Key Primary Races on Tuesday


Jim Ryun vs. Lynn Jenkins

2nd – Boyda (D) – Leavenworth, Pittsburg, and Topeka.

In 2004 Nancy Boyda was defeated by incumbent Jim Ryun by a 15% margin.  Two years later, in a surprise upset of the night, Nancy Boyda defeated Jim Ryun by 4% (a 19% improvement from two years previous).  In fact, Boyda was only one of two unsuccesful challengers from 2004 to win in 2006 (McNerney was the other).  The fact of Mark Foley, the infamous page scandal congressman, being his Washington neighbor, may have less to do with Ryun’s loss than what he did in the days prior to the election.  Once he realized that he was facing a closer race than 2004 he invited Bush and Cheney to fundraise with him.  At a time when both were toxic, and still are, the mere invitation to both may have convinced the electorate that Ryun was indeed too aligned with Bush and Cheney, resulting in his defeat.  Ryun now wants his job back, yet he faces a competitive primary challenger in State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins.  The primary itself mirrors an ongoing battle within the Kansas Republican Party.  Ryun is a staunch conservative and Jenkins is considered a moderate.  Republicans dominate both chambers of state government, yet many moderate Republicans have voted with Democrats on social issues strongly opposed by conservatives.  In 2006, party division not only led to Ryun’s loss, but also to that of five state house seats, and a state attorney general detested strongly by moderate Republicans.  The Ryun-Jenkins race is just one of many featuring conservative vs. moderate.  Conservative leaders in the state senate have recruited fellow conservatives to challenge what they call “liberal” Republicans who are running for re-election this year.  While Ryun is expected to win the primary due to strong conservative turnout, the primary challenge has left him with an inability to concentrate solely on Boyda.  The advantage in this Republican leaning district clearly lies with Boyda.  She has established a fairly moderate voting record, thereby allowing her to appease the moderate voters of the Republican Party.  Campaign support from a popular Democratic governor and sharing the ballot with the last Democrat to represent the district, Jim Slattery, are also strong advantages.  If Ryun wins the primary, then expect a large percentage of Jenkins supporters to shift to Boyda, providing her with sufficient support in overcoming the Republican dominance of the district.  If Jenkins wins, then expect many of Ryun’s supporters to overlook the race in its entirety.  After all, if a moderate Republican is a “liberal” in Kansas, then what would one consider a moderate Democrat?  As for any role Senator Roberts plays in this race could be interesting.  If he campaigns aggressively for Ryun, then he could alienate Republican moderates and narrowly lose his own re-election.

Rating: Leans Democrat (Ryun wins)/No Clear Favorite (Jenkins wins)

Another interesting race to watch:

Johnson County DA – Former State Attorney General/Current Johnson County DA Phil Kline vs. Steve Howe


Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick vs. Mary Waters vs. Martha Scott

13th – Kilpatrick (D) – Detroit.

In most circumstances, Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick would be considered safe.  However, her problem is one beyond her control: her son.  As mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick, has been caught up in one scandal after another.  Rather than discipline or scold her son publicly, Kilpatrick has instead scolded those that have criticized her son.  Her response toward her son’s behavior or lack of appropriate response has drawn criticism, especially after Detroit taxpayers have been left paying millions following the actions of her “failed” son.  As a result of her inaction towards the matter Kilpatrick finds herself in a three-way primary.  State Representative Mary Waters, considered the most serious threat, and State Senator Martha Scott, have decided to force a primary.  Kilpatrick is taking the threat that the primary poses seriously and for good reason.  She herself was elected by defeating a fellow Democratic incumbent in a contentious primary.  The lessons of that primary are surely with Kilpatrick now.  She also has funding, unlike both of her opponents.  Unlike a primary with just one opponent, the three-way primary guarantees that votes against Kilpatrick would be split between Waters and Scott.  The later of whom is merely seen as a placement candidate meant to help Kilpatrick, rather than hurt her.  In the end there is no denying that her son is a liability, yet the nature of the primary, the lack of funding by both opponents, and Kilpatrick’s past experience versus an incumbent, makes her well prepared in surviving this challenge.

Rating: Safe Democrat  


Dan Bishir vs. Blaine Luetkemeyer vs. Danie Moore vs. Brock Olivo vs. Bob Onder

Judy Baker vs. Lyndon Bode vs. Steve Gaw vs. Ken Jacob

9th – Open Seat (R) – Columbia, Kirksville, and Washington.

The decision by Kenny Hulshof to abandon his seat and run for Governor has created a contest that few could have anticipated.  Five Republicans, four Democrats, and a libertarian are all in the running to win this seat.  The two most competitive Republicans are former State Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer and State Representative Bob Onder.  The two most competitive Democrats are State Representative Judy Baker and former State House Speaker Steve Gaw.  Luetkemeyer and Onder share much in common.  They are both social issue candidates (abortion, guns, gay marriage, and illegal immigration).  Neither seem well versed (or hardly interested) in the economy.  They also have self-funded a majority of their campaign (70% for Luetkemeyer and 53% for Onder).  Realizing that Luetkemeyer’s money can prove detrimental in a crowded primary, Onder has already started attacking him (yet there is hardly any issue where they differentiate).  In the end, Onder is likely to win the primary.  The Democratic race features Baker, who is from Columbia, the major population center in the district.  Gaw hails from Moberly, a more rural area of the district.  Baker has raised almost twice as much as Gaw, yet all of his funds have been individual contributions.  Baker is appealing to liberals in Columbia, wheras Gaw is reaching out to more conservative Democrats.  Turnout will be the key in determing who wins the Democratic primary.  If Baker wins the primary she will have an uphill climb in appealing to voters outside of Boone County (Columbia).  In 2004, Bush and Kerry performed even in Boone County, yet Kerry lost every other county in the district.  In 2006, Senator McCaskill carried Boone and Pike counties, yet only carried 47% of the districtwide vote.  Half of the vote totals will come from four counties (Boone, Franklin, Saint Charles, and Warren).  Gaw has more appeal outside Boone County, since he is running as a conservative Democrat (publicly supporting oil drilling) and is a farmer, a strong asset in an agricultural district.  Interestingly, Huckabee carried a majority of the counties here, yet Romney carried two important counties (Boone and Saint Charles).  On the Democratic side, Clinton carried every count, except Boone.  McCain provides no assistance to any Republican nominee, neither does Obama for the Democrat (other than in Columbia).  Following the primary (August 5th) a better picture will show which party has the upper hand here.  Therefore, since no nominee has been selected, ratings are based on hypothetical match-ups.

Rating: Likely Republican (Onder vs. Baker)

Rating: Too Close to Call (Onder vs. Gaw)

Rating: Leans Republican (Luetkemeyer vs. Baker)

Rating: Leans Democrat (Luetkemeyer vs. Gaw)

Another interesting race to watch:

Governor – Congressman Kenny Hulshof vs. State Treasurer Sarah Steelman

Nominees for Obama’s Cabinet

I have thought with interest who would be strong nominees for an Obama cabinet.  Here’s a few that I feel would be best:

Attorney General – Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal

Secretary of State – New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson

Secretary of Interior – Soon to be Former Utah Congressman Chris Cannon, Arizona Congressman Trent Franks (another open seat in Dem hands), or Sen. Gordon Smith (if he is defeated)

Secretary of Agriculture – Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsak

Secretary of Transportation – Port Authority of NY/NJ Vice-Chairman Henry Silverman.

Secretary of Health and Human Services – Minnesota Dept. of Health Commissioner Dr. Sanne Magnan

Secretary of Education – Montgomery County (MD) Supt. of Schools Jerry Weast or Prince George’s County (MD) Supt. of Schools Dr. John Deasy (both are large school districts and consistently have the highest graduation rates for African-American and Latino students in the nation).

Secretary of Defense – Senator Chuck Hagel

Secretary of the Treasury – New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine

Secretary of Commerce – Congresswoman Jane Harman or Former US Senator John Breaux

Secretary of Labor – Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Svcs. Director Helen Jones-Kelley or Wisconsin Dept. of Workforce Secretary Roberta Gassman.

Secretary of HUD – Boston mayor Thomas Menino

Secretary of Energy – California Energy Vice-Chair Commissioner James Boyd or Commissioner Arthur Rosenfeld.

Secretary of Homeland Security – Former NYPD & Boston Police Commissioner/Current LAPD Chief of Police William Bratton or Former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs – Congressman John Murtha or Illinois Dept. of VA Director/Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth.

**Note that all of these individuals come from the Northeast, Midwest, or West.  Unfortunately, the South continues to be last in Education and Health (therefore it would be ridiculous to choose someone from there as has been done in the past two administrations).

Also, for Housing it should be a nominee from an area where housing costs are fairly high.  Transportation should be based on where there is infrastructure of all aspects (ports, bridges, airports, etc).  Interior has traditionally come from the West and Energy also makes more sense for the West.  

In the end however, I believe that qualifications, not diversity should be the determining factor in creating a sensible cabinet.

Which individuals would you nominate for these positions or which one’s do you not agree with?

CQ’s Race Change for Shays vs. Himes

Recently Congressional Quarterly changed its race rating for the 4th Congressional District based on the following reasoning:

Higher voter registration in Bridgeport and its sizeable African-American population.  

As a resident of the district I had to wonder why CQ though Bridgeport would be the decisive factor in this race.  Historically, Bridgeport has had low voter turnout.  True it may have a higher number of registered voters than any other town in the district, yet when it comes to participation, Stamford, not Bridgeport, produces more voters.  Let’s look at just some of the numbers:

This year 33% of all registered Democrats in Bridgeport voted in the Democratic Presidential primary.  How did the other towns do?

Fairfield – 56%, Greenwich – 63%, Norwalk – 49%, and Stamford – 58%.

Sure voter registration is up in Bridgeport, yet it is up everywhere statewide, an increase which actually began when the Lamont-Lieberman battle was ensuing.  However, voter registration since 2000 has increased 100% or more in Fairfield, Greenwich, and Norwalk.  Bridgeport increased 70% and Stamford 57%.  An additional factor which hinders turnout in Connecticut is the process.  

There is no early voting, nor can just anyone vote absentee (you must have sufficient reasoning).  Quite frankly I believe that it’s time for Connecticut to go to an all mail in ballot process (we’re one of two states with no county government, therefore numbers on election night are slow since they are reported by individual towns).  For any candidate to be successful here you need to rely on turnout.  Which cities have been consistent with turnout?  Fairfield, Greenwich, and Stamford.  In fact, more people in Stamford have voted in past elections, than in Bridgeport (Stamford and Bridgeport are almost equal in population).

So while Congressional Quarterly believes their own argument that voter registration in Bridgeport is sufficient reasoning in changing their race rating from Leans R to Toss Up, I believe that turnout, not registration, will be the ultimate factor.  Sure Bridgeport has a sizeable African-American population, yet Stamford (which also has an African-American population, yet not as large) had more voters in the Democratic Presidential Primary this year.  While CQ waits for Bridgeport’s numbers on election night, I’d be more interested in Fairfield, Greenwich, and Stamford.  

As for any Obama factor here I would say it is fairly low, Obama won Stamford by 12 votes.  In addition, the population here (outside of Bridgeport) is very educated, 60% or more with college degrees.  To somehow think that voters are going to vote based on race alone here is ridiculous.  In fact, Obama’s best performance was in super rich white towns, such as Darien and New Canaan.  

Shays has never relied on Bridgeport for two reasons: he understood that turnout there was low and he knew that any deficit he had in Bridgeport could be made up in the super rich towns of Darien, New Canaan, Ridgefield, and Wilton.  However, Shays should be concerned with Fairfield this year (Fairfield University).  Greenwich, while Republican on the local and state level, has begun to tread Democratic on the federal level (however Shays will still carry the town).  Finally, Stamford (which has the highest numerical voter turnout statewide) has been drifting away from Shays in the past two elections (Shays carried Stamford in 2002, yet Farrell took 53% of the vote in 2004 and 2006).  Any of these three towns will ultimately decide whether Shays survives or Himes become a likely one-termer, however, Bridgeport will not be the decisive factor.

Please note: I strongly believe that Himes is too liberal for the district.  However, I have changed my rating on this race for a reason other than Bridgeport or Himes overall appeal.  This had more to do with the growing Hispanic population in Norwalk and Stamford (which Shays has managed to alienate with his radical anti-amnesty agenda), Himes ability to fundraise, and him finally introducing himself to voters within the district (thereby breaking the unknown factor).  However, if Himes is elected he will certainly face strong opposition come 2010 from any of the following “strong” competitors:

– State Senator McKinney of Fairfield (son of Shays predecessor)

– Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele of Stamford

– Former First Selectman of Greenwich Jim Lash

– New Canaan Selectwoman Judy Neville

– State Senator William Nickerson of Greenwich  

– State Senator Judith Freeman of Westport

– State Representative Toni Boucher of Wilton

– State Representative Livvy Floren of Greenwich

– State Representative Lile Gibbons of Greenwich

Then, of course, if Republicans simply wanted to allow Himes to remain until 2012 redistricting (which I doubt they would) then they could nominate any of these following:

– Soon to be State Senator Scott Frantz of Greenwich (a Mitt Romney supporter who is conveniently buying his way into office)

– Norwalk mayor Richard Moccia (unable to control crime in his city, yet elected because unions were upset that the former Democratic mayor wouldn’t give into their whimpering)

– Stamford Board of Finance member Joseph Tarzia (correct on his assessment of overtaxation and overspending, yet a little extreme in all other areas)

– State Representative Claudia Powers of Greenwich (way too extreme)

– House Republican Leader Larry Cafero of Norwalk (way too extreme – pushing a repeal of the gas tax at a time when a budget deficit is expected.  Of course, cut taxes and create deficits.  That’s what a real Republican does after all.)

– State Budget Director Robert Genuario of Norwalk

House Race Details (ME – MT)


1st – Open Seat (R) – Perry Hall, Salisbury, and Severna Park.

The first Republican casualty of this election cycle was Wayne Gilchrest.  He lost a three-way primary that included State Senator EJ Pipkin, a fellow moderate, and State Senator Andy Harris, a conservative.  The three way race allowed for the moderate voters, considered Gilchrest’s hallmark, to be split amongst himself and Pipkin, sealing victory for Harris.  He was also assisted by the Club for Growth which spent heavily in attacking both Gilchrest and Pipkin.  Harris will now face Queens Anne’s County attorney Frank Kratovil, the Democratic nominee.  Demographically, the district is evenly split between both parties in voter registration.  The areas considered favorable to Republicans are Anne Arundel, Harford, and Queen Anne’s counties (suburban Baltimore).  The areas favoring Democrats are Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties (Salisbury).  Harris resides in suburban Baltimore, whereas Kratovil resides in the Eastern Shore.  The registration split between the two regions is 43% residing in suburban Baltimore and 57% residing in the Eastern Shore.  An immediate worry for Harris should be his residence.  Voters in the Eastern Shore have shown a reluctance in supporting a candidate that does not reside amongst them (Gilchrest resided in the Eastern Shore and won every county, except Queen Anne’s, which he lost narrowly).  An additional problem for Harris is the incumbent he defeated.  Since being defeated, Gilchrest has not been shy in asserting his desire to campaign on Kratovil’s behalf.  Gilchrest has the ability to route moderate Republican and independent votes toward Kratovil.  Fundraising between the candidates has also been competitive (a sign that Gilchrest’s supporters have already begun to fill up Kratovil’s bank).  Support from Gilchrest, who is still popular amongst moderate Republicans, residing in the Eastern Shore, and money, are all considerable assets for Kratovil.  Whether Gilchrest’s oppossition to Harris translates into votes for Kratovil remains to be seen.  In the past, Republican moderates have openly voiced oppossition to conservatives (Roukema in NJ against Garrett and Schwarz in MI against Walberg), yet the conservative still prevailed each time.

Rating: Too Close to Call

6th – Bartlett (R) – Cumberland, Frederick, Hagerstown.

The only district in Maryland with a Republican voter registration advantage (48% R versus 36% D) is represented by Roscoe Bartlett.  He has consistently been re-elected with 60% or more of the vote, yet two years ago found himself with his toughest competition in ten years.  While the Democratic nominee was certainly competitive, the Republican tilt of the district made it almost impossible to defeat Bartlett.  This year former Frederick mayor Jennifer Dougherty has decided to challenge Bartlett.  Unlike 2006, Dougherty is not a well financed opponent.  Her positions on some social issues may make it difficult to connect with the more conservative areas of the district (particularly Carroll and Garrett counties).  The only noticeable negative for Bartlett may be his age (82), making him the third oldest member in the House.  While the district has been represented by a Democrat in the past, Beverly Byron being Bartlett’s predecessor, Dougherty cannot be considered a serious threat to Bartlett at this time.  It would take a series of mistakes on Bartlett’s part, similar to those undertaken by Kanjorski in Pennsylvania, before the race could even be rated as competitive.

Rating: Safe Republican


7th – Walberg (R) – Adrian, Battle Creek, Jackson.

As with Gilchrest’s primary defeat in Maryland, the Club for Growth can be credited with Tim Walberg’s victory over then incumbent Joe Schwarz in 2006.  Yet, even with his party’s nomination, it was a lack of party unity and hesitance on the part of moderates, Schwarz’s base, that provided Walberg with a close race against an underfunded Democratic opponent.  The DCCC had no idea that Walberg would have performed so poorly then, otherwise they would have made last minute expenditures.  However, this year the DCCC is fully prepared.  Mark Schauer, the State Senate Minority Leader is the (unofficial) Democratic nominee.  Walberg comes into the election facing two problems: high unemployment and high home foreclosure rates, neither of which he has been particularly attentive to.  The unemployment rate for the Battle Creek MSA is 7.5% and for the Jackson MSA it is 8.3%, both of which have increased dramatically since January.  This race will be centered around job creation, free trade, and high energy costs (none of which appear favorable to Walberg).  While incumbency is always considered an asset, in the case of Walberg it may actually be a liability.  The conservative stances he adopted, his votes in favor of Bush proposals (including free trade), and his lack of attention to the home foreclosure crisis at home, will all be showcased from now until the election.  Schauer has ran a very strong race, encouraging two former opponents to drop out thereby conserving funds, outraising Walberg, and offerring praise for Schwarz in the desire of winning over moderate Republicans and independents.  In the end it really comes down to whom may be considered the greatest liability, Governor Granholm (Schauer) or George Bush (Walberg).  I would confer to say the later.

Rating: Leans Democrat          

9th – Knollenberg (R) – Pontiac, Royal Oak, and Troy.

