A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, Jerome Armstrong called for a goal of Democrats putting up 80 House Challengers a cycle:
With the Democratic take over the House and a net gain of 30 seats, the number of seats available to challenge has shrunk, however. I believe we can still try to get to 80 Districts that can and should be challenged. What is more is that this is symbolic because it places more than a third of the House Republicans in jeopardy and limits there purely safe members to a grow not large enough to sustain a veto.
More House seats is important if we wish to see the type of agenda we all want passed, We need both more seats and the political momentum that comes with the perceived mandate. Fortunately we are already blessed with roughly 60 very qualified House Candidates.
Over the Jump, I break down the Four Categories of Republican House Members and their relative number and list the challengers in each category. I will also then break down what the conventional wisdom is currently saying about House Races and where it is important we get out in front of conventional wisdom.
Base Republican Districts, 60+ for the President 110 Republicans Seats [12 Dems hold seats this Republican]
Dems currently challenging [10-15]
This is by far the largest cohort of Republican Members of Congress Representing 110 of 200 Republicans in Congress. Of the Seats Democrats gained in 2006 only Three came from District this Republican and in each case it was Republican either incompetence or malfeasance, [The Hostletter, Sherwood and Delay seats] That allowed Democrats to win. Democrats do currently hold 12 seats this Republican but these are often personally popular incumbents and holdovers. While any seat this Republican held is a bonus it is simply not the future of the Democratic Party
This does not mean we have no challengers at this level, indeed, to get to 80 we need to challenge seats this Republican. We are currently looking at roughly 10 or so competitive races to challenge Republicans almost because the seat is open or bizarre Republican Behavior, though in some case it is just week Republican Performance. These are the 10 Districts so far were the likely Democratic Nominee has at least some chance at victory. Just threatening here is important so as to prevent the 60+ cut off from seeming defenseless but these races have to be watched very carefully because the Democrats we elect from such districts are not likely to be very progressive.
Open Seats in this Category
WY AL MS 3 AL 2 CO 6 CA 52
Candidates Starting with Open Seats
Here are the Ten most likely deep red switch with the name and website of our most likely challenger.
Charlie Brown: http://www.charliebr…
Tim Price: http://www.timprince…
Ron Shepston: http://www.ronshepst…
Ron Lumpkin: http://lumpkinforcon…
Ethan Berkowtiz: http://ethanberkowit…
Vic Wulsin: http://www.wulsinfor…
Michael Montagano: http://www.montagano…
Larry Grant: http://www.grantforc…
David Boswell: http://www.kysenated…
Frank Kratovil: http://frankkratovil…
Lean Republican Seats, Bush 56-59 43 Seats [15 Dems]
Dems Challenging[ 15-20]
These Seats have significant built in Republican advantages, however as one can see Democrats hold more than a fourth of such seats. This mean Democrats can win here, but again, the Democrats elected from such District trend to the right. Democrats gained only six of these in 2006. This means that more than 2/3 of the newly elected Democrats come from more Democratic Districts. We need to compete here, but again primarily to keep them off balance. We have 16 challengers so far, with open seats first listed below.
Open Seats in This Catergory
IL 18 NM 2 OH 7
Candidates Starting with Open Seats
Dick Versace: http://www.dickversa…
Bill McCamley http://www.billmccam…
Dave Woolever http://www.daveforoh…
Bob Lord: http://www.lord2008….
Bill Hedrick: http://www.hedrickfo…
Betsy Markey: http://betsymarkey.c…
John Dicks: http://www.johndicks…
Christine Jennings: http://www.christine…
Bill Kennedy: http://www.kennedy20…
Kay Barnes http://www.kay4congr…
Elewyn Tinkelberg: http://www.tinklenbe…
Josh Zeitz: Website coming
Dennis Shulman: http://www.shulmanfo…
Erica Massa: http://www.massaforc…
Tom Perriello: http://www.perriello…
John Unger: http://www.ungerforc…
Marginal Bush 54-55 21 Republican held Seats [13 Dem Held Seats]
Dems Currently Challenging [12-16]
This is actually a relatively small group, as the number of districts of this make up is small. In all 21 Republican call this home. Republican lost 7 seats of these seats in 06. These Seats can be just as useful as seats with lower GOP Density.
Open Seats in this Category
AZ 1, OH 16 IL 14
Challengers listed with open seats first
Ann Kirkpatrick http://www.kirkpatri…
John Boccieri: http://johnforcongre…
Bill Foster: http://foster08.com/…
Russ Warner http://www.warnerfor…
Charlie Stuart: http://www.charliest…
Suzanne Kosmas: http://kosmasforcong…
Robert Abboud: http://www.robertabb…
Mark Shauer: http://www.markschau…
New York 13
New York 26
Jon Powers: http://www.powersfor…
Steve Sarvi: http://www.stevesarv…
North Carolina 8
Larry Kissell: http://www.larrykiss…
Judy Feder: http://judyfeder.com…
Swing Bush 53 and under 28 seats Kerry Won Bush Seats 8, all Kerry Plus 54+ seats held by Dems.
