SSP’s Competitive House Race Ratings: Initial Ratings for 2010

The Swing State Project is pleased to announce our first set of House race ratings for the 2010 election cycle:

Likely D Lean D Tossup Lean R Likely R
CA-18 (Cardoza)

CA-47 (Sanchez)

CO-03 (Salazar)

CO-07 (Perlmutter)

CT-05 (Murphy)


FL-22 (Klein)

GA-02 (Bishop)

GA-08 (Marshall)

GA-12 (Barrow)

IL-08 (Bean)

KY-06 (Chandler)

LA-02 (Cao)

MI-09 (Peters)

MO-03 (Carnahan)

MS-04 (Taylor)

NC-08 (Kissell)

NC-11 (Shuler)

NJ-12 (Holt)

NY-13 (McMahon)

NY-25 (Maffei)

OH-06 (Wilson)

OR-01 (Wu)

OR-05 (Schrader)

PA-17 (Holden)

RI-01 (OPEN)

UT-02 (Matheson)

WA-02 (Larsen)

WI-03 (Kind)

WI-07 (Obey)

WV-03 (Rahall)
AZ-01 (Kirkpatrick)

AZ-05 (Mitchell)

AZ-08 (Giffords)

CA-11 (McNerney)

CT-04 (Himes)

HI-01 (OPEN)

IA-03 (Boswell)

IL-11 (Halvorson)

IL-14 (Foster)

IN-02 (Donnelly)

MA-10 (OPEN)

MI-07 (Schauer)

MN-01 (Walz)

MO-04 (Skelton)

ND-AL (Pomeroy)

NJ-03 (Adler)

NM-01 (Heinrich)

NY-01 (Bishop)

NY-19 (Hall)

NY-20 (Murphy)

OH-13 (Sutton)

OH-16 (Boccieri)

OH-18 (Space)

PA-03 (Dahlkemper)

PA-04 (Altmire)

PA-08 (Murphy)

PA-10 (Carney)

PA-12 (OPEN)

SC-05 (Spratt)

SD-AL (Herseth Sandlin)

TN-04 (Davis)

TX-17 (Edwards)

TX-23 (Rodriguez)

VA-09 (Boucher)

VA-11 (Connolly)

WI-08 (Kagen)
AL-02 (Bright)

AR-01 (OPEN)

AR-02 (OPEN)

CO-04 (Markey)

FL-08 (Grayson)

FL-24 (Kosmas)

ID-01 (Minnick)

IL-10 (OPEN)

IN-08 (OPEN)

IN-09 (Hill)

MD-01 (Kratovil)

MS-01 (Childers)

NH-01 (Shea-Porter)

NH-02 (OPEN)

NM-02 (Teague)

NV-03 (Titus)

NY-23 (Owens)

NY-24 (Arcuri)

NY-29 (OPEN)

OH-01 (Driehaus)

OH-15 (Kilroy)

PA-07 (OPEN)

PA-11 (Kanjorski)

TN-08 (OPEN)

VA-02 (Nye)

VA-05 (Perriello)

WA-03 (OPEN)

WV-01 (Mollohan)
KS-03 (OPEN)

PA-06 (Gerlach)

PA-15 (Dent)
AL-05 (Griffith)

AZ-03 (OPEN)

CA-03 (Lungren)

CA-44 (Calvert)

CA-45 (Bono Mack)

FL-12 (OPEN)

FL-25 (OPEN)

KS-04 (OPEN)

LA-03 (OPEN)

MN-06 (Bachmann)

NE-02 (Terry)

OH-12 (Tiberi)

SC-02 (Wilson)

TN-06 (OPEN)

WA-08 (Reichert)
29 D, 2 R 36 D 27 D, 1 R 1 D, 2 R 2 D, 13 R

You can also check out our House Vulnerability Index. We welcome your thoughts in comments.

169 thoughts on “SSP’s Competitive House Race Ratings: Initial Ratings for 2010”

  1. Here would be my changes:

    1. I don’t think calling AL-02 a toss-up is accurate given that there is at least one poll showing Bright with a massive lead over all Republicans running. Things can change, but that alone should give Bright a Leans Democratic ranking.

    2. Considering the clusterfuck that is the New York Republican party, the fact that Hoffman and the Conservatives want to make life miserable for the Republicans, the fact that Owens will probably get the Independence ballot, and that Andrew Cuomo will have strong coattails; I’d be more inclined to call this race Leans Democratic (though I’d note that you’re call about Arcuri is probably right and might even be slightly generous).

    3. I’d probably move the open NY-29 seat to Leans Republican, based on the superior bench the Republicans have in the district. Although considering the other two races that took place last year, I can’t say that your view is unreasonable.

    4. I’d also probably move WV-01 and TN-08 to Leans Democratic based on being an entrenched and relatively noncontroversial incumbent (Mollohan) and the strength of the candidate we got to run for the open seat (Herron) (although I concede that if it’s a bad year, this is the type of seat that we shouldn’t take for granted).

  2. That the rankings has IL10 a toss up when polls seem to have a solid Lean D for Seals. I am also shocked that Terry in NE2 is all the way at likely R territory when the Mayor of Omaha should make this no better than a Lean R.

  3. Lean D to Likely D:






    Tossup to Lean D:





    Tossup to Lean R:




  4. I know we don’t have top-tier challengers here but Sessions and McCaul have had trouble breaking 60% against weak opponents. And this is just me but I would move CA-03 to Lean R since it’s even more Democratic than those Texas districts and Ami Bera is a pretty good candidate.

  5. The tossup column is terrifying. I agree that it seems more fitting to put Mollohan and Bright in the lean D column.

    I don’t know if makes sense on paper, but I would put Tom Perriello in the lean D column as well based solely on his skill as a candidate and politician. He’s got some phenomenal chops, he works his butt off, and because of the proximity to DC he is in the district all the time.  

  6. I’d go with NY-29 and PA-12 as tossups at best.  There aren’t sufficiently impressive Republicans running, but that might not actually matter.

  7. putting LA-02 so far to the left, without some evidence of polling.

    Does Cao have good constituent services?  That matters a lot.  Plus, LA as been moving steadily rightward.

  8. ref http://www.electionprojection….

    Filing day has come and gone in Arkansas, and none of the several top GOP prospects will be running for this open seat to be vacated by 7-term Congressman Marion Berry.

    i.e., all Rs have in that district is ‘some dude,’ so I think that district can be moved to “lean D”.

  9. TN-06, do we? And Tennessee’s filing deadline is tomorrow.

    BTW-Alabama’s on Friday deadline will be the half-way mark.

    It sorta sucks that we don’t get any state primaries until May 4th other than the Texas runoff (36 primaries, with only 2 being pretty significant).

  10. I’m not sure putting AL-05 all the way at Likely R is appropriate. Lean R, maybe, though honestly I’d put it at Tossup.

    That’s a messed-up district this cycle with the Parker Griffith partyswitch. The Republicans are tearing each other apart and we seem to have some decent candidates on our side, include Taze “Me Bro” Shepard.  

    I’d probably also put NE-2 in Lean R, not Likely. And in MI-07, Schauer I’d put into Tossup. But these are all minor quibbles…hooray for charts!

  11. we would only lose 95 seats.  Republicans would still be just slightly short of the veto-proof majority required to repeal HCR.  Hooray!  We can’t lose!

    “Always look on the bright side of life.” – chorus sung by crucified convicts at the end of Monty Python’s Life of Brian.  

  12. The economy is steadily improving, health care fears will subside when the world doesn’t come to an end, and people still hate Republicans.  Just in the first column alone, I would classify as safe CA-47, CO-7, GA-2, KY-6, MO-3, MS-4, NC-11, OR-1, PA-17, WI-3, WI-7, and WV-3.

  13. Is this for real or exaggerated? How did we get here compared to this time last year? If this is real, then we are in deep shit for Nov. I mean, 27 Toss-ups? IIRC from ’06 and ’08, 70% of toss ups, 20% of Likely and 10% others changed hands. If that happens w/ the above, the House is lost already. Did you check to see the type of GOP candidates in these seats..cos if they are teh suck, then that we are in much better shape than this horrifying list.

  14. as Likely GOP.

    I know, I’m a broken record on this race, but with Hayhurst beating Souder in fundraising, plus Souder facing a bunch of rich guys in the primary who’re currently bloodying him up with ads and draining his already anemic coffers, I think you’ve got to say Hayhurst at least has a chance — which is the definition of Likely GOP.