It was only two years ago that Joe Knollenberg faced the closest election of his tenure, capturing 54% of the vote.  This year Gary Peters, former Lottery Commissioner, has been selected to challenge Knollenberg.  This election presents many vulnerabilities to Knollenberg, the first and most obvious being Bush.  Like elsewhere in Michigan, his district is also suffering, yet in most instances at a much greater rate than other areas.  Homes foreclosures in Oakland County have reached an all time high.  Early estimates are that more than 10K homes will be foreclosed on this year, surpassing the 7,800 from last year.  Unemployment has also risen in this middle class district and yet, that too may continue to rise.  The probable closing of a General Motors plant in Pontiac only guarantees to exasperate the economic hardships here.  Understanding the situation he is facing, Knollenberg did vote for extension of unemployment benefits.  However, he also did vote for what many here consider to be the root of the problem: free trade.  One vote which may come back to haunt him is the Central American Free Trade Agreement, a bill which passed by one vote.  The most effective manner in disengaging Knollenberg would be to link him with Bush’s failed policies, after all, he did support most of them.  Another disadvantage for him is the changing voter patterns of once reliable Oakland County.  Once seen as a Republican base, Oakland County has gradually begun to tread toward Democrats, joining other suburban counties in the Northeast and Midwest that have reversed from Republican to Democrat dominance (Westchester County, NY and Montgomery County, PA are other prime examples).  Peters fundraising has been competitive, yet Knollenberg has twice the cash on hand.  If previous races are an indicator, Knollenberg’s margin of victory went from 58% in 2004 against a weak opponent to 54% in 2006 against a fairly competitive opponent.  It is highly likely that Peters will be Knollenberg’s strongest opponent ever.  The economic hardships of Oakland County, the increase in Democratic voter registration, and Knollenberg’s past performances all signify that this is a race that is working against him, rather than in his favor.

Rating: Too Close to Call    

13th – Kilpatrick (D) – Detroit.

In most circumstances, Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick would be considered safe.  However, her problem is one beyond her control: her son.  As mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick, has been caught up in one scandal after another.  Rather than discipline or scold her son publicly, Kilpatrick has instead scolded those that have criticized her son.  Her response toward her son’s behavior or lack of appropriate response has drawn criticism, especially after Detroit taxpayers have been left paying millions following the actions of her “failed” son.  As a result of her inaction towards the matter Kilpatrick finds herself in a three-way primary.  State Representative Mary Waters, considered the most serious threat, and State Senator Martha Scott, have decided to force a primary.  Kilpatrick is taking the threat that the primary poses seriously and for good reason.  She herself was elected by defeating a fellow Democratic incumbent in a contentious primary.  The lessons of that primary are surely with Kilpatrick now.  She also has funding, unlike both of her opponents.  Unlike a primary with just one opponent, the three-way primary guarantees that votes against Kilpatrick would be split between Waters and Scott.  The later of whom is merely seen as a placement candidate meant to help Kilpatrick, rather than hurt her.  In the end there is no denying that her son is a liability, yet the nature of the primary, the lack of funding by both opponents, and Kilpatrick’s past experience versus an incumbent, makes her well prepared in surviving this challenge.

Rating: Safe Democrat  


1st – Walz (D) – Mankato, Rochester, and Worthington.

The defeat of Gil Gutknecht by Tim Walz two years ago was a surprise upset that very few could have anticipated.  In fact, Gutknecht seemed to be doing everything right, including voting against the Central America Free Trade Agreement, alleging that it unfairly impacted sugar beet growers, a major industry in the district.  Where did Gutknecht go wrong?  He failed to realize that a district which gave Kerry 48% of the vote two years earlier was moving more toward Democrats and away from Republicans.  The strong Democratic areas can be described as Albert Lea, Mankato, and Winona.  The rural counties surrounding Worthington are considered strong Republican territory.  Rochester, the district’s major city, only leads Republican slightly.  Gutknecht’s loss can be attributed to his underperformance in Republican areas and even losing Worthington, long considered a Republican stronghold.  The Republican nominee to challenge Walz this year has yet to be determined, since State Senator Dick Day, seen as an early favorite (yet absolutely poor fundraiser), is being challenged by physician Brian Davis, the NRCC’s preferred candidate (mostly due to his ability to self-fund).  The primary between both candidates guarantees to be an intense battle.  One certainty is that post-primary the Republican nominee will be financially broke and politically bruised.  Walz has several advantages on his side, starting with three important committee assignments, all of which are seen being beneficial to the district (Agriculture, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs).  The divisive Republican primary and Walz’s strong fundraising will be assets heading into the election.  Whoever wins the Republican nomination will have very little funds to utilize in the election, forcing a broke NRCC to abandon a “promising” race.

Rating: Likely Democrat  

2nd – Kline (R) – Apple Valley, Eagan, and Faribault.

In politics, it is very rare for a candidate to be nominated by their party and lose twice, only to get re-nominated a third time and actually win.  This is the case of John Kline, losing twice to Bill Luther, an incumbent Democrat, and then finally beating him on the third try.  Since 2003, when he first assumed office, Kline has been a reliable vote for conservatives, even though the state as a whole is considered liberal.  However, Kline represents suburbs south of the Twin Cities, which continue to remain conservative in most aspects.  The most Republican areas of the district are communities in Carver and Scott counties.  Rice County (Faribault and Northfield) is the only reliable Democratic area.  The remaining four counties are evenly split amongst both parties, yet the current trend is heading toward Democrats.  This reason alone may explain why Kline has never garnered more than 56% of the vote in his last two elections.  His opponent in 2004 had stronger financing than his 2006 opponent, yet they both finished with the same margin of victory.  While the district is changing and becoming less conservative, Kline has not.  The Democratic nominee to challenge Kline this year is Stephen Sarvi.  The candidate brings impressive credentials to the race, both him and Kline have military backgrounds, yet Salvi lacks in fundraising.  The total he has raised is far less than both the 2004 and 2006 challengers.  The district could favor either presidential candidate since it is literally split between both parties, yet Salvi upsetting Kline here is a heavy task.  Kline’s cash on hand and Salvi’s poor fundraising are sufficient reasoning to make what could have been a competitive race far less competitive.

Rating: Republican Favored

3rd – Open Seat (R) – Bloomington, Coon Rapids, and Plymouth.

The retirement of Jim Ramstad, one of a dozen moderates Republicans that have opted to retire, is further proof that the Republican Party is gradually moving further to the right.  Like the district currently represented by Walz, this district is similarly viewed as favoring neither party.  However, Ramstad’s district is far more ethnically diverse and less conservative.  Cities seen favorable to Democrats are Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, and Minnetonka.  Cities favorable to Republicans are Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, and Plymouth.  The only city evenly split between both parties is Edina.  Democrats have nominated Ashwin Madia, an Iraq War veteran.  Republicans have nominated State Representative Erik Paulsen.  Both candidates have been competitive in fundraising, yet Paulsen has raised slightly more.  This will definately be one of the best races to watch for two reasons: Madia is a veteran and if Paulsen attacks him for his oppossition to the war in Iraq, then it could lead to independents (also viewed as oppossing the war in Iraq) being alienated from Paulsen.  Secondly, Paulsen has a legislative record, best described as conservative by most standards.  He has represented a conservative leaning area in the House, yet the district as a whole is moderate.  Furthemore, he was majority leader prior to Democrats retaking control, hardly a job that conservatives would entrust to a moderate.  Democrats will definately ensure that Paulsen’s conservative legislative record is made public as he undertakes his sudden transformation into a moderate.  The deciding group here will be independents, those that supported Kerry over Bush, yet were also comfortable in retaining Ramstad.  While the district should be favorable to Madia, he will have to begin dissecting Paulsen’s conservative record and put Paulsen on the defensive fairly quickly.  How effective he is will determine who prevails in the end.

Rating: Too Close to Call    

6th – Bachmann (R) – Blaine, Saint Cloud, and Woodbury.

One of the most radical and divisive members of Congress is Michele Bachmann, a social conservative.  This is the most Republican district statewide.  In 2006, the competitive race between Bachmann and Wetterling could be attributed to heavy spending by both parties and voter familiarity with Wetterling, the Democratic nominee in 2004.  In the end, Bachmann defeated Wetterling by 6%, a sign that voters saw Wetterling as too liberal, even though they were hardly sold on Bachmann.  This year the Democratic nominee is Elwyn Tinklenberg, former mayor of Blaine and Transportation Commissioner under Gov. Ventura.  Assisting Tinklenberg in defeating Bachmann is the Independence Party, which decided to nominate him as their candidate in this race.  In the past two elections the independent candidate took 8% of the vote, a difference which quite possibly could have produced a narrow Wetterling victory.  While he has already started running radio ads in the district, Tinklenberg can come off as a little boring, almost as if you’re listening to a narrator.  Bachmann’s social conservatism will certainly alienate independents and moderate Republicans, therefore Tinklenberg, being more of a moderate Democrat, is a much better fit for this race than Wetterling.  Fundraising for Tinklenberg has been a huge weakness.  Bachmann’s  total raised is almost four times as much as that raised by Tinklenberg.  However, if the DCCC see’s a race developing, then party expenditures could compensate for the difference.  Appealing to moderate Republicans and independents is an asset for Tinklenberg, yet without funds, it may be a heavy task to achieve.

Rating: Likely Republican


1st – Childers (D) – Columbus, Southaven, and Tupelo.

After being appointed to the US Senate, Roger Wicker left open what many considered a safe Republican seat.  While Wicker served the district for twelve years, preceeding him was more than 120 years of Democratic representation.  While many view Mississippi as a Republican state, the fact is that residents prefer Democrats on the local and state level, including when it comes to representation in Congress.  This could certainly explain why Travis Childers, a Democrat, was able to upset an equally financed Republican.  Childers will once again face this same opponent, Southaven mayor Greg Davis.  Childers, being the incumbent, has the advantage and many assets assisting him once again.  The district is more than 25% African-American.  Huge turnout by African-Americans, as was demonstrated throughout the special election, will benefit Childers greatly.  A committee assignment on the Agriculture Committee has also allowed Childers to bring funding into this rural district.  While neither candidate has much cash on hand, Davis’s lack of fundraising for a non-incumbent, places him at a greater disadvantage.  The DCCC will spend to defend Childers seat, yet if the NRCC feels that Davis is weaker and not competitive, then it may consider abandoning the race and assisting more competitive candidates.  It may be fair to say that Davis was damaged greatly following his nasty primary with former Tupelo mayor Glenn McCullough.  The scars followed Davis into his race with Childers and only took what most saw as a very close race and made it almost a 7.5% margin of victory for Childers.  In the very little time he has spent in office, Childers has compiled a conservative record.  Therefore, it will be difficult for Davis to attack Childers on his record (Childers is even on the record favoring oil drilling).  Additionally, attempts to link Childers to Obama, as was done in the special election, are guaranteed to have a negative effect for Davis (it only spurned African-American voters to come out in force for Childers).  In the end Davis is literally trapped, whichever way he decides to pursue his campaign.

Rating: Leans Democrat    


6th – Graves (R) – Chillicothe, Maryville, and North Kansas City.

The last competitive race that Sam Graves had was in 2000, narrowly defeating the son of Pat Danner, his predecessor.  The district is best described as being moderate to conservative.  Moderate areas include the counties bordering Kansas City.  Conservative areas include rural counties, which include the cities of Chillicothe and Maryville.  Kay Barnes, former mayor of Kansas City, is the Democratic nominee.  Sensing the threat early, Graves has begun airing ads classifying her as a liberal with “San Francisco values,” favoring gay marriage and amnesty.  The ad is an attempt to alienate Barnes from moderates in the Kansas City suburbs.  While a majority of the district is rural, a majority of the voters are moderates.  In a district that includes twenty-six counties, 70% of the voters reside in just five (Buchanan, Clay, Clinton, Jackson, and Platte).  In 2004, Kerry won 43% of the districtwide vote, whereas in 2006, Senator McCaskill won 51% of the vote.  Kerry was seen as too liberal, therefore he not only lost the district, but every county within the district (only part, not all of Jackson County is included in the district).  In contrast, McCaskill, viewed as a moderate candidate, lost the rural conservative counties, yet won comfortably in the five vital counties of Kansas City.  In order to succeed here, Barnes will need to adopt a similar strategy.  Both candidates have raised an equal amount of funds for this race, yet individual donations for Barnes far exceed those raised by Graves.  This race promises to be very aggressive, with much of the attacks coming from Graves.  He will base this race on two things: social issues (immigration and gay marriage) and energy.  He will try to link Barnes with Pelosi and Obama as much as he can (McCain will win this district).  Barnes will respond equally by linking Graves to Bush’s failed policies.  However, she will concentrate more on the economy, war in Iraq, and linking Graves to Big Oil (he has certainly received a lot from oil companies).  Graves will call on McCain to visit the district (however, it may make the immigration argument a little weak in the process), and Barnes will rely on McCaskill.  Graves may be taking a serious risk with the energy issue.  If energy prices continue to drop, without any drilling, then the issue becomes less relevant to voters, yet the PAC donations received while prices were high still remains on the radar.  Graves television attacks against Barnes, in attempts to brand her a liberal, could also backfire (Nancy Johnson will be able to inform him firsthand).  If he overplays the issue then moderates may defect sensing him ignoring important issues.  A clear advantage for Barnes is that she seems to be running a better campaign, concentrating on the important issues at hand.  She has also been competitive against Graves in the fundraising arena (and this doesn’t even include the millions that the DCCC will pour into the race).  Barnes also has McCaskill, who has the proven ability to win not only in liberal cities, but also the moderate suburbs which outline them.  Further hurting Graves is a libertarian candidate, which is likely to take at least 1.5% of the vote.  A fight until the end is the best way to describe what is going to transform.

Rating: Too Close to Call

9th – Open Seat (R) – Columbia, Kirksville, and Washington.

The decision by Kenny Hulshof to abandon his seat and run for Governor has created a contest that few could have anticipated.  Five Republicans, four Democrats, and a libertarian are all in the running to win this seat.  The two most competitive Republicans are former State Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer and State Representative Bob Onder.  The two most competitive Democrats are State Representative Judy Baker and former State House Speaker Steve Gaw.  Luetkemeyer and Onder share much in common.  They are both social issue candidates (abortion, guns, gay marriage, and illegal immigration).  Neither seem well versed (or hardly interested) in the economy.  They also have self-funded a majority of their campaign (70% for Luetkemeyer and 53% for Onder).  Realizing that Luetkemeyer’s money can prove detrimental in a crowded primary, Onder has already started attacking him (yet there is hardly any issue where they differentiate).  In the end, Onder is likely to win the primary.  The Democratic race features Baker, who is from Columbia, the major population center in the district.  Gaw hails from Moberly, a more rural area of the district.  Baker has raised almost twice as much as Gaw, yet all of his funds have been individual contributions.  Baker is appealing to liberals in Columbia, wheras Gaw is reaching out to more conservative Democrats.  Turnout will be the key in determing who wins the Democratic primary.  If Baker wins the primary she will have an uphill climb in appealing to voters outside of Boone County (Columbia).  In 2004, Bush and Kerry performed even in Boone County, yet Kerry lost every other county in the district.  In 2006, Senator McCaskill carried Boone and Pike counties, yet only carried 47% of the districtwide vote.  Half of the vote totals will come from four counties (Boone, Franklin, Saint Charles, and Warren).  Gaw has more appeal outside Boone County, since he is running as a conservative Democrat (publicly supporting oil drilling) and is a farmer, a strong asset in an agricultural district.  Interestingly, Huckabee carried a majority of the counties here, yet Romney carried two important counties (Boone and Saint Charles).  On the Democratic side, Clinton carried every count, except Boone.  McCain provides no assistance to any Republican nominee, neither does Obama for the Democrat (other than in Columbia).  Following the primary (August 5th) a better picture will show which party has the upper hand here.  Therefore, since no nominee has been selected, ratings are based on hypothetical match-ups.

Rating: Likely Republican (Onder vs. Baker)

Rating: Too Close to Call (Onder vs. Gaw)

Rating: Leans Republican (Luetkemeyer vs. Baker)

Rating: Leans Democrat (Luetkemeyer vs. Gaw)    

House Race Details (ID – LA)


1st – Sali (R) – Boise, Lewiston, and Nampa.

Normally, a district which gave Bush 7 out of 10 votes in 2004 would not even be considered competitive.  However, when the incumbent is considered radical and detested by some within his own party, then the circumstances are viewed differently.  In 2006, Bill Sali emerged the victor from a six person contested primary.  He then went on to win the general election by 5% over the Democratic nominee.  The lack of party unity following the primary and a competitive Democratic candidate had kept the race far more close than expected in a solid Republican district.  This year Sali is being challenged by Democratic nominee Walt Minnick.  While the Republican tilt of the district does not favor any Democrat, there are several aspects which do favor Minnick.  His fundraising has surpassed that of Sali’s, which is poor for any incumbent in a close race.  Further alienating Sali is Governor Butch Otter, the former holder of the seat now occupied by Sali.  Otter became agitated when Sali worked against his choice for state Republican chair.  As a result of this interference, the nominee selected by Otter had lost.  The relationship between Sali and his House colleague Mike Simpson is also said to be strained.  Sali’s ultra-conservatism has managed to alienate many moderates, including Republicans.  Some suspect that Otter and fellow moderates may work behind the scenes in defeating Sali, yet that is highly unlikely.  One group that Sali does pose a threat to is the moderate wing of the Republican Party, including Otter and Crapo.  Voter turnout in Idaho increases drastically during a presidential year and the increased turnout could make the difference, yet whom benefits is the unknown.  Due to Sali’s erratic behavior, his alienation of moderates, and Minnick’s fundraising, this is a race which may have developments closer to the election.

Rating: Leans Republican


6th – Roskam (R) – Elk Grove Village, Elmhurst, and Wheaton.

With the retirement of Henry Hyde in 2006 Democrats saw an opportunity to pick up an open seat.  A disabled Iraq War veteran was fielded against conservative State Senator Peter Roskam.  Both the DCCC and NRCC invested millions in a fight for this seat, yet in the end Roskam won, albeit narrowly.  This year Roskam is once again facing an Iraq War veteran.  Democrats have nominated Jill Morgenthaler, who not only served in Iraq, but also was the Illinois Homeland Security director.  However, what appeared to be a promising candidate may have fizzled at best.  Morgenthaler’s fundraising is lackluster while Roskam has raised more than a million for his re-election (Morgenthaler’s total raised is less than 1/4th of what Roskam raised).  While Cook County favors Democrats, the majority of the district is in DuPage County, which favors Republicans.  Due to Morgenthaler’s poor fundraising and the Republican nature of the district it is less likely that the DCCC will make a serious attempt here.  In fact, the DCCC would best utilize its resources by defending two incumbents (Bean and Foster), trying to knock off another Republican in a Democratic district (Kirk), and picking up two open seats (Weller and LaHood).  If there is an Obama effect here (highly unlikely) or a disgruntled electorate, then that in itself could keep the race close throughout, even with poor fundraising by Morgenthaler.

Rating: Likely Republican      

8th – Bean (D) – McHenry, Schaumburg, and Palatine.

