|Well now 14 members of that most endangered of species the Northeast House Republican. And can you believe 5 open races in more or less Democrat friendly districts - WOW!
And so on with the show:
CT-04 - D+5 - Shays
It is appropriate that the first race we look at is one of the most competitive, CT-04, pitting Chris Shays against our guy Jim Himes. This one will be a barnburner which makes it curious that I can't find any polling of the district. Located in the Southwest part of the state it overlaps the New York media market and many people who live in the 4th commute to NYC for work.
As the only GOP survivor in New England Shays seems to be popular but as the Iraq war becomes increasingly unpopular Shays' fervent support for the war and the President himself makes this one race to watch. Both candidates are cashed up and either could win.
CT-04 is one of 8 districts carried by Kerry in 2004 occupied by a House Republican.
DE-AL - D+7 - Castle
GOP incumbent Mike Castle is considered safe and I see no reason to not beileve that. Whilst Dem Karen Hartley-Nagle will run a solid campaign this district is unlikely to flip this time around. Of more interest to me is whether Castle will switch parties after the election or retire in 2010 (He had a stroke in 2006). Or if Lt Gov John Carney or Attorney General Beau Biden have a crack Castle may be vulnerable if he runs again in 2010.
DE-AL is another of the 8 districts that Kerry carried in 2004 occupied by a House Republican and in fact this is the district with the highest Kerry vote - 57% - occupied by a Republican.
NJ-02 - D+4.0 - LoBiondo
LoBiondo doged a bullet when Democratic State Senator Jeff Van Drew opted not to run against him in this district that Bush won by less than 1% and that is occupied by 2 Democratic State Senators.
Our candidate David Kurkowski will have a real slog to get this race on the radar with the open races in the 3rd and 7th. Look for Van Drew to run and win in 2010.
NJ-03 - D+3.3 - OPEN
The first of our open races this one sees Democratic State Senator John Adler running against Chris Myers. Bush won this district 51-49 and Adler has a massive COH advantage - 1.46M to 155K. Polling indicates a tight race but I expect Adler to win comfortably as he is well known through the district and genuinely popular.
NJ-04 - R+0.9 - Smith
This central Jersey district was won by Bush in 2004 56 to 44 but was won by Gore in 2000 50 to 46. With a plethora of other competitive races around this one has not been on the radar and probably won't be. Josh Zeitz is to be applauded for having a go but 2008 probably won't be his year. 2010 maybe?
NJ-05 - R+4 - Garrett
A district that shouldn't be on the radar is so largely because our guy Dennis Shulman is a blind rabbi who has been getting a lot of media attention. Won by Bush in 2004 57-43 this is one of two districts in New Jersey that are considered generically safe for Repubs. If Shulman can pull it off then expect a lot of house districts to be picked up by us on election day. Shulman is down 3 to 1 in COH which is ok but he really needs to step up the fundraising.
NJ-07 - R+1 - OPEN
Another open race this one pits 2006 candidate Democrat Linda Stender against State Senator Leonard Lance. Michael Hsing, a conservative republican is also running as an independent which will take votes from Lance. Both camps have released polls that show their candidate is winning. Despite the fact that Bush won this district 53-47 in 2004 I expect Stender to win at her second time at bat as she only lost by about 1000 votes in 2006. Stender has a massive COH advantage - 1.2M-88K btw and that can only help!
NJ-11 - R+6 - Frelinghuysen
This district that Bush won 58-42 in 2004 is the safest GOP in New Jersey and unlikely to flip. Our guy, 2006 candidate Tom Wyka, is putting in a valiant effort but will most likely fall short. This district is a rarity in the Northeast, a safe GOP district.
NY-03 - D+2.1 - King
This Long Island based district is not on the radar for 2008. Democrat Graham Long hasn't set the world on fire and won't with all of the oxygen being sucked up by the 13th. This race may have been competitive if 2006 candidate Dave Mejias had run again be he is running for the State Senate instead :( Look for Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi or Mejias to run in 2010. King has said that he will running in the gubernatorial race in 2010 so we should pick this one up then.
NY-13 - D+1 - OPEN
No race in the country has been more of a soap opera than NY-13. I will spare you the details and say simply this. Democratic candidate Michael McMahon will win and win big over a divided dispirited Republican party and their 3rd tier candidate. McMahon is even endorsed by GOP powerbroker Guy Molinari. And he lives on Staten Island a vital prerequisite in this district unlike his republican opponent. Chalk this one up as a win for team blue.
NY-23 - R+0.2 - McHugh
John McHugh is a safe bet for re-election here over a low profile candidate, Mile Oot. The attenton in upstate New York will all be focused on the 25th, 26th and 29th. Sheesh even the unions endorse McHugh who seems genuinely popular. He was rumoured to be retiring in 2008 and may do so in 2010. Either way expect a competitive race here in 2010 not 2008.
NY-25 - D+3 - OPEN
Democrat Dan Maffei never stopped running since 2006 and is considered very likely to win this open seat over Republican Dale Sweetland. He has about $1M COH and of course upstate New York is rapidly bluing. The one poll I have seen had Maffei only a point in front but that was back in April. I think that the NRCC has given up here and with good reason, Dan's gonna win. NY-25 is one of 8 districts carried by Kerry in 2004 occupied by a House Republican.
NY-26 - R+3 - OPEN
There was a huge shock here when Democrat Kryzan won a bloody primary over DCCC preferred Jon Powers. Nonetheless Kryzan came out reasonably clean and may well pull it off in a district where Bush won 55-43 in 2004. Kryzan needs to step up her fundraising a lot but again the DCCC has weighed with advertising expenditure. When we see some polling we will get a better sense of how this one is playing but this district is still very much in play as Gopper Chris Lee hasn't exactly set the world on fire. Watch this space.
NY-29 - R+5 - Kuhl
Democratic 2006 candidate Eric Massa is back for a rematch in this upstate district that is the most GOP friendly district in New York. Bush won 56-42 in 2004. Don't discount Massa though as incumbent Randy "shotgun" Kuhl is certainly vulnerable (and repellant). Haven't seen any public polling here but the candidates are basically at parity in terms of COH and the DCCC is stumping up for advertising big time. Expect a close race.
So whilst the Northeast won't provide much excitement at the Presidential level this year the House races (and Senate BTW) will be all the fun of the fair. I think that we will probably win between 4 and 7 of these races further decimating an already shredded GOP. The Northeast is well on the way to becoming a one party region and this year will see further shifts in that direction.