian Beutler for Raw Story. "The bill, which was written by judiciary chairman Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), and which has been widely and publicly excoriated by Democratic members of the committee, contains provisions--such as the institution of program-wide warrants, and warrants that do not expire for a year--that would weaken the strict limits that currently govern the FISA courts."

Never mind that FISA itself is a violation of both the First and Fourth Amendments, as warrantless searches are unconstitutional, no matter what the context or motivation. Recent "strengthening of the FISA court fits comfortably in the pattern established in the late 1970s after the massive FBI crime spree against political activists," notes Philip Colangelo of Covert Action Quarterly. "It waved a flag over a pattern government activities that had been criminal, draped it in authoritative language, and magically made it all legal. Since that time, through a series of laws and executive orders, policy-makers have further chipped away at freedoms previously presumed to be sacred."

When Clinton signed Executive Order 12949 ... the frightening mandate of the FISA court was greatly expanded: It now has legal authority to approve black-bag operations to authorize Department of Justice (DoJ) requests to conduct physical as well as electronic searches, without obtaining a warrant in open court, without notifying the subject, without providing an inventory of items seized. The targets need not be under suspicion of committing a crime, but may be investigated when probable cause results solely from their associations or status: for example, belonging to, or aiding and abetting organizations deemed to pose a threat to U.S. national security. Furthermore, despite a lowered standard for applying the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable search and seizure than is necessary in other U.S. courts, under the 1995 expansion, evidence gathered by the FISA court may now be used in criminal trials. Previously, evidence was collected and stockpiled solely for intelligence purposes.

But even the loose restrictions of FISA are too much for Bush, the fascist neocons, and apparently the Senate Judiciary Committee. "The judiciary committee originally sought to bring the NSA wiretapping program into compliance with FISA, but in practice, critics claim, Specter's FISA amendments actually give the president freedom to expand his wiretapping activities," explains Raw Story. "A different bill, written by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and cosponsored by Specter will also appear before the committee Thursday. Its provisions would do more to limit the NSA program than Specter's, and would even mandate that the program face judicial review."

According to a Senate aide working for Magic Bullet, Bush would veto any bill with a provision for judicial review, that is to say a provision he at least pretend to follow the Constitution. "Basically," an aide told Raw Story, "the White House said, 'you can trust us, you have our word that we will submit the program for judicial review. Just don't make it mandatory for us.'" In other words, trust the unitary decider and his minions, the same folks who told us Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and a smoking gun with a mushroom cloud.

Posted by: che | September 2, 2006 5:08 AM | Report abuse

Will, here's the WA-8 poll I'm looking at:

What other data or articles are you seeing that lead you to believe Reichert is endangered? I admit not having checked the Times and PI lately. This district just reminds me of KY-3. Yes, it's Democratic on paper (although it's the only WA district that never elected a Dem in the 90s), but we've tried repeatedly to win it and touted strong challengers there, and always come up short.

Hey, I'm up in Canada, and there's a deep tradition of hunting here, too. Bowling for Columbine said there are 10M guns in Canada. There are about 32-33M people here, so that's about 1/3 America's gun ownership per capita. The Greater Toronto Area has about the same population as the Washington, DC region but a fraction of the murders and gun deaths. And Toronto is the most diverse city in the world! (So much for the ethnic and/or racial tension argument) Montreal is about the same size regionally as Seattle, and just had its 28th murder of the year--almost double the 2005 rate. I'm not a hunter so I don't know the rules, but guns do have to be registered here, and few of them seem to find their ways into cities or be used on people. I don't think I've heard one story of a child getting a gun, a school shooting, or someone being accidentally shot with one in the year I've been here.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | September 1, 2006 10:14 PM | Report abuse

drindl, thank you for clarifying the point on gun safety. Liberals love their guns and shooting every bit as much as conservatives, we just believe in genuine gun safety. I lived in Sweden for a eriod of time. The Swedes own about as many guns per capita as American's and these include handguns too (and..for some reason I never understood, for the average Swedish gun owner, a "hangun" means a revolver like a Ruger, not a nice European Glock or Beretta). But, the rate of injuries and deaths due to guns is less than 1/4 of what it is here. That, I think, has to do with a neat Swedish law requiring guns and ammunition storage in a locked steel SAFE weighing at least 150 kilograms (about 300 pounds). No guns stolen during burgleries, no instant grabbing of a gun and blasting away when you hear a noise in the night, and they are truly out of the reach of children! And, if you own a gun in Sweden you MUST pass a periodic firearm safety course!

Posted by: MikeB | September 1, 2006 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, MikeB. Agree on that. I shoot too, and I'm teaching my daughter to. I think it's important that we know how to hunt and take care of ourselves, you never know when that might come in handy. It's a traditional value I think worth preserving. I think we ought to clarify that as Democrats, we're not anti-gun, we just believe in sensible gun laws. Like that people who are violent convicted felons, terrorists and mentally ill people shouldn't own arsenals.

And ditto for abortion. It's really about privacy and small government. I just want government out of my bedroom and my personal medical decisions.

Posted by: drindl | September 1, 2006 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Beg to differ, on WA8. I think the collapse of the Alaskan nominee McGavick is burning up the local papers here, and will probably take Reichardt down with him.

Meanwhile, every statistically viable poll I've seen (most GOP-funded) shows them losing 30-35 seats in the House even if they manage to catch a good wind in their sails.

When the tidal wave comes, it cares nothing for the past - and rides over the obstacles to sweep away the little-defended areas past the shoreline. That's the situation on the ground right now - there's no defense against it. And the incumbents are finding out their supposedly safe districts hate their guts with a fire that burns brightly.


Something neocons never did understand.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | September 1, 2006 7:32 PM | Report abuse

To: Posted by: | September 1, 2006 06:23 PM

"...democrats...have adopted much more conservative social policy stances (ex. anti-abortion and pro-gun)?"

Where have you been? I'm a Democrat and I am very much a hunter and a gun owner. My children all shoot and we think the people that tossed firearm safety classes out of schools are idiots.

AND Why you would toss in anti-abortion is completely beyond me. Every LIBERAL I know of is "anti-abortion". We think aborton is an awful choice. We just know that it is a choice best left between a woman and her doctor. "Anti-abortion" for the right has become a call to force women who were raped to have the child of their violator, force a 15 year old girl to have the child resulting from incest, or force a woman facing death to have a child and simply take her chances. Or, is it to force a profoundly handicapped child to be born? Are you and the rest of the right going to pay to raise that child? Are you going to comfort the mother and father when they face emotional devistation and bankruptcy? Are you going to comfort them when that child dies too soon? Or, are you going to vote against higher taxes for schools becasue that child needs special care? Vote for twisted bankruptcy laws to take the home away from that family when they cannot pay the medical bills? DO NOT assume liberals fit into your handy Rush Limbaugh-James Dobson box. We actually think through these and other issues.

Posted by: MikeB | September 1, 2006 6:50 PM | Report abuse

anyone else notice that a good number of the most competitive house and senate races are only so because the democrats in those races have adopted much more conservative social policy stances (ex. anti-abortion and pro-gun)? This may be a winning season for democrats, but it might be a bittersweet victory for liberal values.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2006 6:23 PM | Report abuse

' I work for the State of Ohio as a criminal investigator, so I am somewhat aware of the criminal mindset such as yours.'

First of all, threatening people online is a criminal offense. Second, someone really should inform the peoople of Ohio how much of their money you are wasting putzing around online.

