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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Weekly Open Thread: What Races Are You Interested In?

Posted by DavidNYC

This week, I've been thinking about some of the House races where Dems are going to have to play some defense: GA-03 and -12 (DeLay-style redistricting), IA-03 (Boswell in poor health), TX-17 (Chet Edwards, district went 70-30 Bush, Edwards always wins by small margins), LA-03 (general NO craziness), and possibly OH-06 (Strickland leaving, district tilts slightly GOP). I don't mean to say I'm feeling pessimistic - just cautious. How about you?

Posted at 06:21 PM in Open Threads | Technorati

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I talked about it a little bit on mydd when Bowers did his house forecast.

Gary Trauner seems to be doing really well at fundraising so far (100k on hand to Cubin's 103k).

Remember too that Cubin only won by 30,000 votes in 2004 to Ladd. Recent polling shows her support is a soft 54%. Really bad for a GOP incumbent in freaking Wyoming.

Plus Freudenthal is about as popular as Brad Henry is in Oklahoma.




Posted by: nada [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 11, 2006 07:01 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

as long as a black dem doesnt challenge barrow he should be okay. teh district is lean dem. And there was polling that showed Charlie Wilson in OH-06 beating Blasdel by 15 points, 45-30. Melancon i think will be defeated, just not enough of a backing of blacks to bring him to the finish line in this blue dog district. I think Marshall will squeak out a win. Boswell may very well lose, but we can still gain in the Iowa delegation by winning Nussle's seat and I heards some rumors that Leach was retiring. But if we take the majority, i bet Leach would switch parties anyway

Posted by: yomoma2424 [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 11, 2006 07:09 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Looks like my decision to swear off election predictions lasted all of 15 minutes. Rather than opine on my own races of interest, I'll offer my thoughts on David's list of "defensive" races.

I think Jim Marshall is in alot of trouble in GA-03. I gather that he's a pretty conservative Democrat, but the combination of his new, "whiter" district and the challenge by popular former Congressman Mac Collins puts him as one of two Democrats I'm guessing have odds-against chances. John Barrow would seem to be in better shape in GA-12, even without Athens in his district. I'm optimistic he'll hang on.

Leonard Boswell will have at least one more vote in IA-03 than he looked to have last month at this time. I just moved into his district. I don't know yet just how popular of a figure his challenger, State Senate President Jeff Lamberti, is, but unless Boswell is able to validate an improvement in his health, he'll be very vulnerable no matter how strong or weak of a challenger Lamberti is. Right now, I'm optimistic about Boswell hanging on considering the Republican platform isn't exactly on fire here in Iowa, but he's far more vulnerable than many suspect.

The only reason Chet Edwards hung on in TX-17 was his fire-breathing right-wing opponent proved herself too conservative even for central Texas. If, or rather when, the Republicans nominate someone sane to run against Edwards, he's done. He's living on borrowed time, but early indicators suggest the Republicans aren't very unified in their efforts to take him down this year. I'm very cautiously optimistic Edwards will skate across the finish line again in '06.

Every insider report I've heard from Louisiana has been one of "don't worry" regarding Charlie Melancon, who I've been told by three people has made himself a rock star in SE LA with his aggressive post-Katrina efforts and his fierce opposition to CAFTA on behalf of the local sugar industry. I'll take them at their word, but still watch this race out of the corner of my eye throughout the election season. It was a very marginal seat from the get-go, and the fluid situation in Louisiana really makes things difficult to predict.

OH-06 is not one I'm worried about. Calling it a "slightly lean-GOP" district is misleading since George Bush's paper-thin 2004 victory there was probably the first GOP victory in the district in decades. A blue dog like Charlie Wilson seems poised to easily take the baton from Ted Strickland, who don't forget, will be at the top of the Ohio ballot and likely produce coattails for Wilson in OH-06. Chuck Blasdel sounds like he's fairly prominent in the Ohio legislature, so perhaps it's a fool's errand to underestimate him, but for now, he doesn't scare me.