  15. …it’s still the case that if the R’s sweep all the tossups (and the lean/likely R’s) the Democrats retain control of the house.  I may be off by one, but I think R’s need 40 seats for house control — 42 if D’s win DE-AL and LA-02.  That would be, on SSP’s chart, all the tossups plus 10-12 from the current “Lean D” column.

    In other words, a scenario in which Republicans retake the house requires an additional nudge toward the R side beyond (at least SSP’s) current predictions.

  16. ..but I can’t believe how surprised some of you are. Am I the only one that thinks these projections are optimistic? Only 3 races that we’re currently favored to lose? I find that incredibly hard to accept, as much as I’d like to.

  17. If Democrats control the House and Senate come January, I consider it a victory.

    The SSP ratings suggest to me a net loss of 20-to-30 House seats.

    That leaves us in control, and I would credit the big legislative success of health care reform as the reason we didn’t lose the House.

    And I really like our chances in 2012 with Obama surge voters returning to the voting booth, even with the Senate math working against us.

    So for 2010, if our majorities survive, I’ll take it and declare victory.

  18. We have the SSP official list for the House now.  I just spent the last half hour comparing this list to the list I’ve compiled, and I must say, in every region of the country outside of perhaps the Upper South, my ratings are generally much more optimistic, with few exceptions.  

    I’ll point out some key differences here:

    Michigan-7 – I’m extremely surprised to see this one sitting in the Lean D column.  I have this at Tossup with Team Red picking it up.  The only poll we’ve seen had Walberg up big.  

    Arkansas-2 – Here’s one of those seats where I just feel incredibly pessimistic.  I have this one at Likely R, but that was before the democrats coalesced around a candidate.  Still, the repubs got their man here, and it’s going to be very tough sledding.  

    Maine-1 – I just don’t know why people are failing to pay attention to this race.  Pingree is vulnerable, she only won by 11% in 2008 in a district Obama won by 21%.  

    West Virginia-1 – I’d like to hear an explanation from anybody, from SSP, from Cook, anyone, for why this seat is in the Tossup category.  Did Mollohan suddenly become unpopular overnight or something?

    California-3 – Likely R for Lungren?  Really?  Considering he didn’t win by much last time around, and that he is losing the fundraising chase to his challenger, in the one part of the country that is relatively immune to the anti-Democratic wave, I disagree vehemently with this rating.  Tossup.

    Arizona-1 & Arizona-8 – I’m not aware of any first or second-rate challengers for Kirkpatrick or Giffords, so I don’t know why you think they are in much danger.  Arizona, like California, probably won’t be moving much to the right this year, mostly because it failed to move left in 2008 because of McCain’s candidacy.

    California-48 & Michigan-3 – I’m a little surprised that these two democratic-trending seats didn’t make the board.  MI-3 is open, and Campbell is facing a tough challenge in CA-48.  I wouldn’t write those off.  

    Those are just some observations, but for the most part this list was fairly accurate.  I did note that a lot of your Lean D column I had inside my Likely D zone, and a lot of your Likely R column was in my Lean R zone.  Maybe that’s a result of me being a bit optimistic, but in lue of President Obama and Congress’s recent successes, it’s not impossible for the pendulum to turn back our way.  It would be helpful if the unemployment situation improved, because that’s a dealbreaker in some of these districts.

  19. I know you guys take pride in having realistic ratings that are not biased by your political preferences, but you may be over-compensating. This is more GOP-friendly than the right-leaning Rothenberg and Charlie “Hard to Imagine a Scenario” Cook. That said, maybe I’m being unrealistic, so I commend SSP for putting aside what they hope happens for the sake of reality.

    I won’t quibble over what should be Likely instead of Lean. One step in either direction is basically statistical noise. Also, I don’t mean to peg everything on 2008 numbers, since this is definitely not 2008, but it’s hard to see someone go from something like a 67% victory in 2008 to being in danger of losing in 2010. However, I am confused by a few:


    WV-01 (Mollohan) – Despite the credible primary and GE opponents, R+9 lean, and corruption investigation, he’s incredibly entrenched in the historically Dem district. Seems like Lean D at worst until some polling emerges.

    Lean D

    OH-13 (Sutton) – Is Ganley really that strong to warrant this, or are there other factors?  The primary challenge doesn’t seem very worrisome. It’s D+5 and she won in 2008 by 30 points.

    Likely D

    CA-18 (Cardoza) – Don’t get this at all. Cook has the same rating. Obama by 20 points, but Cardoza unopposed. What makes him vulnerable?  The irrigation board member?

    CA-47 (Sanchez) – Similar story here. Everyone has her at Likely D. Obama won by 22 points and Sanchez by 38. Is Tran that strong? Is the Vietnamese community super-motivated and strongly Republican?

    GA-02 (Bishop) – Swingy district, but won 2008 by 36 points. Challenger is state Senator, but not highly touted.

    MS-04 (Taylor) – The definition of entrenched. Won 2008 by 50 points, despite McCain winning by 35. Overperformed Obama by 85 points. If it’s a referendum on Obama, Taylor appears to have some wiggle room.

    MO-03 (Carnahan) – His two main opponents are a teabagger and the CoS to the least popular MO governor in memory. Russ overperformed Obama by 15 points. Most importantly, his sister will be at the top of the ticket, and you better believe her campaign will be maximizing performance in her brother’s district.

    NJ-12 (Holt) – A wealthy, self-funding opponent alone is enough for Likely D?

    OR-01 (Wu) –  Opponent is a “Young Gun”, but Obama won by 25, Wu by 29 in 2008. What are the other factors?

    RI-01 (Open-Kennedy) – May be an open seat, but it’s also D+13, with Obama by 32. The Dems seem much stronger than the GOP candidate.

    WA-02 (Larsen) – Is the GOP candidate that strong?

    WV-03 (Rahall) – Because the coal-backed primary challenger will defeat him or weaken him for the general?

    WI-07 (Obey) – Wha-wha-what?  The chair of the Appropriations committee versus a guy from the Real World? Maybe I’m not up to speed on his challengers.

    I think many of these warrant a Watch List, instead of Likely D, but you guys are the experts!

  20. In my own little mind, sometimes it is hard on any given race to determine whether it is “Likely” or “Lean”, “Lean” or “Tossup”, or “Safe” or “Likely”.  Since this is a crap shoot at this point, 7 months from the general election, I’ll point out some races where I had a race totally different from yours.

    1.  FL-22.  I don’t know the Republican candidate, but I was somewhat worried about this race.  I had it somewhere between Tossup and Lean.  Probably my own lack of knowledge.

    2.  WV-01.  I like Mollohan’s chances for reelection.  I have him as “Likely”.

    3.  OH-13.  I didn’t even have this race on my radar.  What’s going on with this race?

    Your other categories seem quite fair.  If I had to make a bet, I imagine that at least a dozen in the Likely Category will drop off this list in a few months.

    Great job!

  21. By the way, Chris Van Hollen gets a giant FAIL in Kansas this year. We could’ve had 3 competitive races, but we couldn’t recruit anyone for the easier (compared to KS-04) seats. I’m hard-pressed to think of any seats where we had a bigger recruiting FAIL.

  22. I understand why you have MN-01 (My home Disrict) as only Lean Democratic, on paper it is exactly the kind of District Republicans should be competitive in, but the way things are shaping up I think Walz is safe. The 4 Republicans seeking the seat have raised virtually no money, less than $25,000 combined as of the last FEC Filing (Walz 700K), and 3 of the 4 (exception State Rep Randy Demmer) are far far out looney toons Michelle Bachmann type Republicans. There are also 2 non Republican Tea Party type candidates in the race (one Independence Party candidate, one Independent) to make things even tougher on the Republicans.

  23. I might move a few back and forth but I think you have the total numbers about right. We are looking at about -30 I think. But things are more likely to get better than worse.

  24. I think WA 8 should be “Lean R” rather than “likely R” and WA 03 “Lean D” rather than toss-up. I’m a little surprised that WA 2 even made the list.

  25. But I think that with so many tough rankings, it’ll look a lot better for all of us when more of the races from now until november head towards the left side, making us all happy and giddy.

    It’ll be interesting how this all plays out, as I see this shrinking considerably.

  26. I’m a bit surprised to see PA-06 at Lean-R. It would be REALLY annoying if the Democrats lose that election yet again. It’s true, though, that Gerlach has a proven ability to win in that district, and though it’s hard to know how his attempt at Governor may affect anyone’s thinking, he is the incumbent.

