Friday, December 24, 2010

House Democrats in trouble (part V)

Bill Owens has represented New York's 23rd District since he won a special election in 2009 to replace a Republican who went on to be Secretary of the Army. The 23rd, centered around Watertown, has been a GOP bastion since the Civil War and it was a bit of a quirk that Owens won in the first place. The local GOP warlords nominated a very liberal Republican for the 2009 special election who was simply too far left and ended up dropping out and endorsing Owens when she realized she would come in a distant third to the Democrat and the Conservative Party nominee. In 2010 there still wasn't a combined GOP/Conservative candidate and that split helped Owens get over the top again with a very weak 48% of the vote (the GOP and the Conservative candidates combined for about 51% of the vote). New York is losing a House seat so it will be interesting to see how the 23rd's lines move around. In any case, Owens will be in stiff fight if he wishes to defend his seat in the 2012 cycle.

Jim Matheson is a very lonely Democrat in Utah; there simply aren't that many left. He's a moderate member of the caucus who received a bit under 51% of the vote in this cycle-way under his average of about 55%. Utah will pick up a seat in redistricting and I'm sure they'll try to make Matheson's seat even redder than it is (it is dark red-like the rest of the state) and end up winning all four seats.

Gerry Connolly came within a few hundred votes of losing in his northern Virginia district in 2010. Easily elected to a first term in 2008, he had replaced the moderate Republican Tom Davis who had held the seat for years. CD 11 had been turning more and more purple over the years and Connolly was able to ride that wave in the 08 cycle. However, most of the state of Virginia has been in a general state of revolt against several Administration policies and has turned deep red in the last two years. CD 11 was ground zero in 2010 with Gerry Connolly basically comparing his opponent to the antiChrist and was able to control the narrative enough to survive by the skin of his teeth. The GOP will conttrol the redistricting process in the state and I'm sure they'll find a way to make Connolly's district a little less friendly to him.

Ron Kind has been the congressman for Wisconsin's 3rd District since 1996. A liberal who protrays himself as a moderate and generally stays way under the radar survived a strong challenge in the 2010 cycle but he received a very weak 50% of the vote in his western Wisconsin district. Slightly blue, the seats runs from Eau Claire in the north all the way to the Illiniois line, straddling the Mississippi River all the way down. If the GOP can find the right challenger I believe Ron Kind could find himself in very desperate straits-especially if the Badger State becomes one of the great battlegrounds of the 2012 cycle.

With Republicans controlling so many state legislatures I agree with the ultra-Yoda like Mike Barone and believe that the GOP will pick up between 10-15 more House seats in the next cycle. If they do end up with more than 250, if would be the first time since the 1920s that the Republicans will have that kind of advantage in the Lower Chamber.

Merry Christmas,

The Snitch

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Jim Webb to retire?

Virginia Democrats are praying Jim Webb decides to run again as they know he's probably he only member of their party who has any shot at winning the seat. The GOP will be gunning to win no matter if Webb runs again or not and if I had to bet I'd say he'll pass on another campaign. Webb defeated Republican George Allen by a little more than 8,000 votes in the Democratic year of 2006 and the GOP feels strongly that they should be able to regain the seat as the state is turning red again. Webb hasn't really raised any money and he's not enamored with being in the Upper Chamber so I believe he'll pass on a hard, expensive fight in 2012.


The Snitch

Democrats in trouble in 2012 (Part IV)

Pennsylvania's Democrats took a beating in 2010, losing five House seats, an open Senate seat and the governorship. You might think that they couldn't lose any additional seats in 2012 but they'll be three lawmakers that will be in great danger in the next cycle. Jason Altmire (CD4), Mark Critz (CD 12) and Tim Holden (CD 17).

Altimre's district is just west of Pittsburgh and is a bit red, having voted for Bush in 2004 and McCain in 2008. He won reelection with a weak 51% against an underfunded opponent and the GOP in the state legislature who control the redistricting process will ensure that more conservative neighborhoods are drawn into his district for the 2012 cycle.

Critz has one of the more gerrymandered districts in the country and its centered around Johnstown. This seat was drawn specifically to protect the late John Murtha but there won't be any reason to do it again now that Critz has taken over. Critz won by less than 2% of the vote and the district is surrounded by red areas that the stete legislature will be able to include for the next cycle.

Tim Holden won 56% of the vote in this rural east-central district. A true moderate, he's got a lot of support from all segments of the political spectrum which have kept him in power. There's no reason to believe that the GOP legislature won't drastically rewrite the districts lines and make his seat much redder for the 2012 cycle. Moreover, he'll have to introduce himself to a large part of this new district in a year that will probably be very tough for Pennsylvania Democrats.

The Keystone State will lose a seat in a congressional seat in the reapportionment and it will almost certainly be at the expense of one or more Democratic legislators. You'll see this scenario play out in quite a few states; Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia-just to name a few.


The Snitch

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Democrats in trouble (Part III)

North Carolina was a bit of a disapointment for the GOP as they were only able to flip one of four vulnerable House seats. While they did well in contests for the state legislature they were unable to beat Mike McIntyre (CD 7) and Larry Kissell (CD 8). District 7 is in the southeastern part of the state and 8 is south-central. Both districts voted for Bush in 2004 but Obama was able to carry CD 8 in 2008 while McCain took CD 7. Kissell was thought to be especially vulnerable as he was a first-termer which had elected a Republican to the House for several cycles before 2008. In CD 7, McIntyre hadn't had a close election since 1996 but was targeted by the national GOP in the 2010 cycle. In the end, Kissell received 53% and McIntyre got 54%; respectable totals for a terrible cycle for the Democrats.

However, the GOP will control the entire redistricting process in the Tar Heel State for the 2012 election. While Obama narrowly carried the state in 2008 there is almost no chance he'll be able to repeat his victory in any state south of the Mason-Dixon line. I strongly suspect both Kissell and McIntyre will have much redder districts to defend in the cycle and it wouldn't be surprising to see them both go down two years from now.


The Snitch

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Stabenow and McCaskill in deep trouble

Debbie Stabenow is in deep trouble in Michigan. An average legislator with good timing (elected in 2006 and reelected in the Democratic wave of 2006) she's in for the fight of her life in 2012. With plenty of Republicans who have good name recognition and such a high dissatisfaction with the President by the average Michigan voter she's highly vulnerable. Unless the Republicans nominate somebody totally unacceptable Stabenow should lose.

Claire McCaskill is in even greater danger. Scraping by in 2006 over Jim Talent she's rapidly becoming a conservative to make herself electable but this strategy is ultimately pointless. I'll say it right now-there is no way she's reelected. Missouri has turned brighly red and there's no reason to think it will be any different in 2012. Roy Blunt, an average GOP candidate, destroyed his Democratic opponent last month carrying every area of Missouri except for metro St. Louis and Kansas City. Like Michigan there are plenty of quality GOP opponents and they'll be rapidly announcing their candidacies in the next few months.


The Snitch

15 House Democrats in trouble (cont.)

-MI 9 (Peters)
It was a minor miracle that Gary Peters survived in the sea of red that was Michigan on November 2. He faced a strong, well organized opponent in a district that routinely elected Republicans. Peters seemed like a sure loser but escaped and won by 3% over Rocky Raczkowski. The district takes up most of Oakland County, one of the classic swing areas not only of Michigan but of the entire country and is generally a good indicator of how a party will fare. For some reason, however, Peters was able to scrape by and received about 50% of the total vote. He wasn't particularly strong and Rocky was a solid opponent which should have been enough to knock him off. The GOP-controlled legislature will ensure that this district is more red for the 2012 cycle and I wouldn't rule out a rematch between these two foes.

-MN 1 (Walz)
Tim Walz was first elected in the Democratic wave of 2006 when he beat Gil Gutknecht (who won in the 1994 GOP wave) and should have been more vulnerable than he was in this district filled with political independents. However, his GOP opponent, Randy Demmer was weak and underfunded but he still held Walz to just 50% of the total vote. If the congressional lines don't change much and the Republicans can find a well-funded challenger early enough Walz will be in grave danger in 2012. Even though the GOP lost the governor's race this year they've got total control of the state legislature for the first time in a generation and will be gunning to win again in 2012. Minnesota will be ground zero for the presidential race, a contested Senate seat, and CD 1, which stretches all the way across southern Minnesota from the Wisconsin border all the way out to South Dakota.


The Snitch

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

15 House Democrats in trouble in 2012

2010 was the third "wave" election in a row and there's no reason to believe that 2012 will be any different. As the economy continues to stumble along and the electorate is still in a foul mood there are many incumbents that are in deep trouble. Here's 15 House Democrats that (depending on redistricting) could lose in 2012.

-AZ 8 (Giffords)
The GOP made a hard run at the two-term liberal but came up just short. Giffords received about 49% of the vote and it will be interesting what will happen in the redistricting process. Arizona uses a five-member commission to draw districts so we simply don't know how her district will look. Arizona will get two more congressional seats so there will be ten districts which will probably look very different what they have now.

-GA 12 (Barrow)
John Barrow won 57% of the vote but had much closer races in 2004 and 2006. If the GOP can (they control the redistricting process) can pack more Republican voters in his district it will look very different than it does now. Georgia will gain one seat so it will be interesting to see how the map looks when the state legislaure redraws the districts. In any case the GOP will almost certainly make the new district a red one and will be tempted to pack the three remaining Democratic congressmen into deep blue ones.

-IA 3 (Boswell)
Leonard Boswell trailed for most of the year but pulled off a minor miracle by winning with 51% of the vote on election night. Iowa is losing a seat and an independent commission draws the lines for the state. Currently there are 3 Democrats and 2 Republicans two incumbents are going to have to run against one another to survive in 2012.

-IN 2 (Donnelly)
Had the Libertarian not run in this race (he received 5% of the vote) Joe Donnelly would have lost on a night when the GOP clobbered the Democrats in the Hoosier State. In 2008 he won with 67% of the vote but in 2010 he squeaked by with just 48%. The GOP controls the redisticting process in the state and I'm sure they'll make this seat more red when they are done.

-KY 6 (Chandler)
Like Donnelly, Ben Chandler won 67% of the vote in 2008 but had a very close election; only winning by around 600 votes. The redistricting process is split so we'll have to wait and see if his district gets more red or blue to judge how much trouble he'll be in in 2012.

I'll get to the following folks in the next couple of days.