Closing on a downer, I have a very hard time seeing how Melissa Bean wins re-election in IL-08 with Blagojevich dragging down Dems in Illinois, particularly in this district.

Posted by: Mark [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 11, 2006 07:53 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Mark: Bean is also someone I'm thinking of. A common line in the blogosphere is that her CAFTA and bankruptcy votes will hurt her in her district, especially with labor, who isn't in any rush to help her out. Blago aside, do you think there's any validity to that claim?

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 11, 2006 10:12 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

David, I would ordinarily expect that Bean would face a fundraising deficit due to her coziness with Republicans on key issues, but from what I understand, she's pulled in some pretty boffo fundraising totals despite her voting record. If her finances continue to run as strong as they reportedly have been, she'll help her cause alot. I would guess that this wealthy Republican-leaning district lacks a significant organized labor presence, so even if disgusted votes collectively decide to sit this race out, I can't see her CAFTA vote swinging the election.

With all this in mind, I would give Bean strong odds for an encore if another 2004-ish scenario in Illinois where the top of the ticket provided some serious help (Kerry won IL by 10 points, Obama won by at least 35). 2006 is gonna be far less kind though, with unpopular Rod Blagojevich likely providing counter-coattails downballot that hurt the chances of both Bean and whoever prevails as the Dem candidate for IL-06. Even if Blagojevich pulls it out statewide, he'll still get smashed in these Republican suburban districts. Perhaps I exaggerate the significance of coattails. After all, Rob Simmons managed to unseat Democratic incumbent Sam Gejdenson in Connecticut in 2000 even as Al Gore and Joe Lieberman (as a Senate candidate not Gore's running mate) pulled out seismic victories in the same district. Still, I think Bean and Jim Marshall are the most endangered Dems in Congress right now, and frankly I'd be surprised if she won given the tide she's swimming against.

Posted by: Mark [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 11, 2006 11:10 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

OH 14th, LaTourtee just got hit with Abramoff stuff in an only 53% Republican District. We got make this a race.

Posted by: Democraticavenger [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 12, 2006 04:16 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

NV-03 will be interesting. Tessa Hafen will indeed run against Republican Jon Porter. She's Harry Reid's spokeswoman (or was until recently), and she's only 29 years old. It should be a good race. Background and analysis here and here.


Posted by: Sarah R Carter [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 12, 2006 05:22 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Yeah, but do you think the candidates-- Katz and Palmer J. Palmerson or whatever his name is, have much of a shot against LaTourette? I almost wonder if a stronger Dem might jump into the primary now that this Abramoff stuff is coming out against him.

Posted by: HellofaSandwich [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 12, 2006 06:34 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

You don't see Florida's 16th CD turning up on many people's radar. That's a district that starts just west of West Palm Beach and meanders clear across the state to the Gulf, right through the Everglades. The swamp creature that currently holds the seat is the very closeted gay homophobe Mark Foley. When I say "very closeted" I mean just from the Republicans who live in the district's hinterlands. Foley's a big-time swinger and every young male escort in the district-- and the District of Columbia-- knows very well who and what he is. (He once showed up for a Randy Rhodes radio interview when she was a Florida talk show host with a paid beard in tow. He didn't fool anyone.) Now when people ask him about why a gay man would vote against any issue that would ease the tremendous discrimination against Florida gay men and women, he clams up and says his personal life is no one's business. It would be nice if he ever told the hysterical GOP kingpins, like Tom DeLay and Rick Santoum that law-abiding citizens feel the same way about their personal lives!

Anyway, Democrats in the district have a great candidate in progressive activist/school-teacher Dave Lutin. Unfortunately, Rahm Emanuel has butted into the race-- Lutin is against the war and supports Jack Murtha's plan to get us out, which is anethema to Emanuel-- and he's been throwing around DCCC money and influence to pressure Lutrin to step aside for his own candidate, a wealthy Republican businessman who changed his voter registration a few months ago in order to run (at Emanuel's urging). I think without Emanuel's interference in this race, a real Democrat with real Democratic Party ideals and vision-- and, unlike Emanuel and his hack candidates, a willingness to fight for them on the battlefield of ideas-- would be preparing to send Foley into a well-deserved early retirement.