  27. as I can certainly see your guys’ train of thought and see where you are coming from.

    My biggest yay was seeing MN-6 on the likely list.  And like you, I agree that MN-3 is not going to happen.  We need to redistrict Paulsen now or he’ll be set for life.

  28. Few comments:

    1. AR-02 is “leans Republican” for me now: Democrats have difficult to predict primary, while Republicans coalesced around one (and rather strong) candidate. Especially if Democratic nomination will go to Elliott: an overtly liberal Black candidate may be too much for this district

    2. Klein’s district is very polarized so it’s “Leans Democratic” for me in present climate

    3. On the other hand – i don’t see strong Republican candidate in NY-25 (the one i am aware of is very conservative), so this one may be even safe (for now)

  29. But im more pesimistic than SSP in few races, what I wish emphasize:

    LA-02: Currently I see not democrats emerging enough strong in this district. I think in this moment IL-10 look better for dems than LA-02. For me this race would be a Leans-Dem.

    MA-10: I think J Malone is a serious candidate for this district in republican side. For me this race would be a Toss-Up.

    ND-AL and MI-07 have strong challengers, and pro-republican pollsters are giving bad numbers in polls. I think give a Toss-Up for this races can be a little pesimistic but would be coherent looking the rate for other races in SSP ratings.

    IL-11 can be more a Toss-Up and IL-08 can be more a Leans-Dem in the contest of SSP ratings. I think We Ask America polls have very low value, but I think can be interesting take in consideration the relative positions between the different districts assuming they have the same level of “mistake” for all districts. We Ask America show us dems having better results in IL-10 than in IL-08, IL-14 and IL-11.

    I think with this little changes, the rating would improve, but my point is more optimistic. I would change more races to a more favorable rating for Dems.

  30. For what it’s worth, a lot of people here expect State Senator Brad Zaun to win the primary over the better-funded NRCC pick Jim Gibbons. If that happens, Zaun will be broke after the primary, and the NRCC will probably be even less likely to get involved in the district.

    Even if Gibbons wins the primary, I kind of doubt the NRCC will make a big play here. Iowa is losing a district after the 2010 census, and probably the winner of the IA-03 election will be thrown into the same district as Tom Latham, who currently represents IA-04. So even if they defeated Boswell, the GOP wouldn’t get a long-term gain out of this race. I think they have much better targets than IA-03.

  31. I won’t say whose right and wrong, but intrade has a bid-ask spread on Rep 30+ at 65-75.  According to your rankings, the Republicans would have to run the toss-up table and hold Cao and DE-AL to do that, which sounds like a price under 50.  So, if you think these ratings are correct, then you should be selling on intrade without hesitation.

    1. That didn’t take long.

      I’m condescending, but someone who calls me unequivocally wrong on something that clearly is a matter of interpretation isn’t? Or patting yourself on the back for your argument and calling me lazy? Boring. If you don’t like my argument, that’s fine, but spare me the self-righteous defensiveness.

      Charlie Cook is pessimistic because he sometimes changes his mind? Was he being pessimistic when he predicted big Democratic gains in 2006 and 2008? I don’t follow.

      As JamesL pointed out, it’s early, so to stand back from this vantage point and to call races as they stand would trend more towards being safe and lumping a lot of races into the toss-up category. I totally get that, although for my own predictions I would disagree.

      As almost everyone agrees, we’re going to lose seats, and probably by a pretty big number. Some of that is climate, some history, but mostly due to the fact that we’re playing on a lot of conservative turf that we’ve picked up over the years. It stands to reason a lot of that is going to fall back as things equalize. It also stands to reason that it is more likely to happen in very conservative districts, open districts, districts which the Dems barely won in ’06 or ’08, or something combination of the above. Again, I think almost everyone recognizes this, so perhaps some of it is simply a matter of what we want to frame as toss-up or lean, but as James again pointed out, I would look at anything where we are more than 60% likely to lose as Lean R, and that puts a lot more seats in that category.

  32. I don’t remember any coming out besides that weird We Ask America one. however Dold seems too conservative for that district.

  33. is not the Mayor of Omaha — he’s a state Senator.

    I’d really like his chances in any other year, but maybe something still will happen here.

  34. Prob add OH-15 Kilroy to lean R (yeah, yeah, the district is moving D, but so are a lot of places that are in danger of flipping as well. Sucky campaigner = sucky results.)

  35. Campaign released poll.  I need a little more than one internal to sway me, I’m assuming it’s the same for them.  

  36. A big double-digit lead with no competing polls to contradict it (even if it is a campaign poll). Even if it’s optimistic, that’s still a stretch to assume that Bright isn’t a Leans Democratic.

  37. I can understand wanting to see more polling, but calling this one simply an internal does not really give enough credit to the poll or the pollster.

    Anzalone-Liszt is a very reputable pollster in Alabama.

    Also, one other thing about the poll is that Barber, Bell, and Roby are not questioning the validity of the results. One or two even said the results are “encouraging”!

    I’d like to see more polling as well, but I do think calling this one a toss-up, when people on the ground in the district say otherwise, is a little far-fetched.

    Here’s the article I referenced: http://www.montgomeryadvertise

  38. Earlier in the week, a candidate filed, a 34 year old Marine Captain, Ben Leming, filed for the seat. (Some other dude is in the race too, can’t remember his name).

    Unless Leming proves to be an amazing candidate (and the Republicans destroy each other in a nasty nasty primary), the odds against holding this seat are still overwhelming

  39. Yes, you are correct that Louisiana is moving to the right, but that doesn’t necessarily apply to LA-02: Obama won 74% in this CD, barely changed from the marks that Kerry and Gore posted here despite an exodus of many African-American voters due to Katrina.

    Cao’s votes against HCR, and his subsequent comments comparing abortion to slavery sealed the deal on this one. He’s not playing to win.

  40. in a 65% African American district is “good constituent services,” then Cao has good constituent services.  The future is not Cao.  Cao will go bye-bye in 2010.

  41. on your confidence in Taze Shepard.  I have not heard anything positive about the Dem field in AL-05.

  42. Hayhurst is a decent candidate with money up against a wobbly incumbent. The partisan lean of the district is the only thing that saves Souder.  

  43. 1) It’s pretty early.

    2) We have imperfect information and therefore can’t predict any one race with certainty.

    3) However, we’re not suggesting that one half of the tossup races will go blue, and the other half red. When you have a wave year, tossups tend to break in favor of that wave. At this point, we just don’t know how sizable that wave will be in the fall.

  44. AR-2











    AL-2 (more toss-up, but the idea that this is lean D is crazy)

    FL-8 (again, more toss-up, and I know liberals love Grayson, but I’m not sure he fits the district and that he wasn’t aided a lot by Obama)

    MI-7 (depends on the Rep candidate, we were aided a lot by the Club for Growth last time)

    I’m not saying I would put all of these in the Lean R category, but I’d probably take about half. 20 seats is probably the low mark for Dem losses, so to say that there are only 3 Dem seats with a greater than 50% chance of turnover seems too optimistic to me.

  45. who is VERY pessimistic has six in Lean or Likely R – the three SSP has plus AR-02, IN-08, and NY-29.  I pretty much agree with NY-29.  I strongly disagree on AR-02, where the state House speaker is running, and in IN-08, where a Dem state rep is voting against Republican “some dudes.”  Those are tossups to me.  As to the rest of your list:  

    AL-2 – Bright internal has him up 24.  Lean D is by no means crazy.  Calling Lean D crazy is kind of crazy, actually.  Cook even has it Lean D.

    FL-8 – Grayson’s internals have him handily winning the Republican primary.  It was a stupid exercise (and reinforces the “crazy” meme) but it shows just how lackluster the Republican field is.

    MI-7 – Walberg internal has him up nine.  Could go either way on toss-up or Lean R.

    MS-1 – Childers won by double digits in 2008, and there is an awkward, bi-racial Republican primary here.  Tossup.

    MD-1 – Harris internal polling had him up 11 from memory.  I could live with this as a Lean R.  Very tough seat.

    NM-2 – PPP says Pearce by 2.  That’s a tossup.

    OH-1 – That weird FDL poll had Chabot up big.  I could live with this as a Lean R, as black turnout will probably not be there for Driehaus.

    OH-15 – No polling here.  I think there’s a conservative third party problem here for Stivers IIRC.  Tossup if I’m remembering that correctly.

    ID-1 – Don’t know what to think of this.  Huge R lean to the district, but a lackluster Republican field and good D candidate.  Could go either way.

