The Ten House Candidates Who Should Run Again

(I don’t agree with every name on this list, but this is a strong diary and good food for thought. – promoted by DavidNYC)

Now it is entirely possible that there are more than Ten  Democratic Challengers who ran this time who  would make ideal candidates against the same opponent in 2008.  It is important to remember that out of 30 Democratic pick ups, just four came in re-matches, and in challenger rematches the two most closely watched, PA 6 and CT 4 were rare loses in an otherwise near East coast sweep.  It is important to remember that simply being the nominee last time should not mean the nomination should be yours for the asking the next time. That said the sheer number of close calls means that some of these candidates deserve another look. It is that sprit I present the Ten who should run again, as well five honorable mentions candidates who should be viewed seriously if not automatically favorably if they declare.

1.  Larrry Kissell NC 8
  The fact that Larry Kissell has already committed to another run makes this choice relatively simple. Still when use lose by  around 4,00 votes against a long term incumbent with that large a spending gap something is happening.  Kissell was supposed to be a third tier nobody and now he is a clear netroots hero.  Congressman Robin Hayes will also find life more difficult with no one there who can tell him exactly how to vote.  The district is winnable by the numbers also. Larry Kissell for congress.

2.  Nancy Skinner MI 9
  This is probably the greatest under-target in the nation and for that very reason Nancy Skinner should be given another shot in this district should she want it.  One huge accomplishment of hers was to run through the considerable about of money Congressman Knollenberg had stored up over years and years. She ran a very good race and needs another chance.  It also be noted this race was missed almost completely by the mainstream blog’s that could have pushed it higher up. We might have missed a win here, as surely as the DCCC did.

3.  Charlie Brown CA 4
This is a somewhat no brainier as the cloud of doubt of Congressman Doolittle continues to grow. Charlie Brown was able  to run an extremely competitive race and He makes a great contrast to John Doolittle. I am excited for round 2

4.  Linda Stender NJ 7
  This was a very close race that and I believe Linda Stender to be the best possible candidate.  Mike Ferguson is the type of member who gets weaker in the minority.  Linda Stender could very well knock him off.

5.  Darcy Burner WA 8
  This race is extremely similar to the race just above. Relatively junior members just hold on and with a change in climate after the midterm, Congressman Reichert doesn’t have all his friends to get his back.  He seems more suitable for the transition than Mike Ferguson, but the district is more democratic. Darcy Burner proved herself as a candidate this cycle.

6.  Dan Seals IL 10
  This was a slight under target and the 53% for Mark Kirk shows that might well have been a mistake. Dan Seals ran a very good campaign with a positive results and there are already rumblings that Mark Kirk is going to try and move up or out.  Dan Seals should go right back to putting pressure on Congressman Kirk

7.  Tessa Hafen NV 3
  Probably one of the more heart-breaking loses in the country as Jon Porter won with only 47% of the Vote. Tessa Hafen got 46% if she  can just find a way to consolidate the Anti-Porter vote. I think she could very well. She certainly earned the right by taking a race others has given up on.

8.  Gary Truaner WY AL
  Barbara Cubin is one of the worst members of Congress by fire.  She ran under 50% last time and is generally not liked. This will potentially make her vulnerable to a Republican primary challenger who would then be more likely to win the general. Gary Truaner did run a great campaign but  Wyoming is just an  extremely difficult place to pull off.

9.  Larry Grant ID 1
  This is probably the greatest shame because it is hard to beat  a Republican incumbent in Idaho. No matter who it is. That Bill Sali won means he is going to be extremely difficult to beat now that he is a Congressman. Still Larry Grant’s tough fight in the state would be a great value too it.

10. Charles Dertinger PA 15
This is probably my most difficult call. Charlie Dent needs a really good challenger. Charles Dertinger did everything right, except he raised no money. He could very well be the next cycle’s Paul Hodes but he also might simply be someone who can’t raise money at all.  He would benefit from a primary challenger who will force him to raise some money, but he should probably be given another shot. No matter what happens this district needs to have a giant bulls-eye on it.