In 2004, when Melissa Bean defeated Phil Crane, the longest serving Republican in the House at the time, Republicans vowed revenge.  In 2006, Bean faced a conservative Republican and a moderate Democrat, running as an independent.  The Republican, David Sweeney, emerged from a brutal primary, largely damaged at best.  However, Democrats were more concerned with what effect Bill Scheurer, the independent candidate, would have on the race.  Scheurer accused Bean of being too conservative.  As a result, the probability existed that he could take Democratic votes from Bean, thereby providing Sweeney with a narrow victory.  Yet, even though Scheurer did take votes from Bean, it was not enough for Sweeney to prevail (Bean’s victory was a 7.5% vote margin over Sweeney).  She proved once again that she had the ability to not only defeat a long serving incumbent, but to also retain a Democratic seat in a Republican leaning district.  This year she is being challenger by Republican Steve Greenberg.  Unlike 2006, when she had to defend her seat against two serious challengers, Greenberg could at best be classified a “failed” candidate, one specially recruited by Tom Cole and the NRCC.  Greenberg’s fundraising is so atrocious that it would be unconscionable to expect the NRCC to come to his rescue, yet then again Tom Cole did a great job in recruiting a “star” candidate in a Republican district, therefore supporting him across the finish line to defeat would be fully appreciated.  Under normal circumstances this race would be competitive, yet this year is anything but normal.  Republicans recruited a flawed candidate with poor fundraising.  Bean has raised significant funds and has proven the ability to win in a Republican district, even against strong candidates.

Rating: Democrat Favored

10th – Kirk (R) – Arlington Heights, Northbrook, and Waukegan.

An early sign of a candidate in trouble is massive fundraising.  Republican Mark Kirk has raised more funds that any other House Republican (incumbent or challenger).  However, even with the abundance of cash on hand, Kirk faces three problems: he represents a Democratic district, Obama is most likely to win his district, and his vote margin has dropped each year since winning the seat in 2000.  Kirk experienced a 4% drop in 2004 and a 12% drop in 2006.  If Kirk’s vote margin drops an additional 4% this year, then he may find himself with a narrow loss.  Dan Seals, the Democratic nominee in 2006, is back to challenge Kirk once again.  Seals has raised decent funds for his campaign, yet he is greatly behind Kirk in total cash on hand.  Yet, even with this monetary disadvantage, Kirk has a disadvantage of his own.  A “Ron Paul” independent candidate is most likely to take votes from Kirk rather than Seals.  If the race is close, as expected, then a loss of votes to a “Ron Paul protege” may be decisive.  In order for Seals to be victorious he will have to win Lake County with a comfortable margin and lower Kirk’s margin of victory in Cook County.  This can only be done by raising additional funds in order to keep pace with the explosive spending which Kirk will undertake.  In 2006, the total raised between the two candidates was $5.09 million, of which 62% was raised by Kirk.  This year, the total raised is $5.91 million, yet 65% of this is money raised by Kirk.  Not only is Kirk on pace to raise more funds than in 2006, he has also raised a greater percentage between the two.  An increase in the percentage of overall money raised normally translates to an increase in overall vote total.  While this is historically true, there is past precedent where the candidate that raised the most did not necessarily win (ex: Buchanan vs. Jennings in Florida).  While Buchanan was declared the winner, many believe that Jennings, the Democrat, won the race.  That district leaned Republican, therefore making the job of Jennings much harder.  In contrast, Kirk’s district leans Democratic, therefore the job of Seals is considered much easier.  Making a prediction based on money raised would be fairly easy, yet there are too many other factors which negate the money advantage Kirk currently has.  Based on money alone Kirk has a narrow advantage, yet this will be a much closer race in the end.

Rating: Leans Republican

11th – Open Seat (R) – Bloomington, Joliet, and Kankakee.

The retirement of Jerry Weller handed Democrats one of the greatest pick up possibilities of the year.  The Republican nominated in the primary was New Lenox mayor Tim Baldermann, yet shortly after winning the primary he dropped out.  This unexpected setback forced Republicans to find another formible candidate.  They finally settled on Marty Ozinga, a political unknown, whose only advantage is his ability to self fundraise.  Democrats have recruited a strong nominee in State Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson.  The campaign being run by Ozinga ignores the issues for the most part and insteads attempts to link Halvorson to unpopular Governor Rod Blagojevich.  Halvorson is more focused on the issues and running a campaign which addresses the concerns of the district, normally a strategy which leads to victory.  Halvorson leads in fundraising, yet that will hardly discourage Ozinga, a concrete magnet, from “pouring” in the money if necessary.  Halvorson also represents a large part of Will and Kankakee counties in the state senate.  The two counties account for 60% of the vote total in the district.  As has occurred in past races, most wealthy candidates are confronted with accusations regarding business dealings or their personal failures, information that very few are able to overcome once disclosed.  It’s only a matter of time before Ozinga, a flawed candidate (with a personal ATM machine), finds himself on the defensive.

Rating: Leans Democrat    

13th – Biggert (R) – Bolingbrook, Naperville, and Orland Park.

An early indicator of an angry electorate can be found here in Illinois.  This year it had its highest primary turnout since 1992, the year in which Clinton was swept into office.  The issue that year: the economy.  It was only two years ago, when the economy was not considered the major issue, that Illinois had its worst general election turnout in more than fifty years (a dismal 49% of voters came out in 2006).  What a difference two years can make in one state.  Projections for November turnout this year is between 75-79%, a net increase of 4-8% from 2004.  Republican Judy Biggert has seen her overall vote percentage drop since 2002.  The type of candidate oppossing her provides a little insight into her performance.  A candidate posing no challenge enables her to take approximately 70% of the vote (2002), a small effort with very little spending results in 65% of the vote (2004), and a candidate that raises funds and spends competitively results in 58% of the vote (2006).  This year with increased voter turnout expected and a candidate that has raised more than any of Biggert’s previous competitors since 2002, this could be one of the surprise upsets of the night.  However, Democratic nominee Scott Harper, cannot expect that turnout or Obama coattails necessarily translate into victory.  Biggert, who had a primary challenge this year against a self-funded candidate, took 77% of the primary vote.  Harper, who faced no competition, notes that he received more votes than Biggert and her Republican challenger combined (while significant, he shouldn’t conclude that this is an early sign of victory).  Harper’s main issues have been energy prices and the war in Iraq, attempting to link Biggert with Bush and Big Oil.  Biggert seems to see the vulnerability, recently releasing an enery plan with another endangered Republican, Mark Kirk.  However, George Bush is the one issue which will not go away from now until Election Day.  As a result, many Republicans, including Biggert, who viewed him as an asset in the past, have sought to demonstrate what the differences are with them and the president (that’s what close friends do: love you when you help them and dump you when you hurt them).  While it is likely that Biggert’s vote total will drop, as much as 5% at this point, Harper still has a lot of work to do before closing the deal.

Rating: Republican Favored        

14th – Foster (D) – Aurora, Dixon, and Elgin.

When taking control of Congress in 1994, Republicans felt that their Contract with America was a winning strategy.  Yet, what it produced was controversial leadership.  First, there was Newt Gingrich, and then he was gone.  Then Bob Livingston, who was chosen as Speaker of the House, yet resigned in controversy before he even took the gavel.  And of course Tom DeLay, who could be best described as overconfident, yet surrounded in controversy and bypassed by his colleagues.  Republicans then settled on a virtual unknown, Dennis Hastert.  For twenty years Hastert represented his strong Republican leaning district, until he himself became part of the controversy.  His 2006 election resulted in his lowest level of support since taking office and the first time he fell below 60%, even though he outspent his opponent 17 to 1.  Realizing that he not only lost the speakership and party control, but also the power that comes with both, Hastert decided to retire early.  A special primary was then held resulting in a rare Democratic victory on Republican territory by Bill Foster.  In normal circumstances the district would be considered safe for Republicans, unless of course that Republican is Jim Oberweis, who’s only note to fame is losing three campaigns: US Senate, Governor, and now House of Representatives.  Most would see the signs after three loses, yet Oberweis has not.  While Oberweis’s primary was bitter and his losing opponent refused to support him, Foster also had a primary, yet the end result was less division.  This year Oberweis is back for an unprecedented strike four.  Neither Oberweis, nor Foster, have much cash on hand, in fact their debt, most of which was personal funding, is much larger.  While Oberweis promises to run a more positive campaign (highly unlikely) for the general election, there is one source where less support will be flowing from: the “struggling” NRCC.  This lack of support, a higher voter turnout, Oberweis’s unprecedented record of simply losing, and Foster’s moderate voting record, all indicate that Oberweis will have only one victory come election night: that of perennial loser.

Rating: Likely Democrat

18th – Open Seat (R) – Jacksonville, Peoria, and Springfield.

Ray LaHood’s decision to retire has provided Democrats with a second opportunity to pick up an open seat.  Statewide, Democrats have been successful winning in Republican areas, Bill Foster and Melissa Bean being the two primary examples.  This is one other example of a Republican leaning district.  However, there are many similarities between this district and the other open seat in the 11th district.  While the Republican candidate dropped out in the 11th, the Democratic candidate did the same here.  While 60% of the vote total is concentrated in two counties in the 11th, the same can be said true here, yet in three rather than in two.  The three counties that compose a majority of the vote total are Peoria, Sangamon, and Tazewell.  Republicans have nominated Aaron Schock, who at the age of 27, would be the youngest member of Congress if elected.  Democrats have nominated Colleen Callahan, a journalist.  Schock won overwhelmingly in a three-way primary while Callahan was a replacement candidate for Richard Versace, the Democratic nominee who dropped out.  Schock has the proven ability to win, starting at an early age.  He came to the state senate by defeating an eight-year incumbent.  Both candidates hail from the Peoria area, yet Schock has legislative experience, whereas Callahan does not.  Schock also leads in fundraising, yet his recent invitation for Bush to appear at a fundraiser, could prove a liability later on.  At a time when the country is preferring change over experience, which do they choose: the youthful candidate with three years of legislative experience or the candidate that has better public speaking abilities?  The one thing for certain is that both parties will invest heavily here.  However, based on the Republican leanings of the district and the fact that Schock has a history of winning, the advantage may lie with him.  It may be hard to consider Callahan an equal to Foster and Bean, since both ran as conservative Democrats and had raised significant funds.  It may also be difficult for the DCCC to find anything within a short legislative history against Schock, therefore their best strategy may be linking him with Bush, yet as a non-incumbent, even that may prove difficult.

Rating: Leans Republican


3rd – Souder (R) – Fort Wayne and Goshen.

The Republican sweep of 1994 resulted in Mark Souder defeating Jill Long Thompson, a Democrat representing a largely Republican district at the time.  While the district is solidly Republican, Souder does have one noticeable vulnerability.  Souder’s closest race was not in 1994, in which he defeated an incumbent, yet it was in 2006, when he took 54% of the vote.  The Democratic nominee this year is Michael Montagano, an attorney.  Unlike his opponent in 2006, Montagano does not hail from Allen County, which delivers a little less than 50% of the overall vote total.  The 2006 Democratic nominee also had legislative experience, unlike Montagano.  However, one positive sign for Montagano is fundraising.  He has managed to keep pace with Souder, yet has still accumulated less than the 2006 nominee.  Another bright spot for Montagano is having Thompson on the ballot.  Thompson, is currently running for governor against the unpopular current governor, Mitch Daniels.  Thompson can help Montagano as much as Daniels hurts Souder, yet even if this occurs and voter turnout increases, Montagano would still have a substantial amount of work remaining.  Allen County and the surrounding Fort Wayne area are Republican strongholds, therefore a candidate would have to run as a Blue Dog Democrat in order to be successful.  Montagano does not appear to be doing such.  Even if there is a wave of Republican losses on election night, it may take a cyclone of loses or 2010 redistricting before Souder is defeated.

Rating: Republican Favored      

4th – Buyer (R) – Greenwood and Lafayette.

You know your member of Congress is a product of Washington when 79% of their fundraising is derived from PAC’s.  Astonishingly true, yet meet Steve Buyer, a true Bush Republican.  Buyer may be the best example of the influence special interests have in Washington.  However, he has gradually begun to see support at home slip.  His margin of victory since 2002 has diminshed lower and lower.  Each time Buyer outspent his opponents (thanks to special interest groups), yet still took less of the electorate than the preceding election.  This year he is being challenged by Nels Ackerson, a Democratic lawyer.  Ackerson is the best financed opponent Buyer has had since coming to Congress.  Understanding the Republican nature of the district, Ackerson has criticized Buyer for his connections to special interest and embarked on a grassroots style campaign.  Buyer’s most noted fame is being an impeachment manager during Clinton’s trial in the US Senate.  Of the thirteen original managers, he is one of four remaining in Congress (Sensenbrenner, Chabot, and the recently defeated Cannon being the others).  Interestingly, the careers of these post-impeachment managers has been unimpressive.  Three, two of which were running for higher office, were defeated in the next election (Hutchinson, McCollum, and Rogan).  Two more faced defeat following 2001 redistricting (Barr and Gekas).  Another lost twice running for US Senate (Bryant) and only one has been successful making it to higher office (Lindsey Graham, who has become less conservative than he was in the House).  This year, Chris Cannon of Utah, became the latest casualty, with Steve Chabot of Ohio, almost certain to be the next.  That will then leave the gang of 13 down to two (Sensenbrenner and Buyer).  Of course, Buyer has yet to find any wrongdoing on the part of Bush, yet why would he when the same special interests are in his re-election corner.  While defeating Buyer is a battle within itself, the Democratic nominee would have to do something which none other has done: win decisively in Tippecanoe County (Obama carried it in the primary).  Bringing Evan Bayh into the district to campaign is also strongly productive, after all Buyer has Bush on his side.

Rating: Republican Favored  

9th – Hill (D) – Bloomington, Columbus, and New Albany.

In the past three election cycles two names have consistently appeared on the ballot: Baron Hill and Mike Sodrel.  In 2002, Hill narrowly defeated Sodrel, then it was Sodrel who defeated Hill, also narrowly, in 2004.  In 2006, after heavy funding by both parties, it was then Hill who once again defeated Sodrel, likewise narrowly.  Now it is 2008 and round four has begun.  However, the environment is much different.  In 2004, Bush was popular and also on the ballot.  Now it’s 2008 and Bush is far less popular.  Additionally, the NRCC has less money to spend.  It also has to contend with open seats galore and the massive money advantage of the DCCC.  Further complicating the Republicans retaking this seat is lackluster fundraising by Sodrel, the worst in each attempt he has made for Congress.  The Libertarian candidate, who took 4% of the vote last time, most likely favorable to Sodrel, has also made it on the ballot again this year.  Had it been a two way race in 2006 and Sodrel received the votes of the Libertarian and a write-in Republican, Hill would have still won, by a narrower 59 votes.  The district overall is Republican, with Monroe County being the only reliable Democratic vote.  The other two important counties are Clark and Floyd, yet they have consistently been considered even on both candidates.  Hill’s endorsement of Obama was rather awkward since Clinton carried every county, except Monroe, and took 61% of the district vote.  However, even with his endorsement, Hill shouldn’t expect Obama to be an asset, nor is McCain necessarily an asset to Sodrel.  If Obama does campaign in Indiana and anywhere within the district, Hill should restrict him to Monroe County (Bloomington) because even in Clark and Floyd counties, both of which are evenly split between Hill and Sodrel vote wise, Clinton defeated Obama overwhelmingly (68% in Clark and 66% in Floyd).  Unlike 2006, this may not make the NRCC’s top ten list, complicated by additional loses last election and open seats with a dozen vulnerable incumbents this year.  As a result of this disturbing news, Sodrel may want to call on Bush, he worked rather well in 2004, let’s see how well he may work in 2008.

Rating: Leans Democrat        


4th – Latham (D) – Ames, Fort Dodge, and Mason City.

Since coming to Congress in the Republican wave of 1994, Latham has gradually seen his state change for the worst, that is worst for Republicans.  He has seen the congressional delegation go from 4 Republicans and 1 Democrat to 2 Republicans and 3 Democrats.  The surprise defeat of Jim Leach at the hands of David Loebsack, who won as a write-in candidate during the Democratic primary, provides only part of the concern Latham should be experiencing.  The election also saw Republicans lose four seats in the state house and five seats, in what was then, an evenly dividided state senate.  These loses signify that Democrats are likely to control redistricting at a time when Iowa is projected to lose a seat.  Therefore, even if Latham if victorious this year, he is almost certain to find himself in a battle with Steve King in 2012.  The district itself favors neither party and may actually be one where Obama may be considered an asset.  Obama won 13 of the 28 counties here, whereas the best showing McCain had was finishing second in three counties (Fred Thompson’s Law and Order triumped the Straight Talk Express here).  The Democratic nominee is Becky Greenwald.  She defeated four other candidates in the primary, yet third place finisher William Meyers, a disabled war vet, has decided to run as an independent following his poor primary performace, an indicator that could only help Latham.  However, with this development, Latham cannot consider himself safe.  Iowa has gradually been transforming from a red state to a blue state (CO, MT, NH, NM, OH, and VA being the others).  Democrats have a registration advantage in the district, dominating the three major cities: Ames, Fort Dodge, and Mason City.  The only solid Republican support can be found west of Des Moines.  The effect Meyers has on Greenwald would be minimal at most since he only took 10% of the vote in the primary.  Latham does dominate Greenwald in fundraising, yet Greenwald has been undertaking a grassroots campaign (if there is a candidate similar to Carol Shea-Porter’s surprise victory in 2006, then this would be the one).  Historically, Iowa voters have not had a problem abandoning long-serving incumbents and electing underdogs in their place, especially during waves.  Leach, a casualty of the Democratic wave two years ago, had served for 15 years.  Neal Martin, an incumbent with 20 years of service, was a casualty of the 1994 Republican wave.  Greenwald has many factors benefitting her, including Obama’s performance in the district and McCain’s lack of, popular Governor Culver and Senator Harkin’s ability to offer campaign support, and the Democratic trend of the district.  Investment by the DCCC here would be much wiser and less costly than in a few other districts.  Latham has funds, but also history on his side.  If the wave hits Iowa he may become its latest casualty.

Rating: Likely Republican        


2nd – Boyda (D) – Leavenworth, Pittsburg, and Topeka.