-MI 9 (Peters)
-MN 1 (Walz)
-NC 7 (McIntyre)
-NC 8 (Kissell)
-NY 23 (Owens)
-PA 4 (Altmire)
-PA 17 (Holden)
-UT 2 (Matheson)
-VA 11 (Connolly)
-WI 3 (Kind)


The Snitch

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pawlenty in 2012?

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Tim Pawlenty will be the Republican candidate for President in 2012. If he does get the nomination I think he'll have an 80% chance of winning the Presidency. More than that, he'll have a large GOP majority in the House and the Senate will also be run by the Republicans. I suspect the GOP will pick up at least seven seats in the Senate in 2012 and as many as ten which would give them 57.
The following Senators are vulnerable in 2012. (I've rated them from most to least vulnerable).
1)Sherrod Brown. One of the most liberal senators ever, there are a ton of potential GOP challengers in Ohio.
2)Claire McCaskill. Missouri went deep red last night and will do so again in 2012.
3)Ben Nelson. One of the most unpopular politicians in Nebraska, he has no chance of winning in 2012.
4)Bob Casey. A little more conservative than the average Senate Democrat he'll have a decent shot at retaining his seat but the if the economy continues to flounder he'll be really vulnerable.
5)Debbie Stabenow. This very liberal Michigander is a colorless legislator who has to be deeply worried now that a Republican won the governorship by twenty points. There are a number of potential GOP challengers.
6)Amy Klobuchar. Minnesota is a blue state but Klobuchar is an average campaigner and her GOP opponent will be able to run against her and an unpopular President. If the Republicans pick the right candidate she'll lose.
7)Jim Webb. I don't think Senator Webb will run again. If so, the GOP will almost certainly pick up this seat.
8)Jon Tester. This Montana Democrat narrowly won in 2006 and has established a fairly moderate record in the Senate. He'll have to run away from his health care vote (like every single other member of his caucus) in a year when heavy turnout in Montana will favor the GOP.
9)Kent Conrad. This North Dakota politican has tried to fashion himself as a "deficit hawk" and a bit of a maverick, much like Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. Now, having been exposed as a big spender he may end up unemployed like Feingold.
10)Maria Cantwell. Elected by two thousand votes in 2000, she'll be vulnerable if the right Republican jumps in the race.
11)Kirsten Gillibrand. Even though she won 61% of the vote last night she has to run again for the full six-year term in 2012. I think this is why people like George Pataki chose to sit out his time. Better to wait and run just once for the full six years instead of having to campaign twice in two years.
12)Bob Menendez. A scandal-plagued Democrat from Jersey (well, who isn't?), he'll be tough to beat in this blue state but the Democratic Party will have to spend time and resources defending this seat.
13)Joe Manchin. If he's as good as his word he'll be perhaps the most conservative Democrat in the Senate for at least ten years. Like Gillibrand he's going to have to run for the full term in 2012 so he'll have to watch every vote he takes because West Virginia Republicans will be.
Others to watch:
14)Herb Kohl. I suspect he'll retire in 2012 having achieved nothing in twenty-four years.
15)Jeff Bingaman. This old bull may hang it up-especially if he sees that the GOP is going to conrol the Upper Chamber for the next couple of years.
16 and 17)Joe Lieberman and Bernie Sanders. Who knows what these old guys are going to do. If Lieberman retires the GOP would have a puncher's chance to win the seat.

You'll probably see a number of Democrats in the House and Senate retire instead of run in the next cycle. Faced with the prospect of being in the minority even if they survive what promises to be a tough election cycle, they may choose to hang up and go home instead of facing the prospect of a humiliating defeat.

People are wondering how the GOP didn't capture the Senate as long as the House last night. Simply put, there just weren't enough vulnerable Democrats defending seats. In 2012, 22 Democratic and Independent seats will have to be defended and the GOP will pick up a bunch.


The Snitch

GOP will keep their gains in the House in 2012

The big gains the GOP made last night they'll be able they'll be able to keep in 2012 for a couple of reasons. First, unless the economy improves, the President will have a difficult time carrying any Democrats on his coattails. Second, GOP state legislators and governors will be able to redraw congressional districts to protect vulnerable new members and promote GOP challengers who fell just short. Meanwhile, Democrats will be made to run against one another and decrease their strength. For example, in MI CD 9, Gary Peters, the apparent winner, will almost certainly be the target of GOP redistricting and he'll find more Republicans voting in his district. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if the GOP holds onto their large gains and even adds a couple of seats in 2012.


The Snitch

Seats that I got right and wrong

It looks like I'll come close to my call of 66 in the House but I got a number of them wrong. Here's a list:

Dems that won that I didn't call:
AZ 8-Still to close to call but it looks like the Democrat Giffords will win.
CA 47-Linda Chavez survived in Orange County.
CO 7-Ryan Frazier got beat handily in this purple district.
CN 4 and 5-4 is still to close to call but it looks like the Dems will retain both.
MA 10-The Dems did a good job defending their seats in the Bay State.
MI 9-Still to close to call but it looks like Gary Peters will retain his seat.
NM 1-The incumbent Democrat squeaked out a victory.
NY 23-I was really surprised to see Congressman Owens survive in this red district.
NC 7 and 8-I really blew it on these two calls. The Democratic incumbents won easily.
OR 5-Again a surprise that the first-tem incumbent Democrat won the election.
HI 1-Charles Djou got beat by about six points in this slightly blue district.

Republicans that won that I didn't call:
ID 1-The conservative Democrat Walt Minnick went down in a GOP landslide.
IL 10-In what was supposed to be a Democratic win, the GOP held on to Mark Kirk's old seat.
NH 2-Chalie Bass, defeated in 2006, won his old seat back.
NY 13-Brian McMahon got beat on Staten Island.
NY 24-In a shock, Mike Arcuri got beat upstate.
OH 18-I was really surpised to see the conservative Democrat Zach Space lose.
VA 9-Long term Democrat incumbent Rick Boucher lost. His vote on Cap and Trade killed him in this rural coal mining district.
WV 1-In a bit of surprise, the GOP picked up Alan Mollohan's old seat. That gives the Republicans two out of three seats in West Virginia-the first time in a long time that's happened.

Right now that means I'm off by my projection by five seats but there are a few out there that haven't been called:

CA 11-This race is only a few dozen votes apart. We won't know the winner of this race until December.
CA 20-Again a close race where no winner has been declared.
IL 8-Incumbent Democrat Melissa Bean is about 800 votes behind. I think she'll lose this race.
KY 6-Democrat Ben Chandler is still ahead by a few hundred votes. I bet he survives.
TX 27-Democrat Solomon Ortiz is about 800 votes behind in a bit of a surprise. I think he'll lose this race.
VA 11-This race is only a few hundred votes apart and probably won't be decided for three weeks.
WA 2-It will probably be a few days before we know who won this race.

In the Senate the real shock is Nevada where Harry Reid survived. It looks like in the last couple of days several of the close races tightened further. Pennsylvania and Illinois were closer than I thought they'd be and Colorado and Washington State are still too close to call and we won't know who won those until Thanksgiving. As much as the Tea Party helped to lose races in Nevada and Delaware by electing bad candidates in their states' primaries, they got it right in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

One of the emerging stories of this election is the complete wipeout of Democrats in many state legislatures. In Wisconsin and Minnesota, the GOP won both houses after taking some brutal loses in the last two election cycles. This is particularly surprising in Minnesota as the Democrats had a huge advantange in both chambers before last night.


The Snitch

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Three early races to watch

I mentioned in a previous post that IN CD 2 (Joe Donnelly) was an important indicator of how the election will go tonight. Polls close first in Kentucky and Indiana so we should be able to make some guesses about the nation based on how Donnelly does. If he wins easily, Democratic losses will be minimial. If it is close then the losses for the Democrats will be subtantial. If he loses big then you'll see a large Republican wave.

In Kentucky there will be two races that will help us make some early predictions. John Yarmuth in KY CD 3 is favored to win reelection in this slighly blue district centered around Louisville. If Yarmuth loses it will be a long night for Democrats. The same goes in KY CD 6 where Ben Chandler is defending his seat. He's a classic Blue Dog from the district centered around the state capital in Frankfort and has won the last three elections easily. The district is conservative and it did vote for Bush (twice) and McCain. If the Republican can win here it will be disatrous for the Democrats, especially south of the Mason-Dixon line.


The Snitch

Monday, November 1, 2010

Senate and House predictions

Tomorrow I believe the GOP will pick up nine Senate seats: North Dakota, Indiana, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Colorado, Illinois and Washington. They'll come up just short in West Virginia and California. The Upper Chamber will be split 50/50.

I see the following seats flipping to the GOP in the House: (69 seats)
-AL 2
-AZ 1,5 and 8
-AR 1 and 2
-CA 11, 20 and 48
-CO 3, 4 and 7
-CN 4 and 5
-FL 2, 8, 22 and 24
-GA 8
-IL 11, 14 and 17
-IN 8 and 9
-KS 3
-LA 3
-MD 1
-MA 10
-MI 1, 7 and 9
-MN 8
-MS 1 and 4
-MO 4
-NV 3
-NH 1
-NJ 3
-NM 1 and 2
-NY 19, 20, 23 and 29
-NC 2, 7 and 8
-ND At-Large
-OH 1, 6, 15 and 16
-OR 5
-PA 3, 7, 8, 10 and 11
-SC 5
-SD At-Large
-TN 4, 6 and 8
-TX 17 and 23
-VA 2, 5 and 11
-WA 3

Republican to Democrat flips: (3 seats)
-DE At-Large
-IL 10
-LA 2

There are a few more surprises out there that could flip on both sides (AZ 3 and HI 1 to the Dems and NH 2, NC 11, OH 18 and WI 3 to the GOP to name some of them) but I think it should level out somwhere between a 65-75 seat gain for the Republicans. Right now I'll give them a net of 66 which gets them to 245 in the House.


The Snitch

Nancy Pelosi will resign

If the Democratic House losses are as bad as they may likely be, I predict Nancy Pelosi will resign as Speaker within about ten days of the election. Her name is so toxic that Republicans are running basically against her even though they live in other districts. Steny Hoyer will step up as the Democratic Minority Leader.


The Snitch

Four candidates for President in 2012

Even before tomorrow's election I want to share with you what will happen in the 2012 Presidential race. Ultimately there will be four candidates:

1)Obama (after he makes it through a primary challenge).
2)Republican (as long as it isn't Sarah Palin he'll have a good chance).
3)Mike Bloomberg, Mayor of New York (he will spend over 1 billion of his own money in an Independent candidacy).
4)Russ Feingold (the defeated Senator from Wisconsin who will run as some kind of left-wing candidate).

