You’ll notice I’m being a lot more optimistic than most, but frankly, I don’t jump when Wolf Blitzer and Rush Limbaugh tell me to jump, and those diaries about actual trends in early voting roughly matching 2006 are, to me, much more valuable than some bullshit hyperbole from a punditocracy well known for having all of their heads jammed firmly up each others’ asses.
The election is also close enough that I’m not going to bother with any of that “lean/likely” crap. I’m doing straight who I think will win and lose, and reserving “tossup” (a cop out category if there ever was one) for the races that I truly have no freaking clue over. In other words, the “tossup” category is huge this year, because this is one fracking weird election.
Actual content over the flip.
DEM LOSSES :
AR-01: Causey is within striking distance, but hasn’t polled ahead all cycle. The lean of the district will sink him.
AR-02: Elliott (shockingly!) polling within 12, but it’s still a joke of a race.
*2 seats in Arizona out of the following: AZ-01, AZ-05, AZ-07, AZ-08.
CO-03: Colorado’s not going to be one of our better states this year. Ironically, Ken Salazar at the top of the ballot might’ve saved his brother this year.
CO-04: Ken Buck’s home district, so R turnout is going to be bloody.
FL-02: Boyd barely won his primary, has lost his base, and is twisting in the wind.
FL-08: Grayson is way too liberal for this district, and, though Webster is a nutjob, I have no faith in Florida voters. Also, early turnout in FL is absolutely brutal for Dems because of the stupid Senate race.
FL-24: Kosmas is an uninspired incumbent who beat a comically damaged Tom Feeney in 2008, then sat back and watched as her district turned on her. Won’t even be close.
GA-02: This may be controversial, but there’s so much anti-Obama racism going on in the South right now, I’d be surprised if Bishop isn’t in it deeper than the polls show. People don’t want to admit they’re racist to total strangers in a poll, after all. Bishop is already within the MOE. I think he’s done. GA isn’t going to be one of our good states this year.
GA-08: Marshall is doomed. Dissolving into a rant about it’s your party leader’s fault that you’re losing is not the mark of a winner. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving a-hole.
IL-11: Halvorson beat an absolute idiot for this seat in 2008 on Obama’s coattails in his home state, then took for granted that it would happen twice. Buhye.
IN-08: I was the last one to give up on this seat, but even I have to concede it’s probably gone.
KS-03: Memo to Kansas Dems: when your incumbent quits, don’t run the guy’s wife just because you can’t come up with a real candidate. It just looks desperate.
LA-03: This one might be closer than expected if Melancon really romps downstate (which I think he will), but we haven’t really got a good candidate to take advantage.
MD-01: In 2008, Kratovil didn’t even win a majority here against the same guy, and the LV sample will be more Republican this year, esp. with the Governor’s race on the ballot.
MA-10: Polls aren’t showing strong liberal third party candidates. Too many Dems spoil the broth.
MI-07: This district hates Walberg, but he’ll get elected anyway on Snyder’s coattails.
MS-04: Taylor is the Martha Coakley of the South.
NJ-03: Shades of NJ-Gov last year in this traditionally Republican district: the Dem sucks, the GOPer sucks, too, but people hate the Dem so much that he’ll narrowly lose.
NM-02: We’ll have a mildly bad year in New Mexico this cycle, and Pearce is ahead in most polling. Martinez at the top of the ticket is the final nail.
NY-19: Similar to Grayson’s district – somewhat Republican, rich, clueless, and represented by a Dem who’s way too liberal to keep getting elected there.
NY-29: Pre-implosion Eric Massa could’ve held this, but we have no one else of his caliber here.
OH-01: Dems targeted Chabot for nearly a decade before he lost in a fluke due to unusually large black turnout for Obama. Driehaus is gone.
OH-06: Appalachian voters are looking for any reason to toss out Dems at the Federal level right now, even if they’re personally popular (see also: WV-Sen, which Manchin will only win because Raese is a carpetbagger). Wilson apparently being a wife-beating a-hole is all the excuse they need.