In 2004 Nancy Boyda was defeated by incumbent Jim Ryun by a 15% margin.  Two years later, in a surprise upset of the night, Nancy Boyda defeated Jim Ryun by 4% (a 19% improvement from two years previous).  In fact, Boyda was only one of two unsuccesful challengers from 2004 to win in 2006 (McNerney was the other).  The fact of Mark Foley, the infamous page scandal congressman, being his Washington neighbor, may have less to do with Ryun’s loss than what he did in the days prior to the election.  Once he realized that he was facing a closer race than 2004 he invited Bush and Cheney to fundraise with him.  At a time when both were toxic, and still are, the mere invitation to both may have convinced the electorate that Ryun was indeed too aligned with Bush and Cheney, resulting in his defeat.  Ryun now wants his job back, yet he faces a competitive primary challenger in State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins.  The primary itself mirrors an ongoing battle within the Kansas Republican Party.  Ryun is a staunch conservative and Jenkins is considered a moderate.  Republicans dominate both chambers of state government, yet many moderate Republicans have voted with Democrats on social issues strongly opposed by conservatives.  In 2006, party division not only led to Ryun’s loss, but also to that of five state house seats, and a state attorney general detested strongly by moderate Republicans.  The Ryun-Jenkins race is just one of many featuring conservative vs. moderate.  Conservative leaders in the state senate have recruited fellow conservatives to challenge what they call “liberal” Republicans who are running for re-election this year.  While Ryun is expected to win the primary due to strong conservative turnout, the primary challenge has left him with an inability to concentrate solely on Boyda.  The advantage in this Republican leaning district clearly lies with Boyda.  She has established a fairly moderate voting record, thereby allowing her to appease the moderate voters of the Republican Party.  Campaign support from a popular Democratic governor and sharing the ballot with the last Democrat to represent the district, Jim Slattery, are also strong advantages.  If Ryun wins the primary, then expect a large percentage of Jenkins supporters to shift to Boyda, providing her with sufficient support in overcoming the Republican dominance of the district.  If Jenkins wins, then expect many of Ryun’s supporters to overlook the race in its entirety.  After all, if a moderate Republican is a “liberal” in Kansas, then what would one consider a moderate Democrat?  As for any role Senator Roberts plays in this race could be interesting.  If he campaigns aggressively for Ryun, then he could alienate Republican moderates and narrowly lose his own re-election.

Rating: Leans Democrat (Ryun wins)/No Clear Favorite (Jenkins wins)

3rd – Moore (D) – Kansas City, Lawrence, and Overland Park.

One of four conservative Democrats consistently challenged by Republicans has been Dennis Moore (Edwards, Marshall, and Matheson are the others).  As a result of this challenge and the Republican strength of the district, Moore has had competitive races each year since being elected, with 2006 being the rare exception.  Conservative strength in the district has been negated by moderates who have gone to Moore when the Republican candidate was considered too conservative.  Moore’s rise to Congress is similar to that of Boyda’s in that he defeated an incumbent considered as being too conservative for moderate Republicans.  In 2000, Republicans nominated Phil Kline, a staunch conservative, the result was a narrow win for Moore (Kline later went on to become state attorney general, yet was defeated overwhelmingly in his 2006 re-election due to moderate Republicans deserting him).  In 2002, Republicans nominated Adam Taff, a moderate, yet Moore once again won narrowly.  In 2004, Kris Kobach, a radical conservative was nominated.  Moore not only won again, but with a greater margin than his previous two elections even with George Bush on the ballot (Kobach is now chairman of the divided state Republican Party).  This year Republicans have “unofficially” nominated state senator Nick Jordan, who is doing something none of the three previous challengers did, disguising his conservative credentials by running as a moderate.  Unlike previous years, Jordan’s campaign website makes no mention of illegal immigration or pro-life positions, issues which have divided the Republican establishment.  Jordan has based his campaign more on running against Washington, than running against Moore, yet even that may be an overstatement.  The Bush fundraising machine came into the district and helped raise funds for Jordan (so much for the Washington establishment).  Jordan views McCain as an asset since he appeals to moderate Republicans and he hopes that in praising McCain he will be a beneficiary of that appeal.  He also knows that he can rely on the conservative base, those that know what his true colors are.  However, the DCCC and Moore will most certainly uncover the disguise which Jordan has adopted.  Inviting Bush to the district, as Ryun did, will only provide greater assistance in unmasking the fraud.  Two benefits for Moore is his fundraising advantage and the placement of a Libertarian candidate on the ballot.  Whether or not Jordan will be successful in uniting conservative and moderate Republicans (as he states) remains to be seen, yet it is highly unlikely.

Rating: Leans Democrat            


2nd – Open Seat (R) – Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, and Owensboro.

Following the closest re-election in his congressional career and the loss of Republican control, Ron Lewis has decided to retire.  The method in which Lewis announced his retirement caught many Republicans off guard.  On the last day to file, the wife of Daniel London, Lewis’s chief of staff, withdrew Lewis’s re-election papers and replaced them with London’s.  However, when state senator Brett Guthrie heard of Lewis’s pending retirement, he quickly filed, meeting the deadline narrowly.  By withdrawing his papers at the last minute Lewis wanted to ensure that London would run without oppossition, yet the plan ultimately failed, culminating with Guthrie defeating London overwhelmingly in the Republican primary.  Meanwhile, Democrats had a competitive primary between Daviess County judge executive Reid Haire and state senator David Boswell.  It was Boswell who ultimately prevailed.  While the district is considered Republican leaning, it actually has a 107,000 Democratic voter registration advantage.  However, like in Mississippi, Democrats here are notoriously known for voting Republican on the federal level.  Guthrie currently leads Boswell in fundraising, yet that noticeable difference may be due to the Democratic primary being more competitive than the Republican primary, allowing Guthrie to conserve money while Boswell was spending his.  Guthrie is strongly endorsed by Senator McConnell and has even invited Bush to fundraise on his behalf.  There is no net gain having Obama on the ballot for Boswell (Obama only carried 26% of the electorate during the primary).  In fact, this may be one of the few places in the nation where Obama does more harm than Bush.  In the northeastern part of the district, where Fort Knox is located, the war in Iraq is most likely to be a major issue.  In the southern part of the district, where Bowling Green is home to several manufacturing jobs, including a General Motors plant, the downturn of the economy is certainly a concern.  One certainty is that Obama will not win this district, yet Democrats statewide have traditionally performed well here.  Boswell has run a different type of campaign, even refusing to accept campaign donations during the primary (in fact all his contributions go through ActBlue).  Whether or not this lackluster plan helps or hurts him in the end remains to be seen.  Guthrie, in contrast, has sought to align himself with Bush and McConnell, a negative at best (especially if McConnell’s campaign implodes).  Until the sparks fly and war is declared, this race has gained very little traction.

Rating: Too Close to Call

3rd – Yarmuth (D) – Louisville.

In 2006, the first sign of Republican hemoragging was the surprising win of John Yarmuth (Kentucky polls are the first to close in the nation).  Following her defeat, Anne Northup decided to run against an ethically tainted governor, yet still lost (the endorsement by Sen. Bunning didn’t help).  After two loses in the past two years, Northup is back to make it a perfect three.  In terms of fundraising, Northup has remained competitive, thanks of course to Big Oil (Northup took more donations from Big Oil in her career than any other current member of the House).  While she has been outraising Yarmuth, and the NRCC remains committed in bringing Big Oil Anne back to Washington, the task may be more challenging this year.  The GOP would have preferred to not be spending in the Louisville market, at a time when overall funds are low and when the race itself was never considered a prospective loss in 2006.  Yet the Obama factor is what makes the task that much harder.  Obama won this district during the primary and it is most likely the only congressional district statewide where he will defeat McCain soundly.  Any attempt by Big Oil Anne to make the campaign about energy, as she has promised, could certainly backfire.  However, due to her inability to defeat a failed governor, and the demographics of the district clearly against her, the likelihood of Big Oil Anne returning to implement failed policies is low at best.

Rating: Likely Democrat


1st – Scalise (R) – Hammond, Metairie, and Slidell.

The first congressional district can best be defined as one in which individuals either resign (Livingston and Jindal) or retire (Vitter), yet very rarely is an incumbent defeated.  The same should be said for this year as well, yet Scalise faces a well-funded self financier.  The Democratic nominee is James Harlan.  He has donated 500K to his challenging quest to defeat Scalise.  The road is shaky and no DCCC funding will be coming anytime soon.  The district is reliably Republican in every aspect, yet it will force Scalise to spend time and money in the district.  Scalise won a special election to succeed newly elected Governor Jindal, yet the primary against state representative Tim Burns was anything but civil.  Therefore, unlike his Democratic opponent who was poorly financed and less of a threat, expect Scalise to tie Harlan into Obama as much as possible (this district has very few African Americans and is of course in the South).  While Harlan will keep Scalise busy, don’t expect the race to turn much competitive, unless Scalise does something absolutely stupid or if a late development (the Foley factor) brings Scalise down.

Rating: Safe Republican  

2nd – Jefferson (D) – New Orleans.

While most members of Congress either resign or are defeated in the next election when wrongdoing is alleged, William Jefferson’s re-election in 2006 defies this notion.  However, there has been one slight development since Jefferson’s re-election victory in 2006: he has since been indicted.  Unlike other members of Congress who have decided to retire under indictment (Renzi), Jefferson is not phased, nor willing to succumb to pressure.  However, while he may be corrupt and running for re-election, he is not the only one.  In fact, many Republicans have decided to run again, even though they have become entangled in active investigations (Jerry Lewis, Tom Feeney, and Don Young to name a few).  Democrats are not concerned with Republicans picking up the seat, even with Jefferson’s problems.  In fact, the last time a Republican held the seat was in 1889 and he served only one term.  However, there should be some concern for Democrats, especially Sen. Landrieu (the last thing she needs is Jefferson appearing beside her) who will need the African American vote in New Orleans.  If Jefferson does survive the primary, there is a possibility of the Rostenkowski effect occurring, yet it is very unlikely (Rostenkowski, under indictment, was defeated in an overwhelming Democratic district by a Republican).  As a result, the real fireworks of this race will occur during the September primary.  Jefferson is facing a crowded Democratic primary, similar to what occurred two years previous.  As a result of the crowded primary, Jefferson could certainly make it into the October run-off.  The Democrats most competitive against Jefferson are New Orleans councilman James Carter, Jefferson Parish councilman Byron Lee, or state representative Cedric Richmond.  However, keeping the cash strapped Jefferson from making it into the run-off should be the primary focus of all candidates.    

Rating: Safe Democrat    

4th – Open Seat (R) – De Ridder, Natchitoches, and Shreveport.

When prolific Republican fundraiser Jim McCrery announced his retirement the rush for potential successors had begun.  Three Democrats, four Republicans, and two independents are now competing for the seat.  The only Democratic candidate with decent funding is Caddo Parish District Attorney Paul Carmouche.  The real competition is on the Republican side (anyone who though the open seat primary in Alabama was nasty is in for a real treat here).  The Republicans include Dr. John Fleming who has dumped $500K of his own funds into the race.  Then there is businessman Chris Gorman who has dumped $396K of his own money into the race.  Finally, there is former Bossier Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Thompson, the preferred choice of the NRCC.  However, unlike his primary opponents, whom he has attacked for their self donations, he has only donated $50K of personal funds (that would be $50K more than Carmouche as well).  Therefore, if he attacks his opponents for their self donations, should he make it to the general election, he too will be eligible for the same attack.  While Carmouche should easily seal the nomination in September, the Republican nominee will most likely be determined in an October runoff, providing little time to raise funds or rebuild party unity.  Carmouche is the perfect Democratic candidate for the district, yet Democrats here have been known to stray onto the oppossite side in the past (Governor Roemer and Foster are two former Democrats that switched to Republican).  While unemployment has remained low compared to the national average, energy prices are most likely to be the decisive issue.  Yet all three Republican candidates are talking social issues: illegal immigration, pro-life, family values, and who is most conservative.  While this argument may work throughout the primary, the likelihood is that these issues will be less important in the general election.  The bright spot for Carmouche is that Democrats compose 51% of the voters.  He also has an edge in cash on hand and will be able to compete against the eventual nominee, following a bruising and nasty primary, rather easily.  

Rating: Leans Democrat      

6th – Cazayoux (D) – Baton Rouge.

The worst news Don Cazayoux may have received was not Woody Jenkins dropping out, rather it may have been Michael Jackson (no not the Thriller guy) deciding to run as an independent.  Cazayoux defeated state representative Michael Jackson in what many considered a civil primary (Jackson may have felt otherwise).  In the special election, Cazayoux then defeated the controversial Jenkins, surprising Republicans by winning a seat that had been in Republican control for 33 years.  Republicans have since nominated state senator Dr. Bill Cassidy.  What worries Democrats is what effect Jackson, an African American, will have on other African Americans who compose 30% of the electorate.  Republicans sought to manipulate the issue following Jackson’s primary loss, with the clear intent of alienating African Americans, yet it didn’t work.  Democrats overall compose less than 50% of registered voters, yet a loss greater than 10% of African Americans would make the task of Cazayoux much harder, forcing him to win the remaining bloc of Democrats and independents.  Cassidy comes with more cash on hand, while Cazayoux, who spent much during the primary, has very little.  Jackson on the other hand has none.  Cazayoux realizes that Jackson is a negative factor, yet he is also a new incumbent, therefore party expenditures are certain from the DCCC.  The same will come from the NRCC, yet since the DCCC has more funds on hand, Cassidy cannot expect spending similar to that of the special election.  One way to convince Jackson to leave the race may to retire his debt and offer him the ambassadorship to Bahrain (McCain already offered Phil Gramm one to Belarus).  

Rating: Too Close to Call

7th – Boustany (R) – Lafayette and Lake Charles.

In 2004, Charles Boustany was the surprise winner of the seat being vacated by Democrat Chris John.  Boustany’s win was attributed to African Americans voting for him as a result of what was perceived as the DCCC favoring the primary winner (State Sen. Willie Mount) over Don Cravins Sr., an African American.  This year Boustany is facing a challenge from, ironically, the son of Don Cravins Sr.  Democrats have selected Don Cravins Jr. to challenge Boustany.  The district is 54% Democratic and 24% African American, yet it is a Caucasian majority district.  If history is an indicator, Cravins will have an uphill battle.  In the south, African-American majority districts have historically been represented by African-American representatives (Cohen of Tennessee being the rare exception).  Yet, never has an African-American represented a Caucasian majority district in the South (Watts of Oklahoma being the closest).  However, outside the South, African-American representatives have represented districts with a Caucasian majority (Carson, Cleaver, Ellison, and Moore all currently do).  Whether or not the Caucasian electorate would vote for Cravins, based on appeal, rather than voting against him based on race, is an aspect that remains to be seen.  In terms of fundraising, Boustany has a commanding lead, yet Cravins should not have a problem raising funds.  If this turns into an upset on election night, then it may be an indication of the South finally looking beyond race.  Yet, historically, the South has been reluctant to change, therefore Boustany should be considered a favorite for re-election.

Rating: Likely Republican  

House Race Details (AL – HI)


2nd – Open Seat (R) – Dothan and Northwest Montgomery.

When Terry Everett announced his retirement he most likely expected a decent primary for an eventual successor.  What resulted was a nasty Republican primary between state representative Jay Love and state senator Harri Anne Smith.  The divisive primary was purely concentrated on social issues: immigration, guns, gambling, and moral character.  In her quest to defeat Love, Smith developed new friendships, including Enterprise developer Ronnie Gilley, country music singer George Jones, and the Club for Growth.  The primary’s turning point occurred after Love paid a visit to Gilley, asking for financial support.  Gilley rejected the plea and instead co-hosted a fundraiser for Smith.  Angered by the rejection, Love attacked Smith for accepting gambling money (Gilley is developing a bingo hall in the district).  George Jones, angered by the accusations being leveled against Gilley (a wannabe country star), joined the fray by appearing in commercials that attacked Love.  While the NRCC, which has made no secret of its support for Love, due to Smith’s perceived weakness, remained silent throughout, others could not.  Everett and Governor Riley, surprised by the bitterness of the primary, offerred to be brokers of peace between the two campaigns, yet independent commercials by Jones and Gilley continued to attack Love.  Gilley then leveled an accusation of Love not being a Christian (a similar tactic was used, rather successfully, against Broun’s primary opponent in Georgia).  The Republican slugfest ended with Love prevailing in the run-off.  The Democratic nominee is Montgomery mayor Bobby Bright.  Both candidates hail from the Montgomery area of the district.  However, the successful candidate will be the one that carries the conservative vote of the Wiregrass (Dothan) region.  Love currently has the advantage here due to an extended primary and personal spending.  He also needs to mend the friction with Smith’s supporters, who were concentrated in the Wiregrass region.  If history is an indicator, Love should not have a problem winning back Smith supporters (Sali and Lamborn did likewise following divisive primaries).  Bright seems most likely to discuss economic activity, whereas Love will be the social issue candidate.  African Americans, a reliable Democratic bloc compose 29% of the electorate.  Due to Love’s primary spending, much of which was personal funding, Bright has more cash on hand.  Bright must immediately recognize this advantage and begin to identify himself in the Wiregrass region and secure Smith’s supporters early on, prior to Love achieving both.  Bright’s executive experience as mayor is more credible in the Wiregrass when it comes to discussing increases in plant closures and unemployment.  One sign of concern for Republicans would be if the NRCC is spending heavily here in October.  If Bright defines himself and changes the election from social to economic issues, then he clearly has the advantage.  Until that occurs Love has a slight advantage.

Rating: Leans Republican          

3rd – Rogers (R) – Anniston, Auburn, and Southern Montgomery.

Following the 2000 Census, the Democratic state legislature created this district with the intent of a Democrat being elected.  That did not happen and Republican Mike Rogers has occupied the seat since.  Even though the district is one-third African American, Rogers has never faced a serious opponent since his narrow win in 2002.  Attorney Josh Segall is oppossing the incumbent this year and has funds that will force Rogers into defense.  Rogers won in the past by winning over a decent amount of African American voters in counties dominated by African Americans.  There is no guarantee that he will have equal luck this year.  While the race may become more competitive, the question remains whether or not it can reach an equally competitive nature as in 2002.  Rogers reputation has shown signs of deterioration, yet it has yet to reach the imminent danger range.  The race is considered competitive due to the demographics of the district and the fundraising strength of the Democratic nominee, yet the two alone cannot defeat Rogers.  Democrats could only hope that Republican conservatives assist them by staying home while African Americans vote straight party ticket, thereby creating a surprise upset election night.

Rating: Likely Republican

5th – Open Seat (D) – Huntsville, Decatur, and Florence.

The Huntsville based seat has a lower percentage of minorities (only 16% African American) than all of Alabama’s other congressional districts, including all of the seats held by Republicans.  Even with this fact the seat has remained in Democratic hands for decades.  Democrat Bud Cramer has decided to retire, leaving what normally would be classified a safe seat, a little more vulnerable.  The two challengers are Democratic State Senator Parker Griffith, whose district lies wholly in Madison County.  Approximately 48% of all voters live in Madison County, thereby providing Griffith with home field advantage.  The Republican nominee is Wayne Parker, who lost twice in the past against Bud Cramer.  Parker’s past loses may be attributed to him being too conservative for the district.  The district has consistently elected Democrats on the state level and for Congress, preferring Blue Dog Democrats over ultra-conservative radicals.  Parker’s failure to avoid a primary against a lesser known challenger and his mediocre cash on hand may eventually lead the NRCC to abandon this race and spend funds elsewhere.

Rating: Likely Democrat  


AL – Young (R) – Statewide.

