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

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