AL-05: Republicans Lose Top Recruit

The GOP had hoped to convince State Senator Tom Butler (D-Madison) to switch parties and run for Congress as a Republican, but sources now say he'll sit out the race. With the filing deadline falling this Friday, Republicans are left with businessman Wayne Parker, who was defeated by incumbent Bud Cramer in 1994 and 1996. Democrats are in a strong position to hold onto this open seat with State Senator Parker Griffith (D-Huntsville).

Tom Perriello for a Obamajority

Last Monday I launched the Obamajority to give Barack Obama a strong progressive Congress that will enact his bold agenda. I started it out with three canidates, Rick Noriega, Darcy Burner and Patrick Murphy. I also asked for suggestions for who to endorse next.

The canidate that received the most support by far was Tom Perriello. I had already heard about his impressive run for Congress and so I am exited to announce that Tom is the latest canidate to be added to the Obamajority. So go and give him some change for change. In this essay I take a look at Tom and his campaign to bring much needed leadership to Virgina’s 5th Congressional District.

First let’s take a look at the current representative for the Virgina’s 5th Congressional District. His name is Virgil Goode, Jr. I’ve known about Goode for a little bit over a year because he is a national prominent bigot. On December 7th Goode sent this letter out to a constituent. Take a look at that bigotry.

You see that “Muslim Representative from Minnesota” is Keith Ellison the great representative elected to my neighboring district. That is a perfect example of the hate and fear that is too powerful today. Many times people have attempted to defeat Goode but again and again they have lost. But this time we have a chance to change that.

Why? Because we have a great canidate running. Tom Perriello. Tom was called to serve at a early age.

After receiving his law degree from Yale University, Tom accepted an assignment working to end atrocities in the West African countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone, which had suffered long civil wars fueled by blood diamonds. Tom’s work with child soldiers, amputees, and local pro-democracy groups in Sierra Leone played a significant role in the peace and reconciliation process that ended twelve years of violence in that country.

Tom then became Special Advisor and spokesperson for the International Prosecutor during the showdown that forced Liberian dictator Charles Taylor from power without firing a shot. After this success, Tom served as a national security analyst for the Century Foundation. He has worked inside Darfur and twice in Afghanistan.

Since 2004 he has been a leader in building a faith-based movement dedicated to working toward the common good instead of spewing hate.

Since 2004, Tom has helped to launch a political and social movement in this country that is credited with shifting the national debate about America’s moral priorities. He helped found and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, which bring together faith communities to fight for children’s health care, supporting a higher minimum wage, environmental stewardship, and responsible solutions in Iraq. Inspired by the prophetic vision of Dr. King, Wilberforce, and Micah, Tom believes that America must reverse the erosion of our commitment to the common good and restore our understanding that our nation rises or falls together.

Tom also helped found a great group that I am a part of. It tackles some of the toughest issues of our day by working with it’s millions of members from every country in the world.

Tom sat down for a great interview with Lowell of the great Virgina blog Raising Kaine. In it he explains why he is running, how he thinks he can win, his strengths and passions. Let’s look at some highlights from that interview.

First of all the big question. Why? Why run for Congress?

Like so many in my generation, I felt called from an early age to devote my life to community service, because it felt so much more real than trying to change things through government. For over a decade, I have felt inspired to work on economic fairness in our communities and on ending atrocities from inside Darfur and Sierra Leone.  

But I could only work in a broken system for so long before I began to understand how important it was to fix the system itself. In Darfur and West Africa, I saw how much of a difference a single Congressperson could make if s/he were willing to speak out and hold the Administration and State Department accountable. And the last few elections have made it clear how important it is for Democrats to reclaim the values debate and restore America’s commitment to justice and the common good.

I believe we stand at a unique point in history. Our challenges are large enough that our only pragmatism is the idealism to think big and expand our sense of what’s possible. I am running because I believe that politics should be seen as community service by other means. It can, and should, be a place to make people’s lives better.  

And how will he win in this traditionally Republican district?

We are going to win because we have a stronger movement on our side and better ideas for how to secure our country, our jobs, and our environment. Beating Rep. Goode will not be easy, but all the pieces are coming together:

1) Energy and Resources – We tripled Rep. Goode in fourth quarter fundraising, and raised more money inside Virginia in four months than he did all year. When we are outpacing an incumbent from the Appropriations Committee, you know that people are hungry for a new generation of leadership. Also the DCCC has put our race “in play,” and if we hit our fundraising target this quarter, we will move into the top tier of their targeted races.  

2) Grassroots – Our campaign has already logged over 1300 volunteer hours, and we are working hard to build the largest and most sophisticated grassroots network this district has ever seen. We are investing heavily in field, already have offices in Franklin County and Charlottesville, and will have an office in Danville by the end of this quarter. In a district the size of New Jersey, this race will be won on the ground.

3) Blue-mentum – Like much of America, our district is a swing district that is now trending blue. The wildly popular Mark Warner is on the ticket, Gov. Kaine is tirelessly devoted to building the party, and Obama just got more primary votes in the Fifth than all the Republicans combined. Meanwhile, Rep. Goode has gone from being a populist maverick to marching lockstep with President Bush and out of step with our independent district.  

As for being a “faith-based progressive,” I can tell you that voters respond to authenticity. My faith is a big part of who I am and why I’ve dedicated my life to justice, and most voters just want to know what I am all about. It also provides a common experience and language that resonates with voters in my district, especially in areas where Democrats have struggled in the past.    

And finally his answer on one of the most pressing issues of our day. Climate change.  

We need to commit to independence from fossil fuels within a generation, and that will require major investments, a substantial shift in incentives, and a culture change as consumers. A revenue-neutral tax shift is one way to do this, but so are cap-and-trade systems that have worked to address problems such as acid rain.  

As for the target, I most often hear from experts that we must draw the line at no more than a 2-degree Celsius temperature increase. Our goal must be set not by what seems politically possible but what will actually produce the end result we need.  

That brings me to a excellent series that Tom wrote for TPMCafe’s Table for One. You can read it all here (under latest posts) but I want to focus on what I think is the most important one. It is entitled “Conviction Politics… in Practice.” In it Tom breaks from the notion that only DLC-poll driven campaigns can win. Instead he shows that conviction politics both makes it more likely for him to be elected and will also make him more effective if he is elected. I strongly recomend you read it all but here is part of it.

While some strategists focus on positioning candidates on issue after issue, I believe most voters focus more on whether the candidate integrity and character on the whole, demonstrated by the conviction to take a stand. These lines from Toby Keith probably strike pretty close to how many people, including me, feel about this:

“I’m a man of my convictions. Call me wrong. Call me right.

But I bring my better angels, to every fight.

You may not like where I’m going. But you sure know where I stand.

Hate me if you want to, love me if you can.”

For the rest of the week, I will be talking about my struggle to apply these simple principles to the issues of the day (Iraq War, culture war) and my experience putting conviction politics into practice. The successes of conviction candidates in 2006 inspired me to run for Congress. I am still very early in the process, but am hopeful that this campaign will be part of building on those lessons for a better democracy.

The more I learn about Tom the more exited I am about this campaign. I hope you will take the time to read his great interview with Raising Kaine, teacherken’s excellent case for him and Tom’s postings on TPM. Hopefully then you will be as exited by Tom’s campaign as I am.

Electing Barack Obama isn’t enough to bring real change. We will also need to send a strong message to Congress that more of the same won’t cut it. Electing someone like Tom would do just that. Tom wouldn’t just be another vote. He would be someone who lead by example. He will use his power as 1 of 435 to do good in the world not get sweet deals from lobbyists. He will lead by conviction and indeed he already is leading. He helped develop the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq and appeared in this video promoting it:

If you want that kind of leadership. If you want to send a strong message that conviction politics is the right kind of politics then consider making a donation to Tom via the Obamajority page. Tom has set a goal of raising $500,000 in this quarter and he is very close to reaching that. If he does this will become a top-tier race nationally. He is running a grassroots campaign and we have a good shot at replacing one of the worst congressmen with one of the best. Right now is a critical time in the campaign though so donate and together we can bring about some real change. But only it you help make it.

Donate to Tom Perriello and together we will build a Obamajority.

We need to restore the founding American ethic that we are better off when we are in this together. Since the original thirteen colonies joined together as the United States, through Civil War and the Great Depression, we have risen or fallen according to this simple rule: America thrives when we are united in a common purpose for the common good.- Tom Perriello

P.S. We are always open to adding new canidates. Keep the suggestions coming to obamathon (AT) gmail (DOT) com. Thanks!

PA-05: McCracken for Congress Update – Barack Obama to PSU

It’s been a very busy week for the campaign with many highlights:

Monday March 24: I attended the Voices of Central PA dinner in State College.  It was a very nice event and I got the chance to speak with the truly progressive minded people who support Voices.  The questions were tough but fair and I really enjoyed the Indian food on the buffet at the India Pavilion restaurant where the event was held.  The food was a little on the spicy side but was very good.

Tuesday March 25: I spent the late afternoon and evening getting signs out to people.  You always get the chance to speak with your supporters while delivering signs and the feedback was good.  I did get home in time to catch American Idol with Kelly and Amanda.  Not as important as the Obama / Clinton race but Kelly, Amanda and I seem to be pulling for David Cook and Brooke White.

Wednesday March 26: All 12 candidates were on hand for the candidate forum sponsored by the DuBois Chamber of Commerce.  Getting the chance to hear the other 11 candidates, I feel very confident of the message our campaign is spreading.  We recognize the problems of 2008 and we are offering solutions for 2008 and beyond.

Sadly, many of the other candidates keep offering solutions from the 1980’s.  Perhaps most troublesome from several of the candidates are calls for the return to and expansion of the use of fossil fuels.  I will continue to stress throughout this campaign as long as I am part of it that we MUST invest in cleaner, domestically produced alternative fuels.  It will help our economy and our national security.

Thursday March 27: First, I was interviewed on C-Net, the local cable channel in State College.  The interview will run in the State College cable market several times before the April 22nd election.  Then, at the invite of Raymond Snyder, I traveled to Lewistown for the appearance of former President Bill Clinton.  Prior to the public being admitted to the Lewistown High School gymnasium, I had the opportunity to walk the line waiting to get into the event.  I shook hands with approximately 1,500 people who were waiting to get in.  Perhaps the most interesting story was about halfway through the line I met a lady and her young son.  He asked for my autograph, the first time this ever happened.  As I was signing, I saw the young boy reach over and tug his mothers coat and ask “Is that President Clinton?”.

We did have to wait quite awhile in the gym as President Clinton was behind schedule.  When he did arrive after 6:30 he didn’t disappoint.  He gave a rousing speech that lasted approximately 50 minutes and he actually made mention of ethanol as a viable alternative fuel source and even said that ethanol from cellulose material is the way to go in the future.  Then, as he left the stage, he worked his way around the barrier between the stage and the crowd and I was able to shake his hand.  I was 3 rows back but I reached up over the 2 rows ahead of me and got the handshake.

Friday March 28: I attended the opening of the Obama campaign office in DuBois.  I am so encouraged that a presidential campaign has opened an office in Clearfield County.  This is proof that rural Pennsylvania is going to have our say in this election.  I met several people at the opening and they are truly committed to making a difference in 2008.

Saturday March 29: I hosted a visit to the Clearfield area by John Cordisco candidate for State Treasurer.  I first met John last August at Rep. Bud George’s picnic and I was very impressed with him.  One thing that made me interested in him was that he also started his political career by serving on a school board.  I invited John and his staff person to join me at Denny’s Pub, famous as the home of the biggest hamburger in the world.  

He had a nice interview with Jane Elling from our local newspaper and then we all enjoyed one of Denny’s famous burgers.  Not the big one, just one of the regular sized burgers available on the menu.  John was very interested in the alternative fuels industry that we’ve brought to Clearfield County and north central Pennsylvania.  We also talked about state funding and investment issues and his vision to be an active and involved state treasurer.  He is a great candidate and I feel he will make an excellent treasurer for Pennsylvania.