OH-15: Kilroy is a completely uninspiring incumbent and a terrible campaigner who turned a sure thing in 2008 into a recount. The good news is Stivers sucks, too, so we might be competitive here in 2012 with a better Democrat.
OH-16: I’m assuming the worst in Ohio this year.
OH-18: Space looked okay earlier, but has collapsed in the last few weeks.
PA-03: Kathy Dahlkemper is the Suzanne Kosmas of the North.
PA-10: Like Space in OH-18, Carney looked good for most of the cycle but has collapsed in recent weeks.
SC-05: Memo to John Spratt: Don’t announce that you have a debilitating illness that impedes your mental capacity, then turn around and file for re-election in the same week! It’s just insulting! (What is wrong with these people?)
SD-AL: If Herseth-Sandlin had bothered to run real ads instead of ads about baby poop, she could’ve pulled this out, but her trajectory is not good.
TN-04: Assuming the worst in Tennessee this year.
TN-06: This seat was gone before the ink dried on Bart Gordon’s letter of resignation, and probably even if he hadn’t.
TN-08: We at least tried here, but it’s gone.
TX-17: Edwards looks a bit better in recent polls, but he’s still going to lose.
TX-23: Canseco is leading Rodriguez in most polls and is the better campaigner. TX Hispanics will vote Republican in large numbers if it’s one of their own.
VA-02: This is a tossup in most other estimations, but I don’t see a district so reliant on the military-industrial complex and so close in composition to MD-01 re-electing a Democrat.
WA-03: Heck is gaining on Herrera, but not fast enough. The “cell phone gap” doesn’t really apply to this district because it’s more blue-collar and has never been terribly liberal, so I think polls are accurate. Heck will come closer than polled, but still lose.
WI-07: This district is gone. So is the state.
WI-08: I’m assuming the worst in Wisconsin, which has Kagen going down, too.
*WV-01: This is on the takeover list not because I think Olivero won’t win (he will), but because I expect him to be a Republican by this time next year, so we lose the seat either way.
D TOSSUPS :
AZ-01, AZ-05, AZ-07, AZ-08. Whichever 2 we don’t lose outright are tossups. Stupid Arizona.
CT-05: Ugh. I hate this district.
FL-22: No way this race should be competitive with a lunatic like West in the mix, but our turnout in FL sucks this year.
IL-17: Hare got caught napping and the top of the ticket sucks, but Dems might still come home to him at the last minute as there’s no Green running here (at least not according to the Race Tracker wiki.)
MI-01: This is the tossup’s tossup. Polling has been all over the MOE here. Depends entirely on who shows up.
MS-01: I’m not entirely convinced Childers is doomed yet. 2008 wasn’t a great year to be a Dem in Mississippi, and Nunnlee has never actually led in any reputable poll. Childers is actually fighting for this one, so let’s wait and see here.
NH-01: CSP has always overperformed polling. She was supposed to lose against Jeb Bradley, too, remember, and Guinta is no Jeb Bradley. I’m still slightly pessimistic that this district is slipping away, but don’t underestimate this incumbent. Don’t overestimate her, either.
NY-20: This district isn’t as Republican as it used to be even a decade ago, but it’s still a close enough race that I’m putting it here. I think Murphy pulls it out, though. I grew up in the district next door (VT-AL), and this entire region of New York has come way leftward in the last few years.
NY-23: Same here. I’m tilting Owens, but it’s competitive regardless. (Do note, though, that Hoffman wouldn’t have been a factor even if he’d stayed in, which is why he dropped out.)
ND-AL: I don’t care what the pundits say, I don’t buy that this state will chuck out its very senior Congressman when they’re already losing Dorgan.
PA-07: Meehan is the better candidate, but big turnout for Sestak in his home district could still save us here, and Sestak is popular enough that that’s a distinct possibility.
PA-11: Kanjorski has crept up a bit as Scranton Dems have consolidated, and Barletta is a really crappy candidate, too. This one will be too close, and whoever wins won’t deserve it.
VA-05: Amazingly, Periello is still within the MOE in polling. If one progressive in a tough district wins this year, it’ll be him.
