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