    NH-2 – Bass has a lot of work to do in the primary, and Swett could beat him even if he survives.  Obama won this district by 13%!  Tossup.

    TN-8 – Potential Democratic rival said Herron’s numbers in internal polling looked great.  I tend to believe it.  This is very Blue Dog Dem territory.  Tossup.

    VA-5 – PPP had 41-41 with Hurt.  Tossup.

  46. If an incumbent is tied currently in the polls with someone far less familiar with the electorate, that’s not a good sign.

    I don’t think Cook is VERY pessimistic either. Nate Silver, who nobody could accuse of having a liberal bias, has the Dems losing anywhere from 20-50 seats.

    And internal polls aren’t worth the paper they are printed on.

  47. It does not become you.  I took the time to back up my conclusions with data, and you came back with a lazy, condescending response.  Disappointing.

    Cook Political’s ratings are pretty comparable to SSP’s overall, and either Cook or SSP would support Silver’s conclusion of 20-50.  I also think it will be 20-50, but probably in the 20’s or low 30’s unless something new goes wrong, which is always possible.

    Internal polling is fine if taken with a grain of salt.  Most of the internal polls I cited were Republican internal polls to back up my agreement with you on some of these races.

    Bright’s internal with him up big shows me he’s probably up, but somewhat less than his poll shows.

    As to races where the polling is even:

    NM-02 – Ex-Rep Pearce is as well known as Teague.

    VA-5 – Periello is better known than Hurt, but Hurt also has a Tea Party candidate to siphon votes away.  Tossup.

  48. First although Cook is a good predicter, he also twends to be a bit of a worry wort, few months ago we were supposed to lost 70 seats so until we get closer to november i’ll start taking his predictions more seriously.

    Second incumbents tied in this environment is a good thing. When Perriello got sworn in everyone thought he be toast by election day and lost by 10-20 points and after everything he’s voted for he just tied with Hurt, that’s a good sign, not bad like you want to believe.

    Internals mean something when Bobby Bright is literally trounching Roby in the polls, that’s something no one can hide. I hardly find there predictions as over optimistic, just a sign as we really don’t know what will happen until we get closer to November. Sorry but your wrong.

  49. Here’s the thing that’s unique about Virginia this November:  only U.S. House races are on the ballot!  There might be the oddball special election for a vacant local office here or there, but only the Congressional races are on the regular schedule.

    So every incumbent needs voters to show up just for him.

    If you’re Tom Perriello and you already proved once you can do great field, and you’ve voted “yes” on the agenda of the Democratic and first black President in a district where you need better-than-average-for-a-midterm black turnout, as well as good white liberal turnout, to win, then you’re in OK shape to get a turnout model that gives you a chance to survive.

    Contrast to Glenn Nye, who has voted “no” on virtually every major legislative vote, including most infamously on health care TWICE.  How does he get base Democrats to show up for him on election day?  He’s obviously playing to the nonpartisan middle and hoping he can get away with taking base Dems for granted.  You can do that in a Presidential year, and you might be able to do that on the coattails of a strong Democratic Senator or gubernatorial candidate who is running a strong campaign the same cycle.  But Glenn needs people to show up just for him?  Methinks he’s gonna be in a world of hurt.

  50. Given how bad MD-01 is I understand why he’s done and why Obama and Pelosi are going to give him a long leash.

    However, he’s not thinking strategically.

    1. The teabag crowd is not going to give him quarter for voting with the GOP; they have their guy in Harris.

    2. The Democrats in the district, and there are plenty of them, are going to less inclined to turn out to save him. And O’Malley isn’t going to help him any as he’s pretty unpopular in this part of the state; Ehrlich will clean up in this territory and he’ll probably be campaigning with Harris.

    3. Suppose he loses to Harris (or some other Republican) this year. Assuming O’Malley gets re-elected (likely) with a Democrat-dominated General Assembly (a near certainty) that district’s going to look different in 2012. (I’ve got a few ideas that I keep saying I’m going to diary – there are plausible maps where MD-01 is 57% or 58% Obama voters.) If he wants to go back to Congress in 2012, he’d likely have a better district for Democrats than the one that exists now…but also might have primary competition from one or more candidates more in line with other Maryland Democrats.  

  51. ME-1 Chellie Pingree is NOT valnerable. Yeah the President won it by over 20 points but she won it by more than 10, that’s good to all us. Your point would be valid if say she won by 3 while Obama won it by 21.

    WV-1 Probally because he’s facing a challenger FROM THE RIGHT by a member of the WV Legislature and his GOP opponent is from the WV Legislature.

  52. AZ-01 has a second-rate challenger in former State Senate Majority Leader Rusty Bowers.  The GOP thought they had a top-tier recruit in Bowers, an easy mistake to make when you’re not from AZ and don’t understand the district.  In reality, Bowers is from Phoenix in a district that prides itself on having rural representation, hasn’t been in office for 18 years, and now isn’t raising any money.  The people I know in the district don’t even know Bowers is running, despite the fact that he’s been in the race for months; the teabaggy dentist who’s running against him has more visibility than he does.  I see this seat as Likely D, but in a huge wave Bowers (or the teabaggy dentist) could win.

    In AZ-08 the GOP got its best recruit in years with State Sen. and Iraq War vet Jonathan Paton.  Unfortunately for them, Giffords is probably unstoppable at this point.  I have this one at Lean/Likely Dem, but Paton is well-respected and more likely to win here than is the execrable Bowers in AZ-01.

  53. Oh, I totally missed the before. No way Mollohan is a tossup….Likely D, maybe. At the very worst, Lean D, unless there was some polling I’m missing.

    Disagree on Pingree. Her district’s lean was too much for a Republican to overcome when the seat was open. Now that she’s building up incumbency, I fail to see how she’d be defeated this time.

  54. 1. Pingree is not especially popular (and she lost big to Collins some time ago), but this year she has too conservative opponent (Scontras), who lost Republican primary to more moderate Summers in 2008. If Summers would be candidate this year – i would be really concerned, but with Scontras – she must win

    2. MI-07 and AR-02 – agree. BTW – who is that candidate Democrats coalesced around in AR-02? I remember numerous candidates there

    3. With present candidates i see no chances for Democrats in CA-48 and MI-03. Yes, Obama polled very well there, but this was a one-time phenomena, and Democratic base in this districts isn’t especially strong, while Republican – vice versa.

    4. CA-03 – agree somewhat. Probably “leans Republican”. On the other side – political climate in California isn’t especially good for Democrats – even Boxer is very seriously endangered…

  55. some internal polling that looked bad for Mollohan.  He did not publicize exactly what it was.  I also think it may have been for the candidate who dropped out in January.

  56. Just confident enough that we have a credible candidate when the Republicans destroy each other (specifically, Brooks & Griffith going negative on each other).

    As a former elected member of the State Board of Education, Taze’s school board district included most of the Fifth Congressional District. He is also the grandson of the late U.S. Senator John Sparkman, who held the congressional seat from 1936 to 1946.

    That’s from

    He’s a decent public speaker, too, plus a small businessman and attorney (and NRA member). And let’s remember that this district still has a lot of local Dem strength and that its dependence on gov’t spending makes it fertile territory for a potential member of the majority party who can accrue seniority and bring home the bacon.

    Again, I wasn’t arguing that it should be Lean D or anything, but I think Tossup or Lean R would be more appropriate considering how much is up in the air.

  57. But Mollohan is dogged by credible primary and general election opponents (despite the weak GOP bench), and he has well-publicized corruption investigations pending. The coal industry has abandoned him. However, he is incredibly entrenched, and the district is historically Dem. I don’t think he’s anywhere near a toss-up.  Likely D maybe. I could even go with Lean D, but toss-up is kind of jumping the gun.  

  58. She only won by 11% in 2008, an extremely democratic year.  Does anybody actually believe that she’s going to win by a greater margin this time around, in a very republican year?  I don’t.  That puts her at below 10% win margin, which by definition makes it a competitive seat.

  59. What, did her parents force her to be in pageants and she’s counting when she told the audience what her favorite subject in school was?    Recess!!!!  (Shit, I miss that show on my Saturday mornings.  “We shall not, we shall not be mooooooved”)

  60. but I really don’t disagree with anything you’ve said in this one, nor am I out to get Cook like some others on this site.  His rhetoric is more pessimistic than his ratings justify, but I remember, as you do, his moving lots of Republican seats to competitive status towards then end of the 2008 cycles.  I don’t specifically remember what he did in 2006.