Honorable Mentions
Erica Massa NY 29, Dan Maffei NY 25 John Pavich IL 11  NC 5 Roger Sharpe  Mary Jo Kilroy OH 15

The Swing State Project, Take Two

Take a look up at the banner on top of this screen, that big green bar. See the name in the title there? Remember that? Well, believe it or not, this site once focused entirely on the presidential swing states. (It was only after the 2004 election that we branched out to other races.)

So, with the next presidential election a mere 677 days away – ie, sooner than your local Best Buy will have Nintendo’s Wii back in stock – I thought we might take a look at the swing states in play for 2008. Now, as you know, I’m a big believer in the fifty-state strategy, but as you also know, these things take time. As much as I’d like to believe we’ll see an expanded playing field in the next presidential race, I think we all realize that Howard Dean’s plan is the work of many years.

Therefore, I’d like to start with a similar approach to the one I took three years ago, one which served us well, I think. Back then, I considered as a swing state any state where the vote margin between both sides was ±10%. (Specifically, where the margin between (Gore + Nader) – (Bush + Buchanan) was ±10%.) This time, it’s a little simpler because there were no meaningful third-party candidates in 2004, so I’m just going to look at the Kerry – Bush vote.

In any event, this is the list I wound up with, using the numbers found on Dave Leip’s site:

State EVs Bush Kerry Margin
California 55 44.36% 54.31% 9.95%
Maine 4 44.58% 53.57% 8.99%
Hawaii 4 45.26% 54.01% 8.75%
Delaware 3 45.75% 53.35% 7.60%
Washington 11 45.64% 52.82% 7.18%
New Jersey 15 46.24% 52.92% 6.68%
Oregon 7 47.19% 51.35% 4.16%
Minnesota 10 47.61% 51.09% 3.48%
Michigan 17 47.81% 51.23% 3.42%
Pennsylvania 21 48.42% 50.92% 2.50%
New Hampshire 4 48.87% 50.24% 1.37%
Wisconsin 10 49.32% 49.70% 0.38%
Iowa 7 49.90% 49.23% -0.67%
New Mexico 5 49.84% 49.05% -0.79%
Ohio 20 50.81% 48.71% -2.10%
Nevada 5 50.47% 47.88% -2.59%
Colorado 9 51.69% 47.02% -4.67%
Florida 27 52.10% 47.09% -5.01%
Missouri 11 53.30% 46.10% -7.20%
Virginia 13 53.68% 45.48% -8.20%
Arkansas 6 54.31% 44.55% -9.76%

Twenty-one states in total: twelve blue and nine red. Four states are new to this list (CA, DE, HI, NJ) and five states were dropped from the previous list (AZ, LA, NC, TN & WV – though NC was only included later, when Edwards was added to the ticket).

Obviously, quite a few of these seem pretty implausible candidates for switching – certainly anything from NJ to CA would be a huge shock. Perhaps less so with the bottom three red states on the list, given our recent electoral successes in each – but of course, presidential politics is a whole ‘nother ballgame, and we often do well in state and local races in red states while getting crushed on the national level.

So the playing field is, in all likelihood, quite a bit narrower than this list would imply. It’s also conceivable that some of the states which are no longer on the list could come into play (in particular, AZ). (By the way, the next closest blue states outside this list IL, CT and MD – if they flip, I’m crunching down on my netroots-issued cyanide capsule.)

Anyhow, which states do you think are most likely to flip – and why? And if your analysis hinges on a particular candidate (or type of candidate) getting nominated for pres or VP, please detail that as well.

NY-SD7: Newsday Says GOP Taps Nassau Clerk; No Word Yet From Dems

From Newsday:

Nassau County Clerk Maureen O’Connell will be the Republican nominee to succeed state Sen. Michael Balboni, who is due to take a job in the Spitzer administration, GOP sources said yesterday.

O’Connell, 56, served in the Assembly from 1999 until January, when she left Albany after winning the 2005 county clerk election against Democrat Tricia Farrell. She has also served as a trustee and deputy mayor of East Williston and was a registered nurse and lawyer.

O’Connell won that county clerk race (against Trica Ferrell, not Farrell) last year by 53-47, while Democrats were busy sweeping all the other county-wide races (including a victory over a 30-year GOP incumbent in the DA race). So that’s not a bad showing. But, note well: Nassau County as a whole still has a three-point GOP registration edge (PDF), 39R-36D-21I. As I noted yesterday, the 7th state Senate district has a three-point Dem edge.

The Dems are still busy deciding. In the mix:

Democrats said to be interested in the seat include Nassau Legis. Craig Johnson of Port Washington and North Hempstead Town Clerk Michelle Schimel. Assemb. Thomas DiNapoli of Great Neck also has been mentioned, though he is also interested in replacing Alan Hevesi as state comptroller.

We should know who our candidate is soon.

(Hat tip: The Albany Project.)

an amazing politcal parable to undo all of Bush’s support

It’s set in the context of a teacher discussing with his adult students all the evidence that the Bush administration is as corrupt as they are incompetent. I took the liberty of writing in comedians and our favorite political commentators to play the students, so it’s very funny despite how infuriating it is. ….and every day since I wrote the first draft Bush keeps making it more relevant than the day before. I’ve had Bush suppporters change their minds about him and had a WWII vet say, “You made me feel guilty for not paying attention to Clark in 04!”

It’s at http://www.clarkvsbu… (which goes to the file at my geocities page)

Here’s an excerpt to pique your curiosity…

“Teacher, speaking of creating opportunity,” asked Whoopi Goldberg, “what do you make of the fact that Republican Senator Lugar told Al Franken: `The government can’t create jobs’?”
  “I’d like to make a noose of that fact and hang The Republican Party. They ought to just put up a sign at their headquarters that reads: `WE’RE USELESS AND WE HAVE NO IMAGINATION.’ For starters, the government could hire every electrician to install light and motion sensors on the light switches in every building. And besides merely telling Americans that we need to conserve, they could also make low-interest long-term loans available so communities can weatherize their homes, schools and businesses. And they can’t use the excuse that no one has ever thought of this idea since Harry Reid has already thrown it out there. It’s as though *their playbook is to do the opposite of the Democrats and common sense, i.e., `Dark Days for Energy Efficiency’ and `Senate Republicans Screw Troops Yet Again.'” 
  “Not only are they useless,” Whoopi noted, “but they’re also clueless; as was first proven when Reagan took office and removed the solar panels Carter had put in; then again when Senator Dole ran a commercial denouncing Democrats for promoting midnight basketball; and again when a Republican Congresswoman said on the house floor that `The American people know how to spend their money more wisely than the government.’ By that logic it would mean that beef is a wiser purchase than tofu, cows’ milk a wiser purchase than soy milk or soda, and that more than half the stuff in Wal-Mart is not useless junk.”
  “Indeed, Whoopi,” said Lynn Samuels, “but, considering that the current incarnation of Uncle Sam believes that applying a `waste not, want not’ strategy to the economy would hinder prosperity, you have to admit that she’s right to accuse the government of being unwise with its spending; i.e., WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MONEY FOR THE LEVEES!!!!???  …So I guess it shouldn’t surprise anyone that despite Katrina’s wrath they have still made it explicitly clear that their avarice knows no bounds, and, thus, won’t be satisfied until they repeal the estate tax on the top 2%, which amounts to $1 trillion in tax revenue. And to add insult to injury, on November 18, 2005 *the Republican-controlled Congress helped itself to a $3,100 pay raise and then postponed work on bills to curb spending on social programs and cut taxes in favor of a two-week vacation. Then on June 23, 2006 they voted down the increase in the minimum wage!! No wonder Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson were able to fill a whole book on their completely parasitic style of legislating in Off Center: The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of Democracy to complement John Dean’s Conservatives Without Conscience.”
  “Not only that, teacher, but Bush and his crazy neo-Cons still insist that the super rich get huge tax cuts despite the $200 billion it’s going to take to rebuild the devastation. So I guess we’re all going to have to set ourselves on fire to prevent that, otherwise it’s only a matter of time before China calls in its loan.”
  “Teacher,” asked Jim Hightower, “why does President Flip-Flop act like he deserves a medal whenever he stands on principle even if it’s in the face of serious opposition, but then frowns upon others who do the same thing in opposition to him as if it’s not their civic duty to voice their dissent? Like, with the Dixie Chicks. If Bush had half a clue about setting an example to the world about the beauty of democracy, not only would he have told the people to back off of them, his retort would have been: `I’m proud of my fellow Texans who have the character to honor America’s most important principle.’ Or like, with Terri Schiavo. If they genuinely believe that the federal government is morally obligated to usurp everyone else, then, fine. But how do they dare argue to the rest of us that we’re immoral for thinking that sometimes it’s necessary to decide if people get to continue living? What the hell do they think they were doing when deciding to explode bombs around civilians or when they execute those who might very well be innocent?”
  “It would certainly be interesting to hear how he’d answer that himself. And he certainly deserves a special Presidential Academy Award for being able to keep a straight face when he said of Terri that `It’s always wise to err on the side of life.'” 
  “Teacher, a caller to Michael Reagan’s radio show said: `The war is going magnificently.’ So  maybe Wes, Chuck Hagel, James Baker, Bill Krystol, Francis Fukuyama, William Buckley, Shep Smith, Newt Gingrich, Bruce Bartlett, Jack Straw, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Scott Ritter, Christopher Shays, Jack Murtha, Col. Mike Turner, Marine Captain Christopher H. Sheppherd, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Charles Pollard, Marine Maj. William McCollough, Richard Haass, the Stop the War Coalition and Generals Sir Richard Dannatt, Colin Powell, Anthony Zinni, John Batiste, Paul Eaton, Gregory Newbold, John Riggs, Charles Swannack, Jr., William Odom and Paul Van Riper don’t know what they’re talking about?”
  “Well, go read The Guardian article from Nov. 29, `Nowhere to Run,’ by Martin van Creveld, a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and one of the world’s foremost military historians. Several of his books have influenced modern military theory and he is the only non-American author on the U.S. Army’s list of required reading for officers. According to him, President Bush should be impeached and put on trial `for misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 BC sent his legions into Germany and lost them.’ And that in Iraq `There is now a multi-party electoral system, but it has institutionalized and consolidated the country’s ethnic, sectarian and tribal divisions-exactly the sort of thing that should be avoided when attempting to democratize.’ Furthermore?`No one can claim that any of this was unexpected. The dangers had been foreseen by numerous analysts and commentators long before the war started but they were ignored in Washington, mainly for ideological reasons.’

NY-SD7: Election 2007 Begins Today

He hasn’t even taken office yet, and already Eliot Spitzer is working his magic:

Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer stunned the state’s political establishment yesterday when he announced he had crossed party lines to appoint state Sen. Michael Balboni, an influential Long Island Republican, as his homeland security czar.

Just some cabinet appointment, right? So what, you say? Not so slow:

What elevates Balboni as a master political stroke is that his seat has a great chance to go Democratic in an upcoming special election. The GOP recently lost every statewide race. With its Senate majority down to three seats – Balboni caved in to party pressure last year not to run for attorney general – the loss of his seat could hasten the fall of the state’s last GOP bastion of power.

Republicans currently hold a slim 34-28 advantage in the state Senate. That means we need just three more seats to take control of the body. (The Lt. Gov., soon to be a Dem, gets to break ties.) If we can take Balboni’s seat, then we’d only need two pickups (though more would be better, of course) before redistricting. And winning here is very possible.

New York’s 7th state Senate district has a voter registration breakdown (PDF) of 38D-35R-23I, with minor parties making up the rest. A special election will likely take place soon, in February. (Because this is New York and everything has not yet changed on Day One, there won’t be a primary.) Newsday offers up a list of names being considered by the establishment on both sides.

Undoubtedly the state GOP will throw everything it has into this race, since the Senate is its last remaining bastion. But the Dems will do the same, and given how unpopular Republicans have become of late throughout the state and especially on Long Island, this race may even tilt Dem ever so slightly.

(Hat tip to The Albany Project for the links in this post.)

Narrowest Dem House Incumbent Performances in 2006

The following incumbent House Dems won with 55% or less this year. The chart is sorted by margin of victory:

District Member Margin PVI
GA-12 Barrow 0.61% D+2.1
GA-08 Marshall 1.09% R+8.4
IA-03 Boswell 5.20% D+1.4
IN-07 Carson 7.42% D+8.7
IL-08 Bean 7.48% R+5.2
OR-05 Hooley 11.39% D+0.5
LA-03 Melancon 14.70% R+4.8

Melancon and Bean are rising sophomores and both won very narrowly in 2004. It’s not a surprise to see them here, especially since Bean received an insanely well-funded challenge this year. Both Melancon and Bean also had their vote totals chiseled away at the left, in Bean’s case by a former Dem who ran as a third-party spoiler this year, and in Melancon’s by a nobody Dem who was able to run on Nov. 7th in Louisiana’s, ah, unique “jungle primary” system.

Carson, Boswell, and Hooley (all multi-year incumbents) are on the under-55 list for the second straight cycle. Boswell’s margin was nearly halved (10.5% in 2004), though he also received a serious top-tier challenge. He hasn’t had an easy pass since 2000, though, and his bouts with illness (Boswell is in his 70s) seem to make him a regular target.

Carson’s health and age are also continually an issue in her district, and, like Boswell, she hasn’t gotten over 55% since 2000. Unlike Boswell, though, her last two challengers were absolute nobodies who raised nothing. Her margin from 2004 to 2006 also shrunk more than three points, despite this being a strong Democratic year. And, as you can see, her district is by far the bluest on this list – John Kerry won here 58-42.

Hooley, meanwhile, did about three points better this time around, despite facing a challenger who raised almost $1.8m. 2004 was no cakewalk either, when her opponent raised $1.3m.

That leaves the two Georgia members, Barrow and Marshall. Both saw their districts become much more Republican after the GA state legislature embarked on a mid-decade redistricting (following Tom DeLay’s cue in Texas). Barrow, like Bean and Melancon, was also a freshman. Both he and Marshall also saw top-tier, big-money challenges. Yes, they barely held on in a big Dem wave, but they also ran in districts which were half-new to them.

To put this list in some perspective, the following GOPers who got under 55% in 2004 lost this year: Rob Simmons (CT-02); Chris Chocola (IN-02); John Hostettler (IN-08); and Mike Sodrel (IN-09). Bob Beauprez’s open seat (CO-07) also changed hands. And Chris Shays (CT-04), Jon Porter (NV-03), Heather Wilson (NM-01), Randy Kuhl (NY-29), Jim Gerlach (PA-06) and Dave Reichert (WA-08) all had very close shaves.

Weekly Open Thread: Happy Holidays Edition

Sorry for the lull–between a succession of family engagements, egg nog binge drinking, and preparing for an upcoming vacation (I’m outta here on the 27th), my attention to the ‘Project has been minimal this weekend.  I hope that you’re all enjoying your holiday weekend–our first one in a long time with incoming Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Swing State Project to you.

Feel free to use this as an open thread.

NY State Senate: The Knives Are Out

It begins:

On the political front, Senator John Bonacic, whose district is in the Hudson Valley, became the first Republican to call openly for Mr. Bruno to step down as majority leader, a rare act of defiance among Senate Republicans.

“We can’t have a leader under investigation by the F.B.I. after we have taken such a beating in New York and nationally,” Mr. Bonacic said in an interview. “We deal in political perceptions, and in our business, perception is almost 90 percent of reality,” he added.

Few members of the Senate have been willing to talk publicly about Mr. Bruno and his political viability. Privately, some Senators have expressed concern that one of their first tasks next month will be re-electing Mr. Bruno as the temporary president of the Senate – even though he is facing a federal inquiry. They fear that the vote could further weaken the already wounded State Republican Party just as a popular Democrat, Eliot Spitzer, takes office as governor, promising to reform Albany’s reputation for corruption.

As I suggested elsewhere, this development doesn’t surprise me. State Senate leader is the top job for NY Republicans now, now that the GOP has no real hope for capturing a statewide race any time soon. Now that this Bonacic has come out against Bruno, others – like those anonymous state senators mentioned in that last paragraph – may soon follow.

But already, we’re being treated to ringside seats to an intra-party brawl:

“I’m sure the conference is very much behind Joe Bruno,” said Senator Martin Golden, a Brooklyn Republican. “I think it’s premature for Bonacic or any senators to come out with this statement, very premature.”

Another story like this and I’ll be forced to title my next post “Repubs in Disarray.” I can’t wait.

P.S. This Albany Times-Union article has a bit more on the back-story here with Bonacic. (H/T The Albany Project.)