WI-03: If we get spanked as hard in Wisconsin as we will in Tennessee, Kind is in trouble. Otherwise, he’ll be fine.
D HOLDS :
AL-02: Roby is a weak opponent and has trailed substantially in most polls. This district will probably dump Bright at some point, but not this year.
IL-14: Foster knows his way around this district and should be fine, despite the top of the ticket.
IN-02: Donnelly has proven this cycle that he’s vulnerable, but the GOP is going to have to do better than Wacky Jackie if they want this seat.
IN-09: No way Hill loses to Carmel Boy. The GOP will have to get rid of him the old fashioned way: redistrict the crap out of his district. (Though if we lose IN-08, they can’t really put Bloomington anywhere else without screwing one of their own, so maybe he’ll survive redistricting, too.)
IA-01: Not even close.
IA-02: I’d worry about Loebsack if he had a real opponent.
IA-03: Boswell looks better than he did earlier in the cycle. Bet he retires in 2012 rather than run against Latham.
KY-03: Yarmuth has led comfortably all cycle.
KY-06: Chandler looks in pretty good shape, and turnout for Conway in Lexington will be pretty substantial.
ME-01: Pingree sucks at campaigning and really doesn’t seem to have gotten the hang of her district in general. Weak turnout for Mitchell and Cutler might hurt her here, but I think she still wins.
ME-02: This will be closer than polling suggests thanks to the weird nature of Maine voters and lack of enthusiasm for the liberals running for Governor, but I think Michaud pulls it out.
MA-ALL: We’re only losing MA-10 this cycle, though MA-03, 04, 05, and 06 will all be closer than they should be.
MI-09: Despite an evenly divided district, Peters looks like he’s in pretty good shape.
MI-15: Only in Eric Erickson’s fevered dreams.
MN-01: By the time the GOP started closing here, it was too late. Walz will survive.
MN-08: No way Oberstar loses, no matter how many pundits and Redstate idiots say WERE GOING TO WIN SEVENTY ZILLION SEATS OMFG LOL WTF 11111
MO-03: Not even in 1994.
MO-04: Skelton has led in most reputable polls, and his seniority has to count for something. He’ll get the scare of his life and retire in 2012. (Which makes Gene Taylor’s supporting him for speaker all the more comical.)
NV-03: Titus hit the ground running this cycle and got a good number of Porter voters behind her early. She’s been really fighting hard for it, and will do better than Reid next week.
NH-02: Charlie Bass is the GOP equivalent of Martha Coakley. Having completely forgotten that NH-02 chucked him out on his butt in 2006, he failed to raise money or campaign, took his own election for granted, and is now being annihilated by Kuster, who will win easily.
NJ-12: Holt wins a squeaker, the Leg tries to shore him up in redistricting, Christie vetoes the bill 327 times just to be a troll, the leg impeaches him, New Jersey applauds.
…Well, if the Redstaters are allowed to dream about Dingell and Oberstar losing….
NM-01: Heinrich has polled about where you’d expect him to be in this slightly D (but Heather Wilson-friendly) district. He’ll be fine.
NM-03: Lujan shouldn’t even be on this list, but NM sucks this year.
NY-01: Bishop looked shaky a few months ago, but has started actually running and looks fine now.
NY-02: Israel was never in trouble in the first place.
NY-13: McMahon by all rights deserves to lose, but another hilarious dose of Staten Island GOP fail keeps him viable for at least another cycle. He is one arrogant bastard, though.
NY-22: Hinchey had quite a scare last week, but seems to be campaigning for his life now. He’ll pull it out.
NY-24: Somehow Mike Arcuri survives in spite of himself.
NC-ALL: None of the incumbents polled have ever been under 50. This is just more Redstate bloviating.
OR-01: Wu is an absolute idiot and probably deserves to lose, but Corneilles is well behind in polling. The increasing D lean and total voter apathy in this district have kept Wu in office for over a decade – why stop now?
OR-04: Will be closer than it should be because of depressed liberal turnout in Eugene (something about the stupid hippies not liking Kizhaber because he’s not a stupid hippie…or something), but DeFazio has enough crossover support that he’ll be ok.