Posted by: drindl | September 1, 2006 6:18 PM | Report abuse

WA-5 and WA-8 (to a lesser extent) are not real races. Regardless of McGavick, neither Reichert nor McMorris (Spokane???) will have much trouble getting elected. Survey USA has a recent poll with Reichert up 15 points or something. WA-8 is very frustrating. I don't think I have to go through why. But I don't get the impression that Darcy Burner is the right candidate here. I want Laura Ruderman.

Good to see OH-15 finally shooting up where it belongs. The Cleveland Plain Dealer has an interactive map of where Blackwell and Strickland have raised more money, by zip code. Almost all of Franklin County, including Republican areas, are blue. Hilliard and half of Dublin are about the only red in the 15th. Even Union County (to the NW, also in the 15th) has a couple blue zip codes. However, the blue in Powell and other Delaware and Licking County locales reminds me that OH-12 has to be one of the DCCC's 5 or 10 worst recruiting failures of the cycle. Someone should be raked over the coals for that.

I'm not sure about Arcuri in NY-24, but it's possible.

Would also be curious to hear more about the disappearance of IL-6.

Off the top of my head, I'd project the Dems to gain 20-35 House seats in November. Given there are now polls showing Ford and Webb slightly ahead in their Senate races, I don't think a Senate takeover is out of the question either.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | September 1, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

"Iran willfully disregards our demands because we don't have the muscle to back up our talk,"

We have 10,000 nukes.

Bush could take out every city, town and village in Iran, NKorea and California, and still have some left over for Venezuela.

But there is no promise of profit in nuclear war, so we have returned to building up ground forces, primarily to keep no-bidders like Haliburton and weapon dealers like Carlyle group, from having to cook their books to show a profit.

These wars are just window dressing for a small circle of profiteers. If we wanted to, the US could literally wipe the entire axis of evil right off the face of the map (sounds a bit Armageddonish, don't you think?).

So why do we continue to engage in bloody, obsolete ground warfare, if not for profit?

We hold all the trump cards, and still our government tries to tell us we are so vulnerable.

In the same sentence, we are both the most powerful, yet somehow the most vulnerable nation in the world. No wonder the Republican Party is fractured.

Those bi-polar Republicans again. A walking, talking flip-flop. They just can't decide, are we the world's greatest super-power, or its biggest snivelling coward?

Take your pick, and vote accordingly.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Signing off...

Posted by: JEP | September 1, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Have a great weekend everyone!
Take a well deserved rest cause Election season starts on Tuesday.

Posted by: Andy R | September 1, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2006 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Support our troops.

Pray for their safe return.

Posted by: JEP | September 1, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Just one last note before signing off.

This blog is supposed be about upcoming political races, but gets a lot of loose talk from people who assume a big bushel of authority about politics in general.

As an experienced GOTV and grassroots organizer, I personally have spent this election season seeking out some David versus Goliath campaigns, and hired onto their staffs to help get their campaigns rolling.

There are a lot of Democrats out here in Reality Land (somewhere between the east and west coasts) who have been written off by their own party and their local media.
But I feel quite confident that they will all have a much better showing than the naysayers, Republican or Democrat, presume.

Selden Spencer, ( running in Iowa's 4th District against Tom Latham(R)
and John Doll, (
running in Kansas' Big 1st District against Jerry Moran(R) both provide a solid, centrist Democratic alternative to their "Tom Delay rubber-stamp" neocon Republican opponents.

So do many other "marginal" candidates in this unpredictable election season.

Considering any race "marginal" in these heady times may be punditry gone awry, or at least arrogant...

Spencer and Doll both live and run in districts that are considered unalterably red.

But I honestly believe that no matter how red the district may have been in the past, enough red American blood and green American money has been wasted fruitlessly on the failure in Iraq, to wake up even the most cynical among us.

Not to mention the backlash from Hurricane Katrina.(I guess I did mention it.)

Don't count on it, but don't be surprised if some of these "safe" Republicans are actually much more vulnerable than their hubris allows them to ponder. Don't discount the chance of a Congressional housecleaning that makes 1994 pale in comparison.

Intelligent people everywhere, Democrat, Republican and Independents alike (Libertarians, too!) really do have an alternative this time around.

I think the mood (mad as hell), and the mode(the blogs)for change are much more powerful, pervasive and persuasive than Chris and the rest of the MSM pundits allow.

Change is inevitable.

Just how big a change, no one will be able to say until after election day.

I am guessing there are a lot more surprises in store, surprises that will not make our Republican ideologues very happy.

Posted by: JEP | September 1, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Rasmussen (8/27)

Ted Strickland (D) 57%
Ken Blackwell (R) 32%

Posted by: Gaithersburg, MD | September 1, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

You too, you good ol' archconservative. Be safe.

Posted by: Will | September 1, 2006 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Zippy, It's important to have good sparing without taking it personal. All you libs, have a great Holiday weekend and be safe.

Posted by: bhoomes | September 1, 2006 3:24 PM | Report abuse

How many people here honestly believe that if we redeployed our troops from Iraq to Afghanistan and other areas vital on the war on terror that we'd have Iraqis setting up IEDs on roadsides in America? That just won't happen. We're trying to stop a regional spat we created by throwing bodies at the problem when we need to be combatting terrorists. Iran willfully disregards our demands because we don't have the muscle to back up our talk, and Osama sends out messages of incouragement to his terrorists because we don't have the muscle to catch him. Kim Jong Il shoots 7 missles off on july 4th because we don't have the muscle to threaten him. Why? We're babysitting a 1,000 year old conflict between two sects of Islam. This is not the war on terror. I don't know what it is but it weakens us domestically and internationally every day we're there and it's costing us the war on terror. Republicans are losing the war because they don't even know where to fight it.

Posted by: Will | September 1, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

OK guys. Lets get it straight. The Republicans are not going down without a fight.

Hey. Oil Prices have started dropping like a brick. Projections for $2/gallon by next month. Does anyone actually believe that this has anything to do with supply and demand? Not a chance. The administration has gotten to the oil companies' execs and told them that there will be excess profits taxes, investigations and maybe an impeachment if the Republicans lose the house and senate.

Hey. Look at the PR campaign. Fight to end fascism? Fight them there or we will fight on our shores. Shades of Woodrow Wilson. Shades of Winston Churchill. Coincidence. Not a chance? They want to mobilize what's left of the4 "Great War" folks.

And now Iraq is the "decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century". As I recall, it was about WMD's. I was surprised that a word with that many sylables was in Dubyas vocabulary.

Hey. Did you see the micro report on the bottom of page 13 of the Chicago Trib under the two half page ads for chain saws and breast enlargement? IRS determines that NAACP will not lose its not-for-profit status under the punitive investigation started after the last election. Think that will mobilize two percent of conservative african americans to the republican side of the Ticket.

I am now waiting for our dimwitted American Catholic bishops who got co-opted in 2004 and then dumped, to get wooed so they can preach about republican family values and the pooh pooh the Heathen Democrats. Did anyone see those great photos a couple of days ago of the protestant president head bowed and KNEELING (?!?) in a catholic church. Great PR. Great image. Might almost think he's one of us. Gotta wonder when Dubya is going to visit the Vatican again.

Forget Adam Smith's invisible hand. Karl Rove's is at work. Divide and conquer. And capture enough fringe to take them over the top.

Watch for the dim 50.0000000000000001% pull the Current Ocucpant's cookies out of the fire again.

Watch the House and Senate stay Red and Lieberman gets regular cocktails at oval office.

Hey. Have a great Holiday everyone. Before 'Labor' Day get's Changed to 'Outsourced Job Appreciation Day".

Even you bhoomes.

Posted by: zippy | September 1, 2006 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Bhoomes, how ironic. You work for the State of Ohio as a criminal investigator. You must be very busy investigating your the leaders of your party, Taft, Noe, Blackwell...etc.

By the way, on a side note, I just had lunch today with the Republican State Rep candidate in my district. I asked him who he is voting for in the Gov race. He confidently responded STRICKLAND!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Lenny | September 1, 2006 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I did check on you MikeB, I discovered you share an adjacent room with Hinckley.

Posted by: bhoomes | September 1, 2006 3:14 PM | Report abuse

bhoomes -- you're a pretty smart guy, so I assume you know that unemployment numbers don't include individuals who have decided to leave the work force after not finding work. Hence the 4.7%. Moreover, inflation adjusted wage growth under bush has been pathetic. There is, after all, a reason people are not comfortable with the economy despite macro-level data saying it's doing OK.

As far as Iraq goes, please keep making the same argument you just trumpeted. I know you don't believe it yet, but the american public is no longer buying republican SLOGANS dressed up as strategy. There are really no "good" strategies regarding Iraq after the way this administration has bumbled things. But even accepting that, America is ready to elect people who are at least willing to admit a new course is needed. This will be a change election, and as your comments so clearly show -- Republicans are unwilling to accept ANY changes at all.

Posted by: Colin | September 1, 2006 3:07 PM | Report abuse

"their sole idea is to retreat from the battlefield?"

What "battlefield?"

Your delusions of war and glory defy the facts. The real "battlefield" is the hearts and minds of us fickle Americans.

This is not a struggle of noble warriors involved in pitched, valiant hand-to-hand battles, these are IED's and snipers along the roadside, killing soldiers who are protecting Rumsfeld's and Cheney's Haliburton oil convoys.

Your glorious wars of yesteryear have given way to remote control detonation and pilotless airplane drones.

There is no real battlefield, like the one we are being accused of abandoning, there is just the pretense of a noble war that is really a civil war, and our media refuses to tell that simple truth.

The only thing that compares this war to others in the past is the fact that innocents, including our soldiers who shouldn't even be there in the first place, are dying every day so the guilty can profit from it.

War is obsolete. Except for the money it provides to a small circle of profiteers.

Take the profit out of this war, and you will end the war itself.

That is the only reason we are still in Iraq, and the only reason we went in the first place. There is nothing noble in our struggle, no matter how badly you might be fooling yourself.

This war continues only to feed the pigs at the no-bid trough.

Your delusions of this war as some sort of nationalistic glory are disgusting.

That is the simple answer to your simple question.

Posted by: JEP | September 1, 2006 3:07 PM | Report abuse

"Cannot investigate Mr. Blackwell as he will be my new boss soon and that would not be a wise career move."

That's the perfect distinction between a republican and a democrat. The republican puts what is profitable ahead of what is right. The founding fathers would be ashamed. They risked cushy jobs with the British bosses to do what is right.

Posted by: Will | September 1, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I don't know how closely people have been following the Arizona 8th and Jim Kolbe's retirement, but Randy Graf, the Republican trying to fill Kolbe's shoes, is a legit nut from what hear. The guy ran against Kolbe in the primary in 2004 and after losing proceeded to badger the Congressman at town hall meetings.

Posted by: Ties to Tucson | September 1, 2006 3:04 PM | Report abuse

...just checked, bhoomes is in charge of Enforcement, Employment Status, for Ohio's Board Of Standards overseeing Nursing Homes. Some "criminal investigator". And Barry, if you check on me, you'll find I used to actually work in intelligence and actually did genuine undercover work. I learned the hard way to detest the CIA and Bush's federal government.

Posted by: MikeB | September 1, 2006 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Will: there are probably dozens of districts across the country in which the Republican incumbent, while apparently not in serious danger of losing, has to mount a real campaign -- in some cases for the first time in decades.

One example is Frank Wolf, here in VA-10. He has a credible opponent in Judy Feder and, given recent voting trends in this area, has to take her seriously.

That all translates into money that won't be available to help incumbents that are truly in danger.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | September 1, 2006 2:53 PM | Report abuse

It was just tongue in cheek, Will. Cannot investigate Mr. Blackwell as he will be my new boss soon and that would not be a wise career move.

Posted by: bhoomes | September 1, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse


I am already bombarded with solicitations of all kinds. I served with Vice-Admiral Sestak and wanted to give him some tangible support.

Posted by: JimD in FL | September 1, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

If bhoomes is a criminal investigator, then I'm the Queen of France. bhoomes is one of those pitful failures, living in a coldwater flat with delussions of working as a criminal investigator. We arrested ne of "them" yesterday here in Oregon. He was a driving a broken down SUV with a blue light that could be flashed, heidden under the grill, and owned a t-short with "Undercover Investigator" printed on the front.

Posted by: MikeB | September 1, 2006 2:45 PM | Report abuse

bhoomes: "I work for the State of Ohio as a criminal investigator"

Great! I'd like you to investigate taxpayer fraud in Ohio. It seems they're paying a state criminal investigator to post comments on the Washington Post website when he should be investigating stuff.

Posted by: BuckD | September 1, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

"I work for the State of Ohio as a criminal investigator,"

Then do your job and investigate Blackwell...

Conspiracy to commit voter fraud is probably a lot easier to prove than the fraud itself, so get to work, and do your job, Mr. Criminal Investigator. The Public needs you, now more than ever!

Should be an easy case to crack. All the evidence is quite public, it just hasn't been investigated by a real slueth like yourself.

... if you really are an expert on the criminal mindset, you should find fertile ground in your own home state Republican Party.

Posted by: JEP | September 1, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse

"Meaning that you as the taxpayer are getting off pretty well."

Not if my sons and daughter are facing a deadly draft, in order to invade Iraq, Iran or anywhere else. I would rather pay higher taxes for better government, not lower taxes for lousy government.

Horace Mann said (I paraphraze here) "If you do not educate the masses, they will become the mob." Too many wealthy Americans aren't patriotic enough to gladly pay their taxes, unless it is for foreign pre-emptive wars.

When the big-money non-taxpayers of this nation finally realize what keeps them safe, secure and provides them with their wonderful lifestyle is THE TAXES THEY PAY, and that those taxes go towards educating, feeding and nurturing THE WHOLE WORLD, not just our abundantly endowed nation, they might finally find unbderstand what real security is all about.

The same people who pay millions to put security cameras on every corner of their vast estate, and are willing to hand over billions in no-bid contracts, are the same ones who cry the blues about paying taxes to educate the public.

The same with minimum wage, the "outsourcers" don't realize their very economic existence depends on the wages they pay their employees. Wage earners spend their wages, they don't load up a big bucket of trickle-down bank accounts, they SPEND IT ON SOMETHING, which grows the economy, stupid.

Why are Republicans so allergic to paying taxes for our national infrastructure and our foreign diplomacy, when they are so willing to spend it on no-bid wars?

Those bipolar Republicans, straining at the gnats and swallowing the camels;

Strain at a gnat (fair taxation) and swallow a camel (no-bid contracts.)

Strain at a gnat (border security) and swallow a camel (cheap, illegal laborers)...

Strain at a gnat (can't find Bin Laden) and swallow a camel (Saddam Hussein)...

Strain at a gnat (failed election reform) and swallow a camel (the 2004 Ohio election results)

Strain at a gnat (Iran's nuclear program) and swallow a camel (China's WalMart- financed military buildup)...

Strain at a gnat(whistleblower leaks) and swallow a camel (outing Valerie Plame)...

The list of gnats and camels goes on and on.


Posted by: JEP | September 1, 2006 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Wow, so as a criminal investigator, you profile people based on a single response in a blog? After all, you're 'somewhat aware of the criminal mindset such as (MikeB)'. No wonder you like the Bush admin. With a brush that wide you could paint my house in one pass.

Posted by: Will | September 1, 2006 2:15 PM | Report abuse


With Ney out and Joy Padgett in, she becomes a fairly heavy favorite. At the very least, there are a number of other races that merit more attention:


I agree with others who argue that Shays is the most vulnerable CT GOPer--particularly because he has such a capable opponent.

I also think that Martha Rainville in VT is probably the most likely GOPer to pick up a Dem seat. At this point, though, I'd say she loses. As Rothenberg points out, though, even in wave elections the overall winner will lose a few seats here and there. I just don't really see that many vulnerable Dems, perhaps because the low-hanging fruit has already been picked off...

Posted by: seank | September 1, 2006 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Nothing on WA-8?

Are you sure about that?

With McGavick exploding in WA-Senate, the entire ship is going down out here.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | September 1, 2006 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Loudoun Voter-
I was thinking the same thing. Sort of like the 5 million they spent to win CA 50. Sure they won it, but it's competitive now, and that 5 mill they were planning to spend elsewhere.

Posted by: Will | September 1, 2006 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I am retired military MikeB, so I do know a something about military matters. Your son is to be commended and you should be very proud of him. Military people do not get to set national security policy or start wars, just follow the orders of their civilian leadership. I work for the State of Ohio as a criminal investigator, so I am somewhat aware of the criminal mindset such as yours.

Posted by: bhoomes | September 1, 2006 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Democrats should hope that all the money the Club For Growth has poured into the RI GOP Senate primary for rightwinger Steve Laffey will result in a win over incumbent Lincoln Chafee, because that will mean the CFG will be able to pour tons more money into a guaranteed general election loss for Laffey to Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse. That's money the CFG could be spending on some of these House races but will be pissing away in RI for some sort of moral victory.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | September 1, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

bhoomes - "... cutting and running an exit strategy..." Even you ought to be getting a little sick of that juvenile refrain. Please explain to us all, how is it "cutting and running" when we ought not be there in the first place? And, how is it "cutting and running" when we don't have a chance in hell of ANYTHING we do succeeding? The only thing the Iraqi people agree on is they hate Amercian's and want our soldiers dead! My son is in that awful place. Is your's? No? You are in good company, becasue the spoiled brats of every right wing JERK who supports this miserable failure isn't there either. Only the sons of a few poor and tired Amercian's, children who answered the call when they genuinely believed our country was in peril. Well, my son sends letters home and calls (and those calls are listened too and censored by some twit along the son says something critical and the call is cut off!) and his mother and I hear every week about what a mess Iraq is, how it is getting worse, how the military is being forced to fight using policies run from the WHite House (NOT the field), how the troops are under equipped, ill led, and just plain demoralized. You're a dunce and fool! You're a fake patriot who spouts the crap spoon fed him by Bush and and his perputual PR machine, waving his made in China flag, and slowly sliding into poverty as your government subsidy is cut further and further to feed the filty monsters in the banking and invesator communities that feed this devil. Grow up! Better yet, get a job!

Posted by: MikeB | September 1, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Mouse, My opinion is that the breakdown for the 110th congress will be

Republicans 185
Democrats 249
Independent 1

Total Democratic pick up 48

Charity: Orphanage Africa

Posted by: Andy R | September 1, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Beware JimD: You will now be bombared will solitations for money for political candidates and causes for the rest of your natural born life.

Posted by: bhoomes | September 1, 2006 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Mouse, wow what a nice gesture. I'll think about be a little, before taking my guess which will make the American Red Cross a C-note richer!

Posted by: Gaithersburg, MD | September 1, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse


As I mentioned, I knew Joe Sestak slightly around 86 - 87. I am a retired naval officer myself. I was impressed then and am more impressed now. I contributed $100 to his campaign on line today. That is the first political contribution I have ever made.

Posted by: JimD in FL | September 1, 2006 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Republicans cut and run every day when they hide from the truth that Iraq does nothing to help the war on terror and Only hurts it. They cut and run when they insist on staying the course in a domestic civil war instead of redeploying the troops to afghanistan to find Osama and destroy the training sites and leadership of Al Qaeda. Republicans cut and run every time they allow Iran to bluster and run unchecked because the Iranians know we're all bark and no bite thanks to Iraq. They know we're powerless to stop them because we don't have the troops or the money as long as we're busy babysitting sectarian strife. And all this time the real terrorists work in small groups inside the US and England, safe in the knowledge that most of our resources and translators are busy in the quagmire that is Iraq. ANd this is the best Republicans can run on for national defense? Bring it on!

Posted by: will | September 1, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

kingofzouk calling Joe Wilson and Cynthia Sheehan is the lowest thing I have read today. A dignified man, willing to sacrifice his entire career to get the truth out about yellow cake uranium that was never used for a nuclear project in Iraq. A mother who lost her beloved son in what she believes to be a wasteful and illegal war. You ought to be ashamed of yourself! I know you wont be, because you are nothing more than another mindless toy of that fat drug abusing, serial philanderer, and multiply married con man who pontificates on the radio. The truth matters, it really does, and idiots like you and Rush and Hannidy and the rest of the useful fools on the right are going to be flushed down histories toilet. Don't get sick by that spinnin arond and around and around, you hear?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2006 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I would like to make the following offer:

I will contribute $100 to the charity of choice of the person who comes closest to predicting the number of Republicans and Democrats elected to the US House of Representatives in the November, 2006, election.
To be counted, the prediction must be posted to this chain of comments by 11:59 PM, Tuesday, September 5.
Only one prediction per pundit, please.

Posted by: Mouse | September 1, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

My take:

20. FL-22
19. VT-1
18. NY-24
17. MN-6
16. CT-2
15. IN-2
14. NM-1
13. PA-8
12. CT-4
11. PA-7
10. IL-6
9. IN-8
8. IN-9
7. KY-4
6. OH-18
5. PA-6
4. AZ-8
3. CO-7
2. IA-1
1. TX-22

Posted by: JoeyJoeJoe | September 1, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Here in Minnesota's 1st, Republican Rep. Gil Gutknecht is running scared. Gil Gutknecht has not faced a competitive race in years, and has been slow to move from coronation mode. Also,in the 6th, the race for the open seat between children's advocate Patty Wetterling and frightening Republican extremist state Sen. Michele Bachmann is worth watching. A conventional Republican would probably win this seat handily. However, the Republicans nominated one of the scariest people in America. Meanwhile, EMILY's List and the DCCC announced yesterday that Wetterling is one of three candidates in the nation to get extra financial support. In the 2nd, FBI hero and whistleblower Colleen Rowley is a strong candidate against the personality-challenged Republican Rep. John Kline. Rowley has shown a remarkable ability to engage the "netroots", but has been handicapped by her anemic fundraising.

Posted by: Andrew Donaldson | September 1, 2006 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Joey, I guess if you call cutting and running an exit strategy, then yes you dems have an exit strategy. Unemployment is at 4.7%. Which means that anybody who wants to work has a job. (I realize most dems would rather collect welfare than work for a living)Gas prices are falling with no help from you guys. Iraq is a tough situation but most americans are of a tough breed.(Its why we control all three branches of government.)

Posted by: bhoomes | September 1, 2006 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"Se we have the economy and national defense."

You're going to run on national defense? Awesome. I guess you think your party isn't doing bad enough now. And Dems do have an exit strategy for Iraq; they're just not listed in RNC talking points. You'll have credibility when you can name one idea Republicans have on defense, Iraq, etc. Until then, thanks for proving Democrats' points.

Posted by: JoeyJoeJoe | September 1, 2006 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Time Magazine (8/25)

Has US involvement in Iraq helped or hurt the overall war on terror?

Hurt: 54%
Helped: 40%

Has the US handling of the conflict between Hizbollah and Israel helped or hurt the overall war on terror?

Hurt: 51%
Helped: 29%

Does Bush have a clear and well thought-out policy to deal with terrorism?

No: 59%
Yes: 36%

Posted by: Gaithersburg, MD | September 1, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I respect Chris. Oh sure you could have included IL-6 or a MN-6 but it's good. Yeah, Boswell is too high. John Gard (WI-8), a Republican, isn't losing when even organized labor is backing him. I think Shays is much more vulnerable than Simmons or Johnson. Connecticut is a tough state to read if you haven't worked up there. And I've heard Chocola is soft but he has a large cash advantage on Donnelly. Here is a good upset for each side. Rainville over Welch in VT. Cranley over Chabot. The GOP are running localized elections because the caucus is split and can't agree on national issues on which to run. Democrats have at least been able to agree they hate Republicans.

Posted by: Benny | September 1, 2006 12:50 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2006 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Cook/RT Strategies Polling

Direction of the country

Right: 28%
Wrong: 64%

Who should control Congress:

Republicans: 40%
Democrats: 51%

Newsweek: Has Bush followed through on jis promise to rebuild New Orelans and the gulf coast?

Yes: 32%
No: 51%

Posted by: Gaithersburg, MD | September 1, 2006 12:40 PM | Report abuse

In CT-2, Rob Simmons likes to paint himself as a RINO to his constiuents, a sort of "good Republican." But how good has he been to seniors by being the only CT delegate to vote for the Medicaid prescription giveaway to big pharma? Or how good has he been to the environment by voting for Bush's Energy Act? Hah! Let Rob Simmons wear his plaid pants to an event in Norwich and see how many votes he gets there. And let's not forget Simmons likes to use Laura Bush, and this year, Poppy Bush to raise money for him. Simmons is a wolf in sheep's clothing, it's time his constiuents had the kind of representative we need in this district.

Posted by: lemond54 | September 1, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

In CT-2, Rob Simmons likes to paint himself as a RINO to his constiuents, a sort of "good Republican." But how good has he been to seniors by being the only CT delegate to vote for the Medicaid prescription giveaway to big pharma? Or how good has he been to the environment by voting for Bush's Energy Act? Hah! Let Rob Simmons wear his plaid pants to an event in Norwich and see how many votes he gets there. And let's not forget Simmons likes to use Laura Bush, and this year, Poppy Bush to raise money for him. Simmons is a wolf in sheep's clothing, it's time his constiuents had the kind of representative we need in this district.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2006 12:31 PM | Report abuse

no answers for the most simple question I could compose. Figures.

"Even if that's true" - at least an admission of culpability.

Se we have the economy and national defense. Dems have gas prices and minimum wage. sounds like a fair fight.

Still can't figure out why you keep losing?

Posted by: kingofzouk | September 1, 2006 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Its really hard to find a rational reason for keeping the GOP in office but there is one, the economy.
Now I know that Bush took the biggest surplus and created the largest defecit in the world, but we did get attacked and are now fighting a two arena war. No matter what your opinion on the lead up to, and execution of the war the fact is that they are expensive. Now even with this drag on our governmental finances we have maintained a low tax base. Meaning that you as the taxpayer are getting off pretty well. Taken with an economy that has continued to grow over the past few years with unemployment staying low.

The GOP shouldn't nationalize the election, but since they are anyway with Rove's illconceived national security and Iraq strategy, the GOP should be stressing keeping taxes low, and a good economy. Americans vote thier pocketbooks after all.

Posted by: Andy R | September 1, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

"Why should Dems be trusted to defend our country when their sole idea is to retreat from the battlefield?"

Even if that's true, it's one more idea than Republicans have.

"your silence on this is why you will lose in nov."

Your responsibility for the mess is why you lose.

Posted by: JoeyJoeJoe | September 1, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

kingofzouk wrote: "Isn't one of the signs of mental illness doing the same thing over and expecting different results?"

You mean like "stay the course"?

Yup, it is a sign of mental illness. Please communicate your findings to the white house.

Polling: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bush is handling the situation in Iraq?

Newsweek (8/25)

Approve: 31
Disapprove: 63

CBS News/NYTimes (8/23)

Approve: 30
Disapprove: 65

CNN (8/20)

Approve: 35
Disapprove: 61

ABC News/Washington Post

Approve: 36
Disapprove: 62

Posted by: Gaithersburg, MD | September 1, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

A CNN poll in August found that 69 percent of Americans oppose withdrawing American troops by the end of the year, and 66 percent believe that we can win the war there.
I guess your ideas are not being swallowed by the general public. but you all are so rabid and sure of yourselves. Isn't one of the signs of mental illness doing the same thing over and expecting different results?
None of you ever respond to very simple questions. try just one:
Why should Dems be trusted to defend our country when their sole idea is to retreat from the battlefield?

your silence on this is why you will lose in nov.

Posted by: kingofzouk | September 1, 2006 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Where is the NY-24 race between Mike Arcuri and Ray Meier?
Last poll I saw had Arcuri ahead by four with equal fundraising...I can't believe this race didn't even make the list...
And that's not the only open seat not to make the list...what about Wetterling/Bachmann in MN-06, or the open seat in WI-08 where Republicans are running John Gard? Someone has already mentioned Duckworth/Roskam, but I also can't believe that race is no longer competitive.

Second, the most endangered Dem is by far Melissa Bean, with John Barrow in second place. Sorry, but Leonard Boswell doesn't make the cut.

Last, I think you're going to need to make room for John Cranley, who has internal polls showing him ahead of Steve Chabot in OH-1...something Kilroy doesn't have.

Posted by: Neal | September 1, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I've posted on earlier Fix blogs that, sometime in the last couple months, we seem to have lost all the really good blog debators from the Republican fold, it would appear the more intelligent of them can no longer find those futile words to defend their failing neocons.

So all we have left are these brick walls of intractable ignorance, who keep spouting Turdblossom's talking points from BEFORE THE WAR!

Where are all the intelligent debators, where are the conservative academics, where is the thought-provoking Republican leadership?

Nowadays, all we have left to contend with publicly is ignorant, opinionated buffoons who will not admit they are wrong, even if our national security depends on it.

They would rather, day by day, see our nation lose more young soldiers, billions in fortune, and international credibility, than admit they made a big mistake.

Some might suggest these posts are off-thread, but I heartily disagree. This is what these elections are all about.


Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2006 12:01 PM | Report abuse

As to Colorado's 7th, Ed P. seems to have put O'Donnell on the defensive pretty quickly. Good for him! The 7th is the latest test of a long-term trend in Colorado moving toward Democrats. As such, Perlmutter and O'Donnell are classic Colorado politicians: Perlmutter a moderate Democrat (like Ken Salazar) and O'Donnell primarily a social-issues conservative, with a bit of small-government talk to make himself more attractive. But voters shouldn't be fooled; O'Donnell will probably say whatever he thinks he has to say to get elected, whether or not he actually believes it.

Posted by: Bigkens | September 1, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

As Election Day draws nearer and the news continues to be horrible for Republicans, expect the entertainment value of posts from bhoomes and kingofzouk to increase exponentially.

At this point their only hope is that Republican voters across the country are lying to the poll-takers.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | September 1, 2006 11:54 AM | Report abuse

My mind is already beyond the 2006 elections. And I like what I see in following the Republican loss of at least one Chamber.

What'll happen is this: The right-wing nutjobs (including the likes of bhoomes and kingofzouk) are gonna blame somebody, and it'll be moderate republicans.

The moderate republicans are gonna blame the fanatics, who have pushed America into a war of choice, huge deficits, growing numbers of Americans below the poverty line, no security - in our ports, in air cargo, along our borders, etc.

It'll threaten to split the GOP.

I think that the nutjobs like bhoomes and kingofzouk will prevail in their little Republican intramural battle, completely blind to the fact that the American people have rejected them and everything they stand for. That the bhoomes and zouks of the world push the GOP even *further* to the radical right will only marginalize the Republican party.

I can see a timeline involving a generation of Congressmen from the midwest, moderate states such as CO and NV, mid-Atlantic, west and east costs and the north being solidly dem as the GOP is reduced to only playing to their base, the South Carolinas of the world.

America continues to speak. A majority against the Iraq war, more people "stongly oppposed" to Bush than people who support him - marginally and strongly, combined. It's not fancy polling that produces this statistically factual result. It's not Bill Clinton. It's not the UN and the secret black helicopters. It's not the "liburl media".

It's the GOP. It's their record of "achievement" that has turned the constiuency against them.

I am happy to see the bhoomes and zouks of this world not reconize it. For it guarantees that they'll continue to drive the Republican party toward a path that takes it off of a cliff.

Life is good.

Posted by: Gaithersburg, MD | September 1, 2006 11:43 AM | Report abuse

George Bush and his no-bid-war...

Hiatt's work only proves how desperate the neocons have become.

You do not even have to read between the lines any more, it is spelled out openly in the print.

The Republicans have cornered themselves, between their bipolar immigration platforms to their continued loyalty to a neoconservative administration of lost causes and patent lies (but yes, Virginia, Iraq has a weapon of mass destruction; it is called "oil.")

Unfortunately, the cornering of any wild critter, even by their own ignorance, makes it imminently more dangerous, especially if you are trying to take away the carcass it is feeding on. So watch for more dangerous events and sensational busts of psuedo-terrorist cells, the closer we get to election day.

And while previous posts pointing fingers at banking and investment interests may seem extreme, there really is no telling what these war profiteers will do to extend their time at the feeding trough of Bush's bloody no-bid war.

Posted by: JEP | September 1, 2006 11:43 AM | Report abuse

che, che, please do not post such long pieces. Excerpt and link. It's only polite.

Here's another reason to vote for Dem Jim Webb. Democrats actually serve rather than type, for all you Fighting Keyboardists out there, all you big war talkers who sit on your butt typing all day. Try walking the walk instead of just talking the talk...

'Senate candidate Jim Webb will miss the Labor Day weekend parades, picnics and speeches that open the fall campaign stretch run to be with his son, who ships out with his Marine unit to Iraq next week.'

Posted by: drindl | September 1, 2006 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Delusional is:
Ignoring the self-serving nature and media solipsism on Joe Wilson, Jesse Jackson, Cynthia Sheehan et al

Imagining that leaving Iraq before total victory will result in anything less than more US deaths here and abroad

Thinking Americans are such cowards that they stand for nothing but comfort and bliss and won't take a stand on anything more inportant than gas prices.

what is more important than our survival as a country? why are you so afraid of this topic? did any of you read any 1930s history books about appeasing malevolant dictators and the results?

It's going to be a long two years for you Dems after the next election. Get used to being in the minority. Until you can come up with a single idea about our future, you will be back-benchers.

Posted by: kingofzouk | September 1, 2006 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Agreed with you on seth on the nutjob Hiatt. What a waste he is.

Here's an interestig bit from Slate:

'The WSJ fronts a piece battling for its own evergreen status: Republicans plan to run--again--on national security. The report wonders if that hat still holds any rabbits. The piece singles out 10-term suburban Philly Rep. Curt Weldon, a Republican who recently said that we either fight terrorists in Iraq "or we fight them in the supermarkets and streets here," adding that he still believes Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. His Democratic opponent, Joe Sestak, served in Afghanistan and calls the war in Iraq a distraction from the war on terror. The WSJ has handicapper Stuart Rothenberg calling the race a tossup. Sestak and Weldon's disagreement on Iraq's role in the war on terror, says WSJ, is the central question in the election.'

Weldon is completely bonkers. Certafiable. Yes, I can see myself locked in hand-to-hand combat among the cabbages and carrots. WTF? Like terrorists can't board a plane from Iraq? Or Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia [remember that's where the 9/11 terrorists came from] or Somalia, or Indonesia? Or England? Are we going to invade all those places? There's plenty of wealthy Saudis lving in Texas too, are we going to invade Texas?

Weldon deserves to be locked up and sedated, along with anyone else with his delusional world view.

Posted by: drindl | September 1, 2006 11:22 AM | Report abuse

The "America Last" party is about to be revealed for its true beliefs and the voting population will notice and the R majority will continue to dominate. It only takes a short statement: Speaker Pelosi. Or a quick quote from Reid "We killed the Patriot act". Americans want to win this war and are well aware of the consequences of losing. the Rs are going to drive this home and you all will be left trying to explain how you want to cut and run but somehow defend the country. OK, explain it to me. Dems still can't be trusted to defend us and everyone knows it. Elect Dems - the bomb shelter companies need the work.

Posted by: kingofzouk | September 1, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

As for Masha's question about the NC-13 race, there is good reason that this race has stayed off of everyone's radar. Incumbent Democrat Rep. Brad Miller is going to win easily over perennial loser Vernon Robinson. Don't be confused, Vernon Robinson is good at making waves and even garnerning national attention, but that has never translated into votes for him, and it wont again in this race against Rep. Miller. He lost to now-Rep. Virginia Foxx in the Republican primary in the congressoinal district he actually lives in, and just last year he lost badly his Winston-Salem city council seat, which is the only elected office he has held. Also, before he started his campaign against Rep. Miller, he announced he was going to run against Democrat Rep. Mel Watt (NC-12). He is largely unknown in the Raleigh area which casts about half of the votes in the 13th district, and the district went for Kerry in 2004 anyway. He is a non-contender and is only successful at diverting money away from other Republican candidates.

Posted by: JonathanK | September 1, 2006 11:18 AM | Report abuse

As for Masha's question about the NC-13 race, there is good reason that this race has stayed off of everyone's radar. Incumbent Democrat Rep. Brad Miller is going to win easily over perennial loser Vernon Robinson. Don't be confused, Vernon Robinson is good at making waves and even garnerning national attention, but that has never translated into votes for him, and it wont again in this race against Rep. Miller. He lost to now-Rep. Virginia Foxx in the Republican primary in the congressoinal district he actually lives in, and just last year he lost badly his Winston-Salem city council seat, which is the only elected office he has held. Also, before he started his campaign against Rep. Miller, he announced he was going to run against Democrat Rep. Mel Watt (NC-12). He is largely unknown in the Raleigh area which casts about half of the votes in the 13th district, and the district went for Kerry in 2004 anyway. He is a non-contender and is only successful at diverting money away from other Republican candidates.