    I’m not sure we disagree much at all, so I’m not sure why we’ve gotten crossways here.

  61. And yes I do think as Charlie Cook as too much as a worry, sorry but when a man five months ago said we were going to lose 70 seats I think that. I think the man is a good predictor but i’ll wait until were closer to november till I listen to him when we have a clearer understanding of what’s going to happen. As for seat loss i’m not a moron man, I know were going to lose seats probally about 30 and that’s alright. And as much as you hate for me to point out a incumbent like Tom Perriello being tied at this point when everyone had him as dead meat from the moment he took office is a good sign, not a bad one. So yeah you are wrong man.

  62. The cap-and-trade vote last year has made trying to survive this November a death-defying feat for coal country Democrats.  We lost a well-liked coal country Democratic incumbent in the Virginia House last November largely because of cap-and-trade (an instance where Deeds’ horrible campaign by itself wouldn’t have been enough to lose the seat), and that was a state election that shouldn’t have turned on a federal issue.

    Consider that Obama already was disliked and unpopular in coal country even in 2008, and couple that with cap-and-trade, and you’ve got real trouble for all coal country Dems.

    Oh, and it doesn’t help that some of these coal country Dems voted “yes” on cap-and-trade!  Rick Boucher in VA-09 among them.

  63. Re WV-01, see my comment above on coal country Democrats.  All of them are in real trouble because of cap-and-trade specifically and Obama’s deep unpopularity (even in 2008 in this region) more broadly.  Mollohan falls within that bunch.

    Re OH-13, that’s the Cincinnati-based seat held by frosh Steve Driehaus, and the 14-year incumbent he beat, Steve Chabot, is back for a rematch.  Black turnout went through the roof in that district in 2008 but will be down again this time, and Driehaus, although anti-abortion, voted “yes” on health care and I believe also on the stimulus.  I personally am hoping that the competitive Governor’s race and the open-seat Senate race will keep black turnout high enough to give Driehaus a good chance to survive.

  64. I don’t find these ratings optimistic or pessimistic, but more realistic since the GE is 7 months from now.  I honestly believe that if we look at it as a conceptual framework, we can really learn a lot on how these contests will play out.  Right now, I think the Republicans still have solid momentum, although the Democrats are making some modest strides.

    I feel pretty confident that we will lose the 3 races in the lean/likely takeover categories.  There is a realistic chance that we will lose two/thirds (18 seats) of the Tossup races too, along with 6 seats or so in the Lean Category.  That would mean we would lose a total of 27 seats.  We will probably gain around 4 seats from the Republicans.  That means (net) we would lose 23 seats.  I think that is pretty realistic.  I could see us losing as few as 15 seats and as many as 30 seats.  I would be more pessimistic, but the Teabagger 3rd party groups will probably siphon off some votes from Republican candidates, allowing certain Democratic candidates to win a plurality.

  65. But none are worse than the ENTIRE STATE OF KANSAS. We lack a credible candidate for the open Gov race, the open Sen race, the open KS-01, and against freshman Lynn Jenkins in KS-02. Out of four possible races, we have Raj Goyle in KS-04. Stephene Moore doesn’t seem credible to me, as she brings nothing to the table except her last name.

    In the House:

    MI-11: I considered McCotter one of the most vulnerable Republicans left in the House, but not without a good candidate.

    MN-03: Paulsen is a freshman, Obama won his district by 6, but the Dems are weak.

    NJ-07: Lance is a freshman. Not sure how strong Potosnak is.

    Plus 6 unopposed Republicans in Texas. Not bad on the House side (except McCotter). Could be worse.

    In the Senate, in order of failure magnitude:

    ND – Already a throw-away; won’t even be close. Although there wasn’t a lot to choose from.

    AZ – Will anyone be there to stop the corrupt nutjob Hayworth from walking to the Senate after he takes out McCain? Doesn’t look like it.

    DE – Biden probably would have won but didn’t have the spine. Coons probably will not but at least he’s credible.

    GA – Isakson is very weak as a freshman incumbent, but it doesn’t matter without a candidate.

    FL – Meek is weak. The state is huge…lots of possibilities. He can’t even take advantage of the GOP civil war.


    NV – We have a candidate, but it’s a huge mistake. Maybe he’d be credible in a different cycle, when his dad is not so insanely unpopular, but he’s a joke right now. Hard to see either of the Reids losing by less than 15 points.

    I’m not aware of any credible candidates in ID, NE, or WY, but they’re lost causes anyway. Not bad here, compared to the Senate, but the Nevada failure is epic.

  66. Also, I’m surprised that Rogers (AL-03) is not even popping up on the radar considering how close Segall came in 2008 without hardly any outside support whatsoever. Personally, I think Segall is too liberal for the district, but many in the liberal blogosphere are very, very, upbeat about the race this time around and Segall seems to be running a good campaign.

    Finally, Griffith’s seat in AL-05 being Likely R is, like Bright’s rating, one that I very much disagree with. Mo Brooks is a strong candidate, but he’ll split the anti-Griffith vote with Les Phillip in the Primary. There are a few Democrats in the running now, with two of them (Shepherd and Raby), being fairly strong. I think it’s a stretch to say an economically populist, ancestrally Democratic-leaning seat like AL-05 is “Likely R”.

    Anyway, just my thoughts, I’m sure we can all nitpick on something.

  67. We got someone for the seat that we’re almost certainly not going to win (sorry, Raj, still love ya), but the ones where we could win, we’ve got third-tier nobodies. What’s the point of good recruits if they can’t win–in fact, Goyle’s probably draining funds from other KS Dems. And I don’t think Van Hollen had much to do with Goyle running….

    And frankly, IMHO, Stephene Moore has a LOT of work to do to prove she’s not a horrible option, worse than even just “Some Dude”. Truly, that’s my home district, my parents are Democrats, and they were really pissed off about the whole affair. Like, not-going-to-be-donating pissed. Like, will-vote-for-moderate-Kevin Yoder (if he can win the Republican primary) pissed. They’ll hold their nose and vote for her if Republicans nominate a crazy, but beyond that…

    Sure, she may turn out to be a good candidate, but she is no prized recruit and comes with a hell of a lot of baggage (ie–strong and accurate perceptions of nepotism).

  68. We’ve got a credible KS-Gov candidate in State Sen. Tom Holland. And a Democrat is not going to win KS-01, ever. It’s like R+35. And technically, we have three-term Salina mayor Alan Jilka, who’s about as good as we’re gonna get there.  

  69. Screw Segall, Rogers can have that seat.  Let’s fix up the map, give Bright a seat much less Republican (hahahaha, R+5 would be nice) and let’s get him voting a bit more liberally.  We’ve already got Bright and he can be solid and be in Congress for 30+ years.  Fix that up and off we go.

  70. And list our rationales for each rating (that would have taken forever!), I’ll respond to some of these in comments.

    AL-02: We agree that A-L is a reputable pollster – that’s not the concern. The issue is that we don’t generally like to make moves based on a single poll. Before that poll, everyone would have agreed it’s a Tossup. Also, the lack of a responsive poll I think does not indicate much given how early it is, and given that Bright undoubtedly has much greater name rec than his opponents. If one of the Republicans released a poll showing Bright up 42-28 (say), that wouldn’t tell us much.

    AL-03: This race is on our radar, but it seems an incredibly tough row to hoe in a cycle like this. Repeat candidates didn’t do all that well in 2008 – and that was the second good Dem cycle in a row.

    AL-05: We don’t feel Dems have a particularly strong candidate here, the nastiness of the GOP primary nonwithstanding. But maybe we’ll revise later.

  71. Keep Bright’s district largely the same, he’s not gonna get more liberal. You can shift his district a bit, but keep the white parts of Montgomery & all of Dothan and most of the Wiregrass in there, and the PVI largely the same and he’ll still be there 30 years. Then make AL-03 more liberal (read: blacker) so a moderate Democrat can win it more easily. Rogers is already unpopular–he underperforms in his base (Calhoun Co.)–so pushing the district a bit to the left should be enough to defeat him.

    After all, AL-03 seat is already the least Republican seat held by a Republican (it’s R+9, while Bright’s is R+16 and Griffith’s is R+12, and the Mobile-based 1st is R+14).

    In fact, I might be okay with drawing Bright an even tougher seat in 2012 or 2014 so he decides to go statewide and win a Senate seat (if Republicans control redistricting, this could easily happen).  

  72. Segall is far more liberal than Bright will ever be. You can give Bright a less Republican seat, but I seriously doubt his voting pattern will change. Contrary to popular belief, not all Conservative Democrats vote the way they do only for political survival.