[ Bush won, but 53 or under for Dems 19]
Dems Currently Challenging[20-28]
There are only 28 such seats still in Republicans hands, as this where Republican took a near merciless beating, and in fact of the 28 seats they did hold only X held with more than 55%. These 28 seats represent golden chances for Democrats to win in 2008. In 2006 Democrats gained 14 or nearly half their overall gains from this type of district and the going is just getting good. The candidates and open seats listed bellow.
Open Seats in Category.
NM 1 OH 15 NJ 3 IL 11 MN 3
Candidates starting with Open Seats
New Mexico 1
Martin Heinrich: http://martinheinric…
Mary Jo Kilroy: http://www.kilroyfor…
New Jersey 3
John Adler: http://www.adlerforc…
Debbie Halvorson: http://www.debbiehal…
Terri Bonoff: http://www.terribono…
Jim Himes: http://www.himesforc…
New York 25
Dan Maffei: http://www.maffeifor…
Jill Morgenthaler: http://www.jillmorge…
Dan Seals: http://www.dansealsf…
Jay Footlik: http://jayfootlik.co…
Darcy Burner: http://www.darcyburn…
Gary Peters: http://www.petersfor…
Steve Dreihaus: http://www.driehaus2…
Bill O’Neil: http://oneill08.com/
New Jersey 7
Linda Stender: http://www.lindasten…
Sam Bennett: http://www.bennett20…
Races in Flux
VA 11, FL 10
Currently as one who can do the math can see, Democrats are running strong challenges in 57 of the 80 seats where Democrats are looking to challenge. There are also some 60 or so other challengers who vary in strength, who could become strong with the proper encouragement. That and the rumor of strong challengers alone should get us up to 65-70 challengers, the last ten will ultimately be up to us to find, as well as making sure the bottom 40 are given enough support to feel as if they are in the game, because Conventional Wisdom would say they are not. We need to understand and then attack this conventional wisdom.
Challenging Conventional Wisdom
The Cook and CQ political report will stand in for what amounts to the conventional wisdom. I will include their official predictions at the end of the list. In total, they list
46 Republican Seats list as potentially Republican Vulnerabilities. However, I believe that we are closer already to 80 then they are to 46. Already, Democrats have two challenger who have raised 200K, Russ Warner http://www.warnerfor…
and Judy Feder http://judyfeder.com…. Who are not considered viable challengers and Tom Davis is not considered at all vulnerable, which will obviously change. However. The key level of increased vulnerability however currently comes from under or unchallenged marginals. Of the 49 seats that fall into the marginal and swing categories, Democrats based on the list above are challenging in only 31 of 49 seats or currently leaving 18 races either under targeted, or unchallenged. Now obviously the Tom Davis seat appears to be fixed. But that still leaves seventeen under targeted marginal seats. If we are to successfully get to 80 challengers, it is these seats we need to look into. Before, I press on with where we are not running strong enough candidates, it is important to give notice to the five strong challengers who have emerged, but are not yet on the conventional watch lists. The success of their campaigns will be give to giving nightmares to Republicans in the House.
The 17 undertargeted marginal seats
We are looking at currently 17 undertargeted races, seven of which come the listed above marginal category and 10 of which come from the Swing district category. The first one which goes in its own sort of box is FL 10, where Congressman Young appears somewhat likely to retire netting us a near certain high quality candidate and no problems. If not we still need to challenge hard here. But for the moment we can dispense with it. That leaves us now 16. Which we divide up into their two respective categories
Seven under-loved madrigals.
In these races we are currently looking at three challengers needing strengthening and four totally unopposed races. First the candidates,
In IL 13 Scott Harper http://www.scottharp… the Democratic candidate to challenge Judy Biggert. This is a done deal as Illinois filling deadline has closed. Mr. Harper seems like a decent enough candidate but I will need to see more fundraising before I can be confident he can take this race all the way.
Wisconsin 1, has three sort of all relative decent candidates, however lurking is the perennial candidate who always gets the nomination but never does any real work. We need him to be defeated this time, and then coalesce around the nominee in a big way. Finally is CA 50, which I admit just might be me. I am just not thrilled with Nick Leibham, http://www.nickleibh…. He has raised some money and I might just be wrong, but I just doubt very highly he can actually given Brian Bilbray a race
This leaves Four Seats
FL 18, OH 3 and MI 4,8 currently challenger less. Leaving these races completely open is wrong as not only are they possible pickups but all of them are in key Presidential states.
9 under loved swing districts
In these six districts we are looking at nine districts were Democrats have not yet gotten a prime recruit. In only one of these districts does a Democratic Challenger have?
A website at that is Jerry Northington in DE AL http://www.northingt…. He might be a good enough guy, but seems to lack the voltage for what is a statewide race. Other that the remaining 8 districts,
IA 4 NY 3,23, PA 6, MI 6,11 OH 12, all seem to lack challengers or have very poorly defined challengers. It is imperative that we nail down challengers of a certain quality for these races.
If Democrats can add real races in these 17 districts to the challengers already in position in the 57 other districts. We will be just six races short of 80 challengers, and we looking over some of the other challengers already filled, it is possible we are already there. This is in short a map to 80 challengers and a huge gain in the House. We just need to be diligent about following, particularly once we have our Presidential Nominee.
The Conventional Wisdom House Race lists.