It will be the first four-man race since 1948 when Harry Truman faced three men-two from the right wing and one from the left and emerged victorious. If the GOP nominates someone other than Palin they'll have a good shot at winning. With Palin, however, the race will degenerate into one crazy fight. Just remember, in 1860, Abe Lincoln won the Presidency in a four-way race wih 39% of the vote.


The Snitch

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The GOP tide in Colorado

Early voting in Colorado shows a large GOP turnout and a large enthusiasm gap between the Republicans and the Democrats. Nationwide, 2010 was the first year since 1930 that the GOP had more primary voters than the Democrats. Simply put, there are generally more Democratic voters than Republicans and it almost always shows in primary elections-but not this year. 2010 has seen Democratic affliation drop somewhat and Republicans gain. With that, the average GOP voter is very fired up to vote in the midterms and that will decide a number of races on the state and local level.

In Colorado there is an odd race for Governor, a close race for Senator and three contested House seats. Along with that, control of the State Assembly and Senate is being contested by the GOP. For years there were more Republicans than Democrats in the state but there are also a ton of Independents who decide close elections. In 2000 and 2004 George Bush carried that state but in the second battle the GOP couldn't hold a Senate seat (Ken Salazar won 51-46 and I think that will be the margin of victory this year for Republican Ken Buck) and lost the state legislature. 2004 showed the strength of unions and their GOTV efforts and even though that didn't help John Kerry it did have a huge effect down the ballot.

This year should be very different. Ken Buck will win the Senate seat (that gives the GOP 49) and Tom Tancredo may win the Governorship (its still hard to say-it will be very close). There are three House seats that are contested; CDs 2, 4 and 7. Early returns point to GOP wins in 2 and 4 and 7 is going to be very close. 7 is an interesting case as it has Ryan Frazier, one of the three African-Americans running as a Republican nationwide. The GOP may well flip control of the state legislature as well but we probably won't know until Wednesday morning.

Nationwide the trends continue to favor the GOP. I've said for two weeks that the Republicans would gain 64 seats in the House and 8 in the Senate. Now it is quite possible that it will be higher. For those few undecided voters who are still left on the weekend before the election 2/3 generally vote for the challenger. With the GOP already way ahead in the generic ballot we're looking for an election wave we haven't seen for two generations. To me it looks like the Republicans will carry at least 8 Senate seats with 3 (Washington, West Virginia and California) too close to call. If the GOP carries the 8 that they're ahead in and two more they'll seize control of the Upper Chamber. That's a tall order but I give the Republicans about a 35% chance of pulling it off.

On Monday I'll have my last picks for all the House and Senate seats.


The Snitch

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Big GOP wins in the Badger State

Wisconsin has been trending Democratic in the last few election cycles. Once fairly purple, the state has gone blue lately. Currently, five of the eight House members, both Senators, the Governor are Democrats. By 2008, both chambers were controlled by the Democrats as well. George Bush lost narrowly in 2000 (about 5,000 votes) and came close in 2004 (about 12,000). In 2008, Republicans statewide were hammered and John McCain got beat by thirteen points. The Badger State hasn't voted for a Republican president since Ronald Reagan in 1984. Accordingly, it was no surprise that many people thought three-term Democratic Senator Russ Feingold would be nearly impossible to beat. Somehow through eighteen years of service this arch-liberal has promoted and shaped an image that he's some kind of maverick politician who isn't swayed by special interests. That, along with a big war chest suggested to most that he would win his fourth term. However, in this anti-Washington, anti-establishment year he's about to be beaten by businessman Ron Johnson of Oshkosh. A neophyte politician, Johnson decided to run after the popular former GOP Governor Tommy Thompson decided to pass on the race. He's run a solid campaign and should be the first Republican to win a Senate race in the state since Bob Kasten squeaked through with a win in 1986. The final percentage should be: 53.5% to 46.5%. I think Scott Walker, the GOP candidate for Governor should get about the same percentage in his race to replace the Democrat Jim Doyle. The GOP will also pick up House seats in districts 7 (Wausau) and 8 (Green Bay) giving the Republicans a 5-3 edge in the delegation. Moreover, I expect both houses of the state legislature to flip back to the Republicans. This doesn't mean the state will stay red; far from it. However, if economic conditions don't improve this state will be in play for the GOP in the 2012 Presidential elections and will once again be as contested as it was in 2000 and 2004.


The Snitch

I'm calling Mark Kirk the winner in Illinois

Mark Kirk has pulled a bit ahead in the race to fill the open Senate seat in Illinois. Most polls have him up about four percentage points over Alexi Giannoulias and that should be enough to put him over the top. There is a Green Party candidate on the ballot and that should siphon between one to three percent away from Giannoulias and that will cost him the election. The final result should be something like: Kirk 48.4%, Giannoulias 46.2%. This gives the GOP 48 seats (North Dakota, Arkansas, Indiana, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Nevada) with four to be decided (Colorado, West Virginia, California and Washington). Ken Buck looks like he's slightly ahead in Colorado and the GOP should prevail there but its a much harder climb after that. Democrats lead in West Virginia, Washington and California. West Virginia and Washington are still in the margin of error but Barbara Boxer is about five points ahead in the Golden State. Ultimately, 49 seats looks fairly reasonable for the GOP but anything above that will be hard to get.


The Snitch

Indiana CD 2 holds the key

Joe Donnelly is a two-term Democratic legislator from Indiana's 2nd Congressional District in northwestern Indiana. In 2006 he won his first term with 54% of the vote and, in 2008, with the help of an enormous turnout effort by the Obama campaign, received 67%. This year he's facing Republican state legislator Jackie Walorski in what should be a very tight race. Donnelly voted for the stimulus bill as well as the health care bill and became a primary target of the GOP in this slightly red district. Indiana's polls close very early on Election Night and we should be able to tell how things are going for both parties based on early returns. If Donnelly wins easily it won't be as bad for the Democrats as we think. However, if Walorski wins; especially if she is way ahead it should be a huge night for the Republicans. Keep an eye on Indiana CD 2, an early indicator of electoral fortunes for both parties.


The Snitch

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The race for control of the House

Right now I see a net gain of 53 seats in the House (56 GOP pickups minus 3 Democratic pickups) with 32 races too close to call and another 22 races probably out of the reach of the Republicans.

I'm calling MO CD 4 (Skelton) a GOP pickup along with TN CD 4 (Davis). I've moved AZ CD 8 (Giffords), MA CD 10 (Open) and NH CD 2 (Bass) down from lean GOP to Tossup. I've moved GA CD 8 (Marshall), ID CD 2 (Minnick), VA CD 9 (Boucher), MS 4 (Taylor), RI 1 (Open) and IA CD 1 (Braley) from solid Dem to Tossup.


The Snitch

I'm calling Sharron Angle the winner in Nevada

We've seen a small swing in Angle's favor in the last few days and that should be enough to put her over the top in one of the nation's closest and most watched elections. With early voting looking solid for the GOP throughout the state and Harry Reid topping out at about 44-45% I think she should win the race by between two and three percent. It should end up something like this: Angle: 49.7% Reid 46.9%. With Angle flipping Reid's seat that gives the GOP a +6 in the Senate (47 total seats) with Illinois, Colorado, Washington, California and West Virginia still to be decided. To gain control the GOP has to win four out of the last five races which will be very difficult. If the election was today I'd say the GOP would pick up 9 seats with victories in West Virginia, Illinois, and Colorado. Washington and California still look like Democratic states with six days to go so a 50-50 split in the Upper Chamber seems more realistic each day.


The Snitch

Saturday, October 23, 2010

More Old Bulls in trouble

Gene Taylor, probably the most conservative Democrat in the House of Representatives, is running about even with his GOP opponent in the race for his souhern Mississippi district. In the House for 21 years, Taylor has easily won all of his elections. The problem is his district is very deeply red and his challenger can point to the fact that Taylor voted for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker. He may not have voted with the Democratic caucus much but he did vote for the speaker and that is absolutely toxic this year.

I wouldn't have thought Lincoln Davis of Tennessee would have much trouble this year but he could easily get beaten in his district that runs north and south in the eastern part of the state. Traditionally very Republican since the Civil War, the voters of this district has sent Davis to Washington four times. However, the mood in the Volunteer State is vile and I suspect strongly that Tennessee will have a repeat of the 1994 election where the Democrats were all but wiped out.

Ike Skelton of Missouri is in very deep trouble in his rural west-central district. Elected in 1976, the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee could get swept under if the Republican tide is big enough. My gut says that his election will be decided by less than 1%.

I'm sticking to my prediction that the GOP will gain 64 seats in the House and 9 in the Senate. Next week I'll go seat by seat to project who will prevail November 2.


The Snitch

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Early votes solid for GOP

Early voting has started in many states and the early returns (also from collected absentee votes) have been very good for the GOP. Especially in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa and Nevada we've seen significant Republican turnout when compared with 2006 and 2008. Many are estimating that at least one quarter of the total votes will be cast by Election Day so we'll have a very accurate picture of who will be in a solid position to win. In 2008 in Florida John McCain got about as many votes on Election Day as Barack Obama but the Democrat had such a large lead from early votes that he easily carried the Sunshine State.

To me Nevada is looking better and better for Sharron Angle. The GOP has narrowed the Democratic voter registration advantage from 100,000 to 60,000. While that's still significant it is clear that Republicans are coming out in better numbers than Democrats. That, combined with Angle winning among Independents puts her in good shape.

Even though a couple of polls this week have shown the Senate race in Pennsylvania getting closer I think Pat Toomey should still win by a comfortable margin. Again early voting has been strong for the GOP and they are aiming to contest at least seven House seats. In the end I think they should get four or five in the Keystone State.

Ohio continues to be a nightmare for Democrats. Unless there is a major change in the next few days there will be losses up and down the ballot.

I've already predicted that in Iowa Leonard Boswell will lose but it looks as if CDs 1 and 2 are in a bit of trouble as well. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if Bruce Braley (CD 1) gets sent home November 2.

I'm predicting that the Republicans will now pick up four seats in Florida. Along with Boyd (CD 2), Grayson (CD 8), and the hapless Suzanne Kosmas (CD 24) I believe Ron Klein (CD 22) will lose to Allen West.

In Arizona I'm now predicting that the Republicans will take CDs 1, 5 and 8. Some pundits are saying that CD 7 (Grijaiva) is vulnerable (and I do think he's a bit scared) but it will take a lot of heavy lifting for his GOP opponent to flip this blue seat.

Are old bulls like Peter DeFazio (Oregon CD 4) and Dennis Kucinich (Ohio CD 10) really all that vulnerable? DeFazio hasn't had a serious election since he first won in 1986 but his district is very light blue and he's got a quality opponent. Kucinich. one of the goofiest members of Congress represents a deeply blue district but he's got a very good GOP challenger and northern Ohio is in the grip of a deep recession. These two, along with old bulls like Jim Oberstar and Barney Frank are fighting for their political lives. It wouldn't shock me if one lost (most likely Oberstar) but if two or more lose it will be a part of a political tsunami that we haven't seen in decades.


The Snitch

Monday, October 18, 2010

Small movements in the main Senate races

The top five Senate races for the GOP still look very strong:

42)North Dakota
45)Pennsylvania-Pat Toomey's numbers are getting even better and should win the race by ten points.
46)Wisconsin-Unless Ron Johnson steals a car in the next two weeks he should win by about seven points.

And there are three races where the GOP is still ahead marginally:

47)West Virginia-It looks like John Raese has survived an onslaught of TV ads and a campaign visit from Democratic star Bill Clinton and should be in good shape to get over the finish line. Joe Manchin still has a strong shot to pull it out but he'll have to overcome a huge anti-Administration vote.
48)Nevada-Sharonn Angle has pulled a bit ahead after Harry Reid's disastrous debate last week. It is still very close but if things stay the same I think she wins by a little over two points.
49)Colorado-Ken Buck has lost a bit of his lead but is still ahead. With the numbers of political Independents in the state he still has a built in advantage.
50)Washington-Dino Rossi's people say they are ahead and the polls have had both candidates with small leads. We probably won't know the outcome of this race until early Wednesday, November 3.
51)Illinois-This is as close a race as there is in the country.
52)California-Barbara Boxer is still marginally ahead and is in a good position to win considering the great Democratic registration edge.

It won't be hard for the GOP to get to 48 seats but to get to 51 they'll have to run the table. That's not out of the question but it will be hard to do.
However, the races in the House of Representatives continues to deteriorate for Democrats. At the low end the GOP should pick up 55 of the 105 seriously contested seats. The Republicans should lose at least two and as many as four but all of the rest will be Democratic losses. 70 seats isn't out of the question but we'll know more next week as we get final polls. Many races like PA CD 17 just don't have much data so there isn't a good way to predict the outcome. In the next few days the data will come fast and furious and we'll be able to make some accurate predictions.


The Snitch

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The path to 50 for the GOP in the Senate

Here's the current state of the races. I've ranked them from the most likely GOP pickup to the least likely.

42 North Dakota-This race isn't close; it is possible that it will be a 40 point win. The At-Large Congressman, Democrat Earl Pomeroy, should lose as well but by a much closer margin.

43 Arkansas-Blanche Lincoln is in danger of losing by a huge margin (more than 20%) and the 3 Democratic House seats are all in danger of flipping as well. The Republicans are going to win a ton of offices down the ballot in the Natural State.

44 Indiana-Dan Coats will win this race by more than 12%. In addition, the GOP is poised to win at least two if not three House seats.

45 Pennsylvania-Pat Toomey is cruising. He should win this race by at least 8 points. The GOP is poised to easily take the governorship as well.

46 Wisconsin-Ron Johnson did well in his 2nd debate with Russ Feingold and I wouldn't to surprised if he wins by 8 points. The GOP will pick up he governorship and two to three House seats.

47 Colorado-Ken Buck has stumbled a bit against a very weak incumbent but he should still win along with 2 or 3 House seats flipping to the GOP. However, the Democrats will capture the governorship.

48 West Virginia-Polls have the race close but I still think John Raese wins by a a few points. The President's approval rating is only 29% in West Virginia.

49 Washington-I think Dino Rossi is slightly ahead. He has high unfavorables but Patty Murray is in great danger.

50 Nevada-In perhaps the most watched race in years, Sharron Angle is a bit ahead even with high negatives. Nobody knows how this one will turn out.

51 Illinois-Mark Kirk should be farther ahead than he is but he doesn't fire up the base and has stumbled from time to time. His Democratic opponent is one of the worst, most scandal-prone candidate in a long time and he still has a legitimate shot at winning.

52 California-Barbara Boxer is ahead but just got caught lying about her relationship to the disgraced lender, Countrywide. If Fiorina can capitalize on this she'll have a real chance but she'll need every break because of the large Democratic registration edge.

53 Connecticut-The GOP has a bit of a chance but I think it is fading fast.

New York and Oregon look like wins for the Democrats.

There's been a lot of talk about old Democratic bulls John Dingell, Barney Frank and Jim Oberstar being in trouble in their districts. I can't see Dingell losing but it is certainly in the realm of possibility that Frank and Oberstar can lose. Both haven't had a serious race in years and both face strong cahllengers who are working hard on the ground with their volunteers. The problem with being in a relatively safe district is that you don't develop a good campaign team when you don't really need one. It is like winning a boxing match in the first round-you don't know what to do when a challenger finally takes you deep into the tenth-you may get punched out.


The Snitch

Friday, October 8, 2010

House races-who is in trouble

Here's a list of the 49 Democrats that I think will almost certainly lose in November.

-AL 2 Bright
-AZ 1 Kirkpatrick
-AR 1 Open
-AR 2 Open
-CA 11 McNerney
-CO 4 Markey
-FL 2 Boyd
-FL 8 Grayson
-FL 24 Kosmas
-IL 11 Halvorson
-IL 14 Foster
-IL 17 Hare
-IN 8 Open
-IN 9 Hill
-IA 3 Boswell
-KS 3 Open
-LA 3 Open
-MA 10 Open
-MI 7 Schauer
-MI 9 Peters
-MS 1 Childers
-NV 3 Titus
-NH 1 Shea-Porter
-NH 2 Open
-NM 2 Teague
-NY 1 Bishop
-NY 19 Hall
-NY 23 Owens
-NY 29 Open
-NC 2 Etheridge
-NC 7 McIntyre
-NC 8 Kissell
-ND AL Pomeroy
-OH 1 Driehaus
-OH 15 Kilroy
-OH 16 Boccieri
-PA 3 Dahlkemper
-PA 7 Open
-PA 8 Murphy
-PA 11 Kanjorski
-TN 6 Open
-TN 8 Open
-TX 17 Edwards
-VA 2 Nye
-VA 5 Perriello
-VA 11 Connolly
-WA 3 Open
-WI 7 Open
-WI 8 Kagan

If you subtract the four vulnerable seats of the GOP (DE At Large, HI 1, IL 10 and LA 2) I believe the minimum number of Republican pickups should be 45.

Here's a list of 58 Democrats who are in danger. I've left a few off this list that you may think are in some danger and I've added a couple that may seem strange. These are simply my best guesses:

-AR 5 Mitchell (In very deep trouble)
-AR 8 Giffords
-AR 4 Ross (Arkansas may see the GOP wipe out the Dems this year)
-CA 20 Costa
-CA 47 Sanchez
-CO 3 Salazar (He has a 40% chance to win)
-CO 7 Perlmutter (In deep trouble-Independents in CO breaking to the GOP)
-CT 2 Courtney
-CT 4 Himes
-CT 5 Murphy (Among Connecticut Dems his seat is the most likely to fall)
-FL 23 Klein
-GA 2 Bishop
-GA 8 Marshall
-GA 12 Barrow
-IL 8 Bean
-IL 12 Costello
-IN 2 Donnelly (Likely to lose)
-KY 3 Yarmuth
-KY 6 Chandler (In deep trouble in red Kentucky)
-ME 2 Michaud
-MD 1 Kratovil (Will probably lose in this red district)
-MA 5 Tsongas
-MI 1 Open (This seat should pass to the GOP)
-MI 15 Dingell (If he loses it will be the final sign of the Apocalypse)
-MN 8 Oberstar (Another real surprise)
-MO 3 Carnahan
-MO 4 Skelton (Chair of Armed Services and running for his life)
-NJ 3 Adler
-NM 1 Heinrich
-NY 2 Israel
-NY 13 McMahon (A 40% chance to retain his seat)
-NY 20 Murphy (Won by only a few hundred votes in 2009 special election)
-NY 24 Arcuri
-NY 25 Maffei
-NC 4 Price
-NC 11 Shuler
-NC 13 Miller
-OH 6 Wilson (In very deep trouble)
-OH 13 Sutton (Very weak but the GOP candidate has had problems too)
-OH 18 Space
-OR 5 Schrader (Likely to lose)
-PA 4 Altmire
-PA 10 Carney
-PA 12 Critz
-PA 17 Holden
-SC 5 Spratt (A Blue Dog defense hawk in the race for his life)
-SD AL Herseth-Sandlin (A 50/50 chance to lose)
-TN 4 Davis
-TN 5 Cooper
-TX 23 Rodriguez (A poor campaigner with a huge temper-I think he'll lose)
-TX 27 Ortiz
-TX 28 Cuellar
-UT 2 Matheson (In a deeply red district, he's in real trouble)
-VA 9 Boucher (A Blue Dog who is looking like a strong bet to win)
-WA 2 Larsen
-WA 9 Smith
-WV 1 Open (The President has a 29% approval rating in the state)
-WI 3 Kind

A little over 100 seats are at stake. Certainly the GOP won't pick them all up but it is possible that they could get between 60-70 by the end of Election Night.


The Snitch

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Latest on Senate and House races

It seems clearer to me each day that John Raese is probably going to win his race in West Virginia. Again, if he wins the seat he'll be able to go to Washington for the rump session and claim the seat in mid-November as soon as the Secretary of State in West Virginia certifies him the winner. Also, Rasmussen Reports released their latest poll today in Nevada which has Sharron Angle up 50-46 on Harry Reid. It seems hard to believe that Reid, who will probably spend more than 30 million (between his own war chest and other interests who spend on his behalf) may well come up short but I think he probably will. The percentage of Nevadans who will not vote for him under any circumstance (48%) is just outrageously high. The unemployment rate is approaching 15% and Independents are moving heavily in the GOP column. As long as Angle does relatively well in the debate I do expect her to prevail. Below I've outlined the Senate races from North Dakota (best chance of GOP pickup) to Connecticut (least chance). As you'll be able to see the path to 51 will be hard for the GOP; they'll have to win Nevada, Illinois and Washington which are three of the closest races in the land.