An incumbent with thirty-five years of service and the third highest seniority amongst Republicans finds himself in the fight for survival.  Many years previous, very few would have believed that Don Young’s retirement may actually be forced rather than planned.  In fact, the closest re-election race he had was in 1990.  Since those eighteen years have past Young has charted his own course.  While considered a vigorous fighter on behalf of Alaska, Young has been willing to utilize questionable techniques in achieving success and attacking colleagues within his own party.  The dynamic duo (Stevens and Young) have long been infamous for bringing earmarks galore to Alaska.  Stevens as chairman of the Appropriations Committee and Young as chairman of the Transportation Committee (neither hold those same chairmanships today).  Young’s challenge this year is not only a Democrat, but also two fellow Republicans.  Lt. Governor Sean Purnell, at the likely urging of popular Governor Sara Palin, has decided to challenge Young.  The third, Gabrielle LeDoux, may be the deciding factor in the race, depending on who she takes more votes from.  The challenge itself has created a split between the conservative and moderate wings of the Alaska Republican Party.  However, the split is nothing new.  Palin, a moderate, successfully defeated Murkowski, a conservative, in the race for governor.  The split is creating anomosity between the reform side of the party and the establishment side of the party.  Young has funds on hand to defend his seat, yet a large amount of this spending is going toward legal fees.  While most give Young little chance of surviving the inter-party challenge, the eventual victor will face (unofficial) Democratic nominee Ethan Berkowitz.  Berkowitz is facing a challenge by two other fellow Democrats.  Infamous for “the bridge to nowhere” Young may finally realize that the bridge does indeed lead somewhere: a one-way trip back home.  Short of his own bridge, Ketchikan can name its airport after him for the effort (Ted Stevens has his own namesake in Anchorage).

There are two possible scenarios here: If Young wins a three-way primary, then expect the anti-Young sentiment to continue into the general election.  If Young loses, there will be division from Young supporters, yet not as great as if he wins.  

Rating: Likely Democrat (Young wins)/Leans Republican (Young loses)


1st – Open Seat (R) – Casa Grande, Flagstaff, and Prescott.

The recent indictment of Rick Renzi has all but left the Republican Party in disarray here.  The Republican field is crowded with five nominees, yet only Sydney Hay, a failed candidate from the past with strong libertarian views, is competitive in the primary field.  The Democratic primary features four candidates, yet only two have been competitive.  State Representative Ann Kirkpatrick is the favorite of the DCCC, yet former television reporter Mary Kim Titla, has proven a competitive challenger.  Kilpatrick has raised more funds than any candidate, she also represents a large segment of the district in the state legislature, including the principal city and Democratic bastion of Flagstaff.  However, an asset for Titla is her American Indian background.  The Navajo Nation is the second most reliable Democratic base within the district.  The lone Republican stronghold is Prescott.  The demographics of the district are favorable to either Democrat, especially when presented against a nominee that Republicans did not even consider.  However, it is highly likely that Kilpatrick will win the upcoming primary.  Voter registration trends have become favorable to Democrats.  In fact, any Democratic nominee would only need to capture 12% of the independent/crossover vote in order to win outright (based on total Democratic participation).  Also working against any Republican, especially a candidate with radical ideology, is the population demographics (4 out of 10 voters are American Indian or Hispanic).  The pivotal area for deciding this race will be Pinal County (a third of all votes come from here), evenly split between both parties.  Past electoral statistics demonstrate that Hay may be too radical for the electorate here, especially one which is growing Hispanic.  Past wins by Renzi relied on splitting the American Indian vote or even winning it outright (Renzi won the Navajo Nation in 2006).  This year that vote is favorable to Kilpatrick who represents a slither of the territory in the legislature.  Regardless of whom wins the Democratic primary, this race has vanished from the NRCC radar months ago.

Rating: Likely Democrat          

3rd – Shadegg (R) – North Phoenix.

To the surprise of many conservatives John Shadegg announced he was retiring, yet following a petition from his fellow conservatives to remain in Washington, Shadegg quickly rescinded his retirement.  An equal display of affection was never conveyed to more moderate Republicans (Pryce, Ramstad, or Walsh).  The fact that conservatives in Congress would plead with Shadegg to remain, yet not show equal concern for moderate Republicans, is an ominous sign that the Republican Party is content in moving further to the right.  Should the Republicans lose more than a dozen seats this year (as expected) then expect a coup d’etat against Boehner orchestrated by Shadegg and his radical comrades (all dependent of course on Shadegg being re-elected).  The changing demographics of the state as a whole is slowly starting to demonstrate itself here.  Since redistricting, Democratic registration has increased 10K, independents 22K, and Republicans a dismal 2K.  While the district still leans Republican and can still be considered conservative, it has gradually been treading away from the Republicans and toward Democrats.  Bob Lord, the Democratic nominee, has had impressive fundraising, even though Shadegg leads overall.  A major issue during the campaign will definately be illegal immigration.  Maricopa County Sheriff Joe  Arpaio has been criticized for “profiling” Hispanics and arresting US citizens in Hispanic neighborhoods.  Recent state legislation that seeks to punish employers harshly has created a divide between past alliances: small businesses and the Republican Party.  For his part, Shadegg has been one of the more outspoken critics of illegal immigration.  Should illegal immigration become the dominating issue, then Shadegg risks alienating independents, who may view that economic concerns are being ignored.  Sharing the ballot with America’s “toughest” sheriff should certainly bring higher voter turnout, however not the turnout which is favorable to any Republican, since Sheriff Arpaio’s opponent is Hispanic.  

Rating: Likely Republican

5th – Mitchell (D) – Scottsdale and Tempe.

Following Harry Mitchell’s surprise defeat of JD Hayworth two years ago, many would have expected Republicans to settle on one strong nominee, yet that has not occurred.  The result is a Republican field of six candidates, all of whom are poorly financed.  Mitchell goes into the election with several factors benefitting him, including a fundraising advantage that is much greater than the combined total raised by all six Republicans, a late primary (Sept. 2nd), and a upswing of Democratic registrations (In the past six years Democratic registration increased 8K while that of Republicans fell more than 10K).  Whomever prevails in the Republican primary will find themselves with two immediate obstacles: a dwindling campaign treasury and fractured party unity.

Rating: Democrat Favored

8th – Giffords (D) – Sierra Vista and Western Tucson.

Freshman Democrat Gabrielle Giffords will face off against State Senate President Tim Bee.  Unlike 2006, when Giffords crushed a more radical opponent, Bee is a much greater challenge.  An independent candidate perceived as helping Giffords has dropped out and endorsed Bee.  The Chamber of Commerce, a Republican friendly organization, has also endorsed Bee.  A noticeable advantage for Giffords is in overall fundraising, where she has raised three times that received by Bee.  While the district is favorable to Republicans, it will be independents that determine the winner here.  A factor which may work against Bee, ultimately hurting him with independents, is his stance on social issues.  Unlike the Phoenix suburbs, the areas around Tucson are far less conservative socially.  Additional assets which Giffords is likely to exploit are her majority party status and a seat on the Armed Services Committee (2 military installations are in the district).  The race definately qualifies in the top ten races featuring an incumbent, yet due to the disarray of the Republican Party and its lack of funds, a slight advantage lies with Giffords.

Rating: Leans Democrat


3rd – Lungren (R) – Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, and Rancho Cordova.

Bill Durston, the Democratic nominee from 2006, is back to challenge Dan Lungren.  The only difference from two years ago is that the economy has gone into a downward spiral.  Whether or not that alone will assit Durston is unlikely.  Ethical questions have also been raised against Lungren, yet if it didn’t work in the neighboring district two years ago, it is unlikely to work here as well.  While Democratic registration has been increasing at a much faster pace than Republican registration, the district still favors Republicans.  Unless he invites Bush, Cheney, or Doolittle to campaign on his behalf then Lungren should be considered fairly safe.

Rating: Republican Favored

4th – Open Seat (R) – Roseville, South Lake Tahoe, and Susanville.

Scandal plagued John Doolittle has finally decided to retire.  Democrat Charlie Brown had already announced his intent to seek the seat prior to Doolittle’s announcement.  Republicans have settled on fireband conservative State Senator Tom McClintock.  However, Brown and McClintock face two immediate problems.  Brown no longer has a scandal plagued incumbent to attack and he is running in a reliably Republican district.  McClintock is running in a district six hours from his real home and may find himself struggling to unify the party following a vicious primary against former congressman and moderate Doug Ose.  McClintock’s primary victory was a result of extensive spending on his behalf from the Club for Growth.  His residence appears to have been a non-issue, yet that is hard to determine since neither candidate actually lived in the district.  Probable victory here is whether or not supporters of Ose are willing to vote for McClintock.  Currently, that appears unlikely.  Should Ose come out and voice support for Brown, then that could spell trouble for McClintock.  Due to heavy spending in the Republican primary, Brown has a sizeable cash on hand advantage over McClintock, yet the later knows he can always call on his friends (Club for Growth) to spend on his behalf.  Should he lose, this will be McClintock’s second lost at running for US Congress, along with previous loses for State Controller, Governor, and Lieutenant Governor.  If McClintock prevails then expect him to be searching for a new home within three years, compliments of a Democratic controlled state legislature.  Even though there is a desire to consider the race a toss up, the fact remains that the district re-elected a scandal plagued Doolittle over Brown.  It also gave McClintock a sizeable margin of victory over Ose.  Such voting patterns may be indicative of the districts hesitency to vote Democratic, even when the Republican challenger may not be the best nominee.

Rating: Leans Republican

11th – McNerney (D) – Pleasanton and Stockton.

In 2006, Democrat Jerry McNerney came back from a 14% deficit in his 2004 loss to Richard Pombo and defeated the scandal plagued Republican.  Once considered a reliable Republican district it now leans Republican only narrowly.  In fact, during the past six years Democratic registration has increased 15K while Republican registration dropped 4K.  Challenging McNerney will be former Assemblyman Dean Andal.  A major concern in the district is definately home foreclosures.  Stockton and the San Joaquin Valley have the worst foreclosure rate in the nation.  It is hardly an issue seen as favorable to any Republican.  One issue also capturing headlines has been Andal’s past business dealings with a wealthy developer.  The coverage has created a distraction for Andal’s campaign and has begun to raise ethical questions about the candidate himself.  McNerney’s fundraising has been two and a half times greater than that of Andal, giving McNerney an impressive cash advantage heading into the election.  Many consider the race to be competitive, yet that may prove to be an overstatement post-election.  After all, Barbara Boxer won the district, yet narrowly, in 2004.        

Rating: Likely Democrat

26th – Dreier (R) – Arcadia and Rancho Cucamonga.

Very few Republicans represent a district as ethnically diverse as this one.  The minority population is 25% Hispanic, 17% Asian, and 5% African American.  The closest race Dreier faced was in 2004 against a poorly funded Democratic challenger, yet he still won by more than 10%.  What was once a 40K Republican registration advantage in 2002 has narrowed to a 26K advantage for Republicans in 2008.  Dreier was favored by Speaker Hastert to succeed DeLay, yet was ultimately passed over due to conservatives having “grave” concerns regarding his sexuality, a topic which opponents have sought to bring up against him in past races (the questions still remains unresolved after 28 years).  The Democratic nominee is Russell Warner.  Unless Warner runs to the right of Dreier (highly unlikely), as was done in 2004, then the advantage lies with Dreier.  

Rating: Republican Favored  

37th – Richardson (D) – Compton and Long Beach.

A special election was recently held resulting in victory for Laura Richardson, yet what followed afterwards was the unexpected.  News that she defaulted on a mortgage would have seriously cost her the special election victory, yet it was the timing of the news (post-election) that saved her.  Additional news has been released indicating that her property in Sacramento is actually one of three properties, the others being in Long Beach and San Pedro, in which she has been in default.  Following the release of more damaging details, Pete Matthews, a candidate that lost both the special election and primary, has decided to undertake a write-in campaign based on the recent disclosures.  Matthews has concentrated his campaign entirely toward Hispanics who comprise 43% of the population, yet it is actually African Americans, who comprise 25% of the population here, where political control lies.  Should more damaging details come out then a more credible challenger (Long Beach councilwoman Gerrie Schipske, long considered a foe of Richardson) may present themselves as an alternative write-in Democratic candidate, yet even then an uphill climb would exist.

Rating: Safe Democrat

41st – Lewis (R) – Barstow, Redlands, and Victorville.

California seems to produce ethically challenged Republicans (Cunningham resigned and pled guilty, Doolittle is retiring with indictment looming, and Pombo was defeated).  Jerry Lewis is one more to add to this ever expanding list.  His massive campaign expenditures, with large amounts going to lawyers, should be an early sign of Lewis in trouble.  Yet, with this information known, Democrats have fielded a poor challenger against Lewis.  Democratic nominee Tim Prince has relied on personal donations to fuel his campaign.  Even with his spending, Lewis has ten times the amount of cash on hand over Prince.  Demographically the district strongly favors any Republican, even if that candidate is Lewis.  As chairman of the Appropriations Committee Lewis had delivered millions in earmarks to his district, yet questions began to arise regarding several earmarks, it has been alleged that several earmarks were simply transactions done to benefit family, friends, and contributors.  While Lewis is considered one of the more corrupt members of Congress, Prince has very few funds to compete within the district.  Unless there is an indictment prior to the election, which is highly unlikely since the Bush administration had replaced the US Attorney previously investigating Lewis, expect very little defensive movement on the part of Lewis.

Rating: Republican Favored

46th – Rohrbacher (R) – Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach.

There has been no serious challenge against Dana Rohrbacher since he gained control of the seat.  The Democratic nominee is Debbie Cook, the mayor of Huntington Beach, the largest city in the district.  Cook starts the race at a complete disadvantage.  Republicans make up a majority of voter registrations in the district.  She also has very little money on hand to run any credible campaign against Rohrbacher, one of the more ineffective members of Congress.  While Rohrbacher is no stranger to controversy, he has been able to weather the storm, unlike some of his fellow Republicans statewide.  The only feasible way in which Rohrbacher is defeated would be if a tidal wave swept over his district on election night, yet there appears to be no such formation at this time.

Rating: Republican Favored

50th – Bilbray (R) – Carlsbad, Clairemont, and Escondido.

Very few members of Congress have been able to transform themselves from moderates into radical conservatives, unless of course you are Brian Bilbray.  After his 2000 electoral defeat against Susan Davis, very few could have envisioned that newly registered lobbyist Bilbray would eventually return to Congress.  The opportunity came with the resignation of Duke Cunningham (it was already obvious that Bilbray would never be able to defeat Davis in the 53rd district, where he actually lived).  While this district has been moving away from Republicans and toward Democrats, the advantage still lies with Republicans.  Democratic nominee Nick Leibham has remained competitive with Bilbray in terms of fundraising, yet Bilbray still has the advantage.  An issue which Bilbray has exploited since being elected is illegal immigration, yet a liability which Leibham has not failed to uncover is Bilbray’s past support from Big Oil.  The DCCC has begun to run radio ads on this issue (an indication that Bilbray may be vulnerable).  Bilbray’s dramatic transformation from moderate to radical conservative will eventually expire, either in defeat or with Democratic redistricting, hopefully with him and another ineffective nut, Darrell Issa, finding themselves sharing overlapping districts.

Rating: Likely Republican

52nd – Open Seat (R) – El Cajon, La Mesa, and Spring Valley.

Duncan Hunter felt the nation was interested in his anti-immigration rhetoric and decided to run for President (failing miserably).  Now another Duncan Hunter, the son, has decided to run for his father’s seat or maybe it is that the father decided that his son should have the seat.  Duncan Hunter, the son, has positions similar to his father, bringing into question whether or not the son is really running his own independent campaign (highly unlikely).  The district is Republican and conservative, which explains why a radical such as Duncan Hunter, the father, has been re-elected several times.  Duncan Hunter, the son, is an Iraq War veteran.  His Democratic opponent is Mike Lumpkin, a Gulf War veteran.  If elected, Duncan Hunter, the son, is guaranteed to be a rubber stamp partisan.

Rating: Republican Favored


4th – Musgrave (R) – Fort Collins, Greeley, and Longmont.

Few Republicans have constantly been targeted for defeat as has Marilyn Musgrave.  To many she is too conservative and pushes “wedge” issues such as gay marriage.  However, her district is Republican and fairly conservative (with the exception of Fort Collins).  This year she is once again being targeted for defeat by Democratic nominee Betsy Markey.  The closest race she had was in 2006, yet that also featured a Reform Party candidate who took 11% of the vote.  Republican registration has dropped 13K in the past four years, however the party continues to maintain a registration advantage.  While the state may be treading more Democratic there is no evidence to suggest that the same is occurring here since Democratic registration has also fallen, yet at a lower amount than that of Republicans.  The deciding force in this district lies with independents (aka: closet Republicans).  Musgrave’s biggest threat would be in a primary from a serious Republican challenger.  While Republican in nature, Democrats have won in the district before.  Governor Bill Ritter took more votes than Bob Beauprez by winning overwhelmingly in Larimer County (Fort Collins) and keeping Weld County (Greeley) even.  Comprised of sixteen counties, many of which are rural, 82% of all votes cast come from Larimer and Weld Counties.  Any successful Democrat would have to implement a strategy similar to one utilized by Gov. Ritter, winning overwhelmingly in Larimer and keeping Weld even, yet even Ken Salazar struggled and failed to achieve this.  

Rating: Likely Republican

5th – Lamborn (R) – Colorado Springs.

This seat has been in Republican hands for more than thirty years.  Therefore, it would normally be considered a safe Republican seat, unless of course the incumbent was controversial and even detested by some in the Republican establishment at home.  In 2006, Doug Lamborn won a six person primary, defeating his nearest opponent by less than 1,000 votes.  That opponent, Jeff Crank and the third place runner up, Bentley Rayburn, are back for a second challenge.  This time Lamborn is the incumbent and largely ignoring his opposition.  In fact, his opponents have spent more time arguing amongst eachother, debating who is the stronger challenge to Lamborn.  As for debates with either opponent, Lamborn has deemed them unnecessary.  A three-way primary definately favors Lamborn, however a two-way primary with Crank (the stronger challenger), would be extremely competitive.  Lamborn also has leverage this time around.  His recent appointment to the Armed Service Committee is a coveted position within the district.  Fort Carson, Peterson AFB, Cheyenne Mountain, and the Air Force Academy are all located here.  Even if Lamborn does win the primary, as is currently expected, then he has to deal with Democratic nominee retired Lt. Colonel Hal Bidlack.  However, this district is the most conservative in the state and Lamborn has shown success in defeating those with military experience.  He defeated his Democratic opponent by almost 19% in 2006.

Rating: Republican Favored  


2nd – Courtney (D) – Enfield, New London, and Norwich.