Posted by: DownWithTyranny [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 12, 2006 07:14 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Hm on IA-03 i don't think we can lose it unless the Republicans put up a strong challenger this is a Dem. year Folks everyone can see that.

Posted by: D in FL. [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 12, 2006 10:13 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Virginia's 2nd - Iraq Vet and all around good guy David Ashe dropped out, leaving Philip Kellam as the sole challenger to Thelma Drake. Kellam is a household name in this district and he has been a popular, successful civil servant for years. Drake on the other hand is a one-term incumbent who won in 2004 with less-than-great numbers. Her only accomplishment seems to be her near universal support for Bush. I fail to see how that will help her considering all the crazy shenanigans this administration has been pulling these last few years.

Virginia has been trending blue and Dems have been on a real upswing recently. We've got the GOP on the ropes, and Kaines win was a huge F-YOU to the GOP from the voters of Virginia. Warner is wildly popular and we are the "best managed state in the Union" under Dem leadership. Allen will have the fight of his life on his hands with Webb as a challenger. Since I fully expect Webb to win the Dem primary and ultimately the election, his success can only help Kellam. Also, consider this - VA-02 has a large number of active and retired military as well as large ports. Webb is a dream canididate for this district and this should also help Kellam.

In my opinion this should be considered a top-tier race, and one we should all support.

Posted by: AlecBGreen [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 12, 2006 11:47 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

That's kinda sad about Ashe, though I guess he did it because Kellam had more resources. Now, with Lentz and Ashe out, we're down two fighting Dems--specifically, we're down two Iraq Vets. (The Band of Brothers website has us down to 52 vets running from 55 last week) That's a bit of a bitter pill, but if Kellam is someone who can win, then okay...

Oh, and silver lining: Lentz was replaced by some dude who was a freakin' vice-admiral, so that's a pretty decent trade-off. I don't see his name on the Band of Brothers list yet.

Posted by: HellofaSandwich [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 13, 2006 01:21 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

D n FL, the GOP has a good candidate in IA-03 in Iowa State Senate President Jeff Lamberti. Ordinarily, I'd say Leonard Boswell should be able to hold him off, but his health is very shaky, and if he can't prove in 2006 that he's physically able to represent the district, he has a problem.

Posted by: Mark [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 13, 2006 01:22 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Yeah, I think Katz maybe but the point is somebody if it Katz, we gotta get behind him. I am sad about Ashe but Phil Kellman seems like a guy who can win. Lentz was running a good campaign but Sestak is unbelieveable with Him and Webb. We have not just I fought and I hate these bastards, but instead, I lead , I thought and I hate these Bastards. WY AL is defaintly interestinng.

Posted by: Democraticavenger [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 13, 2006 01:48 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

VA-05. I'm working for fighting Dem Al Weed, trying to oust Virgil "MZM Scandal" Goode from his congressional seat. Al ran in 2004, which was not a good year for Virginia dems, and got the same 36% (slightly better actually) as the last two people to challenge Virgil.

Well he's been building his operation for the past two years (Bern hasn't even filed with the FEC) and he's learned a lot about communicating with people in tobacco country to actually pursuade them, rather than just pander. He gave the best answer I've ever heard on why he supports gay marriage: It's a matter of religious freedom. Many Christian churches and denominations have no problem with same-sex marriage, and the government has no business telling people how they are allowed to practice their religion.

But there's a primary challenger. Bern Ewert toes the DLC's line on virtually every issue and he's got the support of our state party chair. He's done nothing for the party, and he's given more money to republicans than Democrats in the past 4 years ($1000 > $250). His big economic plan is a regional marketing program -- which only works in a global market when you win the race to the lowest wages. For the primary, this is a battle between the Progressive wing of the Democratic party and... well... Republican-lite.

