One of the things that has come up in this election is whether the macro vs. micro climate, and which is better in terms of determining the outcome of this year's election. Simply put, Republicans have nominated some pretty bad candidates (Angle, Paul, and possibly Buck, although I think the verdict might still be out on the latter) who would be unelectable in a different year.
Anyway, I thought it would be a fun exercise to put together a list of 10 candidates who were preceived as weak choices for their respective parties at the time, but went on to win in "wave" elections. Feel free to disagree or nominate your own choices below.
A lot has been made about the increase in electoral votes earned by Barack Obama from John Kerry's totals. Obama's number while a significant increase is slightly lower than what Bill Clinton won in both 1992 (370 EV) and 1996 (379 EV). Clinton started from a far lower base (Michael Dukakis' losing total in 1988). The real improvement for the Democratic Party came in the House and Senate results. In 1992, Clinton may have won big but Democrats won 9 fewer House seats than in 1990 and 2 fewer than in 1988; Senate seats increased by 1 over the few year time slot.
By contrast, the final number of Democratic House seats is likely to be 258 or 259 (per Chris Bowers). The Senate total ios likely to be 58 or 59. That's a gain of 56 or 57 House seats and 14 or 15 Senate seats from 2004 totals.
Regional and statewide totals tell the story best.
The Northeast is the most Democratic part of the country. Both John Kerry and Barack Obama won all 117 electoral votes from this region. In the interim, however, the Republicans moved from an important minority at the federal level to an insignificant one. In 2004, House seats ran 56 D,35R, and 1 Democratic leaning indy (Bernie Sanders). Republicans lost nearly a third of their seats in 2006 falling to 24 and repeated the feat by falling to 17 in 2008. Over the two cycles, they lost more than half of their House seats in the region (18 seats). Or if you prefer percentages, the GOP dropped from 38% to 18.5% of Northeast House seats. That included a loss of 6 seats in NY, 5 in PA, all 3 GOP in CT and all 2 GOP in NH. At leasat half of the remaining GOP seat are still vulnerable. Senate seats fell from 7 of 22 to 4 of 22 (also 18%). Two of the four are up in 2010 and one will be represented by an 80 year old probably facing a stiff primary challenge. The other (Judd Gregg, NH) is also on the chopping block.
The general belief seems to be that it is important to "clear the field" in primaries to get a winning hand in the fall general election. The belief is founded on a number of factors. Many interest groups will not back a candidate with a primary election opponent. Primary election campaigns can be costly and challengers generally have less money to spend than incumbents. Anecdotal evidence points to a number of campaigns easch cycle where a strong primary is followed by disappointing results in the fall.
I decided to test this thesis by looking at election results for all 31 Democratic pickups in the House during the 2006 cycle (including Peter Welch as a pickup in Vermont) and comparing the results to close losses. The close losses were not systenmatic but I looked at 20 races that fit the bill.
Overall, 14 of the 31 pickups (45%) were preceded by primary elections, a higher than expected number. Although some of these were blowouts, a surprising number were close and in many cases surprise winners emerged despite less money. As a comparison, among the 20 close but losing elections only seven (35%) were preceded by primaries and only one of those was close: the Tammy Duckworth-Christine Cegelis- Scott duel in IL-6.
This is the fifth in a series of diaries depicting the Democratic victory in this year's midterm elections.
Already covered have been New England, NY, NJ/MD/DE, and Pennsylvania.
Today's diary will focus on the Buckeye state, where we find that there must be something in the water, any water. We know that the coasts lean blue, but this is also increasingly true of Ohio River Valley.First up are the seat control charts, and yes grey means that the race is still in dispute not that some third party won.
This is the fourth in a series of diaries epicting the Democratic victory in this year's midterm elections. Other diaries in this series can be seen here.
Already covered have been New England, NY, NJ, MD, and DE.
Today's diary will focus on the Keystone state, the site of great hopes, and as today's diary will demonstrate a great truth. Pennsylvania really is Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between. First up are the seat control charts.