The closest race from 2006 was here in Eastern Connecticut.  Democrat Joe Courtney defeated Republican incumbent Rob Simmons by 83 votes.  With Simmons defeat, the most Democratic district in the nation represented by a Republican, was back in Democratic hands.  Simmons won the district himself in 2000 by defeating a Democratic incumbent.  Two years later Simmons faced another tough race, coincidentally his opponent was Joe Courtney, yet Simmons was victorious.  Four years later the same race played itself out resulting in a different outcome, this time Courtney would be the victor.  Courtney is being challenged this year by retired Groton Navy Base Officer Sean Sullivan.  Initially viewed by Republicans as a promising candidate, Sullivan has struggled with fundraising, posting what many would consider “anemic” returns.  The district has very liberal leanings around New London (except Groton) and Mansfield, home to the University of Connecticut.  Even though Simmons won this district as a Republican in 2000, many contribute this narrow win to a local issue at the time: casinos.  The district is home to the two largest casinos in the world: Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.  The casino industry and the University of Connecticut are the two largest employers here.  Simmons hold on this seat was unprecedented by all means, yet it is highly unlikely that any Republican will be taking back this seat anytime soon.

Rating: Democrat Favored

4th – Shays (R) – Bridgeport, Norwalk, and Stamford.

The last remaining House Republican in all of New England narrowly escaped defeat in 2006.  The DCCC has once again targeted him for defeat and Chris Shays is aware.  Unlike the rest of Connecticut, this district has more in common with New York, than with New England.  The (unofficial) Democratic nominee is Jim Himes, former VP of Goldman Sachs and an affordable housing executive.  Overall the district is diverse in character, including some of the nation’s wealthiest places (Greenwich, Darien, and Westport) and its poorest (Bridgeport).  Both candidates have an immediate issue which benefits them. Shays support for tax cuts is welcomed here, considering that the Stamford-Norwalk MSA has the nation’s highest tax burden.  Himes work in affordable housing also provides him with a strong issue, since the Stamford-Norwalk MSA is also the most expensive market for renters.  While the war in Iraq is not popular here, Shays has been able to win twice against this issue.  Lamont also lost this district against Lieberman by 12.5%.  Four of the five largest cities are considered moderate (Fairfield, Greenwich, Norwalk, and Stamford).  Only Bridgeport is considered a safe Democratic city, yet its overall turnout is less than any of the four moderate cities.  Shays seat on Financial Services is an asset for this district since it is home to several financial service companies and hedge funds.  Criticized in the past, Shays has started to address another criticial issue in the district: transportation.  Considered conservative fiscally, he has taken liberal positions socially.  He is pro-choice and pro gay-marriage, two positions shared by Himes.  Three obvious issues that differentiate Shays from Himes are the war in Iraq, free trade, and immigration.  The later could have a negative impact on Shays this year.  Unlike most districts where illegal immigration is politicized, the opposite could be said true here.  Hispanics comprise 13% of the population.  A defection of Hispanics from Shays with an increase in African American participation could be the necessary combination that leads to his defeat.  Himes fundraising is at par with Shays, making this the third competitive race in a row for Shays.  A defensive Shays will be the first sign of the race heating up, considering that 55% of the electorate is Democratic.

Rating: Too Close to Call

5th – Murphy (D) – Danbury, New Britain, and Waterbury.

While Democrats were more optimistic about winning in the 2nd and 4th districts, it was a negative television ad run by Republican Nancy Johnson which ultimately sealed her defeat.  In her attempt to defeat Chris Murphy, Johnson ran an ad attempting to link Murphy with child predators and drug dealers.  As a result, what many considered a close race, turned out as a landslide.  Murphy defeated Johnson by 12%.  Murphy is now the incumbent and will face State Senator David Cappiello.  The district has a Democratic registration advantage, yet it is independents who usually determine the outcome of close races here.  Danbury and Waterbury are favorable to Republicans, whereas Meriden and New Britain favor Democrats.  Cappiello hails from Danbury, arguably the most conservative area of the district.  However Cappiello’s conservatism is unlikely to have appeal beyond Danbury and parts of Waterbury.  While many candidates have strayed away from Bush, Cappiello is the exception.  He invited Bush to a fundraiser in a district which Bush lost in 2004.  Cappiello’s main issue will most likely be illegal immigration since Danbury has been the hotbed for the issue statewide.  However, with the changing demographics of Danbury and an increase in Democratic registration, it is likely that the issue could be one which shuts out Republicans for years to come.  Murphy has raised twice as much over Cappiello.  Many would consider Cappiello too conservative for the district, therefore its highly unlikely that David “Bush” Cappiello will be heading to Washington anytime soon.

Rating: Likely Democrat


AL – Castle (R) – Statewide

During a Democratic year many would expect that Democrats would field a challenge against Michael Castle.  After all, he represents the most Democratic district in the nation currently served by a Republican.  Democrats compose 57% of the electorate.  Furthermore, African-Americans compose 19% of the state population.  The only declared Democrats are poorly financed and will have a difficult time competing against Castle.  Unless Castle stumbles, decides to forgo re-election after filing, or Delawareans simply tire of him, then there appears to be no re-election threat on the horizon.  At best, this was the worst recruiting oversight for Democrats the whole cycle.

Rating: Safe Republican


5th – Brown-Waite (R) – Brooksville, Clermont, and Spring Hill.

The foreclosure crisis has hit Ginny Brown-Waite’s district hard, forcing her to abandon her own party and endorse foreclosure legislation.  The district is home to the third highest concentration of senior citizens and has one of the largest populations of veterans as well.  Issues important to seniors and veterans are paramount here.  Due to declines in the stock market, the likelihood is that the portfolios of many seniors have also declined.  Due to limited incomes, rising insurance rates, health care costs, and gas prices are most likely to have a more negative effect here than elsewhere.  The district is favorable to Republicans, yet if Brown-Waite is perceived as being part of the problem she could be defeated.  Ultra-conservative Jim King has forced her into a primary, yet she should easy distinguish him once again.  His main issue is coastal drilling, which until lately Brown-Waite had been oppossed to.  The Democratic primary is a three-way race, yet John Russell, the 2006 nominee, is considered the early favorite.  Brown-Waite is taking a calculated risk if she advocates oil drilling off the coast of her own district.  Her fundraising dwarfs both of her opponents, yet there is an indication that the district is becoming restless with Brown-Waite.  Her movement away from Bush and the Republican platform on several issues, is an indicator that she finds them to be an unwelcome liability.

Rating: Republican Favored  

8th – Keller (R) – Ocala and Orlando.

Changing demographics in the Orlando area has made this seat less safe for Ric Keller.  He won re-election by 7% over his Democratic challenger in 2006.  This year Keller is once again facing a primary by Todd Long, a far right radical who is accusing Keller of breaking his term limit pledge.  Defeating Long will be an easy challenge, yet it is in the general election where Keller may be struggling.  However, Democrats are engaged in a three-way primary.  The DCCC prefers attorney Michael Smith, yet the 2006 nominee Charlie Stuart, and Alan Grayson, also an attorney, are not willing to cede the nomination to Smith.  A contested primary at the end of August will leave the winner very little time to raise additional funds necessary to defeat Keller.  While the district remains Republican, it has been treading more Democratic in recent years, forcing Keller to raise funds nonstop.  One troubling aspect for Keller is his drop in support, going from 65% to 53% in four years.  An early sign of trouble for Keller may be his call for a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq only for him to rescind it months later (most likely under party pressure).  The DCCC is certain to target Keller, however the stronger Democratic challenger is not Michael Smith.  Charlie Stuart, the nominee in 2006, has more funds on hand and name recognition.  Therefore, he is likely to be the Democratic nominee once again.  When elected in 2000, Orange County, where the bulk of the residents are located, was solidly Republican, yet it is now Democratic territory.  It is now possible that Keller may find himself leaving office with Bush.

Rating: Likely Republican  

9th – Bilirakis (R) – Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Plant City.

The seat was targeted in 2006 when Gus Bilirakis’s father retired, yet Bilirakis still won by more than 11%.  This year Bilirakis is an incumbent and his Democratic challenger is former Plant City mayor John Dicks.  The DCCC viewed the district as being competitive in 2006 and spent heavily, yet that assessment may have been overly optimistic.  The reality is that the district has a 30K Republican advantage in registration.  The Democratic nominee this year is also a weaker candidate with very little funding, the little which he does have is mostly self-funding.  Any expenditures by the DCCC in this district would be wasteful at best.  The Republican nature of the district makes it extremely difficult to overcome, especially when the incumbent has maintained a low profile and has very few votes which could be held against him.    

Rating: Republican Favored

10th – Young (R) – Saint Petersburg.

While the district has changed through the years, its representation has not.  Bill Young is the longest serving Republican in the House.  He has managed to retain his seat rather comfortably, even though the district has started to become more Democratic.  Both Clinton and Gore won here and Bush won here in 2004 by a mere 1%.  It was expected that Young would retire due to his loss of the Appropriations chairmanship and age (he will be 78 if re-elected).  However, Young has put to rest any doubts of his re-election.  His past re-election bids have never been close.  The closest race was in 1994 when he won by 13%.  This year Democrats hope that an ex-Republican can do what no Democrat has been able to: defeat Young.  Former Dunedin mayor Bob Hackworth is the (unofficial) Democratic nominee.  One major issue which is starting to separate the two candidates is offshore drilling.  The coastal district is dependent on tourism revenue from its beaches, therefore any mention of offshore drilling is not received lightly.  Young appears to have adopted a position similar to Governor Crist in regards to this issue.  Before Hackworth can challenge Young he must first overcome a three-way primary.  Young’s past victories may be attributed to the massive earmarks which he brought back into the district, yet they have been drastically reduced since he relinquished his chairmanship.  The earmarks were viewed as a strength, enabling Young to win over independents and even some Democrats.  The demographics here are also considered more favorable to Democrats than those of the neighboring ninth.  However, on the bright side for Young, is the poor fundraising of all three Democrats.  Another year, and quite possibly, another missed opportunity, in taking out a Republican incumbent.

Rating: Republican Favored  

13th – Buchanan (R) – Bradenton and Sarasota.

The controversy from 2006 still lingers here.  Republican Vern Buchanan was declared the victor over Democrat Christine Jennings by a small margin of 369 votes.  Jennings claimed that the undervote in Sarasota County was much higher than other counties situated in the district.  However, even with the challenge, the new Democratic controlled Congress allowed Buchanan to be seated, pending an investigation of the matter.  The complaint was subsequently dismissed.  Jennings is back for a rematch against Buchanan this year, yet she has 2006 primary loser and 2004 Democratic nominee Jan Schneider running as an independent.  Buchanan secured the 2006 nomination by overcoming a challenge by five other Republicans, two of which were strong competitors.  Since assuming the seat, Buchanan has adopted a fairly moderate voting record for the district.  However, he still has personal baggage which is constantly confronting him, the latest being tax liens against businesses he had owned.  Buchanan and the IRS later noted that the tax liens were “clerical” errors.  Even with the newest information, he has shown an ability to overcome controversies.  He won a rather divisive primary in 2006 when his own personal business dealings became a major issue.  The closeness of the race between Buchanan and Jennings could be attributed to the negative information that was aired throughout the Republican primary and to the lack of party unity which followed.  The Sarasota based district is strong Republican territory, thereby giving Buchanan an early advantage.  Buchanan also has personal wealth, which he used freely in the last election, and could do so this year if necessary.  Fundraising for Jennings has been strong, the opposite could be said for the “broke” Schneider.  The immediate problem for Jennings is what role Schneider plays in taking votes.  For that reason, unless more damaging information surfaces and is strong enough to sink his ship, Buchanan can be considered an early favorite.

Rating: Likely Republican        

14th – Mack (R) – Cape Coral, Fort Myers, and Naples.

What is of concern to Connie Mack is not a Democrat (the district is only 27% registered Democrat), rather it’s a fellow Republican running as an independent.  State Senator Burt Saunders is being forced out of office due to state term limits.  Saunders has high name recognition in the district and is running as a populist, ensuring him the ability to win over independents and cross over Democrats.  However, most of the Republicans will likely continue to remain with Mack.  Republicans outnumber both Democrats and independents combined, thereby making the task for Saunders much more difficult.  A positive for Saunders is that his state district encompasses almost all of the congressional district, thereby giving him immediate name recognition.  Mack’s fundraising however is strong and he has not dismissed the challenge which Saunders poses.  Making the race even more competitive would be if the Democratic nominee, a poorly financed and unknown, dropped out.  This would allow Saunders to win over Democrats much easier and possibly creating a closer race.  However, I get the feeling that Mack would rather make a donation to the Democratic nominee’s campaign, rather than watching him abandon the race outright.  After all, Mack stomped the same nominee by 29% two years previous.

Rating: Republican Favored  

15th – Open Seat (R) – Kissimmee, Palm Bay, and Vero Beach.

Republican Dave Weldon has decided to retire, thereby leaving his central Florida district open.  The early favorite on the Republican side is State Senator Bill Posey.  The strongest challenger on the Democratic side would be retired USAF veteran Paul Rancatore.  However, neither have been declared the official nominee.  The district is fairly Republican, yet Kissimmee is an area which favors Democrats.  While dependent on tourism, the district can also be said to be dependent on NASA and the jobs it creates locally.  Under normal circumstances it would easy to call this a safe seat for Republicans, yet Posey may be too entrenched.  This race can best be compared to a similar race from Wisconsin in 2006 between State Assembly Speaker John Gard and physician Steve Kagen.  Gard was the insider and Kagen the outsider, yet it was the outsider that seemed to relate more with the people.  Rancatore is speaking to the people via his campaign explaining what he intends to do on their behalf.  In contrast, Posey talks past tense and what he has accomplished.  If this is truly an election based on change, then Posey may not fit the true characteristics of change.  While currently not on anyone’s radar, a little investment by the DCCC could truly make this a late developing race.

Rating: Republican Favored  

16th – Mahoney (D) – Port Charlotte and Port Saint Lucie.

One of the surprise and unexpected victories of 2006 was Tim Mahoney.  He narrowly won against Mark Foley (aka: Joe Negron).  Foley was forced to resign due to a scandal which imploded his re-election chances.  Due to the timing of his resignation it was too late for the Republican Party to replace his name on the ballot, therefore any vote for Foley was counted as a vote for Negron, the Republican designated nominee.  Even with Foley gone, yet still on the ballot, Mahoney managed to pull out a narrow victory in this Republican district.  The district is considered more Republican in Charlotte and Martin Counties, while evenly split between the two parties in Palm Beach and Saint Lucie counties.  The interior counties surrounding the Everglades are Democratic, yet less dense in population.  While winning re-election will be a struggle, Mahoney does start off with a few positives.  His fundraising is more than all three of his Republican challengers combined.  Amongst the three Republican challengers, none are considered an absolute favorite in winning the primary.  The lateness of the primary will leave the eventual winner with very little money going into the general election, thereby leaving a two month window to fundraise and campaign.  The primary is also certain to be nasty and will leave wounds that will follow the victor into the election.  Looking toward November, Mahoney made what may be considered a smart calculated decision: he didn’t endorse Obama for president.  It is no doubt that McCain will win this district overwhelmingly, yet by not endorsing Obama, Mahoney has insulated himself from being associated with Obama.  The lack of an endorsement provides the eventual Republican nominee with one less argument to utilize against Mahoney.  Based on fundraising and his non-endorsement of Obama, it may be said that Mahoney is running a smart campaign, yet the Republican nature of the district, even without knowing who the Republican nominee will be, makes it a race which will be extremely close in the end.

Rating: Too Close to Call  

18th – Ros-Lehtinen (R) – Coral Gables, Key West, and Miami Beach.

The only minority woman in the entire Republican caucus finds herself in a competitive primary for the first time.  Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has been a staunch supporter of anti-Castro policies since coming to Congress almost twenty years ago.  While these policies are supported by an older generation that lived under Castro, there is a newer generation which never lived under Castro, nor in most cases, has even visited Cuba.  There is a political divide being created in the Cuban community as a result.  Cubans continue to be viewed as the only reliable Republican voters in the Hispanic community, yet what was once seen as a strong Republican tilt has gradually diminished.  While the older generation continues to view anti-Castro policies as a decisive factor in securing their vote, the younger generation looks at issues that affect them directly, such as the economy and education.  The younger generation also views itself alienated from the Republican Party on several issues, most especially immigration, which many younger Cubans view as a direct attack on Hispanics.  While Republicans politicize immigration nationally, Florida is one state where the issue is discussed carefully.  The alienation of Cubans, could in itself, keep the Florida Republican Party in the minority for years to come.  The Democratic nominee challenging Ros-Lehtinen is Annette Taddeo, a Colombian-American.  Realizing the perilous situation she is under, thanks to Republican scapegoating of Hispanics (aka: illegal immigrants), Ros-Lehtinen has raised serious funds for the general election.  Taddeo has done likewise, yet continues to be behind.  Not only does fundraising provide her with an advantage, yet so do three other issues: Ros-Lehtinen has not taken a radical stance on immigration, unlike her party as a whole.  She also has been very liberal in her dealings with the gay community which are a large constituency in South Beach and Key West.  Finally, it can be said that another strong advantage for Ros-Lehtinen is that she is Cuban-American.  Unlike her two colleagues who are being challenged by fellow Cuban-Americans, she is being challenger by a Colombian-American.  Based on this assessment, it is highly likely that the Cuban-American community will want to retain Ros-Lehtinen, considering it only has five voices throughout all of Congress.  

Rating: Likely Republican

21st – Diaz-Balart, Lincoln (R) – Hialeah and Kendall.

The most vulnerable of the Republican Party’s only three minorities would most arguably be Lincoln Diaz-Balart.  He is facing former Hialeah mayor Raul Martinez.  Hialeah, the fifth largest city in Florida, is the center of this district.  Martinez was mayor of the city for twenty-four years.  This is the first serious challenge that Lincoln Diaz-Balart has faced and while voter registration favors Republicans, many of those Republicans can be assumed to be Cuban.  As a result, they could end up voting for either candidate.  The negatives for Diaz-Balart are Bush and his own party.  The positive for Martinez is his popularity and ability to overcome a frivilous indictment twenty years ago.  Coincidentally, that indictment came from the husband of Ilena Ros-Lehtinen.  Ros-Lehtinen’s husband was the US Attorney in Miami at the time and she was a candidate for US Congress.  Martinez was considering a challenge against her, in which the husband of Ros-Lehtinen responded by indicting Martinez on bogus charges.  In the end, not only was Martinez acquitted, Ros-Lehtinen’s husband was forced to resign for abusing his office for political gain.  Therefore, it’s fair to say that Martinez has learned to overcome obstacles through personal experience.  Lincoln Diaz-Balart has been a straight vote for Bush and the Republican agenda, even when the vote had negative consequences to his own district.  One issue which Diaz-Balart will not be able to use against Martinez is accusations of him being pro-Castro (a technique which Republicans exploit in South Florida).  The election will essentially come down to who is speaking on behalf of young voters (those under 30) and historically these voters have been aligned with Democrats, even in the Cuban strongholds of South Florida.  If Diaz-Balart does lose he can thank Bush, his party, and his brother (he was the one who helped draw the district when he was in the state legislature).