Posted by: JonathanK | September 1, 2006 11:15 AM | Report abuse

That editorial on Joe Wilson is a piece of trash, utterly devoid of logic, from -- I assume -- right-wing nut / WaPo editorial page editor Fred Hiatt. I wish Hiatt were up for election so he, too, could run on the outstanding victory we've achieved in Iraq.

Posted by: Seth | September 1, 2006 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Charles Taylor may be running behind, but IIRC he has a whole lot of personal wealth that he will probably pour into the race later on in the cycle. Also, NC may have sent Democrats to Raleigh for the past fourteen years, but that was on their strength in Democratic Eastern NC, not in ultraconservative Western NC, where Taylor's district is located.

Posted by: Jeff in NC | September 1, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

The Club for Growth of Corruption is a criminal enterprise. Perhaps in the Age of Abramoff people are catching on to this.

Nice to hear your comment about Joe Sestak, JimD. I respect what you have to say. Sestak is one of the best deserving candidates out there -- I hope in his district realize how lucky they are to have him, and vote accordingly.

Posted by: drindl | September 1, 2006 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Wow a democrat in Wyoming. We can send you a care package if you need it up there, Iealist.
Also you have a good reason to be optomistic. The latest poll (which was done in May) had Cubin ahead 47 to 43 which is within the margin of error. Taken with the fact that The governors race is a lock for the Dems, and that the Senate race isn't even close. You might be right that the motivated democratic voters will vote her out. Also she only won 55% in 2004 even though Bush won 69%. CC, might deserve a spot on the line next time.

Posted by: Andy R | September 1, 2006 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Wyoming is often overlooked, for the fact that is is solidly red, fewer people in the entire state than the city of Denver (not suburbs). Right now though there is a race for House that might be worth mentioning. The lone House seat is held by Representative Barbara Cubin (Republican). The Democratic challenger, Gary Trauner has been doing quite well and has a good chance of winning, especially with the small but mobilized Democratic movements in Wyoming.

Posted by: Idealist | September 1, 2006 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Have I already mentioned that Condi is better than a bushel of peaches???!!!

(Tina, don't have to post to this thread anymore, I got it. You can go back to doing whatever it is you do now).

Posted by: Gaithersburg, MD | September 1, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Robert Chapman;

Touche, and kudos, your last post shows just how profane these Republicans have become, and how deeply they are in denial of Bush's deceit.

Joe Wilson lied? And Bush didn't?


We ALL know now that this war was based on false information and manipulated intelligence.

Anyone who denies it is only fooling themselves, or they are just another part of the lie.

But I doubt there is one single loudmouth in the "R" category who will express any contrition for supporting Bush and his war in the first place.

Except those Republican candidates running for office, at least the ones who want to win...

Posted by: JEP | September 1, 2006 10:45 AM | Report abuse

What about Reichart or McMorris in the other Washington?

Posted by: TWW | September 1, 2006 10:36 AM | Report abuse

The club for growth endorsement is a kiss of death if you are in a moderate district. It may win you the GOP primary but it will lose you the general. Now I know it helps with fund-raising, but it hurts when you get tied to the defecit free-spending ideas of the CFG.

Posted by: Andy R | September 1, 2006 10:36 AM | Report abuse

CT-02 (Simmons-Courtney) and CT-04 (Shays-Farrell) are both easily top 10 races. CT-05 (Johnson-Murphy) may be competitive and is in at an appropriate ranking. If Democrats have won back control of Congress, we will know it early on if they have won at least 2 Connecticut House races.

Posted by: David | September 1, 2006 10:34 AM | Report abuse

ken lucas hopefully will prevail this fall...... i don't see how christopher shays saying he's the smartest person in the country on Iraq will help him... i mean come on does he really think people are going to believe him when overwhelming majorities think the whole situation is messed up.

Posted by: aaron | September 1, 2006 10:34 AM | Report abuse

ken lucas hopefully will prevail this fall...... i don't see how christopher shays saying he's the smartest person in the country on Iraq will help him... i mean come on does he really think people are going to believe him when overwhelming majorities think the whole situation is messed up.

Posted by: aaron | September 1, 2006 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Kingofzouk, its official no WMD in Iraq.
GW Bush is a liar, any of you loudmouths care to apologize?

Robert Chapman

Posted by: robert chapman | September 1, 2006 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone remember the 00 Vice Presidential debate?

Senator Lieberman touted his support of Gulf War I, his hawkishness on Israeli security and his support for sanctions and regime change in Iraq.

Dick Cheney looked him in the eye and said,
"Joe you're wrong."

Now, six years later without changing his positions the Bush-Cheney people think Joe is right.

It is nice to know that old "Stay the Course," is capable of such monumental flip-flopping.

Support the troops, dump the GOP.

Robert Chapman
Lansing, NY

Posted by: robert chapman | September 1, 2006 10:21 AM | Report abuse

It's official - Joe Wilson is a liar. from the WaPo itself. any of you loudmouths care to apologize?

Posted by: kingofzouk | September 1, 2006 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Many thanks to Chris for his excellent work in researching all these districts and providing us the opportunity to sound off.

A week ago, I would have thought the GOP strategy to localize the races and run in them district by district would have been a winning strategy and pulled them through this cycle with results that would support even the smug GOP partisans responding in this strand. They show once again that empty gloating is the only talent Republicans bring to political debate.

Fortunately for the Democrats, the National Denier, GW Bush, has begun a PR offensive. Juxtaposed to statements from senior US military commanders in Iraq that we can begin bringing our kids home, W is calling on us to stay the course.

The President is clearly as out of touch with his government as he is with reality.

This election will turn on how much Bush's decision to nationalize the election and force a referendum on the Iraq war will neutralize the GOP's regionalization strategy.

As a Democratic activist, I couldn't be happier than fighting this election on Bush's incompetent, immoral and disasterous squandering of American military strength and prestige in Iraq.

Robert Chapman

Posted by: robert chapman | September 1, 2006 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Good points made here re: NC-11 but how about that rockin' NC-13 with Vernon Robinson to beat Brad Miller? That is a potential loss of a Demo seat.

Posted by: Masha | September 1, 2006 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Here is a link to ROthenberg's ratings to compare...

Posted by: Delmon Young | September 1, 2006 10:13 AM | Report abuse

In WV-1, there hasn't seemed to be any new news on allegations against Mollohan, which helps him a lot. Also, Chris Wakim got into trouble over his military record, although I don't remember the details. That story hurt the momentum that he had. Overall, the district is probaly too Democratic for a Republican to win right now, particularly that Joe Manchin is popular and Robert C. Byrd is going to get reelected big again.

I also agree that OH-18 is being underestimated. So what if Bush won it by 14 points? Parties have won seats where the margin has been much bigger against their Presidential candidate. In 2004, Dan Boren won his seats easily even though Bush won it by at least 20 points or so. I don't see how Ney's problems, not to mention the disaster that the state GOP is going through, don't make drag down Padgett. Also, she only won her Senate seat 53-46 in 2004, which I'm pretty sure is less than Bush's margin in that Senate district.

Posted by: JoeyJoeJoe | September 1, 2006 10:12 AM | Report abuse

How will Chocola's being endorsed by Club for Growth (sure to help his fundraising) and his already big fundraising advantage over his opponent affect IN-02?

Posted by: joe | September 1, 2006 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Chris, I know you had to put at least one Democrat on the endangered list.... but Leonard Boswell in Iowa is a big stretch.

According to the statement of a highly placed Democratic party insider, the reason the DCCC took away some of Boswell's funding.... "polls. The
internal Boswell polls and DCCC polls show Boswell soaring, increasing his huge margin, and Jeff Lamberti slip sliddn' away. This race was never even close to being close."

Looks like you need to find a different token Dem for your list.

Posted by: Truth Hunter | September 1, 2006 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Republican Rep. Charles Taylor (NC-11) is going to lose. Not only has Democrat Heath Shuler been running ahead in all of the polls for the district, he has more money on hand, and the district is not as republican as it looks on paper. Over half of the district is represented by popular Democrats in the state Senate and voters in NC have overwhelmingly elected a Democrat to the Governorship since 1992 while maintaining a democratically controlled legislature (minus a short stint of republican control of the state house in the early 1990's). NC-11 voters may be relatively conservative, but they have no problems voting for a Democrat like Heath Shuler.

Posted by: jonathank | September 1, 2006 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Chris, Joe Sestak is a retired Vice-Admiral - three stars versus one or two stars for a Rear Admiral (there are two grades of Rear Admiral in the Navy). It is a significant difference. There are over 200 Rear Admirals and around 30 Vice-Admirals. I knew him slightly years ago - we were both stationed in the same port and I dealt with his ship from time to time. He is a brilliant guy. The Republicans will have a hard time painting him as weak on national security.

Posted by: JimD in FL | September 1, 2006 9:51 AM | Report abuse

The VA-2 race is also going to mirror what happens in the Webb/Allen race. If Allen keeps shooting himself in the foot then the Democratic wave in VA is going to sweep Drake out. Also Webb's strength with the Navy folks will help the Dems in VA beach.

I don't understand how the OH 18 fell so far. Do you honestly think that GOP voters are going to be energized about anyone after what Ney allegedly did? Space has been running a solid campaign so far and has been out there for 6 months now. Taken with the GOP troubles in Ohio and the low polling of Blackwell and Nussle and I just don't see the GOP Base really reving up for this one. Not to mention the money advantage that Space will have. this one should be top ten.

On the Shuler race. Like someone said before you can't quote the statewide presidential election results as an indicator. Shuler is from there and has done alot to benefit that area. He is young and is moderate enough that the GOP was recruiting him about 3 years ago to run for a different office. Shuler has money to boot, and in an area where television rights are cheap he can get his message out. In the current environment with the name recognition Shuler has I think he takes it.

Bhoomes, I disagree that Lieberman's race will help the GOP. I think the complete opposite will occur. You KNOW that the democratic base is going to be fired up big time for either Lamont or Lieberman and will come out in record numbers drastically effecting down ticket races. Hard core republicans aren't going to be as enthused with the prospect of voting for 'the lesser of two evils'. Shays is the only one who might survive by getting ahead of the War issue, but I personally don't think it will be enough. Clean Dem sweep in Connecticut with Lieberman taking the Senate Seat. (sorry Lamont folks I like the guy too, but Lieberman is now engaged and will show his the superior campaigner in the end)

Posted by: Andy R | September 1, 2006 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Even though I'm a democrat I am skeptical that the democrats can take the house back. To win, we need to take some of the Connecticut seats which is not very likely.

Posted by: AB | September 1, 2006 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Shays of CT at #17? Are you serious? Of the three GOP reps in CT, Shays is by far the most vulnerable. Shays most recent flip-flop on the war by pushing for a timetable makes it seem he will do anything to stay in office.

Posted by: Andrew | September 1, 2006 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Although the 2nd District in Louisiana will unlikely change from a Democratic seat to a Republican one, I think Bill Jefferson is in trouble. The freezer money stories still resonate. His two principal challengers are State Rep. Karen Carter (New Orleans), and State Sen. Derrick Sheppard (Marrero). I think the edge is to Ms. Carter. Jefferson's protege on the New Orleans City Council was defeated in her reelection bid in May. There is a mood for change in the city. Though Mayor Nagin was reelected, the City Council has a new majority that was elected.

Posted by: Lou | September 1, 2006 9:37 AM | Report abuse

RD, all three Connecticut races are listed (17/Shays, 15/Johnson, and 11/Simmons). Another possible New England pickup is Charlie Bass's seat in NH-02, but that's probably in the 30-50 range still.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2006 9:20 AM | Report abuse

One of the reasons we republicans are always down in the polls several months before an election, is that the dems with the help of their buddies in the mainstream media have their message heard without any rebuttal from us. The silly season as Chris likes to call it, is when we start getting our message heard with advertisement. Our message is much better than the dems, which will enable to snatch victory once again this fall. PS: The Washington Post said it was a shame you libs took Joe Wilson seriously in Plamegate. Its because you never let facts get in the way of your ignorance and partisanship.

Posted by: bhoomes | September 1, 2006 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Chris could you start putting a net party gains at the end of these blogs? Something like Deomcrats -1/+15 and Republicans -14/+1, too close 4, just to summarzie your post.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2006 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Since CC's post was about House races, here is Stu Rotherberg's take:

House Outlook For 2006

By Stuart Rothenberg

Our latest race-by-race review of Congressional districts around the country convinces us that a Democratic wave is building and that the party is poised to take control of the House of Representatives in the fall. The only question now is the size of the November wave.

The national mood remains bleak for Republicans. President George W. Bush's job performance ratings are terrible, and the public still gives Congress low marks. A majority of Americans continue to tell pollsters that the country is headed in the wrong direction.

That's a recipe for a GOP disaster, and there is no reason to believe that things will change dramatically between now and Election Day to improve Republican prospects.

At the district level, voters are more critical of Republican incumbents - and supportive of even unknown Democratic candidates - than they usually are at this point in the election cycle. GOP candidates are running behind where they would be in anything approaching a "neutral" year. While some firming of the Republican base is likely over the next ten weeks, that alone may not be enough for the party to retain the House.

Posted by: Gaithersburg, MD | September 1, 2006 8:28 AM | Report abuse

As a New Yorker, I've been hearing so much about how the DCCC plans to take several seats here. I've also heard so much about New England seats that are likely to change. Yet none of them, except Shays, made the list? I also dont understand why, in the Shuler race, The Fix talks about statewide 2004 numbers, when it seems he should tell us about the 2004 numbers of the district. Texas sure as heck went for Bush in '04; but there are certainly blue districts.

Posted by: RD | September 1, 2006 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I think you missed a big one - what about the Mollohan race in WV? Maybe that was race number 21?

Posted by: MD | September 1, 2006 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Dems will retake the House and fall just short in the Senate.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | September 1, 2006 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Any word on the IL-6 candidacy of Tammy Duckworth? She has obviously fallen well out of favor event after the strong backing of Rahm Emanuel.

Posted by: Aussie Pundit | September 1, 2006 7:55 AM | Report abuse

I have full confidence in Health Shuler fumbling the ball before election day. I am no big fan of Chris Shays but with Joe running as an independent, it should pull both him and Nancy over the finish line as winners. The dems really shot themselves in the foot with that Loser Lamont. But then, the dems have always been society's losers as this election will show.

Posted by: bhoomes | September 1, 2006 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Only one Democratic seat listed as being at risk in the top 20 seats?


Of course the Democrats still need to pick up 15 seats to retake the House. Not easy.

Posted by: J. Crozier | September 1, 2006 6:39 AM | Report abuse

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