42)North Dakota
48)West Virginia
53)New York

Numerous polls are coming out each day. After information favorable to Matt Doheny, the GOP challenger to Democratic incumbent Bill Owens in CD 23 I believe that seat will flip to the Republicans. As of now I would say the Republicans will pick up New York CDs 1, 19, 20, 23, 24 and 29. The GOP will have good shots at NY CDs 2, 13 and 25.

In Connecticut the GOP is challenging CDs 2, 3 and 5. I don't expect the Republicans to take all three but it is very reasonable that they'll pick off at least one-most likely CD 5.

In North Carolina the GOP is really working hard to flip CDs 2, 7, 8 and 11. I don't think they'll take them all but they'll probably get at least two out of this group.

Right now I don't think it is out of the realm of possiblity for the GOP to win around 60 seats. They'll lose a seat in Delaware and Louisiana and possibly one in Illinois and Hawaii.

The Snitch

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

West Virginia reminds me of Pennsylvania in 1991

In 1991 Pennsylvania had a special election to replace John Heinz, the respectable moderate Republican senator who died tragically in a plane crash. Almost everyone thought Richard Thornburgh, the popular former GOP governor and Attorney General in the Bush (41) Administration would easily win against the little known Democrat Harris Wofford. The first polling info showed Thornburgh up by more than thirty points but Wofford ended up pulling out a fairly easy ten point victory. His win seemed due in large part to voter dissatisfaction with the lack of economic growth and the apparent inadequacy of the Bush Administration's response to it. I think this year's special election in West Virginia might end up the same way. Joe Manchin, the popular Democratic governor should win the election easily. However, John Raese, the little known GOP candidate, may end up the beneficiary of an anti-Obama protest vote. The President's approval ratings in the Mountaineer State are floundering in the mid-30's. I'm now giving Raese a 50% chance of winning on November 2.

Unless there's a real change in Colorado, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania I believe those senate races are over. That makes 47 for the GOP (when you add Indiana, Arkansas and North Dakota) with several races yet to be decided.

I mentioned in yesterday's post that there are two conservative candidates in New York CD 23. Today, the Conservative Party candidate, Doug Hoffman, dropped out which leaves the GOP nominee Matt Doheny to face Democrat Bill Owens in November. This gives the GOP beter than a 50% shot at winning the seat.

Long time Democratic congressmen Jim Oberstar of Minnesota and Barney Frank of Massachusetts are in very tough contests and are having to actively campaign for the first time in years. Oberstar is in deep danger and may lose but Frank should emerge victorious simply because his voters are so very liberal but it is possible that they could both be sent home. If they do, then 100 seats would be in jeopardy for the Democrats.


The Snitch

Monday, October 4, 2010

New York a little less blue?

New York has been a Democratic state for three generations but until recently has elected quite a number of Republicans to Congressional seats as well as statewide offices. However, in the last few election cycles, the Empire State has turned deep blue. There are only two GOP members of the US House that are from New York, the other twenty-seven are Democrats. This year, however, the GOP should have at least some success turning districts red that have been held by Republicans in the recent past.

In CD 1, Tim Bishop represents the eastern tip of Long Island. This is a rare disrict that is almost perfectly purple. He was first elected in 2002 by one percent and has cruised to reelection every time since then. This year, however, he's facing a stiff challenge and I expect him to lose.

CD 2 is most of the middle half of Long Island and is represented by Steve Israel who first won election in 2000. This is a light blue district that in the 1990's was represented by Rick Lazio, a moderate Republican who opposed Hillary Clinton for Senate in 2000. Like Bishop, Israel is facing a tough challenge but he's in a better position to win in this majority-Democratic district.

Mike McMahon represents Staten Island and a part of Brooklyn in CD 13. This district was represented by Vito Fosella, a popular GOP Congressman until his downfall in 2008 due to a number of personal lapses. His late exit from the 2008 race enabled McMahon to prevail. As a first-term Democrat he's very vulnerable and I wouldn't be surprised if this district returns to GOP control in November.

John Hall represents a large part of the Hudson Valley in CD 19, a light red section of New York State. He was able to capitalize on formerly GOP strongholds like Westchester County to deliver enough Democratic votes to barely win in 2006. His problem is one that will be faced by Democrats who run statewide in 2008; counties like Westchester that have been blue are turning red again in a big hurry and its here that New York's elections for Governor and Senator are won or lost. Hall has been trailing in early polls and his GOP challenger is a strong bet to win in November.

Scott Murphy represents rural eastern New York in a slightly red district. First elected in 2009 in a special election by only about 700 votes, he's high on the GOP's hit list.

Bill Owens represents northern New York in CD 23 and should be very vulnerable in a district that has voted Republican in almost every election since the Civil War. He was first elected in a strange three-way race in 2009. Luckily for Owens, the GOP is running a candidate and the New York Conservative Party is as well and that will probably split the vote allowing Owens to return for his first full term.

Mike Arcuri represents central New York in CD 24 and is in a very tough fight in a light-red district. He won by four percentage points in a heavily Democratic year in 2008 so he's going to be in the fight for his political life next month.

CD 29 is a fairly red district in southwest New York and is currently vacant. Eric Massa, first elected in 2008 resigned abruptly last March after lurid details about his personal life were revealed. This district will almost certainly return to he GOP in November.

Of course the big prize is the Senate seat held by Kirsten Gillibrand. She is ahead in her race to win the remaining two years of Hillary Clinton's Senate term but Joe GioDuardi is running a fairly strong campaign. A virtual unknown a couple of months ago, he's got a small shot at toppling Gillibrand. If he wins he could claim the seat immediately for the lame-duck session in November but it would take a perfect storm for him to ride the wave to Washingon. Indeed, New York is in a chaotic situation; high unemployment, a state government that can't seem to get much done and a very angry (some would say scared) electorate. It is not out of the realm of possibility that the GOP could win all kinds of offices in the Empire State after years of defeat after defeat in races up and down the ballot.


The Snitch

Sunday, October 3, 2010

How the Senate is shaping up

The GOP is poised to make substantial gains in the Senate but control is still up in the air. Usually when the House turns to the minority party the Senate does as well (1946, 1954, 1994, 2006) but this year may be an exception. It is very easy to see a scenario where the Republicans control the House (this is almost a certainty) and the Democrats still have control of the Senate.

Unless there's a serious hiccup here's the six seats the GOP will certainly pick up in the Senate:
North Dakota

Here are the four seats that are true tossups:
West Virginia

Here are the three seats that still leans Dem:
New York

I'm assuming that Florida, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Missouri and Ohio and Alaska all stay in the GOP column. As you can see, the GOP would need to pick of four of the seven seats in the "tossup" or "lean Dem" group to take control. What's even more interesting is that Illinois, West Virginia and New York are all seats that can be claimed immediately in November because they are "vacancy" seats appointed by their respective governors after they were vacated by their Democratic officeholder. If the GOP were to win these they would have between 42-44 for the "rump" session of the Congress that will meet after the November elections.

Tomorrow I'll tackle the complex and chaotic situation in New York.

The Snitch

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The latest from Ohio and Pennsylvania

It seems clear now that the GOP will pick up the open Pennsylvania Senate seat and will easily win the Governor's chair in Harrisburg. And unless there is a serious misstep, the Republicans will keep the Ohio Senate seat and will prevail against the sitting Democratic Governor.

It is in the House that the real bloodbath may take place. First, let's look at Ohio:
Democrats Driehaus (CD 1), Kilroy (CD 15), and Boccieri (CD 16) seem certain to lose. In Akron, Betty Sutton (CD 13) is slightly behind her GOP opponent in a slightly blue district. Charlie Wilson of Marietta (CD 6) is also trailing his Republican challenger. Long-time liberal Democrat Marcy Kaptur of Toledo (CD 10), Tim Ryan of Youngstown (CD 17) and Zach Space of Chillicothe (CD 18) are in tough races as well. Kaptur and Ryan should win simply because both districts are deep blue but Space is in a district that is fairly conservative (it gave John McCain an eight point victory in 2008) and will have a hard time retaining his seat. It is very possible that the Democrats will lose at least five seats in the state and the GOP may steal one or two more if the circumstances are just right. Of all the states in the Union, Ohio is perhaps the most crucial in terms of a national bellwether-whomever prevails in 2010 will tell us a lot about the electoral conditions in 2012.
Kathy Dahlkemper (CD 3) is an almost certain loser. The GOP will probably win the open seat that Joe Sestak is vacating in CD 7 and Patrick Murphy (CD 8) is looking at a crushing defeat in his slighly blue district just outside of Philadelphia. Paul Kanjorski, the long-time ethically challenged liberal from the Scraton area (CD 11) looks like he'll finally lose in his bid for a 14th term. Moderate Jason Altmire (CD 4) has about a 50/50 chance to retain his seat outside of Pittsburgh and Chris Carney (CD 10) is in the fight for his life in his rural, conservative, northeastern Pennsylvania district. Mark Critz (CD 12) and Tim Holden (CD 17) are also in competitive races but still have the upper hand in their campaigns. All is all, the Democrats will almost certainly lose at least four seats with a possiblity of eight flipping to the GOP. I'd bet they'll lose at least five on Election Night.

In just two states the GOP could flip enough seats to give them about a quarter of the number they'll need to take control of the House. Since 2006 Democrats have been winning in traditionally red districts but that will come to an abrupt end on Election Night. Many, if not most of those Congressmen will lose and several who represent slightly blue districts will also be defeated. As I've said before, I don't expect the GOP to have any less than 55 seats and, if the electoral weather is right, could pick up as many as 70. In 100 years there have never been three "wave" elections in a row but it looks like 2010 will be the GOP's answer to the massive Democratic success in 2006 and 2008.

The Snitch

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What's going on in Washington State?

Certainly the big race in the Evergreen State pits three-term liberal Democratic Senator Patty Murray against businessman Dino Rossi. The race is razor close and it is hard to say how it will turn out. Rossi and Murray have been exchanging the lead in the last few weeks and that usually helps the challenger as he builds his name ID. Rossi, however, has run for Governor twice and has almost 100% name recognition. For some reason, Republicans in Washington aren't as excited as their GOP compatriots around the country which has kept Rossi from overtaking Murray.