Rating: Too Close to Call

24th – Feeney (R) – New Smyrna Beach, Oviedo, and Titusville.

Anyone familiar with Florida politics would tell you that Tom Feeney was corrupt before he even landed in Washington.  In fact, as Florida Speaker of the House, Feeney devised ways of creating his own rules and attacking those that disagreed with his heavy handed tactics.  Since coming to Washington he has consistently been named one of the most corrupt politicians.  In his 2006 race for re-election he only took 58% of the vote against a weak, poorly funded challenger.  This year Democrats have scored a much stronger candidate to take out the Feeney corrupt machine.  Former state representative Suzanne Kosmas hails from Volusia County, the Democratic part of the district.  The Republican stronghold for the district is Seminole County, yet even this area has gradually become less Republican.  Kosmas has proven the ability to raise funds and has even outpaced Feeney in the process (guess all of his corrupt buddies decided he was no longer worth funding).  Feeney’s voting has been strongly conservative, even though the district can best be summarized as being moderate.  Kosmas brings the moderate record minus the corruption back to the district.  While in the state legislature Feeney and his corrupt counterpart Katherine Harris, then Secretary of State, were strong supporters of George W. Bush.  As a thank you for his support, Feeney was rewarded: he was chosen as a Bush elector in 2000 and promised that one of the two new congressional districts would be drawn specifically for Feeney.  However, it seems that Feeney’s corruption and arrogance have managed to negate the “Safe Republican” nature of his district.  Republicans lead in registration, yet the district possesses one thing which Feeney lacks: morals and honesty.  Kosmas will bring change and dignity back to the office, defeating Feeney rather soundly.

Rating: Leans Democrat

25th – Diaz-Balart, Mario (R) – Homestead and Naples.

Since creating his own district while in the state legislature, Mario Diaz-Balart has never faced stiff competition.  The Democratic nominee is Joe Garcia, Chairman of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party.  Garcia’s past positions and current involvement with the Cuban-American community presents an unknown challenge to Diaz-Balart.  The one question Diaz-Balart must answer first is how he can overcome a challenge when he never seriously faced one in the past.  Also, how could he have miscalculated the safety of his own seat, when drafting congressional district lines during reapportionment.  What Diaz-Balart and many other close-minded politicians fail to calculate at time of reapportionment is that party registration and demographics are just a part of winning, not the key to winning.  Diaz-Balart failed to realize that another Cuban-American could cancel out any advantage he enjoyed.  Furthermore, he failed to realize that the Republican nature of the district would certainly decline in time.  Now, due to his own miscalculation, Diaz-Balart finds himself fending off a challenger, yet unsure of what a winning strategy involves.  Many of the Republican voters are Cuban and could vote for either candidate.  Both candidates are fundraising and have sufficient funds to attack eachother.  Diaz-Balart has legislative experience, yet he has no “real” experience running a campaign.  The later may force him to stumble and make mistakes throughout (unfortunately brother is too busy dealing with his own problems to provide any strategic input).  Diaz-Balart could invite McCain to campaign with him, yet that could create problems with the electorate, now that McCain has been perceived as abandoning immigration reform.  Just as with his brother’s district, the winner will be determined by a younger generation of voters.  A loss is not something Diaz-Balart has prepared for, yet after being a Bush soldier for so long it was only a matter of time before strong competition would appear.  A very narrow advantage lies with Diaz-Balart, yet that will gradually shrink as Garcia’s name recognition circulates throughout the district.  

Rating: Leans Republican


8th – Jim Marshall (D) – Macon, Moultrie, and Warner Robins.

Following redistricting, under the then controlled Democratic legislature, Jim Marshall ran and won a close race.  He then ran against the same opponent in 2004 and defeated him soundly.  Yet when Democrats had lost control of the legislature, following the 2004 election, Republicans decide to undertake a mid-decade redistricting.  They decided to make Marshall’s district far more Republican.  Furthermore, former congressman Mac Collins, decided to run against Marshall.  The outcome was a close race and Marshall defied Republicans, defeating Collins.  Challenging Marshall this year will be Republican Rick Goddard, former Commander at Warner Robins Air Force Base.  Going into the election Marshall has three times as much funds over Goddard.  An additional advantage is that 30% of the electorate is African-American, many of whom are first time voters.  A year prior to the election in 2006, much of the territory was newly added, yet since then, Marshall has represented his constituency over a longer period of time.  His position on the Armed Services and Agriculture Committees are also benefits, especially being in the majority.  The likelihood is that being in the majority has allowed Marshall to bring more funds into his district, then was practical prior to 2006.  Recent gains by Democrats in the South (Cazayoux and Childers) are clear indicators that African Americans have clearly become more engaged.  Therefore, while Marshall will have a competitive race, the likelihood is that if Republicans couldn’t beat him in 2006, even with Bush’s assistance, then their chances this year are even lower.

Rating: Leans Democrat

12th – Barrow (D) – Augusta, Savannah, and Statesboro.

Republicans have finally realized one thing: Max Burns was really an accidental congressman.  Burns victory in 2002 was the result of an ethically challenged Democratic nominee.  It was in the 2004 election that John Barrow knocked off Burns.  After the Republican state legislature redrew the boundaries of the district, making it way more Republican and eliminating the liberal city of Athens, many had expected that Barrow could not survive a challenge by Burns, yet he too defied the Republican scheme.  This year Republicans have nominated John Stone, a sacrificial lamb candidate, to take on Barrow.  The district voter registration is 41% African-American and Barrow’s fundraising has been too impressive.  He currently has $1.1M on hand versus $8K for Stone.

Rating: Safe Democrat


House Race Ratings (AL – MT)

Race Ratings

(Alabama – Montana)

Dem Favored

AZ 5 – Mitchell (D)

CT 2 – Courtney (D)

IL 8 – Bean (D)

Likely Dem

AL 5 – Open Seat (Cramer – D)

AZ 1 – Open Seat (Renzi – R)

CA 11 – McNerney (D)

CT 5 – Murphy (D)

IL 14 – Foster (D)

KY 3 – Yarmuth (D)

MN 1 – Walz (D)

Leans Dem

AZ 8 – Giffords (D)

FL 24 – Feeney (R) **

GA 8 – Marshall (D)

IL 11 – Open Seat (Weller- R) **

IN 9 – Hill (D)

KS 2 – Boyda (D)

KS 3 – Moore (D)

LA 4 – Open Seat (McCrery – R) **

MI 7 – Walberg (R) **

MS 1 – Childers (D)

Too Close to Call

CT 4 – Shays (R)

FL 16 – Mahoney (D)

FL 21 – Diaz-Balart, Lincoln (R)

KY 2 – Open Seat (Lewis – R)

LA 6 – Cazayoux (D)

MD 1 – Open Seat (Gilchrest – R)

MI 9 – Knollenberg (R)

MN 3 – Open Seat (Ramstad – R)

MO 6 – Graves (R)

Leans Rep

AL 2 – Open Seat (Everett – R)

CA 4 – Open Seat (Doolittle – R)

FL 25 – Diaz-Balart, Mario (R)

ID 1 – Sali (R)

IL 10 – Kirk (R)

IL 18 – LaHood (R)

Likely Rep

AL 3 – Rogers (R)

AZ 3 – Shadegg (R)

CA 50 – Bilbray (R)

CO 4 – Musgrave (R)

FL 8 – Keller (R)

FL 13 – Buchanan (R)

FL 18 – Ros-Lehtinen (R)

IL 6 – Roskam (R)

IA 4 – Latham (R)

LA 7 – Boustany (R)

MN 6 – Bachmann (R)

Rep Favored

CA 3 – Lungren (R)

CA 26 – Dreier (R)

CA 41 – Lewis (R)

CA 46 – Rohrbacher (R)

CA 52 – Open Seat (Hunter – R)

CO 5 – Lamborn (R)

FL 5 – Brown-Waite (R)

FL 9 – Bilirakis (R)

FL 10 – Young (R)

FL 14 – Mack (R)

FL 15 – Open Seat (Weldon – R)

IL 13 – Biggert (R)

IN 3 – Souder (R)

IN 4 – Buyer (R)

MN 2 – Kline (R)

**Ratings for Alaska – AL are not included (dependent more or less on whether Young survives an inter-party challenge).  Ratings for MO – 9, an open seat, are also not included (dependent on whom is the Democratic nominee).

Dem Seat Gains – Feeney, McCrery, Renzi, Walberg, and Weller.

Dem Seats most at Risk – Cazayoux and Mahoney.

***Details for each race are explained on an additional diary following this one.***

I would also like to mention three Democratic candidates that I feel have been underestimated, either due to low fundraising on their part or a lack of analyzing specific races.  In analyzing the district and candidate against the incumbent, I have determined that these could indeed be far more competitive races than currently noted by most experts.  These races are in the following districts:

FL 15 – Open Seat (Weldon)

IN 4 – Buyer

IA 4 – Latham

**If you have any questions or disagreements regarding any of these predictions then please note them on the message board and I will follow up to explain what was my determing factor.

Top 15 Exciting Republican Primaries

This year has seen come very competitive primaries, yet I have to admit, those on the Republican side were far more memorable.  Here’s a highlight of the fifteen most exciting Republican primaries (compliments of a party in despair):

AL 2nd – Harri Anne Smith (Ronnie Gilley, George Jones, and Club for Growth) vs. Jay Love

Summary: Jay Love visits Ronnie Gilley, a developer in the city of Enterprise and asks for financial support.  Gilley, unconvinced in whatever was discussed, decides to host a fundraiser for Smith.  Love, feeling betrayed, then attacks Smith for taking money from the gambling industry (Gilley is developing a bingo hall in the district, yet is has yet to open).  Gilley then returns fire by financing ads against Love, featuring no one other than country singer George Jones, a friend of Gilley’s.  The GOP tries to broker a love fest between the two campaigns, yet Gilley, holds a press conference proclaiming that Love has no moral character and is not a true Christian.  The family fest ends with Love coming out the victor.

CA 4th – Tom McClintock & Club for Growth vs. Doug Ose

Summary: John Doolittle finally see’s the writing on the wall: an indictment is forthcoming, therefore resign.  However, the two Republicans vying for the seat had one thing in common: neither lived in the district.  Tom McClintock, an ultra-consevative lives six hours away and Doug Ose, a liberal tax spender, according to McClintock and the Club for Growth, lived just outside the district lines.  The campaign amongst the two became so heated that McClintock’s wife joined the fray after her husband was attacked for accepting a $170 daily allowance to cover additional living expenses.  Unlike most lawmakers, who mainted a second home, McClintock had given up on his second home in Thousand Oaks months prior.  The new occupant of the home: McClintock’s mother.  The Club for Growth spent millions attacking Ose, yet had no worries that McClintock was accepting a daily allowance that he clearly did not need.  McClintock came out on top thanks to the Club.

GA 10th – Paul Broun vs. Barry Fleming (Georgia GOP)

Summary: Paul Broun was never the top choice of the Republican establishment, therefore they drafted Barry Fleming.  The fireworks started right away with Fleming attacking Broun for a decade old bankruptcy, a contempt of court order hearing regarding child support, and past tax liens.  He also tried to paint Broun as a liberal that protects child predators, gay marriage, illegal immigrants, and terrorists.  Fleming argued that Broun was not morally fit to hold office, even though the information he compiled was from 20 years previous.  Broun also felt that Fleming was not fit to hold the office either because he was not a true Christian.  In the end it was Fleming that was bruised and battled, losing at a greater percentage than many expected.

IN 5th – Dan Buron vs. John McGoff

Summary: The main issue of the campaign: golfing.  Yes, indeed Burton was attacked vigorously for deciding to golf in California, missing a dozen votes in the process.  He also didn’t help his case by being the sole vote against banning members of Congress from accepting gifts and free trips from lobbyists.  Maybe mixing Republicans and golf together may be a bad thing after all (Case in point: Jack Abramoff and Bob Ney and their infamous Scotland golfing adventure).  

MD 1st – Wayne Gilchrest vs. Andy Harris (Club for Growth)

Summary: Gilchrest became the first incumbent of the cycle to be defeated.  A primary featuring three strong candidates, the third being state senator EJ Pipkin, guaranteed that the moderate vote would be split, allowing the ultra-conservative Harris to succeed.  Gilchrest was attacked for actually favoring a timeline for troop withdrawal and voting against the Bush agenda repeatedly.  He was branded a liberal by the Club for Growth which spent heavily attacking both Gilchrest and Pipkin.  Harris also brought up illegal immigration, stating that Gilchrest favored allowing illegals to stay here freely.  Something tells me that Maryland voters will not allow this Scott Garrett wanna-be to find his way to Washington.  Expect Gilchrest to campaign against Harris and his ultra-conservative platform.  

NJ 7th – Leonard Lance vs. Kate Whitman (Christie Todd Whitman)

Summary: State Senator Lance found himself battling a crowded primary field that also featured Kate Whitman, daughter of former governor Christie Todd Whitman.  Throughtout the debates and television ads, Whitman accussed Lance of increasing property taxes (NJ property taxes are consistently the highest nationwide) and taking donations from lobbyists.  Lance fired back saying Whitman was inexperienced and that her mother ran a reckless government based on bonds and borrowing.  In the end it was Lance, who defeated Whitman and six other challengers.  Lance has had a problem since the primary (fundraising).  He currently has $81K compared to $1.2K for Linda Stender.  Anyone ready to say Democratic Pick-Up?

NM 2nd – Ed Tinsley vs. Aubrey Dunn vs. Monty Newman (National Assoc. of Realtors)

Summary: All three candidates provided their campaigns with thousands in self-funding, thereby making it a three-way race.  Tinley accussed Dunn of standing with liberal Democrats in his opposition to the Patriot Act, contending that he was supporting terrorists.  He also said that Dunn was a former Democrat that had only changed parties months prior.  Dunn accused Tinsley of wanting to “hand over the keys to our country to illegal aliens and terrorists” while also living in liberal Santa Fe, where Tinsley maintains a second home.  Both campaigns attacked Newman following an endorsement by the National Association of Realtors, calling him a tax and spend liberal while he served as mayor of Hobbs.  In short, the arguments made by both campaigns were this: Tinsley supports amnesty and does not live in the district.  Dunn supports liberal Democrats and terrorists.  Newman is a tax and spend liberal.  Therefore, the primary can be summed up as terrorists, illegals, and liberals.  Economy?  What economy?  In the end, it was Tinsley that prevailed.

NC 3rd – Walter Jones vs. Joe McLaughlin

Summary: Very few in the Republican caucus have been as outspoken against the war as Walter Jones.  Former Onslow County Commissioner Joe McLaughlin felt that Jones opposition to the war would work against him (the district includes Camp LeJeune).  He also sought to paint Jones as being a liberal, yet it didn’t not gain much traction.  In the end, it was Jones that defeated McLaughlin, rather easily.  Since then, Jones has gone on to support impeachment proceedings against Bush.  Anyone want to consider Jones as the first Republican to ditch the GOP post Bush?

NC 10th – Patrick McHenry vs. Lance Sigmon

Summary: Retired Lt. Colonel Sigmon claimed that a video McHenry shot in Iraq, while on a congressional tour, may have aided the enemy.  Sigmon claimed that McHenry’s video, which was posted on his congressional website, showed where US missiles struck.  Shortly after posting the video, enemy forces attacked the Green Zone from where McHenry filmed.  Sigmon also took McHenry to task for classifying a security personnel in Iraq as a “two-bit security guard” after a defiant McHenry refused to return to barracks after being prohibited from using the gym.  McHenry eventually was escorted back to his room by higher command.  McHenry eventually won the race, yet any future visits to Iraq are unlikely.

OR 5th – Kevin Mannix vs. Mike Erickson

Summary: The Oregon Republican Party had insisted that both run a civil campaign, yet any guarantee was short lived.  Realizing that Erickson had sufficient funds to buy the seat, Mannix had released a mailer claiming that Erickson used cocaine, got his girlfriend pregnant, and then drove her to an abortion clinic.  Erickson’s response was quite unusual: he accussed Mannix of being a tax and spend liberal.  Mannix’s timing of the revelations may have been too late since Oregon has a mail-in ballot election.  As a result, Erickson won the primary.  Since then Erickson has had to deal with his reputation and newspaper interviews with the alleged girlfriend.  Erickson’s response: we had a relationship, yet I didn’t know she was pregnant.  A perfect GOP response.

PA 5th – Derek Walker vs. Matt Shaner

Summary: The primary featured three Republicans, yet Walker who self-financed $927K and Shaner who self-financed $1.67K, viewed themselves as the top two contenders.  Walker attacked Shaner for pleading guilty to running a stop sign and failing to report a crash a year previous.  Walker then found himself under attack after the Associated Press released details of him being charged with a felony count of burglary and trespassing for confronting his girlfriend outside her apartment six months prior.  In the end, it was the third candidate Glenn Thompson, who raised a mere $151K, that won the primary.  

PA 10th – Chris Hackett vs. Dan Meuser

Summary: The battle of the millionaries featured Hackett self-financing $1.18K and Meuser self-financing $1.9K.  The election was based on illegal immigration.  Hackett attacked Meuser for hiring illegal immigrants at his business.  It was then Meuser who discovered that Hackett’s own maid was illegal.  Meuser also relished the support he had from failed Sen. Santorum and Hazleton mayor Lou Barletta.  Hackett and Meuser then continued to fight back and forth over who was the real Republican and who was the real Democrat based on campaign contributions to candidates in the past.  Hackett said that Meuser’s PAC donations to the Democrats were proof that he was not the real conservative.  In the end it was Hackett, just another self-financier, that won the primary.

TX 14th – Ron Paul vs. Chris Peden

Summary: Conservatives had become irritated with Paul’s denouncement of Bush and the war in Iraq.  Friendswood Councilman Peden accussed Paul of signaling retreat in Iraq, protecting gay marriage, and oppossing free trade.  Paul for the most part ignored the self-financed Peden and did more than limp across the finish line.  He beat Peden soundly.  While pundits thought for a second that Paul could indeed be in trouble, it was an overreaction at best.

TX 22nd – Shelly Sekula-Gibbs vs. Pete Olson

Summary: After losing a write-in election, Sekula-Gibbs wanted another chance against Lampson, yet this time with her name on the ballot.  Unfortunately, John Cornyn protege Pete Olson was not going to allow that to occur.  Sekula-Gibbs said she was the true conservative in the race, while Olson attacked her for supporting illegal immigrants (hardly possible).  Revelations that her entire staff quit during her short stint in Congress also didn’t help Sekula-Gibbs.  Olson also boasted that his nine years in the Navy, all during non-combat, proved he was the best candidate as it relates to national security.  Conservatives, illegal immigrants, and national security.  Only in Texas.