OR-05: SSP moved this race too soon. Bruun has limited appeal outside of the Portland suburbs, and Schrader runs a good ground game in the rural areas. I’m still leaning Schrader here.
PA-08: Like Hinchey in NY-22, Murphy got quite a scare last week, but looks good now that he’s upped the volume on his campaign.
UT-02: Many long-time Blue Dogs will lose this year. Matheson is not one of them. (The difference between him and Boyd: Boyd nearly got primaried. Matheson nearly got voted out in convention, which is totally arbitrary, then cruised in his primary.)
VA-11: Another in the “dreamin'” column.
WA-02: Major “cell phone” effect in polling the SeaTac area, and fantastic turnout in Washington so far keep this one not even close.
WA-09: Slightly closer than WA-02, but still not close enough to worry about for all of the same reasons.
D PICKUPS :
DE-AL: Won’t even be close.
HI-01: Djou is competitive in polling, but Japanese never answer polls. Hanabusa will win.
LA-02: Cao only won because of Jefferson.
R TOSSUPS :
AZ-03: Quayle fail. This district is too white to benefit from depressed Latino turnout – it’s entirely about the candidate.
CA-03: Lungren is within the MOE and floundering. Bera is campaigning hard. This could be one of the brightest spots of the evening.
IL-10: The Republican equivalent of PA-07. I really have no faith in the voters of this district to vote for three time also-ran Dan Seals with Mark Kirk on the top of the ballot.
MI-03: This is probably actually a slightly Lean R race still, but I’m putting it here anyway.
MN-06: This one has flown under the radar, but Bachmann has really struggled this year (including losing the endorsement of her district’s biggest newspaper for the first time – and people in the Midwest still actually read newspapers). Weak turnout for Emmer might sink her.
WA-08: Like Bachmann, Reichert has had a bad year, and, like Bachmann, he’s lost the Seattle Times and has rumors swirling around that he’s mentally incompetent. Delbene within MOE and has more universal appeal than Burner did.
R HOLDS :
FL-12: This was never more than a Lean R race, and bad turnout will sink us here.
FL-25: I had us winning here until I saw the turnout numbers. Thanks for being a selfish a-hole, Kendrick Meek.
KS-04: GOP has a solid collection of 1990’s driftwood at the top of the ticket and Pompeo is a jerk, but the district’s lean might be a bit too much for Goyle to overcome. This will be like ID-01 in 2006.
NE-02: Not the best year for us in the Mole People States. Terry has never been behind in a poll this cycle and his opponent has issues.
D SEATS LOST: 41. (R +41)
D TOSSUPS: 15 (R +7)
Subtotal: R +47
R SEATS LOST: 3 (D +3)
R TOSSUPS: 6 (D +3)
Subtotal: D +6
TOTAL: R +41
NEW HOUSE COMPOSITION:
R 219 D 214
In other words, nearly the same number as the final result from 2006, only skewed in their favor this time.
Bottom line: It’s probably optimistic to expect we keep the House, but being Chicken Little and buying into the Republican/pundit groupthink that we’ll lose 80 seats is just stupid. I’ve got some oceanfront property here in Indiana I’d like to sell you, too.
And I’m sure there are problems with this list. There are too damn many incumbents to keep track of this year. I just wanted to counter all of the doom and gloom around these parts with some “we’re probably hosed, but not as much as people want to believe”.
Also, look at how many of the guaranteed losers are Blue Dogs. Most of the Republican seats we pick up will be won by Progressives, so the losses we sustain in seats such as FL-08 and NY-19 will be mostly recouped.
There are 54 Blue Dogs. As many as half of them are going to lose. It will utterly decimate their caucus, and there aren’t any entering Dems to replenish those numbers, except for maybe the guy in AZ-03 if he wins.
The next Dem caucus will be a lot more liberal, in other words, though I’m not holding my breath that they’ll be able to capitalize on that, especially with the rumors that Pelosi is quitting if we lose the House and leaving that (procedural) idiot Hoyer in charge.
In any case, I’m sure this is controversial to some of you, so have at me.