Sunday March 30: Although I was not able to personally attend due to a Commissioners’ Conference, our campaign attended the Obama Rally for Change Event on the campus of Pennsylvania State University.  We had a chance to talk with a lot of young eager minds ready for change in Washington.  Although the gates opened at 11:30am, it was brought to our attention that students and interested citizens started lining up at 5:30am and even earlier.  This is the kind of dedication we need from our young people and from the citizens of the 5th District.  Although the lines were long and the wind brisk, the message of change kept the spectators lively.

Obama’s message of change and a new direction is precisely what the 5th District is looking for.  He pointed out that it is time to move beyond our differences and come together to forge a better future for all Americans.  He addressed the massive amounts of money we send overseas to fight this war and the rising costs of gas.  His solutions, and ours, is to invest in alternative fuel sources like ethanol.  We are proud to join Barack Obama in this fight.

In our seating location, we were honored to meet up with the great candidate for the 171st State House seat Tim Wilson.  Many state officials were also there including Senator Casey and State Rep. Dan Surra.  We thanked them for the warm welcome.  Luckily for us, we had a great seating location!  We were also informed that this rally was the largest in the history of Penn State and we were honored to attend.

It’s been a busy week and every day between now and April 22nd has something on the schedule.  Please keep spreading the word about the campaign and let us know what you are hearing.

Also, we expect to release some important campaign news on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Mark B. McCracken

Your Candidate for Congress


This diary is cross-posted at McCracken’s campaign blog, PA’s Blue Fifth

Mark McCracken for Congress

ActBlue page

LA-06: Don Cazayoux to Live Blog at Daily Kingfish Today

UPDATE:Apparently, the Governor of Louisiana is speaking the Legislature at 1 PM today.  So the Cazayoux campaign needs to postpone the live-blog to a time TBD.  

Please join Don Cazayoux, a State Representative and Democratic candidate for the 6th Congressional District in Louisiana this afternoon at 1 P.M. on Monday, March 31st.  Mr. Cazayoux will take questions regarding his candidacy and issues of importance to Louisianans at Daily Kingfish.

For more info on the race, please read this and this.  

Blue Majority: Final Day of the Quarter!

Today is the very last day of the first fundraising quarter. Money raised today will get counted in the reports that get released in two weeks; cash taken in after today won’t get toted up until July. So please make a donation to the Blue Majority candidates – or any favorite Dems of yours – today.

We’re thrilled that we met our goal of 6,500 donations for the page. Now we’re trying to bring each candidate up to 1,000 gifts apiece. Can we do it by the end of the day today? Let’s go for it!

P.S. Please tell us who you’ve given to this past quarter in comments, whether on Blue Majority or elsewhere.

Governors rankings: The top four races get more interesting

Presidential years are not the most active in terms of gubernatorial races, and 2008 is no exception, with only 11 states holding elections, only 5 of which are not entirely safe for the incumbent party. But there has been some movement within those 5 races, as many of them have gotten considerably (and unexpectedly) more competitive in the past few months.

The retirement of Gov. Blunt in Missouri, the heated Democratic primaries in North Carolina and Indiana, the candidacy of Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, and Dino Rossi’s attempts to rouse passions in Washington all guarantee that these 4 states will remain competitive to November and keep things interesting on the gubernatorial front. And since both parties control 2 of these 4 most contested governorships, Republicans can at least be relieved that things look more even-handed here than in the Senate and the House.

The previous gubernatorial ratings, written in December, are available here.

Toss-up (2 R, 1 D)

1. Missouri (Open)

Missouri’s gubernatorial race made a lot of news comparatively to other gubernatorial races. The showdown between Republican Gov. Blunt and Democratic Attorney General Jay Nixon had started as early as 2004, and the incumbent’s growing unpopularity had given the early lead to Nixon. But Blunt unexpectedly announced his retirement in late January.

Republicans hurried to find a nominee and they will now have to decide between two strong candidates, congressman Kenny Hulshof and state Treasurer Sarah Steelman. Either  would keep the race competitive but Nixon undoubtedly has a head start given that he has been preparing his campaign for so long — and that the state’s voters have turned sour on their Republican administration.

2. North Carolina (Open; Previous ranking: 4)

Republican at the federal level, North Carolina remains blue at the state level, and Democrats looked favored to keep the governor’s mansion next year with two strong candidates — Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue and state Treasurer Richard Moore — battling for the Democratic nomination. But two factors have made the race more competitive.

(1) The Democratic primary is staying very competitive and now going negative, with Moore needing to shake up the race to contest Perdue’s early edge. (2) Republicans got a potentially very competitive candidate in the race with with the entry of Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory. Polls show McCrory in toss-ups against both Perdue and Moore, with the Democrats holding the slightest of edges.

The GOP primary is also contested, however, and it remains unclear who will emerge to claim the party’s nod. We will now more about the state of play in North Carolina after the May 6th primary.

3. Indiana (Gov. Daniels; Previous ranking: 2)

Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels is certainly unpopular and vulnerable, but it is difficult to precisely assess the general election before Democrats settle their nomination race on May 6th. Architect Jim Schellinger has been the establishment’s favored candidate and has far outraised his opposition, but former Rep. Jill Long Thompson could emerge the winner due to higher name recognition. The Indianapolis Star reports that Schellinger’s campaign has been a disappointment while Thompson has been very active and that his fundraising edge could be drowned amidst the presidential race if Clinton and Obama spend millions in ads here in the next few weeks.

Lean Retention (2 D)

4. Washington (Gov. Gregoire; Previous ranking: 3)

The 2004 campaign never really stopped in Washington, where Republican Dino Rossi lost by 129 votes on the third count after leading the first two ballot counts. Christine Gregoire started off a controversial term and has done her best to overcome the partisan rancor of her first election. Rossi announced his second gubernatorial candidacy in late 2007, and he has been campaigning hard since then, hoping to rouse the passions of 2004, bringing up the recount on the trail to undermine the legitimacy of Gregoire’s incumbency. This race will be tight (and bitter) to the end but Gregoire has been able to somewhat regain her footing over the past few years and built some good will which give her a slight edge to start with.

Check the full rankings with all 11 races here.

Heather Ryan Fires up Madisonville

You know, thousands of First District Democrats here in Kentucky came to get fired up by a great lady who is running for office. Well, in the end, they got fired up by TWO great ladies running for Congress. Hillary Clinton showed up this year at the Ruby Laffoon event in Madisonville. However, before she even took the stage the crowd was already fired up by a fiery red-head who is ready to fight for this seat!!!

Yes, Heather Ryan, Democrat for Congress in Kentucky’s First District used her time very efficiently in intoducing herself to thousands of Democrats in this huge district. Just watch her speech, courtesy of the good hillbilly:

Now, I must say as a friend and supporter, I am beaming with pride in Heather Ryan. This is her first run for office and she was on the same stage as Governor Steve Beshear and Sen. Hillary Clinton. This was her first time in a venue this important and in front of a crowd this big.

Many of these Democrats had never heard of her, and may not have even known that Exxon Eddie has an opponent. I thought Heather looked very composed under pressure and showed her credentials as a fighting Democrat that suppports One America.

I have been saying all along that if our campaign just gets the funds we need to reach the Democrats in this huge district that we will win. I think this video more than proves my point. These Democrats had never seen or heard of Heather Ryan and she had them fired up to the point of a standing ovation. From what I hear, besides Heather only Hillary herself recieved a standing ovation from this crowd.

We can win this race. I have seen and this video proves that when Democrats get to see and know Heather Ryan they love her. It doesn’t matter if you support Obama or Clinton or supported Edwards, in this district Heather is one candidate Democrats can agree on.

We need the support of our fellow Democrats desperately. This race is under the radar and would be a huge pickup. A race here means less for the cash-strapped Republican Congressional Committee to spend elsewhere. Heather is an awesome Democrat with an awesome message. Please, go here and help us reach the 63% registered Democrats in this district that love Heather if they get to see her:…

You can truly make a difference to an up-and-coming grassroots Democrat that will fight for us in Washington!!!

Help up make history!!