UT 3rd – Chris Cannon vs. Jason Chaffetz

Summary: Chris Cannon almost lost during the Republican Party convention, yet sealed enough votes to force a primary.  His opponent was Gov. Huntsman’s Chief of Staff Jason Chaffetz.  The fight was on to determine who was more conservative.  Chaffetz attacked Cannon for allowing the federal budget to double, supporting illegal immigration, and No Child Left Behind (something anti-Bush coming from a conservative).  Cannon didn’t take Chaffetz as much of a threat due to close races in the past, yet in the end it was social issue voters that finally threw Cannon to the curb, making him the third incumbent to lose this year.  

Fifteen more interesting battles still to come:

AZ 5th – A 7-way primary between seven underfunded candidates, all seeking the opportunity to be defeated by Harry Mitchell this November.

CO 5th – Lamborn vs. Crank vs. Rayburn (Round two from 2006).  This year Crank seems more cranky with Rayburn, for not dropping out, then he seems with Lamborn, who has largely ignored both of them.

CO 6th – Secretary of State Mike Coffman vs. William Armstrong (son of former US Senator Bill Armstrong) vs. State Senator Ted Harvey vs. State Senator Steve Ward.  The last two will battle for third place while the first two will truly battle.  Who’s more conservative here?

FL 16th – The battle of the have and have nots: State Representative Gayle Harrell, Pittsburgh Steelers heir Tom Rooney, and Councilman Hal Valeche.  The fireworks have already started between the top two contenders, Rooney and Valeche.  Maybe they’ll beat eachother up so much between now and the primary that Harrell will slide through for the touchdown.    

FL 24th – An early sign of Tom Feeney’s vulnerability heading into November will be how many Republicans he loses in a primary featuring John Davis, a candidate with no funds.

KS 2nd – The battle between Kansas’s conservatives and moderates features recently defeated Jim Ryun vs. State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins.  The odds are in Ryun’s favor, yet expect payback this November from the moderates.  After all, Republican moderates were partially responsible for Sebelius being elected Governor twice and former arch-conservative Attorney General Phil Kline being defeated soundly by a Democrat.  The battle continues into November (hopefully it brings Senator Roberts down with it).    

LA 4th – Another battle featuring the have and have nots: Physician John Fleming and Businessman Chris Gorman have flooded their campaign war chests with personal funding.  However, the choice of the NRCC, former Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Thompson has not been able to self-fund as much.  The main issue so far: Thompson argues he’s running against two people who want to buy their way into office.  The primary will ultimately be decided on who is most conservative.  Beat eachother up and have a ball while you’re at it.

MO 9th – If you could place five people from various backgrounds onto Gilligan’s island, then this is what you would get: a former building inspector, former tourism director, a standout football player, and two state representatives.  The likely nominee appears to be Dr. Bob Onder, a social issue candidate, the best Democrats could ask for when the economy is heading downward.

NH 1st – Jeb Bradley wants to come back to Washington, yet he is experiencing turbulence in his quest.  Former state Health and Human Service Commissioner John Stephen, a former primary loser himself, now thinks he is most qualified to lose this November.  Something tells me that Bradley will not be able to pull this one off.

NH 2nd – A little less exciting, yet interesting to watch, is the five-way Republican primary amongst poorly funded candidates.  The only one who really has money is state senator Robert Clegg and that is half of what he self-funded.  Paul Hodes will have a breeze against any of these five.

NY 13th – Fossella resigned after baby news was announced and then the nominee to replace him died.  Now the race comes down to Dr. Jamshad Wyne, finance Chairman of the Staten Island GOP and former Assemblyman Bob Straniere.  Wyne was in the race, then out of the race and supporting Democratic nominee McMahon, then he was back in the race.  As for Straniere, he was never even considered a possible candidate.  Guy Molinari, long seen the head of the Staten Island GOP, would never even consider Straniere, yet a GOP committee did.  The easiest pick-up of the year is in the nation’s most expensive media market and not a single cent has to be spent.  The only interesting aspect of the primary is how low the turnout will be.  

NY 20th – Sandy Treadwell has already spent $1.8 million of his own money in a quest for his own seat in Congress.  Will that be enough to win a three-way primary?

TN 1st – Freshman David Davis is finding himself in another race with Johnson City mayor David Roe.  The race should be quite interesting, yet Davis may have the advantage.

TN 7th – Marsha Blackburn, spokeswoman for Big Oil, finds herself in a primary fight against Shelby County Register Thomas Leatherwood.  Leaterwood is broke, literally, and according to Blackburn he is from Memphis.  Big Oil is taking care of their spokeswoman.  It’s just a question of how well her margin of victory will be.

WY AL – Many expect former state treasurer Cynthia Lummis to take the nomination, yet businessman Mark Gordon has other plans.  Let’s see who’s ultimately right.

If the 15 most competitive Republican primaries have anything to offer it is this: most of those primaries were based on social issues.  If Republicans think they can continue a 2006 campaign style in 2008, ignoring economic issues and the war in Iraq, then maybe a loss of 20 Republican seats may be an underestimate.  We might have to revise it more toward the 30-50 range.  An angry American electorate is prepared to throw out George Bush’s puppets.

Top 10 House “Incumbent” Primaries

The top 10 races featuring incumbents (ranked based on vulnerability):

1. Young (AK) – Young is being hit by scandal and a large part of his campaign war chest is going toward attorney fees.  While it is a three-way primary race, the biggest threat is Lt. Gov. Parnell, who has been endorsed by popular Gov. Palin.  Should Parnell win and defeat Young, then expect this seat to become less likely for a Democratic pickup. Outlook: Young loses.

2. Broun (GA) – This is a battle between who is more conservative, similar to one lost by Cannon in Utah.  Broun defeated the establishment candidate in a special election.  Many attribute this victory to cross-over Democratic voters from more liberal areas, such as Athens.  Fleming is more of a “nut” than Broun and the cross-over appeal voters will not be able to rescue Broun this round.  Outlook: Broun loses.

3. Jefferson (LA) – He has been scandal plagued for eternity.  Even with scandal, Jefferson has managed to prevail in the past.  A crowded primary would be considered beneficial to him.  However, at a time when incumbents on both sides are being thrown out or retiring “voluntarily” there is no doubt that Jefferson is in trouble.  Outlook: Jefferson loses.

4. Towns (NY) – In 2006 he barely survived a three way challenge.  Kevin Powell is a charismatic public speaker and could hardly be considered a divisive figure, unlike Towns closest 2006 competitor, NYC Councilman Charles Barron.  Labor unions, a strong political force in Brooklyn, will most likely target Towns for defeat.  His support for Clinton over Obama is another issue that was not received well in his majority African American district.  Should this remain a two way race then Towns could be in serious trouble.  Outlook: Too Close to Call.  

5. Kilpatrick (MI) – Detroit is souring over the Kilpatricks, more the son than the mother.  Had she simply run as Carolyn Cheeks she would be safer.  A three-way primary benefits Kilpatrick, yet Waters is viewed as the more serious candidate and Scott as a mere placement candidate meant to split votes.  Coincidentally, Kilpatrick defeated a fellow incumbent in a 1996 primary to win this seat.  That fellow Democrat now serves on the Detroit City Council, the same group that has been battling her son.  Deja-vu has returned.  Kilpatrick is in deep trouble.  Outlook: Too Close to Call.

6. Cohen (TN) – He represents a majority African-American district, yet he is Jewish and white.  He is being challenged by Tinker, an African-American who is supported by some religious leaders who believe that only a fellow African-American can represent other African-Americans (a joke at best).  A crowded primary with fellow African-Americans, including Tinker, assisted Cohen in winning this seat last election.  Most polls show Cohen with a decent favorability rating and he endorsed Obama early on.  However, Tinker has sufficient funds to make this race competitive.  Outlook: Leans Cohen.

7. Barrow (GA) – This is another district that is a little less than 50% African-American.  Barrow is a conservative Southern Democrat.  His opponent is State Senator Thomas.  She is more of a liberal Southern Democrat, yet also African-American.  A low turount benefits Barrow.  He also has proven a winning streak against challenging Republicans.  Outlook: Likely Barrow.

8. Lamborn (CO) – This is a three-way primary that was expected to be a two-way primary between “wacko” Lamborn and whoever polled best between Crank and Rayburn.  Polls indicated Crank performed best against Lamborn, yet Rayburn decided that any deal made between him and Crank was not valid.  As a result, a three-way primary continues to exist.  This is not only a conservative district, yet also a military district and Lamborn can tout his seat on the Armed Services.  A seat there does indeed matter here.  Unlike Musgrave, Lamborn has also maintained a lower profile.  Outlook: Likely Lamborn.

9. Blackburn (TN) – Big Oil’s darling is having her conservative credentials questioned.  While Leatherwood has a struggle on his hands in defeating Blackburn, he has managed to catch her off guard for the time being.  Blackburn has started to go on the defensive, not a position where any incumbent is considered safe.  Outlook: Blackburn Favored.

10. David Davis (TN) – Davis is a freshman facing two opponents from 2006.  Roe is the more challenging of the two, he is a mayor, physician, and veteran (executive, health care, and military experience).  Not a bad mix for a conservative district. Outlook: Safe Davis.

Primary Dates:

7/15: Georgia

8/5: Michigan

8/7: Tennessee

8/12: Colorado

8/26: Alaska

9/6: Louisiana

9/9: New York


Top 10 “Non-Incumbent” House Primaries

The top 10 are listed in alphabetical order by state:

1. Alabama 2nd – Republican Terry Everett has decided to retire.  The two Republican challengers come from different parts of the district.  Jay Love comes from suburban Montgomery and Harri Ann Smith comes from Dothan.  Republicans have hinted that they prefer Love over Smith and this may be for two reasons.  The Democratic nominee is Montgomery mayor Bright and he may be able to win over Republicans in suburban Montgomery.  Smith may struggle and only be able to keep her base in Dothan.  Jay Love on the other hand can keep his base and pick up the more conservative areas such as Dothan.  The second reason why they may prefer Love is because Smith has demonstrated that she can be erratic.  Her ads have concentrated mostly on illegal immigration and the cost of bread ($2 is what she says).  Anyone who has been through this area (I have) knows that it is very conservative, yet Smith as the Republican challenger would be an easier defeat than Love.  Let’s all hope that Smith prevails against Love.  Outlook: Toss Up (Smith wins)/Likely Rep (Love wins)

2. Colorado 2nd – Udall is running for Senate.  This is really a battle between Fitz-Gerald and Polis.  Whichever wins the primary is guaranteed to win come November.  Outlook: Safe Dem

3. Colorado 6th – To the relief of immigrants everywhere, Tancredo has decided to retire.  The primary features Sec. of State and Iraq War vet Coffman, the son of the state’s former Senator, and two state senators, one that worked in the White House under Reagan and the other which was also an Iraq War vet.  A four way primary may produce interesting results, yet many expect Coffman to prevail in the end.  Outlook: Safe Rep

4. Florida 16th – Mahoney can sit back and watch three Republicans beat eachother up, all three of which have personal funds to throw into the race.  The lateness of the primary, end of August, provides Mahoney with ample opportunity to race funds while the three Republicans continue to attack eachother.  The end result of the primary will indeed result in bruised egos.  Outlook: Toss Up

5. Kansas 2nd – Ryun is upset and wants to come back to Washington (he wasn’t considered a primary target by the DCCC in 2006, yet he lost).  Hurting his chances to prevail is a primary challenge by State Treasurer Jenkins.  The race can best be summarized as conservative vs. moderate.  Should Ryun prevail, then Boyda is more safe.  Should Jenkins prevail, then this race can become a little more interesting.  Outlook: Leans Dem

6. Louisiana 4th – McCrery is retiring.  Both the Republican and Democratic sides will feature primaries.  The Republican three-way primary however will be more interesting.  Fleming is a physician and Iraq War veteran.  Gorman is a trucking executive.  The Republican Party’s choice is Thompson, a former Chamber of Commerce President.  The Democratic nomination will be secured more easily by District Attorney Carmouche.  A Thompson vs. Carmouche race would be competitive, yet look at who’s endorsing Thompson (those that pushed Bush’s failed policies) and it’s easy to see that this red district could easily turn blue.  Outlook: Toss Up

7. Michigan 7th – Before Democrats can challenge Walberg they need to settle an open primary.  Renier came close to defeating Walberg last time, even though she had very little funding.  The closeness of the race may have been a result of those disenchanted with moderate Schwarz being defeated.  This time the DCCC has settled on State Senator Schauer who has demonstrated that he can raise funds.  The closeness of the race last time, fundraising advantage of Schauer, and the ultra-conservative leanings of Walberg will surely make this a competitive race.  It also doesn’t benefit Walberg to have McCain come to Michigan and state that free trade does indeed work.  Outlook: Leans Dem  

8. Missouri 9th – Hulshof has decided to run for Governor.  Unfortunately, running from an unpopular president only to run for the seat of an unpopular Governor, makes it more likely that Hulshof will find himself in early retirement in the end.  However, the Republican and Democratic primaries are both competitive in this district.  The Republican field includes three state representatives and a former football star.  The Democratic field (aka: the more realistic field) includes a state representative, county commissioner, ex state speaker, and an ex state senator.  Rating this race is difficult until it’s determined who wins on the Republican side.  Should the football star win, then this may be an easy Democratic victory.  Outlook: Too Early to Call

9. New York 21st – McNulty has decided to retire and nine Democrats are at least interested in taking this Albany based seat, including the former GOP Chair of Albany, that may be an indicator of how well the GOP has been performing statewide.  Whoever wins the Democratic primary is a safe bet come November.  Outlook: Safe Dem

10. New York 26th – Tom Reynolds has decided to retire (lucky for him, since the only other option would have been electoral defeat).  The Democratic primary features Davis, who has money vs. Powers, who has the Democratic Party endorsement.  A third Democrat, Kryzan, has also entered the battlefield.  The likelihood is that Powers prevails.  The downside is that New York holds its primary in September, providing Powers with very little time to raise any funds spent against Davis.  There is no way that a stubborn Davis will back down from this primary fight and he will spend freely in the meantime.  While the Republican nominee is weak, a drawn out primary may leave Powers drained and wounded.  Could an appointment in Washington force Davis out?  Doubt it.  Outlook: Toss Up

Here is another ten interesting, yet very “non-competitive” primaries remaining (ranked alphabetically by state):

1. Alabama 5th – No one expected that the GOP’s star recruit would be forced into a primary, yet that is exactly what happened.  He narrowly missed the 50% mark.  The Republicans have encouraged and tried to lightly nudge Guthrie out of the run-off race, yet she refuses to nudge.  She poses no serious threat, yet the fact that Parker couldn’t win 50% of the vote against seriously underfunded challengers begs to question whether the Republicans even really have a chance here.  Outlook: Lean Dem.

2. Arizona 1st – Renzi has decided to retire.  Kirkpatrick is the DCCC choice, yet she is also being challenged by Titla who is American Indian, which in itself is an asset within this district.  The edge goes to Kirkpatrick.  The one thing that Kirkpatrick and Titla must avoid is a nasty primary.  If American Indians feel their candidate was unfairly attacked, then this could present trouble for Kirkpatrick.  The bad side for the Republicans is that they were unable to convince any formible challenger to compete for this seat.  Outlook: Dem Pickup

3. Arizona 5th – Six Republicans have decided that they want to challenge Mitchell.  The lateness of the primary (September) and any wounds remaining make it likely that whoever prevails in the primary will be an underdog come November.  Outlook: Likely Dem

4. Connecticut 4th – Ever since Shays took control of this district (1987) there has never been a congressional primary.  Whitnum succeeded in forcing the DCCC’s choice, Himes, into an August primary.  Many suspect that this will only raise Himes profile, yet it should also question whether Himes was truly the best choice for Democrats.  This district is not liberal (Rell and Lieberman both won here).  Himes has aligned himself with the Lamont side of the party (not necessarily a wise manuever, any base of support Lieberman may have statewide lies here).  However, he has also utilized free media including letters to the editor and walking 22 miles throughout the district.  Unlike Shays opponent in the last two election cycles, Himes has no executive experience, and many view him as privileged, a concern that Whitnum has used in attacking Himes.  Whitnum has only one signature issue: the H1B Visa program and how it cost her a job.  Should she succeed in even winning 25% of the primary vote, then Himes may be in trouble.  Outlook: Toss Up

5. Florida 8th – While Keller may be in trouble the Democratic field features three strong challengers: 06 nominee Stuart and 06 primary loser Grayson, both of whom are facing DCCC preferred choice Smith.  Smith may find himself drained of funds and the ability to compete against Keller following the August primary.  While the district is treading Democratic, a vicious primary can only help Keller in the end.  Outlook: Likely Rep

6. Florida 10th – There has always been talk of Young retiring, yet it has been just that: talk.  The Democratic primary features Sampson, the 2006 nominee versus Dunedin mayor Hackworth.  Reform Party nominee for Governor, Linn is also part of the three-way primary.  Hackworth, a former Republican, may have appeal here, whereas Young, while respected and popular, may suffer the same fate as similar Republicans in the past, such as Roth of Delaware (age and withering power).  The only thing that would make this race competitive would be if Hackworth can raise serious funds for this Tampa-based media market.  Outlook: Likely Rep.

7. Florida 24th – Scandal tainted Feeney barely won against underfunded challenger Curtis in 2006.  Curtis is now back for victory, however the DCCC has other plans and has found a more serious challenger with funds in Kosmas.  Unfortunately for Feeney is the fact that his overwhelming support for Bush, personal scandal, and his ultra-conservatism, do not fit well within the district.  Kosmas should easily swat away Curtis.  Unfortunately, like Davis in New York, he is not willing to drop out voluntarily.  Outlook: Lean Dem

8. New Hampshire 1st – Bradley never expected to be unemployed following the 2006 election.  The DCCC did not even spend any funds within the district, yet it may have been funding and the overflow of ads in the 2nd that assisted Shea-Porter in defeating Bradley.  She was one of five seats, the others being Boyda in Kansas, Hall in New York, Loebsack in Iowa, and Yarmuth in Kentucky, where Democrats won even when the DCCC provided little to no funding.  Now Bradley wants his seat back, yet he must face four other Republicans, including an ultra-conservative, in a primary before he gets that chance.  Outlook: Lean Dem

9. New Hampshire 2nd – Five Republicans are fighting for a chance to be defeated by Hodes.  As a freshman, Hodes has risen within the party.  Whoever wins the Republican primary would at best be described as a sacrificial candidate against Hodes.  Outlook: Safe Dem

10.New York 13th – Fossella had a love child, then the Republican nominee died.  Now Republicans are back at the drawing board, yet the deadline is quickly approaching.  The Democratic side features city councilman McMahon, a Staten Islander vs. Brooklyn attorney Harrison.  The DCCC has decided to support McMahon, yet Harrison refuses to drop out.  The Staten Islander will prevail in the primary and in the general election.  As for the Republican Party, they can now consider this, their first lost seat of 2008.  Outlook: Dem Pickup