On election night we'll be able to guess how this race will turn out as other contests are decided in the Eastern and Central Time Zones.
In 2000, GOP voters around the country left polling stations without voting as Al Gore was declared the winner in Florida which led to defeats for Republicans across the country as hundreds of thousands of conservative voters failed to cast ballots. That year, Maria Cantwell defeated Slade Gorton in the Washington State Senate race by a bit over 2,200 votes which was a bit of a surprise. It is clear to me that had Gore not been declared the winner in Florida then Gorton would have prevailed. Certainly GOP voters are much more enthusiastic this year than Democrats and if Rossi is to win he'll have to make sure they all show up and vote in November.

In Washington CD 3 Democrat Brian Baird is retiring and the GOP candidate is easily running ahead of his opponent. Strangely enough, Democrats Rick Larson (CD 2) and Adam Smith (CD 9) are in very tough races as well and could both lose. Both districts are blue but not overly so which gives the GOP at least a puncher's chance to win. Larson and Smith are very liberal-much more so than their districts and have been unapologetic supporters of the President's agenda. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if one of them gets sent packing in November.

On a side note, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's sizable lead has shrunk down to single digits and it seems clear that she is in a bit of trouble as the election draws near. With the New York in a terrible fiscal predicament and its state government in chaos it is not out of the question that Gillibrand could lose-even with a very heavy Democratic voter registration advantage. If she does, the GOP could claim that seat immediately for the rump session of Congress in November. Along with Illinois, it would give the GOP 43 seats in the Upper Chamber for the last six weeks of the session. If the GOP were to win all the close Senate races (without, of course, winning the Wiccan seat in Delaware, Oregon or Connecticut) they would end up with 52 for January, 2011. Along with the sixty or so they'll pick up in the House they'll have control for the first time since 2006.

Currently I see the GOP controlling 50 seats in the Senate and winning 240 in the House. The electoral atomosphere continues to deteriorate for the Democrats and, with only a few weeks left, I don't think they can establish much of a defense. In the next post I'll be talking about the impending disasters in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The Snitch

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Can John Raese win in West Virginia?

If you would have asked me three weeks ago I would have said "no" but it seems clear that he's got a real shot at the seat. Governor Manchin is still the clear favorite but the polls have certainly tightened in the last few days.

Manchin is very popular in the Mountaineer State and easily won reelection in 2008. He should be a easy victor in the race to replace the venerable Robert Byrd, but, as we all know, this is not a normal year. The President lost badly in West Virginia and his popularity is under 40% in the state. Raese will try to pin the "liberal" label on Manchin and tie him as much as he can to Obama in hopes of sinking the Democrat.

West Virginia has voted Republican in the last three Presidential elections but it tends to vote Democratic for most statwide and local offices. No Republican candidate has won a Senate election since 1956 (I believe every other state has elected at least one GOP candidate to the Upper Chamber since then) so it will be a tough uphill climb for the conservative challenger.

Raese should have beaten Jay Rockefeller in for the open Senate seat in 1984 but the heir of Standard Oil spent about 12 million dollars (mostly of his own money) to buy the his way in. Raese spent a little over a million bucks and came about four points short. Had the playing field been a bit more level I believe Raese would have won the seat as a young thirty-four year old GOP firebrand.

This will be a early signal on Election Night of how well the GOP is doing. If Raese keeps it close or wins the race you will see massive Democratic losses across the board. If Manchin wins easily then the Republican tide won't be as high as once thought. I give Raese a puncher's chance-if he wins the GOP will control the Senate in 2011.

The Snitch

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The post-Labor Day sprint to the election

All the primaries are over and now the real races begin around the country. It seems clear that in the last two weeks most of the big races have trended a few more points in the GOP's favor. Indiana, Arkansas, and North Dakota were already gone for the Democrats' Senate candidates but now it seems clear that Missouri, Ohio, New Hampshire and Florida are gone as well.

Illinois and Wisconsin are slightly red but in both cases it is probable that the GOP won't win by much. No Republican Senate candidate has won by more than 53% in Wisconsin in more than fifty years and I don't expect that to change much. I feel strongly that Ron Johnson will win the Senate races in Wisconsin as he's well funded and not a traditional politician. Moreover, Scott Walker, the Republican candidate for governor is heading for a substantial win over Tom Barrett and it should help Johnson. In Illinois, Mark Kirk has made a lot of mistakes but I think he'll probably win his race. He may also win the election for the two-month session and if he does he'll be able to take his seat in November for the rump Congress.

Pat Toomey looks like he's going to win easily in Pennsylvania helped along by a Republican wave. The Keystone State is looking more and more like a political bloodbath for Democratic hopefuls. In Colorado, Ken Buck is still marginally ahead and the state's Independent voters should put him over the top.

Nevada is still a true tossup. It is simply hard to say who will win that seat. I would bet the debates have a substantial effect on the race. Delaware should remain Democratic now that Christine O'Donnell has somehow won the GOP nod over Mike Castle. Had Castle won the Republicans would have easily captured a seat (which, like Illinois, can assume the seat in November). Washington State is a tossup as well with Dino Rossi and Patty Murray being about even in most polls. California is a big prize but certainly Carly Fiorina has surged in the last couple of weeks.

Connecticut, West Virginia and New York are still favoring the Democrats but they are not out of reach for the GOP. Ron Wyden looks like he'll win another term easily in Oregon.

Will Lisa Murkowski's write-in campaign effect the Alaska race? Probably not, but this year is shaping up to be the craziest I've ever seen. When people like John Dingell, who has held his seat for 55 years (his dad had it for 22 before that) is barely ahead in his race in Michigan anything is possible.

Many House races are changing rapidly and I'll be commenting on them in the next couple of days. Democrats are facing large losses in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, and Illinois with more damage possible in Florida, North Carolina, Indiana, California, Michigan and Wisconsin.

The Snitch

Monday, September 13, 2010

What to expect in tomorrow's primaries

Delaware has a very interesting GOP Senate primary tomorrow. Mike Castle has been around for years and wins all the time. If he succeeds tomorrow he'll win the November primary in a walk. That's also important because he'll be able to take his seat as soon as the Delaware Secretary of State certifies his election within days of his victory. He's only got one problem: Christine O'Donnell, a 40 year old conservative activist who may beat him tomorrow. Two weeks ago I would have said she didn't have much of a chance but in this environment she may prevail. If she does then the Democrats will be in position to win the seat as she is so conservative that she'll be unsuitable for most voters. Delaware hasn't elected a Republican to the Senate since 1994 and hasn't voted for a GOP President since 1988. It has gone from a slightly red state to a fairly blue one in twenty short years. That's why Castle is so important-he's a moderate and has been shown to win. His candidacy has kept Democrats from being able to field a major candidate for they knew it would just be a waste of time against such a formidable opponent. If he loses, they'll get a gift of a Senate seat ripe for the taking.

In Wisconsin, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker is poised for a dramatic victory against businessman Mark Neumann. Walker should win by twenty-five or more points and is the odds-on favorite to beat Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett in November. Generally Milwaukee County gives 2/3 of its votes to Democrats in statewide races but Walker should be able to get a bunch of those votes and negate the Democratic advantage. After two terms of the unpopular Democrat Jim Doyle Wisconsinites seem to be ready to put a Republican back in the governor's mansion. Walker should win the general election 54-46 and will have the potential to bring the State Senate and perhaps the State Assembly to return to the GOP as well.

I'll be curious to see what happens in the GOP primary for the New York Senate seat. The incumbent, Kirsten Gillibrand, hasn't polled 50% yet and seems surprisingly weak in a state that has a 2-1 Democratic registration advantage. It is not out of the question that she could lose the general election and this is one race that people aren't paying that much attention to. Expect the polls to tighten in New York and the race in the Empire State to get pretty exciting. There are also five House seats that the GOP will contest and could win them all. They'll probably get at least two of them but I wouldn't be surprised if they flip them all.

The Snitch

Who is going to run for President iin 2012?

Here's the latest:

Mitt Romney-Almost certainly running for President. He's willing to spend quite a bit of money and has extensive contacts throughout the country who are willing to support him. He'll get plenty of primary votes but he'll have to deal with the albatross of the Massachusetts state health care system that he helped put in place in 2006. As it continues to produce horror stories and high rates, Republican primary voters are going to turn away from a man who presents himself as a conservative. Moreover, his Mormonism will cause a lot of evangelical GOP voters to look for an alternative.

Sarah Palin-The hero of conservatives nationwide, she'll get a lot of primary votes and in a winner-take-all set of primaries (if you get the most votes you get all the delegates in that state-the Democrats have a much different system) she'll do well. Especially if there are a lot of people who run against her will probably help her candidacy as they'll split the remaining votes. She'll get a big block of votes (probably at least 35%) which would be a formidable obstacle to any other Republican in the race. I don't know if she could beat the President but if the economy continues to go south she'd have a strong shot.

Newt Gingrich-He certainly sounds like he's running. He's been around a long time and has accumulated a lot of debts from Republicans around the country. Thoughtful, articulate and fairly conservative, he would probably get a large bloc of votes. He's got personal and political skeletons that will haunt him. His divorce while his wife had cancer will, I'm sure, be brought up in a contestable primary. Moroever, a lot of Republicans and Democrats just don't like him-especially with a public that is in such an anti-incumbent mood.

Heley Barbour-The governor of Mississippi will be the choice of some social conservatives. As the former head of the national party he's got contacts throughout the nation but I doubt he can run on a national stage. The pudgy southerner doesn't translate well on camera and would have a hard time finding enough votes in what promises to be a very crowded primary.

Mitch Daniels-If Mitch runs he'll probably win the primary and the presidency. He's done well in Indiana and is acceptable to most voters in the GOP. He'd put the Midwest in play and might be able to carry states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. I don't think he really wants to run and his wife certainly doesn't want to go through a national campaign. They actually got divorced and then remarried so they've had a bit of a tough time. He looks like a nerd which I think could actually help him in a year that doesn't like slick politicians. Again, if he decided to run I think many of the players in the GOP would instantly side with him to try to clear the field so he could have straight path to the prsidency.

John Thune-The junior Senator from South Dakota is a telegenic, articulate conservative who will win his reelection this year by 30 points or more. I don't think he can muscle his way in to a crowded primary and he comes from a state that doesn't help the GOP much but he wouldn't be a bad choice for VP.