    You’ve got to remember some things about Bright, he was recruited by BOTH parties, and he supported Huckabee in the GOP Presidential Primary.

    Bright is also the perfect person, regardless of party, for the district he’s in. He’s got roots in the Wiregrass portion, yet served as Mayor of Montgomery. Best of both worlds.

  73. Furthermore, Cao let himself get taken in by BMW Direct, which is a sign both of incredibly poor campaign savvy and that his minders (to the extent they exist) at the NRCC weren’t paying much attention.

  74. We’d better keep at least 55 Senate seats, as there isn’t much room for us to grow over the next two cycles. If we can keep a majority until 2016, there will be at least 10 Republican seats we can win.

  75. Yeah, can’t say we’re very optimistic on this race. But we’ve been reluctant to move races past Tossup in the absence of clear polling or really negative situations. (Note that we haven’t hesitated to do so in our Gov and Sen ratings.)

  76. While I still respectfully disagree with your view on AL-02, I appreciate giving a response to that in particular.

  77. Thanks for the response.

    AL-02: I mentioned the credibility of the pollster as a reply to Jeremiah’s post. I can see where y’all are coming from though with the hesitancy. Bright is one of my favorites, so I guess I can be biased at times, I just think he’ll win though.

    Fair enough on the other two :)

    Keep up the good work!

  78. In the “Likely” categories is low – it simply means that an upset cannot be ruled out. Since pretty much all of those races feature either quasi-legit (or better) GOP candidates and/or red leans, we are not comfortable at this early stage in ruling anything out.

  79. The economy is very slowly improving, and Republicans will have decent candidates in CA-47, CO-07, MS-04, PA-17 and some other districts

  80. …voters are crucial.  As the result of strong elections in 2000 (5-seat gain) and 2006 (6-seat gain), we’ll be defending 24 seats compared to 9 GOP-held seats.  So we’ll need every Democratic voter out there on election day to defend.

    I fear most the 2014 midterrm, which I think is likely to be worse for us than 2010 unless 2010 is a total disaster.

  81. it could very well be a good election for the Democrats, or at least the incumbents, whoever they are.

  82. Id die if she lost and she’s one I’d have to somehow find a fitty to donate to if need be.  She’s in the Klobuchar/Gillibrand camp.

  83. “…already the least Republican seat held by a Republican IN ALABAMA.”

    And DavidNYC, I agree with you on Bright. He’ll probably win but ranking him as a non-Tossup based on one poll this far out underplays his vulnerability.

    However, repeat candidates (specifically, second-time candidates, not third-time or perennial ones) almost always do better the second time around as voters are more used to them and their name rec is higher. That’s how we got ex-Congressman Massa, after all.  :) But besides him, there’s Melissa Bean, Nancy Boyda, Jerry McNerney, Gene Taylor, and a number of others who won on their second try.


    I'm actually expecting a few retirements in 2014 on our side (Levin, Lautenberg, Landrieu, Harkin, and Baucus are all definite possibilites), not to mention that we'll be defending states like Alaska, North Carolina, Arkansas, and West Virginia (I'm more or less writing off Begich in 2014, which is a shame because he's been a pretty good senator). Not to mention that Mark Udall will probably get a strong challenger given his less-than-stellar performance in 2008 (given the nature of that race). The only races that I see as being even potentially competitive for us are Georgia (assuming the demographic changes continue), Kentucky (considering his poor performance in 2008 even with McCain's strong performance on the ticket, I have to imagine that McConnell will still be vulnerable come 2013), and Maine (and only if Collins retires).

  85. Her district is pretty much the city of Portland and its suburbs, which splits about 65D/35R.

    Her win margin was low because she’s an out lesbian.  Gay marriage runs about 10% behind national Democratic performance at the ballot box; she got that number.

    There’s liberal/Democratic trend in Maine generally, though probably a little less than the national shift of 1% per year.    Pingree is going to get the same or a higher percentage this election than last.

  86. However, repeat candidates (specifically, second-time candidates, not third-time or perennial ones) almost always do better the second time around as voters are more used to them and their name rec is higher.

    Tell that to Vic Wulsin, Linda Stender, Darcy Burner, Christine Jennings, Gary Trauner, or Jill Derby.

  87. If you retire and you’re wife is just going to run, why the hell can you just run again and keep the seat safe.   KS-3 just boggles my mind and makes me want to cry.  What a throw away seat!

  88. and I don’t think Loughlin has a chance. He’s no Scott Brown and William Lynch and David Cicilline are no Martha Coakley. Cicilline has made some unpopular decisions and has some baggage but he actually slightly outperforms Providence’s presidential Democratic lean. Also, Cicilline’s base is the East Side, which is the well-educated white urban liberal part of the city and shouldn’t have major turnout issues vis-a-vis 2008. I personally think he’ll win the primary and romp in the general, but we shall see.

  89. And the helpful commentary. What I’ll say is this: Just as you note that the difference between Lean and Likely can be a fine one, so too can the difference between Likely and Safe. Last cycle, we experimented with a “Races to Watch” list, but it wound up not being very helpful, and a lot of races mostly puttered along there without ever heating up.

    We’ve been using them with better success for senate and gov races this cycle because we’re trying to link them to discrete, knowable events. For instance, if George Pataki gets into the race against Gillibrand, then we know the race will become more competitive. However, vague hopes (eg, “Donald Betts is a state senator, so maybe he’ll be able to kick it in gear”) were never a very good guidepost.

    So this cycle, we’re erring more toward Likely ratings rather than doing an RTW list again or leaving something as safe. All that Likely means it that an upset cannot be ruled out. I’d say for pretty much all the races where you’re unsure about our Likely rating, that’s the most I’d say. In other words, some races straddle the line between Lean and Likely; these largely straddle the line between Likely and Safe. But you have to make a decision somewhere.

    As for Mollohan, exactly what you said is why we’ve listed the race as such. There also seems to be the possibility that the establishment will abandon him in favor of Oliverio. For Sutton, I think she has a glass jaw (check out how feeble her primary win in 2006 was, against pathetic candidates – Capri Cafaro, anyone?), is a fairly weak fundraiser, and Ganley is probably the best the GOP could hope for, in a cycle that is also just about the best the GOP could hope for.

  90. Texas: Cornyn is kind of a loser (“Big John”) and was barely beating Noriega at first before pulling away over the summer, and even then barely won by double digits. If the Democrats continue to make gains among Hispanic voters and Obama contests Texas, Cornyn could be in trouble.

    South Carolina: ok, it’s improbable, but what if teabagger rage is still alive and well then? Lindsey Graham could get primaried and create an opening.

    Tennessee: though it’s moving the wrong way, it’s not as bad as Arkansas or Louisiana; if Alexander retires and we get a good candidate and they get a bad one (a la Ellsworth vs. Hostettler/Coats), there might be a glimmer of hope.

  91. and the commentary. You are certainly correct that, on the face of it, the math could be challenging, but it really does depend to a large degree, I submit, on the state the country is in in 2014. I do agree that Begich has very little chance of being reelected. I have trouble, though, drawing many other conclusions so far in advance, except that Democratic Party officials really ought to be involved in a kind of “player development” including cultivating “minor league prospects” for the eventual tough contests in 2014.

  92. Since apparently Bright is Miley Cyrus, it would be great if the Disney demographic could vote…:P

  93. Bright has a conservative record because he’s a conservative guy. Give him a more liberal seat and he’ll either get primaried and lose or switch parties and win. Neither scenario is a good one.

  94. I’m talking about the second run, period, not the second time they’re nominated for a general.

    Vic Wulsin did better in her second try (compared to the first, which was a special election) and worse on her third.

    Jennings would’ve won on her second try if those voting machines in Sarasota County would’ve worked properly.

    Trauner was running against a completely different person the second time around.

    I’ll give you Burner and Derby.  :)

  95. If Obama outperforms there relative to what he did in 2008, then you may well be right, though even then it would still be tough.

    It’s doubtful Tennessee will be particularly competitive even if there is an open seat (though I’d concede that we’d have a hypothetical shot in that case).

    I’m not getting my hopes up about South Carolina, although the state is trending in our direction.

  96. picked up on South Carolina trending our way.  It is doing so and quickly, both ideologically and in terms of Dem partisanship.  

    Bredesen could run for Senate in Tennessee.  Who knows?

  97. we nearly won in 2006 even with the Artur Davis of Tennessee, so you never know. I guess it depends on how far to the right the state moves.