Posted by: msnook [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 13, 2006 03:26 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I'm also a little intrugied about VA-01. There's another Fighting Dem there, Shawn O'Donnell, but he hasn't joined up with BoB.

The weird thing is, O'Donnell's district has 5 military bases in it, and it's just across the river from D.C., so the BoB could do some of their bigger events in his back yard, and he's gonna need all the military cred he can get. So what in the world could be a sweet enough deal as to keep O'Donnell out of the BoB?

I dunno, but he had an ad in the program Saturday night (the Virginia JJ Dinner) paid for by Hillary Clinton, and from her connections with the DLC, we can guess what she thinks of the Band of Brothers' more-than-passing acquaintance with the blogosphere and the netroots. Could there be an effort in the party establishment to undercut the BoB, possibly providing support from Hillary as payment for good behavior? I'll be watching.

Posted by: msnook [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 13, 2006 03:38 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

There is going to be one more republican running against Jean Schmidt in Ohio 2nd. The papers will be filed 2/16 and a press conference held 2/17.

Posted by: politicalgeek [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 13, 2006 09:49 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

DavidNYC, when you check in, I have a post up on my site re Paul Hackett. Rahm Emanuel is formally petitioning him to drop the Senate race. I'm not happy with the dccc for many reasons, this just adds to it. :(

Posted by: desi [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 13, 2006 09:57 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Anyone entering an Ohio house race better hurry with only three day left to file petitions. I'm just so afraid that scandal is going to start pouring out against LaTourette in Ohio-14 — a link to Abramoff doesn't bode well. And that we'll have photos of him playing golf with Abramoff and no real horse race. This Lewis Katz is unknown, a political novice and no one seems to know who he is or if he has any funding. I live in an adjoining district that isn't in danger (Stephanie Tubbs Jones') but I was visiting a friend yesterday in LaTourette's district who said she did hear from Katz's campaign manager about putting signs on her lawn. I wish instead of running against Strickland, a no-hope challenge, that Eric Fingerhut had challenged LaTourette to take his old seat back (which he lost in the Contract with America blitz).

As for the DCCC trying to get Hackett out of the Senate race and into Oh-2 (where he'll just be a burnt offering to the Republican gods if Schmidt isn't the candidate, this district is so Republican), don't EVEN get me started. This infuriates me as does the rumor that the Ohio Democratic party may endorse candidates in various state races almost immediately instead of letting voters decide in the primary. This could be a disaster in the Brown-Hackett race, where it seems to me people are divided and would like to feel they had some say in the matter. Brown has the party insiders, but the people they want to draw in could be driven away by this.

Posted by: Ansatasia P [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 13, 2006 12:37 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The papers are ready and press conference planned for 1pm friday 2/17. They will be filed before the 4pm deadline 2/16. now we just need money.

Posted by: politicalgeek [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 13, 2006 01:28 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I don't think Shawn O'Donnell is a vet - at least, his bio info mentions nothing.

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 13, 2006 02:27 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Bryan Lentz gallantly pulled out of the PA-7 Congressional race to give the new glamor candidate,
Vice-admiral Sestak, a clean shot at retiring Curt Weldon.
Word has it that Lentz will re-tool his campaign
and will take on one of the worst entrenched incumbent Republicans
in the PA state legislature.
He deserves support in that race and is clearly a welcome addition to
the Democratic party's rather thin bench of young lights.

Once his website reflects his new campaign goal,
I expect to be profiling him on my "Just Say No To Spoilers" ActBlue page:


David Ashe's web site doesn't yet reflect any information about his withdrawal in VA-2.
Does anyone know what his further plans are?
If he's going to run for something else, I hope we hear about it.
I believe Va's filing deadline is 4/19.

Posted by: Christopher Walker [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 13, 2006 05:05 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I've mentioned the interesting races here in North Carolina. Specifically the 11th and 8th disticts. The Charlotte Observer reported yesterday that even Conservative newspapers are distancing themselves from Taylor and have begun taking shots at him. The 11th district looks to be ugly for the GOP this year.

Posted by: cltpie28 [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 14, 2006 04:22 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment