The Road to the Presidency Runs Through Central Florida

Originally posted at FLAPolitics

Congresswoman Karen Thurman, Chair of the Florida Democratic Party (FDP), titled a recent email “The Road to the Presidency Runs Through Central Florida”. Like most missives from a political party it was soliciting funds (which is to be expected). This one was for the Democratic challenger in the special election for a central Florida State House seat. 

But, the email’s title spoke to me, because I’ve been thinking along the same lines recently. Let me explain.

Way back in December of 2006 James Carville and Mark Penn did an op-ed piece in the Washington Post that made the case for how Hillary could win the presidency:

Certainly she could win the states John Kerry did. But with the pathbreaking possibility of this country’s first female president, we could see an explosion of women voting — and voting Democratic. States that were close in the past, from Arkansas to Colorado to Florida to Ohio, could well move to the Democratic column. It takes only one more state to win.

And then in an interview with Tom Schaller, Carville added which state was the most likely to go Hillary’s way:

Carville puts Arkansas, Florida, and Virginia in Tier 1, with Louisiana and Tennessee in Tier 2. That makes sense in terms of ranking, but I pressed him to pick the one state he thought Hillary was most likely to flip, if she were to win only one. He picked Florida.

Now, I’m not exactly a fan of Hillary‘s, but if she does get the nomination, I still want her to win. Also, I think there would be a silver lining for Florida if she does get the nomination. Before I proceed, let me post a map of Florida showing the counties.

In a comment to a diary I wrote right after the election, GatorDem made the point that the key to winning a state-wide election in Florida for a Democrat was for the candidate to hold his or her own in the part of central Florida known as the I-4 corridor. I looked at this phenomenon in depth in my diary called What Can We Learn From the Florida State-Wide Races of 2006?

The only state-wide race in Florida for 2008 will be the presidency. That means that if Hillary wants to win Florida’s 27 electoral votes, she has to do okay in central Florida.

In 2006, the Democrat running for Chief Financial Officer, Alex Sink, did all right there. If we look at her totals for the central Florida counties (Brevard, Citrus, Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Manatee, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Lucie, Sumter, and Volusia) we see that she bested her opponent Tom Lee 1,122,770 to 1,059,063 (51.5%-48.5%).

For comparison, the 2006 Democratic candidate for governor, Jim Davis, lost to Charlie Crist in those same counties by 954,960 to 1,221,558 (43.9%-56.1%) and Democratic candidate for attorney general, Skip Campbell, lost to Bill McCollum 973,653 to 1,220,365 (44.4%-55.6%).

In 2004 John Kerry lost the central Florida counties 45.8%-54.2%. In 2000 Al Gore also lost, but was closer, 48.6%-51.4%. Again, the point to be made is that if you’re a Democrat and you break even in this area, then you’ve won the state wide race.

But, in the last six years, the only two Democrats to do that are Senator Bill Nelson and CFO Sink. We know Nelson‘s situation is special, being a celebrity ex-astronaut (he won the area 60.8%-39.1%). And it’s possible that Alex Sink‘s case was also unique. She was perfectly qualified for the position, having been a bank executive, she has a lot of personal charisma, and the CFO position avoids the usual liberal-conservative issues that other races get mired in.

So, this is not exactly going to be a cakewalk for Hillary.

If Sen. Clinton wants to do well in the same area she needs to have a strong message and be ready to spend some money. Is there anything else she can do to help her chances?

Republicans control most of the US House seats through the area. Kathy Castor has the safe Democratic seat in FL-11 and Corrine Brown has the majority minority FL-03, but Ginny Brown-Waite is in FL-05, Cliff Stearns in FL-06, Ric Keller in FL-08, Gus Bilirakis is in FL-09, Bill Young is in FL-10, Adam Putnam in FL-12, Dave Weldon in FL-15, Tom Feeney in FL-24, and everyone knows what happened in FL-13.

The lop-sided result is due to the masterful gerrymandering (pdf map of districts) that the Republican legislature accomplished in 2002 and the sorry state of the FDP before Congresswoman Thurman took over.

Now the DCCC has said it is going to target FL-10, probably because they feel Young is going to retire (he’s 76 and has been in congress since 1971). And I’m sure FL-13 is going to get some attention. But what about the rest of them?

One way that Hillary can insure that she does well in central Florida, and thereby win all of the 27 electoral votes, and the presidency, is to make sure that the FDP and the DCCC find serious Democratic challengers for these seats. She can then help them along by funneling some of her megabucks into the races thru the DCCC.

The big advantage is that any challenger to these Republican US House members can still run against George Bush, since this bunch will be part of his rubber stamp congress. If a coordinated campaign against them can be mounted that nationalizes these elections in the same way that Ron Klein successfully did in beating 12 term congressman Clay Shaw in FL-22, then the Democratic vote thru the area will be highly energized.

Since the major media markets in the area overlap several districts, a Friends of Hillary PAC can hammer all the Republican incumbents at once for being stooges for George Bush and Tom DeLay. Why wasn’t proper oversight performed by congress while Bush was running the country into the ground during the six years they were in exclusive power?

You know as well as I do that everyone wants another chance to vote against our incompetent president. Hillary can give it to central Florida Democratic voters by following this strategy.

Another advantage to having Hillary as the candidate would be that she could get Bill to come down to fund raise and campaign with these Democratic challengers. Who would people in Hillsborough County rather see, Gus Bilirakis or Bill Clinton? If the former president shuttled back and forth across the center of the state a couple of times during the election, it would have a dramatic effect.

And when Hillary comes, she could make the trip with Alex Sink. This would allow Hillary to gain the immediate advantage of Sink‘s charisma and strong, fiscally conservative message, and also provide the added effect that having two women politicians appearing together would accomplish by energizing Democratic women to come out and vote.

Now, it’s not critical to Hillary‘s prospects for any of the Democratic candidates to win any of these seats, only that enough Democrats turn out and also vote for her so that she does well enough to win the state.

But, if some good candidates (like Rod Smith) can be recruited, and the FDP and DCCC can coordinate the campaigns so that they’re effective, and Hillary can divert enough money to them to get the message out, then it’s possible some of the Republican congressmen can be defeated as well.

Hey, a win-win. So, what’s Carville‘s email address?

AL-Sen: Sparks Continue to Fly in Alabama

On Monday, we profiled the potential Senate candidacy of Alabama Agriculture and Industry Commissioner Ron Sparks against Jeff Sessions in 2008.  As you know, we feel that Sparks may be the one guy who can make the Alabama Senate race an interesting, and perhaps even competitive, race next year.  The response so far has been very encouraging–both from the netroots and from state and national Democratic leaders.

The Swing State Project doesn’t want to let up.  I’ve asked Trent over at the Alabama Democratic Party to see if he could dig up any old Ron Sparks campaign commercials, and he kindly obliged with these two TV spots from his 2006 re-election campaign:

As you can tell, Ron Sparks has built up a record of results for the people of Alabama, something that will be an asset to him should he take on Sessions.  There was one comment in the DailyKos discussion of a potential Sparks bid that caught my eye, from countrycat:

Another aspect of his grassroots support that many people aren’t familiar with is this little newspaper that goes out from the Alabama Ag Department every month.

It’s called the “Alabama Farmers & Consumers Bulletin.”  You can get free subscriptions if you live in a rural area (which we do)- and it’s a hoot.  People can place free ads for mules, farm equipment, swap heirloom seeds, etc.

The front page of each paper contains a personal letter from Sparks about what the department has been doing to help farmers and consumers. They’re great and focus on food safety, new markets, the dangers of uncontrolled growth, etc.

This is just the kind of “under the radar” stuff that helps a candidate build a statewide organization.  People know his name, know him, and like him.

The bulletin, which can be viewed online here, reaches 50,000 readers a month.

In a lot of states, Democrats running in statewide races have to overcome severe deficits in rural areas.  While Sparks would still have his work cut out for him in a Senate campaign, he already has built up a relationship with the rural and agrarian constituencies in Alabama through his populist approach.  That name recognition and positive association gives Sparks a leg up over virtually any other potential Democratic challenger to Sessions.

Will Sparks take the plunge and throw his hat in the ring against Sessions?  I can’t give you an answer there, but I can tell you that Monday’s netroots buzz was warmly received by the Alabama Democratic Party, the DSCC, and even Sparks himself.  Stay tuned.

2006 Senate: When They Filed

(Bumped – promoted by DavidNYC)

Campaigns, as we all know, start earlier and earlier every cycle. But I thought it might be helpful to take a look back at when some of last year’s Senate challengers formally filed statements of candidacy with the FEC, as something of a benchmark for what we might expect this year:

Candidate Party State Date
Bob Corker R TN 10/14/2004
Matt Brown D RI 2/16/2005
Mark Kennedy R MN 2/22/2005
Amy Klobuchar D MN 3/1/2005
Bob Casey D PA 3/11/2005
Patty Wetterling D MN 3/14/2005
Tom Kean, Jr. R NJ 3/15/2005
Kweisi Mfume D MD 3/17/2005
Sheldon Whitehouse D RI 3/31/2005
John Morrison D MT 4/16/2005
Bernie Sanders I VT 5/2/2005
Ben Cardin D MD 5/6/2005
Harold Ford D TN 5/25/2005
Jon Tester D MT 5/27/2005
Katherine Harris R FL 6/20/2005
Michael Steele R MD 6/24/2005
Richard Tarrant R VT 7/6/2005
Mike McGavick R WA 7/26/2005
Pete Ricketts R NE 8/15/2005
Jim Pederson D AZ 9/2/2005
Claire McCaskill D MO 9/13/2005
Paul Hackett D OH 10/11/2005
Mike Bouchard R MI 10/15/2005
Sherrod Brown D OH 10/18/2005
Jack Carter D NV 11/1/2005
Harris Miller D VA 1/9/2006
Jim Webb D VA 2/9/2006
Ned Lamont D CT 2/10/2006

So this table tells me two things. First, that running for Senate is an incredibly hard two-year slog for most people. Alright, we already knew that, but seeing all these dates puts this fact into stark relief. This business ain’t for the weak of heart – or body.

Second, this also tells me that if this cycle is anything like the last one, we may have to wait almost a year to see the field get hammered down. However, given general trends, plus the presidential race (with its super-early primaries) sucking up so much oxygen, I’d expect to see most serious candidates filings take place well before February 2007. I don’t think we’ll have too many – if any – Lamonts or Webbs this time. I wouldn’t be surprised if just about every contender files by Labor Day of this year.

Bottom line: We’ve still got plenty of waiting left to do on the Senate recruitment front, but probably not as much as last time. And you can be sure Chuck Schumer isn’t wasting even a moment. Neither, of course, are we.

(One small caveat about this list: As I say, it reflects candidate filing dates with the FEC. Actual announcements – ie, the kind with all the hoopla and press coverage – might have taken place at different times than listed in this chart. But in most cases, they should probably be pretty close.)

CA-42: Gary Miller Caught Red Handed

Hey, remember the House Republicans?  I know, it’s easy to forget a group that’s become such a spent, marginalized force in Washington, DC.  The DCCC, however, reminds us today that corruption still lingers in their ranks:

As you may know, the FBI is investigating Gary Miller for deferring tax payments on profits he made from selling his land to the City of Monrovia.  Miller claims the city forced him to sell the land under eminent domain.  Under California law, you can defer tax payments if the city forces you to sell the land.  However, we have obtained video of a City of Monrovia council meeting where Miller repeatedly begs the city to buy his land:

Miller’s district is seriously rough territory for Democrats–at R+10.2, it’s the sixth-most Republican district in California.  California Democrats hold no comparable seat in the state–the most Republican-leaning seat in their possession is Jerry McNerney’s CA-11 (R+3).  But, reminding voters that Republicans still have to clean up their side of the aisle makes going after Miller worth it alone.

AL-Sen: Introducing Ron Sparks

Alabama’s junior Senator, Republican Jeff Sessions, hasn’t made the usual shortlists of targeted Republican incumbents in most of the preliminary “battle plans” for the Senate Democrats’ 2008 campaign strategy for obvious reasons: with rare exceptions, Democrats have fared pretty poorly in Southern Senate elections, and even worse in the Deep South.  But mounting serious challenges to Senators like Sessions can pay off with dividends elsewhere, even if such campaigns don’t score explicit victories.  Lighting brushfires behind supposedly Republican lines has the potential to stretch NRSC and RNC resources to the breaking point, all in a critical Presidential election year.  And, of course: you can’t ever expect to win if you don’t even show up.

Let’s start with Jeff Sessions of Alabama.  Sessions, as you may recall, is an extremely conservative Senator whose career highlights include being a staunch advocate for the partial privatization of social security as well as attempting to exploit the deaths of Katrina victims in order to build support for his pet cause, repealing the Estate Tax. 

So where do we go from here?  Is there an Alabama Democrat credible enough to mount a respectable challenge to Sessions–a challenge that’s strong enough to turn some heads on the national scene, and maybe, just maybe has an outside shot of delivering a deep South victory for the Democratic Party?  Meet the man who could make it happen: Ron Sparks.

Ron Sparks has been Alabama’s Agriculture and Industry Commissioner since he was elected in 2002 over his Republican opponent by a 51-46 margin.  In 2006, he was one of Alabama’s top vote getters, enjoying a 59-41 victory while winning 62 of the state’s 67 counties.  During his first term in office, he secured new trade markets for the state in Cuba, improved Alabama’s school lunch system from a grade of F to a B-plus (you can see Sparks’ video message on YouTube), moved to protect Alabama’s water resources, and generally served as a hard-nosed consumer safety advocate.  His successful tenure allowed him to build a broad coalition of support, from the Alabama Education Association, to the conservative Alabama Farmers Federation (which endorses very few Democrats), to the AFL-CIO and the Business Council of Alabama.  And he was able to build this coaltion all while being a fiery, populist Democrat.

Sparks is generally regarded as one of the Alabama Democratic Party’s strongest stump speakers.  Sparks is an authentic son of Alabama, and you can see it in his upbringing: he didn’t just come from a family of mill workers, he was one himself, working alongside his grandmother in the local sock mills while in high school.  During a stump speech, he easily weaves in themes of progressive populism that strike the right chords with Alabama’s grassroots, reminding them why their daddies and granddaddies were Democrats–and why, even though the state hasn’t voted for a Democratic Presidential nominee since 1976, Democrats have a three-point edge in partisan identification according to the latest Gallup polling.

Just to give you a taste, here’s Sparks on issues of economic justice during the fall of 2006:

“I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of the $3 a gallon gasoline. I’m tired of seeing Exxon-Mobile bringing out these $10 billion profits. I’ll tell you something: There’s something wrong when you pay an executive, a CEO of a large company, $28,000 an hour,” Sparks said to applause. “We haven’t increased minimum wage in this country since 1997. We had a minimum wage in Washington, and they tied the estate tax to it.”

He said the estate tax would give Vice President Dick Cheney a $61 million break and President Bush a $6.2 million break. Meanwhile, 7.3 million people work for minimum wage and 8.2 million work for a dollar over minimum wage, he said.

“It’s not about the working people when you tie those two types of legislation together,” Sparks said.


“Pour it on, brother,” someone shouted, starting applause.

“The cost of living has increased 8.1 percent,” Sparks said, adding that Americans are not saving anymore and that people are only saving at a pace that is the slowest since the Great Depression. 

“The rich have gotten richer and the poor have gotten poorer,” Sparks said.


The nation is No. 1 among developed nations in poverty – and in billionaires, he said. Sparks said 37 million Americans live in poverty and 25 million go through food banks every day.

“That’s wrong,” he said, saying Democrats have to get that message out and what they stand for.

On treating America’s veterans with respect:

“Things are not getting better in this country. You know, we’ve got a president who marched us off to war with no plan. I’m a veteran. I served this country. But there is something wrong when you carry your soldiers into battle and won’t give them the tools to fight with,” he said to applause.

“Don’t send these young men and women across the water to fight for our freedom in this country when you won’t give them a gun to fight with and you won’t give them a bullet-proof vest.

“Then when they come home, you don’t want to give them what they deserve. That’s wrong, ladies and gentlemen,” Sparks said, starting more applause.

And on dealing with the dreaded “L-word”:

“Sometimes people say, `Commissioner, why do you get so emotional?’ Because I’m sick and tired of people taking a simple word and spinning it and making us look like we’re bad. Let me tell you something: I’m not ashamed of people saying, `Commissioner, you’re a liberal,'” Sparks said, creating more applause.

He said he was taught by his grandmother that when people were less fortunate, you should help them and that everyone deserves the same education and healthcare.

“If that’s a liberal, then I’m a liberal. They need to quit spinning it, folks, and we need to step up to the battle,” Sparks said to more applause.

Like what you hear?  So do I.  And so does General Wesley Clark, who has become close friends with Sparks over the past several years–so much so that Clark agreed to preside over Spark’s swearing-in ceremony earlier this year.  His comment at the time:

“Ron Sparks is the epitome of a true public servant,” said General Clark.  “In the four years he’s been in office, Ron has transformed the Department of Agriculture and Industries into a cutting edge, consumer oriented agency.  He’s a real innovator and I am proud to be a part of this ceremony for such a forward thinking leader and dedicated servant of the people of Alabama.”

Sparks’ name has popped up in the past few months as a potential opponent to Sessions, but my sources at the Alabama Democratic Party tell me that such a run is looking more and more possible.  While Sparks would love to be Governor of Alabama some day, Folsom is the favorite for the Democratic nomination in 2010 and Sparks would never want to challenge his friend and colleague in a primary.  Since Sparks is term-limited as Agriculture & Industry Commissioner, his other option would be to run for the Lt. Governor’s office and wait out a hypothetical Folsom administration.  Since the position is largely ceremonial in Alabama, such a course might be unappealing to a man of action like Sparks.  Another possibility would be to keep his powder dry on the national scene next year and run for Richard Shelby’s Senate seat in the event of a retirement in 2010, but he could face stiff opposition from Artur Davis in the primary and possibly Gov. Bob Riley in the general.  Insiders have been persuading Sparks that a run in 2008 would be a good move, and I’m inclined to agree.  For one thing, even if Sparks loses, a valiant effort would raise his profile and could earn him the right to a clear path to the Democratic nomination should Shelby retire in 2010.

While it would be one hell of an uphill battle, Ron Sparks is just the kind of guy we need to put Republican defenses to the test in even the reddest of the red states next year.  And Sessions is hardly an institution in Alabama: his 52-35 approval rating is solid on the surface, but it’s still nothing remarkable–especially when you consider that he scores a 46% approval rating from African-Americans, and it is virtually guaranteed that Sessions will score far less than 46% of the black vote in November 2008.  While national Democrats have not had much success in Alabama, Sparks’ brand of economic populism and down-home authenticity could potentially deliver a rare spectacle: a competitive Deep South Senate race where the Republicans are forced to play defense.  If you happen to agree, please consider name-dropping Sparks on the new Senate recruitment form on the DSCC’s web site.

Race Tracker: AL-Sen

NE-Sen: How Chuck Hagel Could Be the Joe Lieberman of 2008

(From the diaries. – promoted by James L.)

With Chuck Hagel once again saying that impeachment could be an option, it felt like the right time to visit this topic: What if Chuck Hagel does decide to run for re-election?

Let’s say, tomorrow, a month from now, six months from now, Chuck Hagel wakes up, realizes that running for President is a fool’s errand, and decides that he’s going to just run to keep his presumably safe U.S. Senate seat.

He could be the Joe Lieberman of 2008.

Understand, of course, that this would be a “bizarro”-Joe Lieberman. Like Lieberman, he’s a staple on the Sunday morning talk shows, advocating a war strategy that is diametrically opposed to his own party. But if you lined them up side-by-side, I doubt that you’d find many issues which they’d agree on. Their similarities begin and end with how they are reviled by the rank-and-file of their own party. And that’s what I draw from here.

The anecdotal evidence is strong enough. Republicans don’t like Chuck Hagel. There’s a vocal group of Nebraska Republicans – they show up almost daily in the letters to the editor – who want to see him challenged. They may yet get their wish.

Ten days ago, Attorney General Jon Bruning announced his intention to run for Senate – should Hagel not seek reelection. But the Lincoln Journal Star’s Don Walton sees a potential for Bruning’s campaign to become a vehicle for an anti-Hagel movement, and I’m inclined to agree: 

Bruning launches his “ground game,” identifying and organizing supporters across the state.

And he begins the rather challenging task of attempting to raise funds for a campaign he may never wage.

Hagel loyalists in the Republican ranks are going to hold tight, one would guess.

Bruning loyalists will step forward behind their man.

And what will Republicans who are angry with Hagel for opposing President Bush on Iraq do?

Judging by letters to the editor, telephone messages and anecdotal evidence, there are a lot of them out there.  They are upset, and they are energized.

Do the anti-Hagels put their hopes, and money, with Bruning?  Help him build a sturdy campaign vehicle?  Implore him to run?  Coalesce into their own organization, whether Bruning’s a candidate or not?

So, just kind of picture this: Nebraska Republicans, increasingly upset at Hagel’s continued criticisms of Bush, line up behind Bruning. Not elected Republicans, of course. The Nebraska Republican establishment will be firmly behind Hagel. Bruning, surprised by the enthusiasm of his supporters, preempts Hagel’s late summer announcement by announcing that he will, indeed, run for Senate regardless of Hagel’s intentions. Hagel decides to run, setting up a showdown in May of 2008.

There is one key difference, of course: if Hagel loses the Republican nomination, he can’t run in the “Nebraska for Hagel” party. Nebraska law expressly forbids running for the same office after losing the primary.

Race Tracker: NE-Sen

TN-Sen: March Update on the Potential 2008 Candidates

by sidof79

After brief talk of his retirement after his current term expires, Lamar Alexander appears to be posed to defend his seat in 2008.  He was a surprisingly vocal opponent of The Surge, and yet still voted with the GOP when the time came.  He has hired Tom Ingram as his chief of staff, the same Tom Ingram who helped get Fred Thompson, Bob Corker, and Lamar himself get elected to the Senate (if you still think “flannel shirt” when you hear “Lamar Alexander,” that was Ingram’s idea).  Curiously, though, he has raised very little money at this point.  With all the talk about being a moderate, calling for bi-partisanship in the Senate, he remains a Bush rubberstamper (anti-gay marriage, pro-gun, pro-Bush tax cuts, pro-capital punishment, pro-life, anti-marijuana legalization, pro-social security privatization, pro-missile defense) and party loyalist.  So he needs to go.  Maybe they’ll talk him into another presidential run.  They’re asking pretty much everybody nowadays.  Here’s a look at his possible Democratic replacements.


What Do All These States Have in Common?

Check out this list of states:

Arkansas: 9.76%
Arizona: 10.47%
California: 9.95%
New Mexico: 0.79%
Nevada: 2.59%
Michigan: 3.42%
Washington: 7.18%

The number following each state is the presidential voting margin in 2004. All of them are around 10% or less, in some cases a lot less. So the first-cut answer to the question posted in the title is that all of these states are swing states, or something like it.

But take a look at this list as well:

Arkansas: Bud Cummins
Arizona: Paul Charlton
California: Carol Lam
New Mexico: David Iglesias
Nevada: Daniel Bogden
Michigan: Margaret Chiara
Washington: John McKay

I’m sure many of these names ring a bell. They’re all former US Attorneys who were fired for their refusal to subvert justice in the name of loyalty to the Bush administration. And funny enough, they all ran US Attorneys offices in swing states.

Now, correlation does not prove causation. But when it comes to the Bushies, you can put nothing past them. And we do know that one of the reasons John McKay was fired was because he wouldn’t pursue bogus allegations of voter fraud after the very close gubernatorial race in Washington state in 2004. So I could very easily believe that Bushco wanted loyalists in these states in particular so that the GOP could maintain their necessary fiction that Democrats are purveyors of rampant voter fraud.

Fortunately, with aggressive oversight, we can at least hope that the new lackeys Dick Cheney has installed will be scrutinized like hawks, especially when when get close to election day. I know I’ll be watching.

UPDATE: Others have made a similar observation on this correlation. (Hat tip to mcjoan.)

NM-Sen: Domenici’s Sky-High Approvals Fall Back to Earth

During the nearly two years that SurveyUSA has tracked Senatorial approval ratings, Republican Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico has never seen approval ratings below 60%.  Well Pete, that era is now over:

Granted, a 57/35 approve/disapprove rating is by no means catastrophic, but as the U.S. Attorney scandal continues to bubble, I wouldn’t expect to see his numbers improve any time soon, either.  And if an ethics complaint against Pajama Pete manages to materialize in the Senate over his role in the David Iglesias scandal, expect to see even further damage to his “Saintly” image in the state.

(Hat-tip to New Mexico FBIHOP for the scoop.)

Race Tracker: NM-Sen

House Republicans Playing With Fire on Iraq

The House of Representatives passed an emergency supplemental war spending bill today by a 218 to 212 margin. The bill includes a firm deadline–August 31, 2008–for American troops to disengage and leave Iraq. Only two Republicans–Reps. Walter Jones of North Carolina and Wayne Gilchrist of Maryland–voted to hold the Bush Administration accountable and move to end the war in Iraq. The rest? Loyal as ever to the President. It seems that the vast majority of the Republican caucus has yet to learn the hard lessons of the 2006 elections. Must we teach them a second time?

Here is a list of the 62 Republicans occupying marginal districts (those with a PVI of R+5.0 or weaker) who voted against the bill in a show of solidarity with President Bush today.

State CD Incumbent PVI
DE AL Castle D+6.5
CT 4 Shays D+5.4
NJ 2 Lobiondo D+4.0
IL 10 Kirk D+3.6
NY 25 Walsh D+3.4
NJ 3 Saxton D+3.3
NM 1 Wilson D+2.4
WA 8 Reichert D+2.3
PA 6 Gerlach D+2.2
NY 3 King D+2.1
PA 15 Dent D+1.6
FL 10 Young D+1.1
NV 3 Porter D+1.0
NY 13 Fossella D+0.8
IA 4 Latham D+0.4
MI 9 Knollenberg R+0.1
NY 23 McHugh R+0.2
MN 3 Ramstad R+0.5
OH 1 Chabot R+0.5
VA 11 Davis, Tom R+0.6
NJ 7 Ferguson R+0.6
OH 12 Tiberi R+0.7
NJ 4 Smith R+0.9
IL 11 Weller R+1.1
OH 15 Pryce R+1.1
MI 11 McCotter R+1.2
PA 3 English R+1.6
MI 8 Rogers R+1.9
AZ 1 Renzi R+2.2
WI 1 Ryan R+2.2
PA 18 Murphy R+2.2
OH 14 LaTourette R+2.2
MI 6 Upton R+2.3
MI 7 Walberg R+2.5
MN 2 Kline R+2.7
OH 3 Turner R+2.9
IL 6 Roskam R+2.9
FL 8 Keller R+3.0
NC 8 Hayes R+3.0
FL 24 Feeney R+3.1
CA 45 Bono R+3.2
NY 26 Reynolds R+3.5
OH 16 Regula R+3.6
MI 4 Camp R+4.0
CA 26 Dreier R+4.1
FL 13 Buchanan R+4.1
FL 7 Mica R+4.1
FL 15 Weldon R+4.1
FL 9 Bilirakis R+4.3
AL 3 Rogers R+4.3
FL 18 Ros-Lehtinen R+4.3
NJ 5 Garrett R+4.4
MI 10 Miller R+4.4
FL 25 Diaz-Balart, M. R+4.4
IL 16 Manzullo R+4.5
CA 50 Bilbray R+4.6
IL 13 Biggert R+4.7
CA 24 Gallegly R+4.8
IL 14 Hastert R+4.8
MO 6 Graves R+4.8
VA 4 Forbes R+4.9
WV 2 Capito R+5.0