    As for Texas, you’re right that we should wait and see, but if Bill White can be in a tossup in this environment, someone like John Sharp should be able to do well assuming 2014 is more like Democrats’ 1998 than Republicans’ 2006.

  98. more than anything else. Still, you are right, and if Sharp was interested in running now, it’s possible that he’ll run again (although if Hutchison retires in 2012, he’ll probably just run then).

  99. And it’s worth mentioning that my commentary carries the inherent caveat that predictions four years in advance are probably worth jack shit 😉

  100. That’s pretty fantastic.  He should be able to at least keep Salina and Hays from going off the map for state house races.

    KS-02 could still have a surprise recruit, but KS-03 is fail

  101. said internal polling between Ms. Moore and the GOP candidates was “basically neck and neck.”  Loose use of words?  Bullshit?

    Not sure it’s “fail” territory yet.

  102. Oh, who could it be? Joan Wagnon, maybe? House Minority Leader Davis? A State Rep. I’ve never heard of? It seems we actually have a TON of State Reps. in KS-02, although a State Senator would be better as he/she wouldn’t have to give up his/her seat.

    I agree Stephene Moore is not a total and complete fail, but she makes me haz a sad that we couldn’t find anyone better.

    Btw, I was combing through the KS State Reps a bit, and I must say that KS Dems have an excellent bench of mustaches, including Robert Grant (Dist. 2), Tom Burroughs (33), Harold Lane (58), Dale Swenson (97) and Ed Trimmer (78). Fun facts about Kansas, y’all, fun facts.

  103. If Team Blue couldn’t take PA-6 in 2006 or 2008, I have a hard time imagining they’d take it from Gerlach in 2010. It is the kind of area that is slowly trending towards Dems – Obama might be the first Democrat to carry Chester County for President ever –  but I think the difference in electoral climate is (for now) greater than that shift.  

  104. You just disagree with his strategy. His gamble is that the Dem base isn’t enough to win on its own so he needs independents and sane Republicans. It is a fine needle to thread but it isn’t impossible.

  105. That had him within a couple of points. I’m guessing they are going completely on polls looking at some of the Dem seats they have leaning Republican.

  106. Heinrich at tossup when the only poll has him up nine points? McMahon, Boswell, Giffords and Mitchell? On what evidence?

  107. Similar yet very different from the one InRep linked to from RCP at the bottom of the thread. The best differential being Mark Schauer.

  108. Comment: I don’t think Sutton’s 2006 primary win was anemic — I think the fact that she even contended shows her strength.  Her opposition was very strong — former Congressman from the neighboring district (Tom Sawyer), multimillionairess with name rec (I don’t think Cafaro was that weak a primary candidate) — for a State Senator to beat those two shows amazing political chops.  Not to say that I disagree with your race rating, I just think Sutton is a very strong candidate.

    Question: If the definition of “likely” is that “an upset cannot be ruled out,” does that mean you think an upset in IN-03 can be ruled out completely?

  109. I think that’s a great assessment on how to rank the races. Your right the RTW assessment were south because alot of those races weren’t really much to race to it’s just better to rank the races like normal predictors like Cook and Company does.

    But you bring up WV and OH with Mollohan and Sutton and I disagree with them. First I don’t agree that the WV establishment will abandon a guy for a State Legislator who should a Republican…literally just because of something he was acquitted of. and as watching Betty Sutton over the last few years I can say she has more than a “Glass Jaw” and that Ganley won’t be able to overcome the Dem tilt to beat Sutton.

  110. I’m really confused by your different treatment of wv-03 and wv-01. If you want to say that all coal-district Dems are in trouble (which I don’t agree with, BTW), then wouldn’t Rahall would be in even more trouble in wv-03 than Mollohan in wv-01?

    What made you decide to list them in such different places?

    My feedback from here on the ground is Oliverio just hasn’t had the time to be a factor. He decided at the last possible minute to run for this seat and doesn’t have any big base of support to draw on.

    I’m not quite sure what you mean by “the establishment,” but I can tell you that loyal Dems from multiple corners of the state are fund-raising for Mollohan. People are generally scratching their head wondering why Oliverio entered this race.

  111. I ran down the list, could totally see why SSP ranked the seats as they did, except this one.  I dont even think a 1994 scenario could oust Walz; the dude has so much “Minnesotan charm” it hurts.  If we didnt already have Franken (who also is lucky to have “Minnesotan” ooze out of his pores), Id be dreaming of a Klobuchar/Walz duo.

  112. … is that in Manan Trivedi, we may finally nominate a Dem from the Berks County end of the district and not the already-safe-for-Ds Lower Merion/Ardmore wing.  It may help significantly.

  113. Yeah, I wasn’t really familiar with Wulsin…that sentence was 2 minutes of internet research…

    But thanks for that link, I stand kinda corrected. Though we were making different points to an extent…you were being specific, I was being general because I didn’t know what I was talking about.  :)

    But second-run candidates can do better…it’s certainly possible…and Segall is male, which is a hopeful sign, apparently.

  114. I would say that months ago but ever since Pike and his campaign has done their dirty deeds on the internet they have lost support left and right and that support and momentum has went to Triverdi. So we have one serious candidat: Mirvan Triverdi to take on Slick Jim.

  115. I don’t think we’ve seen any polls, although the general consensus seems to be that he’s starting to overtake Pike.

  116. …Not horrifically awful.

    The pictures in that rotating top bar are really nice, actually. Very 1st District of Kansas.

    And it looks like he was having fundraiser-y/meet-n-greets all over the district (Emporia, Hays, Beloit, Dodge City) in the past two weeks, so I’m guessing he’s going to have competitive-ish funding levels for November.

    See…competent KS Dems can compete, we just have to find them, Mr. Van Hollen.

  117. I think a big factor in the OH-15 race is that there is a 3rd party conservative in the race, one that is more than capable of taking votes away from Stivers.  

    Also, I think it’s fair to say that the recent track record among retread candidates isn’t very good.

  118. “Her win margin was low because she’s an out lesbian.”

    Um, no. Where did you get that, Colbert? He mentioned her district has a lot of lesbians, but there are only three out members of Congress–Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin & Jared Polis.  

  119. I mean how many SSP round ups I have to read where I read a story coming from that district where a organization has switched their support from Pike to Triverdi or someone that has supported Pike became neutral. We really don’t need to see a poll to show the momentum in this primary is going to Triverdi and Doug Pike and his dumbass campaign has no one to thank but themselves.

  120. Because a good redistricting in Maryland can give him a district over D+5, like you can see in my diaries.

  121. Any AA can run and win it easily.  And we’ve got state senators and reps dont we?  Sounds solid Dem to me.

  122. In the oter side I would move to more optimistic rating the next races:

    Likely D to Safe D

    For me the race with Safe D rating in SSP what make me feel more risk but I would not move is OK-02 Boren.

    I would move to Safe D because I think they are safest than Boren:

    NJ-12 Holt

    WA-02 Larsen

    CA-18 Cardoza

    NY-25 Maffei

    GA-02 Bishop

    GA-12 Barrow

    OR-05 Schrader

    MO-03 Carnahan

    DE-AL OPEN Carney

    OH-06 Wilson

    CO-03 Salazar

    CO-07 Perlmutter

    CA-47 Sanchez

    WI-07 Obey

    MI-09 Peters

    FL-22 Klein

    NC-11 Shuler

    WV-03 Rahall

    PA-17 Holden

    GA-08 Marshall

    RI-01 OPEN Cicilline/Lynch/Brien

    Leans D to Safe D or Likely D

    For me the race with Likely D rating in SSP what make me feel more risk but I would not move is NC-08 Kissell.

    I would move to Safe D because I think they are safest than Boren:

    NM-01 Heinrich

    HI-01 OPEN Case/Hanabusa

    NJ-03 Adler

    MN-01 Walz

    NY-20 Murphy

    IN-02 Donnelly

    WI-08 Kagen

    PA-03 Dahlkemper

    TX-23 Rodriguez

    PA-04 Altmire

    AZ-01 Kirkpatrick

    PA-10 Carney

    I would move to Likely D because I think they are safest than Kissell:

    VA-09 Boucher

    TN-04 Davis

    NY-19 Hall

    OH-16 Boccieri

    OH-13 Sutton

    CT-04 Himes

    IA-03 Boswell

    NY-01 Bishop

    Toss-Up to Safe D, Likely D or Leans D

    For me the race with Leans D rating in SSP what make me feel more risk but I would not move is TX-17 Edwards.