Tim Pawlenty-The governor of Minnesota is almost a lock to run. He's had two fairly successful terms as governor of a blue state. He calls himself a "WalMart conservative" and has fairly humble roots. He and his wife would make a formidable pair as she is an experienced attorney and, I believe, wants him to jump into the race. Smart and very funny he would have a shot at winning the primary and would put Minnesota and Wisconsin in play-two states that haven't voted for a Republican president in a long time.

Mike Huckabee-The former governor of Arkansas is probably going to run. He's a strict social conservative but a tax raiser and he'll be attacked as soft on crime. His approval to release a hardened felon years ago has led to some violent killings on the West Coast and you can be sure that will be brought up in a primary. If I were the President I'd want to face Huckabee, Romney or Palin as they all have subtantial and visible weaknesses.

Rick Santorum-The ultimate of long shots, this former Pennsylvania senator is already working hard in Iowa to get a higher name ID. He served in the House and Senate and was a dependable conservative and served in the GOP Senate leadership while he was there. A devout Catholic, he's an articulate and conscientious politician. Nobody is looking at him but I actually think he'd be a very good candidate-and certainly one for VP.

For all of you hoping Paul Ryan is running don't get your hopes up. He's only 40 and has little kids. I actually spoke to him and he's focused on taking over the Budget Committee when the GOP takes over the House next January. Certainly he'll be in the mix later on and certainly he should consider taking the VP slot in 2012-there's very few people that can defend the GOP like he can. There are only a handful of transparent politicians who can can make complex issues understandable as he can and would be a tremendous asset to whomever wins the GOP nod in 2012.

What about President Obama? The first thing he'll have to do is kick Joe Biden off his team before he does any additional damage to the Administration. If Obama is smart, he'd ask Hillary to come aboard as VP to try to save his Presidency and get reelected. If he doesn't and the economy continues to tank he'll probably get beaten badly (and his party will take a pounding in Congress) if the GOP puts up an acceptable candidate. If he isn't careful, Hillary may just run for the Democratic nomination herself and challenge him directly, especially if she and her husband determine that he's probably not going to win. It would probably be her last shot as she's getting older and she'll take it if she thinks the timing is right. That would be a primary to watch!

The Snitch

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The generic ballot continues to amaze

Rasmussen is reporting that the generic ballot has the GOP ahead between 10-12 points. Gallup has reported similar results but they tend to have very wild fluctuations in their daily tracks. The Holy Trinity of political prognosticators (Larry Sabato, Charlie Cook and Mike Barone) are all saying that the GOP will take the House in November and have a puncher's chance of pulling even in the Senate or even getting a majority.

Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray have fallen a bit behind in their respective races and Russ Feingold is in a statistical tie. If the GOP wins these three races (along with tossups in Illinois and Nevada) they would end up with 52 seats in the Senate. It looks like Connecticut, West Virginia and Oregon will be retained by the Democrats. Alaska and Florida could throw a monkey wrench in everyone's plans as nobody really knows which party Charlie Christ will caucus with if he wins in Florida and Lisa Murkowski is talking about running as a write-in candidate in Alaska. If she did that it would give the Democrats a strong shot at picking off a once safe GOP seat.

The House continues to deteriorate for the Democrats. There are at least six seats in Ohio that may flip-I suspect the GOP will now pick up at least five. If trends continue it is very likely that they will lose over sixty seats nationally.

There's still about eight weeks to go for the President and his party to turn the tide but the continuing negative economic data, the controversies over the Arizona immigration law and the building of the mosque in New York, along with a frightening deficit have pushed voters back to the GOP. If there was a third option many voters would go in that direction but in most cases they don't so the GOP will win many races because they are the only alternative

The Snitch

Monday, September 6, 2010

What's going on in Colorado?

Colorado is a state full of political Independents so the GOP is poised to make significant gains there this year with one notable exception: the governorship. Dan Maes, the GOP's choice for governor, is a terribly flawed candidate (both in his personal history and in his mysterious politics) and that, combined with Independent candidate Tom Tancredo running for the post should end any chance the Republicans have for retaking the post. If Maes were to drop out and Tancredo to end his bid then the GOP would have a shot but right now it certainly seems that they will stubbornly stay in the race and lose.

Ken Buck, the GOP candidate for Senate is up a few points over the incumbent Democrat and he should win. Again, the Independent vote should put him over the top.

There are three Democratic House members who are in trouble. Betsy Markey (CD 4) will lose, John Salazar (CD 3), the brother of the Interior Secretary, will probably lose, and Earl Perlmutter (CD 7) is in deep trouble. All three seats were held by Republicans within the last six years and have fairly conservative voters.

In 2004 George Bush carried the state but the GOP's Senate candidate Pete Coors lost narrowly to Ken Salazar and the Democrats captured the State Senate and Assembly. I'm not sure if the GOP can retake both chambers but they'll get a bunch of seats back. If ever there was a year to be a "downballot" Republican this is it.

The Snitch

Monday, August 30, 2010

Will Kurt Schrader lose in Oregon CD 5?

One race I've overlooked is the tight race in the Oregon Fifth Congressional District which pits first-term Democrat Kurt Schrader against Republican state legislator Scott Bruun. This district in northwestern Oregon is almost perfectly purple; it voted for George Bush in 2000 and 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008. The Fifth has sent Democrats to Congress for over a decade and Kurt Schrader cruised to victory 54% to 38% in 2008. He's reliably liberal; voting for the stimulus and, after seriously considering voting against ObamaCare, decided to vote for it.

His challenger is GOP state legislator Scott Bruun, a forty-four year old businessman from Portland who is a lifelong Oregonian. Bruun believes he's got a good shot at winning the seat and is trumpeting a recent poll that puts him up 41%-38%. A photogenic candidate with a young family, Bruun is running a straightforward and simple conservative campaign to contrast himself with the liberal Schrader and I think he's got about an 80% chance of flipping the seat.

It will be hard enough for Democrats to hold on to GOP leaning seats (around 50) but will have to defend purple and light blue districts of which Oregon CD 5 is a typical example.

The Snitch

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Murkowski's defeat is a stunner! This is the year of the anti-incumbent.

There are still a few precincts to be counted in Alaska but it looks as though powerful incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski will lose to political novice Joe Miller. 2010 continues to surprise as establishment candidates run for their political lives. Besides Murkowski, Bill McCollum, the Attorney General of Florida lost the Republican primary to newcomer Rick Scott. In a normal year, Murkowski and McCollum would have had no problems in their respective primaries on their way to the general election but this year is shaping up to be the year of the challenger.

Sarah Palin endorsed Miller, who ran to the right of Murkowski and was given no chance to win the election. Palin defeated Murkowski's father Frank in the 2006 GOP primary for governor and there's still bad blood between the two Republican heavyweights. Frank Murkowski was a US Senator from 1980-2002 and won the Alaska governor's race that year and then appointed his daughter to his Senate seat. That drew charges of nepotism but Lisa was able to win a full term in 2004. However, her dad's term as Alaska's governor was disatrous which led to the insurgent Sarah Palin challenging and beating him for the 2006 GOP governor's nomination. Many didn't give Palin much of a chance in the general election that year but the rest, as we say, is history.

In 1816, 2/3 of the Congress was thrown out by the voters after they had voted themselves a raise. This year three Senators have already lost their primaries and one safe Democratic seat (Massachusetts) turned over in January. 15 senators are either retiring this year or have already lost their primary and another 7 are in the fight for their lives. It looks as if at least 20% of the Senate will turn over this year. In 2012 I count at least 19 more contested races and we don't know how many others will die or retire as well. It is possible that 40% of the Senate could turnover in the next two elections. In the House this year about 90 seats are being contested (about 20%) and there will be other retirements as well in November and in 2012. In short, the House and Senate will look dramatically different in January 2011 and will probably be unrecognizable in January 2013.
The Snitch

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Seats that are in contention in November

Here's a list of seats that are in play this fall:


Almost Certain Defeat (33)

Arkansas CD 1 (Open)
Arkansas CD 2 (Open)
Boswell IA CD 3
Boyd FL CD 2
Alabama CD 2 (Open)
Childers MS CD 1
Driehaus OH CD 1
Edwards TX CD 17
Indiana CD 8 (Open)
Foster IL CD 14
Tennessee CD 6 (Open)
Grayson FL CD 8
Halvorson IL CD 11
Hill IN CD 9
NH CD 2 (Open)
Kagan WI CD 8
Kosmas FL CD 24
Kratovil MD CD 1
Markey CO CD 4
New York CD 29(Open)
Louisiana CD 3 (Open)
WV CD 1 (Open)
Kansas CD 3 (Open)
Nye VA CD 2
Periello VA CD 5
Pomeroy ND At Large
Peters MI CD 9
Schauer MI CD 7
Penn CD 7 (Open)
NH CD 2 (Open)
Shea NH 1
Teague NM CD 2
Titue NV CD 3

In Great Trouble (32)

Adler NJ CD 3
Altire PA CD 4
Arcmuri NY CD 24
Washington CD 3 (Open)
Bean IL CD 8
Carney PA CD 10
Connolly VA CD 11
Dahlkemper PA CD 3
Mass CD 10 (Open)
Etheridge NC CD 2
Hare IL Cd 17
Giffords AZ CD 8
Kilroy OH CD 15
Kanjorski PA CD 11
Kissell NC CD 8
Klein FL CD 22
Maffei NY CD 25
McIntyre NC CD 7
McNerney CA CD 11
Mitchell AZ CD 5
Murphy PA CD 8
Murphy PA CD 18
Wisconsin CD 7 (Open)
Owens NY CD 23
Rodriguez TX CD 23
Sandlin SD At Large
Schuler NC CD 11
Skelton MO CD 4
Spratt SC CD 5
Michigan CD 1 (Open)
Sutton OH CD 13
Tenn CD 8 (Open)

Watch Over Your Shoulder (33)

Barrow GA CD 12
Bishop NY CD 1
Boucher VA CD 9
Carnahan MO CD 3
Chandler KY CD 6
Tenn CD 5 (Open)
Costello IL CD 12
Courtney CT CD 2
Critz PA CD 12
Donnelly IN CD 2
Doyle PA CD 14
Himes CT CD 4
Holt NJ CD 12
Holden PA CD 17
Israel NY CD 2
Kildee MI CD 5
Kind WI CD 3
Rhode Island CD 1 (Open)
Kirkpatrick CD 1
Kaptur OH CD 9
Larson WA CD 2
Loebsack IA CD 2
Marshall GA CD 8
McMahon NY CD 13
Minnick ID CD 1
Murphy CT CD 5
Murphy NY CD 20
Ross AR CD 4
Ryan OH CD 17
Space OH CD 18
Tsongas MA CD 5
Wilson OH CD 6
Walz MN CD 1

The GOP needs 39 seats to flip the chamber. Clearly they should be able to get over that hurdle. Currently I think 55 seats is quite possible.