    I would move to Safe D because I think they are safest than Boren:

    I would move to Likely D because I think they are safest than Kissell:

    I would move to Leans D because I think they are safest than Edwards:

  123. Whenever I think about LA House races, I’m reminded of the Democrat that ran as an Independent against Cazayoux and siphoned votes from him.

    I think we’ll take LA-02 no prob, but LA politics is quite unique, and I could easily see a scenario where, if two popular legislators are running, one might decide to run as an indy.

  124. TX-10 would have been a lean Republican or toss up at best with Jack McDonald in the race. He’s not, and while I love Ted Ankrum, I think even he knows that district isn’t going anywhere this year. Shouldn’t be on the list, though still worth watching off to the side.

    TX-32 might have a more legitimate claim to being on the likely Republican list. I’d want to see the last fundraising quarter to re-evaluate that as our Dem nominee is actually pretty decent. But again, this is an extended case of “if Martin Frost can’t win the seat or even lose by a reasonable margin then why should anyone else be able to”. Demographics are helping better there than in TX-10 but not enough for anything better than a likely republican ranking… for now.  

  125. Cao didn’t win because he was an amazing candidate, he won because he was a warm body.  Anyone will beat him in 2010.  He’s the Accidental Congressman all over again.

  126. Toss-Up to Safe D, Likely D or Leans D

    For me the race with Leans D rating in SSP what make me feel more risk but I would not move is TX-17 Edwards.

    I would move to Safe D because I think they are safest than Boren:

    FL-08 Grayson

    FL-24 Kosmas

    WV-01 Mollohan

    I would move to Likely D because I think they are safest than Kissell:

    VA-02 Nye

    OH-15 Kilroy

    AL-02 Bright

    CO-04 Markey

    WA-03 OPEN Pridemore/Heck

    IL-10 OPEN Seals

    I would move to Leans D because I think they are safest than Edwards:

    NY-24 Arcuri

    VA-05 Perriello

    PA-11 Kanjorski

    NY-23 Owens

    IN-09 Hill

    MS-01 Childers

    NV-03 Titus

    Leans R

    For me the race with Toss-Up D rating in SSP what make me feel more risk but I would not move is IN-08 OPEN Van Haaften.

    I would move no-one because I think no-one is “safest” than Van Haaften.

    Likely R to Toss-Up or Leans R

    For me the race with Leans R rating in SSP what make me feel more risk but I would not move is PA-15 R INC Callahan.

    I would move to Toss-Up because I think they are “safest” than Van Haaften:

    LA-03 OPEN Sangisetty

    I would move to Leans D because I think they are “safest” than Callahan:

    AZ-03 OPEN Hulburd

    KS-04 OPEN Goyle

    WA-08 R INC Del Bene

    FL-12 OPEN Edwards

    FL-25 OPEN Rivera

    Safe R to

    For me the race with Likely R rating in SSP what make me feel more risk but I would not move is AL-05 OPEN ?.

    I would move to Likely R because I think they are “safest” than the democratic challengers of Griffith.

    AL-03 R INC Segall

  127. Kosmas at Safe-D is crazy! What’s your reasoning for that? Mollohan at Safe-D is not good thinking, either. You think neither his primary nor general election opponents have any significant possibility of defeating him? Again, on what basis? And I really disagree that Arcuri or Kanjorski are safer than Edwards. Edwards is an absolutely brilliant politician who has a long track record of winning in a very heavily Republican district. Kanjorski barely gained a surprise victory in 2008, pulled across in all likelihood by Obama’s coattails. He is a sucky candidate who smells of corruption. I expect him to lose this time. As for Arcuri, he is widely considered to have conducted a lackadaisical campaign in 2008 that he almost lost, and now, by voting against the health care law, he has lost the support of many of the voters and donors he needs.

    I don’t mind your repeated posts, but a little reasoning and justification for your positions would be welcome. As it stands, I see no reason to believe you are more likely to be right than the front pagers.

  128. They had similar numbers for a GOP controlled Senate on election day 2006. Not a good predictive tool at all.

  129. FL-24 R+4 Kosmas

    Surely the majority think Kosmas is endangered, but I think republicans are failing against her. They are very much challengers but no-one demonstrate be really strong until now. Politically the more important can be a state representative what raise only $114K. These are very poor numbers. The republican challenger with better fundraising is a Winter Park City commissioner what raise only $213K. Kosmas raise $1096K.

    WV-01 R+9 Mollohan

    I think the people is confused with this district. The higher level challenger for Mollohan is a democratic state senator what challenge Mollohan by the right. Only a former state senator and a former state delegate in republican side. The former state delegate is the best fundraising with $100K. Very poor numbers. Mollohan fundraise $343.

    OK-02 R+14 Boren

    Challenger without level for Boren. The best fundraiser publish $25K. Boren raise $474K. Favorable poll.

    I see less risk for they with today’s challengers. They have less level challengers for their districts. The challengers for Boren are the weaker, but his district is too the weaker with R+14 rate. In the future, who know, republicans can improve or can collapse but with current situation I think Kosmas and Mollohan are safest than Boren. Borens fundraise is not bad but (I think) is the weaker of the three if we take in consideration the risk of his district and his seniority.

    For end, about Edwards, I agree about his political level, but I think he is very, very near a Toss-Up. We can not forget his district is really hard, and sure the republicans have lower level candidates than him but in a R+20 district is not necessary a high level challenger.

    About Kanjorski and PA-11, I think his primary challenger can make stronger to the winner in dem side. If O’Brien defeat Kanjorski, I think O’Brien will have enough strenght for defeat the republican in this D+4 district.

  130. I think Edwards is Lean-D, but even if he’s at Tossup, I wouldn’t think of putting any of the people we’re discussing at Safe-D at this point in the election cycle, regardless of fundraising numbers. They’re either weak candidates (Kanjorski) or in sufficiently Republican districts to be potentially threatened. In my opinion, even Boren shouldn’t be Safe-D, because of the possibility of the Lincoln Chafee/Jim Leach factor (voting against a well-liked incumbent weakly identified with his party’s core ideology because you dislike his party so much). I do agree with you that O’Brien would hold PA-11, but I believe Kanjorski would not.

  131. Imagine how much suckier it would be if it was the district where you were born and raised and still think of as home… sigh.

    That said, if 2008 nominee Nick Jordan does win the primary and beats Ms. Moore, I’m not sure how entrenched he could get. It could easily be a Vince Snowbarger-type situation where a very conservative Republican replaces a moderate and promptly loses to a Democrat as moderate Republicans (of which there are still many here) defect.

    And the good news about 2012 would be that we’d have 5-6 potential Raj Goyles*…Johnson County went from 1 Dem State Rep. in 2006 to (I think) 5 in 2008. If they can all win again this year (all should), that’s something of a bench.

    And hey, there’s always redistricting, which will likely help Democrats by slashing red, rural representation (most of rural Kansas is losing population), unless Republicans manage to pull off a Johnny Longtorso-style gerrymander: http://www.swingstateproject.c

    *Meaning, battle-tested second-term State Reps. from the right part of the district (Wichita in Goyle’s case, Johnson Co. for a Moore replacement).

  132. The FBI corruption investigation is no longer pending, it’s been closed and he’s been cleared. From everything I can tell about the corruption charges they were totally ginned up by Republicans in retaliation for Mollohan’s actions on the House Ethics committee. Then CREW jumped in because they like to have some Democrats on their list, too. I’ve never been able to find any “there” there.

    The primary challenge is really a non-issue. Mollohan’s challenger in the primary is credible on paper, but only just. The challenger got in way too late and, frankly, there just isn’t room to run to the right of Mollohan in a Dem primary.

    If anything, I’d be a lot more worried about Mollohan’s general election chances if he had a challenger from the left in the primary (something that, to my knowledge, hasn’t happened in at least a decade in WV-01 or WV-03). If he was challenged from the left, it would force him into more potentially controversial positions.

    I do completely agree that there are credible GOP primary candidates, though we don’t know if one of them will emerge as the challenger yet. Also of concern is Mollohan’s small amount of $$ in the bank, though he’s already got significant TV advertising support before and after his pro-HCR vote. Also, he’s actively fund-raising and with his legal challenges behind him won’t have those issues draining his coffers.

    Finally, I totally agree with your (and many other’s) comments that this is nowhere near a toss-up race at this point. I would find Lean D perhaps believable, but I’ve seen nothing to merit this as a toss-up yet.

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