GOP Seats in Danger (3)

Cao LA CD 2
Djou HI CD 1
Delaware At Large (Open)

The Snitch

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What the generic ballot tells us this late in the season

Rasmussen Reports is saying this week that the generic ballot, i.e., "Which political party would you vote for?" has the GOP in a 12 point lead (48-36). Rasmussen has never seen this kind of spread before. Generally the Democrats maintain at least a small lead (there are generally more Democrats than Republicans) in most generic ballots but this year is a notable exception. In 1994, the year the GOP took over the Senate and House, their advantage just before election day was about 5% which was very high for the GOP. Gallup isn't reporting a 12% gap but theirs is in the high single digits. This confirms what many are suspecting that if trends continue this way the Republicans will pick up an enormous amount of House and Senate seats along with a truckload of newly elected state offices.

This is being born out in many House races and most of the Senate as well. The GOP Senate candidates in New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Missouri have jumped out to comfortable leads where only a few weeks ago these races were true tossups. Nevada, Illinois, Wisconsin, Washington and California are still neck and neck and there's just no way to get a good read on these seats-they will all probably come down to the last week before we can make a good guess.

In my view the following Democratic seats are going to flip:
North Dakota

These seats are trending to the GOP:

Toss ups:
(See above)

At the very least the GOP will pick up six seats in the Senate but they could max out at twelve if they carry the tossups. Certainly the House will be in GOP hands in January but the Senate is truly up for grabs.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Five strongly Democratic seats that may flip in November

Why is the Democratic party spending so much money to protect seats that are considered safely Democratic? Do they believe that most of the seats that are "purple" are already lost? Perhaps. Perhaps it is because they are worried about certain "safe" districts that aren't so certain. Perhaps it is both. Here's five seats that may flip in November:

California CD 11 (McNerney) Jerry McNerney is in the fight for his political life. McNerney won his first election in 2006 with 53% of the vote and in 2008 got 55% but this year he'll be lucky to get to 50% facing a tough challenge from David Harmer, a politican and lawyer from Pleasanton, CA. Harmer is a tough conservative who is well positioned to win the general election and the national Democratic party is pouring in money to protect McNerney. This district, to the east of San Fransisco mostly based around Stockton is slightly more red than blue and has suffered like most of the rest of the state from high unemployment-the perfect mixture for an insurgent politician to win an election.

Massachusetts CD 5 (Tsongas) Niki Tsongas was first elected in 2007 with 51% of the vote in a special election. Her district to the northwest of Boston is fairly blue and she was unopposed in 2008. This year Republican Sam Maes is her challenger and is is giving her the fight of her life. Maes is a refugee from Cambodia who spent years in a UN refugee camp before being allowed to emigrate to America through a Catholic charity. Most of his family was wiped out in the communist purges in the late 1970s in Cambodia and he doesn't even know how old he is. It is a classic story of someone who came to the US with very little and didn't even know the language but has risen to run for high office. In a district that voted strongly for Scott Brown in the January Senate election I wouldn't be surprised if Maes picks Tsongas off. I fully expect the GOP to pick up Massachusetts CD 10 as well so they have a shot at two seats in the Bay State-something they haven't had for many years.

Michigan CD 5 (Kildee) Dale Kildee was first elected to Congress in 1976 and has rarely had a strong challenger. In 1994 he came close to losing but since then has generally had an easy ride. His district includes Flint which is heavily Democratic and much of the rest of the seat is deep blue. However, John Kupiec, a local Republican will give Kildee a strong challenge this year. Turnout in the Republican primary in Michigan was very high (see the previous post) and Kupiec think he's got a good shot at winning. A life-long resident of the district with strong environmental credentials, Kupiec will be able to spend the rest of the fall campaigning while Kildee will have to race back and forth from Washington. Moreover, Kildee was one of the last holdouts against ObamaCare but folded at the end of the debate and has faced the wrath of the public ever since. Kildee should still win but it is certainly not out of the realm of possiblity that he'll lose.

Missouri CD 3 (Carnahan) Russ Carnahan has spent two unremarkable terms in the House of Representatives. The Carnahan family name is strong in Missouri and Russ was the beneficiary of the name recongition to succeed Dick Gephardt in 2006. However, ObamaCare is very unpopular in the state (see previous posts) and Carnahan eagerly voted for it. He'll face a strong challenger this year in Ed Martin who may be able to knock him off. This race will depend on turnout; how many Republicans and Independents will come out to vote for Martin as part of a protest vote against Carnahan and ObamaCare. The district is blue (areas of St. Louis and counties southeast of the city) but not as deep as Kildee's in Michigan and Carnahan is simply not that talented a politican. If he loses the four scheduled debates and Martin's team can get a good grassroots organization going Carnahan may be sent packing.

Texas CD 23 (Rodriguez) Ciro Rodriguez is a very liberal Democratic politician who has been in and out of Congress for over a dozen years. After losing a primary battle because of redistricting in 2002 he was able to pull off an upset win in 2006 over popular GOP incumbent Henry Bonilla. His district is slightly red and he'll face San Antonio businessman Francisco Canseco in the general election. Rodriguez is vulnerable and he's got a temper-he lost his composure at a recent town hall meeting trying to defend ObamaCare and it was captured on tape. This district covers a large section of the border between El Paso and Laredo and includes San Antonio with about 2/3rds of the residents being from Hispanic backgrounds who tend to vote Democratic. However, this is a very socially conservative section of the country and Rodriquez is very liberal and out of step with most of his constituents. This district is under a lot of people's radar but don't be surprised on Election Night if Ciro is sent home.

If these five do lose than the House Democrats will be in danger of losing over 70 seats-no that's not a misprint.

What the numbers in last week's Michigan and Missouri primaries tell us

In St. Louis, the most liberal area of the Missouri the Republican candidate got more votes than his Democratic rival. That should simply never happen-it should not even be close. Republican turnout in both states was enormous and energetic. In Michigan, a fairly blue state with high Democratic voter registration, about a million people voted in the Republican primary and about 500,000 voted in the Democratic primary. I've never seen numbers like this before. In Missouri you could make the case that the ObamaCare proposition brought additional conservative votes out but that would only be a part of the explanation since a large segment of Democrats in the state voted for the referendum. Michigan in many ways should be an even greater warning. Both parties had contested races for governor and, if this was a normal year, would have brought out similar numbers. It is simply unbelievable that in a Democratic state like Michigan Republicans can outnumber Democrats in a primary by a ratio of 2 to 1.

Of course this is bad news for Democratic candidates who are running in statwide and congressional races but it is also terrible for those who are running in marginal districts for state assembly and senate seats. I suspect several state legislatures will change from Democratic to Republican control. That, along with a lot of winning GOP candidates winning governor's races will have long-term effects because it will be in the next term that state legislatures and their governors will be redrawing congressional district lines as well as their own state assembly and senate seats.

I've said for many weeks that the GOP will take control of the House in November. I suspect strongly that they will gain at least 55 seats. It is quite possible that they will get 60 or even 70. With Independents fleeing and Republicans coming out in droves to vote along with an anemic economy the Democrats are heading for a real beating in November.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What the anti-ObamaCare referendum in Missouri means for the country

Tonight the voters of Missouri voted overwhelmingly (around 73%) for a referendum nullifying the new health care law passed last spring. What this basically means is that Missouri is telling Washington that they will not force its state's citizens to buy health insurance if they don't want to. While this idea of "nullification" may shock you, local and state governments have actually done this for most of our nation's history when they view a law from the federal government as clearly unconstitutional and therefore void.

This kind of argument takes us back to what the ratifying conventions debated in 1787-1788 when the new Constitution was being considered as a replacement for the Articles of Confederation. Is the federal judiciary the final arbiter of the what is lawful and what is not? Liberals and "progressives" may tell you that it is but that is clearly false-the people themselves decide what is lawful and what is not and are obliged to resist laws that are clearly unconstitutional and therefore void. Throughout history this has been done by states-Wisconsin would not let its citizens be harassed by Federal marshalls in the 1850s when the marshalls tried to arrest abolitionists who were assisting runaway slaves. They state government declared that those who helped runaway slaves would not be prosecuted because the Fugitive Slave Act was clearly wrong. The Real-ID Act of a few years ago that was passed by the federal government that created national standards for state IDs has basically been nullified by most localities as an abidgement of their rights under the 9th and 10th Amendments. And, of course, the federal government says that marijuana is illegal in every state but California openly supports the use of the drug by those who are ill. If you travel to the Golden State you'll see shops in most major localities in open defiance of federal law.

I would bet that in the next four years you'll see twenty to thirty more states put laws on their respective books to nullify this law. In the end, more than half the states will say that their citizens will not have to be compelled to buy insurance and there won't be much the federal government will be able to do about it even if the Congress doesn't repeal the law.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How a foolish federal judge destroyed the Arizona Democratic party

If it wasn't bad enough for Democrats this year it just got worse for Arizona Democrats as Susan Bolton, a federal judge appointed by Bill Clinton, wrote a preposterous decision today invalidating most of the state's new immigration law.

Without getting into specifics of the ruling, it is clear that a vast majority of Arizonans approve of the law. Moreover, when the law is explained in detail, the approval rating only goes up. The clear winner is Republican governor Jan Brewer, who looked as though she might lose her race this year will now probably win in a blowout. To many voters, she looks like the defender of her state against an out of control President and a foolish federal judge.

The other losers are Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (CD1), Harry Mitchell (CD5), and Gabrielle Giffords (CD8). These three Democrats were already looking at very tough races and now all three will be held accountable by the voters of the state. I would say now that they will all lose in November, largely a result of what happened today.

It also puts Arizona Democrats running for statewide offices as well as their senate and assembly in a terrible position and they will face substantial losses as well.

On another note, Rasmussen Reports has come out with Harry Reid in a slight lead against Sharron Angle. Many Republicans are already writing her obituary and are upset with her as she is not a smooth candidate. To write her off is premature. With an unemployment rate over 14% in Nevada and 50% of voters in the state saying they will never vote for Reid he really can't get more than about 45% of the vote. Certainly Angle is in a tough spot but she can certainly win the race.