Congressional races round 2: Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island

Continuing through the alphabet.

Oregon has 5 representatives: 4 Democrats and 1 Republican

Filing deadline was March 11, primary is May 20

Pennsylvania has 19 representatives: 11 Democrats and 8 Republicans

Filing deadline was Feb 12, primary is April 22

Rhode Island has 2 districts, both Democrats

Filing deadline is June 25, primary Sept 9

District: OR-01

Location Northwestern OR, bordering WA and the Pacific, including parts of Portland and its suburbs

Representative David Wu (D)

First elected  1998

2006 margin 63-34

2004 margin 58-38

Bush margin 2004 44-55

Notes on opponents In 2004, Goli Ameri raised $2.3 million to Wu’s $2.7 million.  In 2006, Derrick Kitts raised about $140K to Wu’s $1.1 million

Current opponents Wu is facing a primary, and then either Stephen Brodhead, CW Chappell or Joel Haugan. No fundraising reports from anyone but Wu, who has $600K COH

Demographics 36th fewest Blacks (1.1%)

Assessment  Safe

District: OR-02

Location The eastern 2/3rds of OR, bordering WA, ID, NV, and CA

Representative Greg Walden (R)

First elected  1998

2006 margin 67-30

2004 margin 72-26

Bush margin 2004 61-38

Notes on opponents Neither raised much

Current opponents Noah Lemas (no website, no fundraising report)

Demographics 15th most veterans (17.3%), 6th fewest Blacks (0.4%)

Assessment Long shot

District: OR-03

Location Northern OR, bordering WA, includes Portland and suburbs, and Mt Hood.

Representative Earl Blumenauer (D)

First elected  1996

2006 margin 73-23

2004 margin 71-24

Bush margin 2004 33-67

Notes on opponents Neither raised much

Current opponents A primary and then Delia Lopez. No fundraising reports from anyone but Blumenauer, who has $465 COH

Demographics 60th most Democratic

Assessment safe

District: OR-04

Location Southwestern OR, bordering CA and the Pacific, including Eugene

Representative Peter DeFazio (D)

First elected  1986

2006 margin 62-38

2004 margin 61-38

Bush margin 2004 49-49

Notes on opponents In 2004, Jim Feldekamp raised $600 K to DeFazio’s $900K; he ran again in 2006, raising $500K to DeFazio’s $750K

Current opponents  None. DeFazio has $360K COH….he should share

Demographics 11th fewest Blacks (0.5%), 24th most veterans (16.9%)

Assessment  Free ride.

District: OR-05

Location A T-shaped district in northwestern OR.

Representative Darlene Hooley (D) retiring

First elected  1996

2006 margin 54-43

2004 margin 53-44

Bush margin 2004 50-49

Notes on opponents In 2004, Jim Zupancic raised $1.3 million to Hooley’s $2 million; in 2006, Mike Erickson raised $1.8 million to Hooley’s $2 million

Current opponents Democrats:

Kurt Schrader

Andrew Foster (no web site), Nancy Moran (no web site),

Steve Marks

Richard Nathe (no website) and a bunch of Republicans.   No fundraising reports from the Dems

Demographics 18th fewest Blacks (0.6%)

Assessment Seems vulnerable, but I don’t know

District: PA-01

Location Some of Philadelphia and some suburbs

Representative Robert Brady (D)

First elected  1998

2006 margin unopposed

2004 margin 86-13

Bush margin 2004  15-84

Notes on opponents No money

Current opponents Mike Muhammad. No fundraising report.  Brady has $678,000 COH, he should share

Demographics 14th lowest income (median = $28K), 52nd fewest Whites (33%), 27th most Blacks (45%), 8th most Democratic

Assessment Safe

District: PA-02

Location Philadelphia and suburbs

Representative Chaka Fattah

First elected  1994

2006 margin 89-9

2004 margin 88-12

Bush margin 2004 12-87

Notes on opponents Neither raised much

Current opponents Mike Livingston, no fundraising report.  Fattah has $183 COH.

Demographics 32nd lowest income (median = $31K), 46th fewest Whites (29.9%), 7th most Blacks (60.7%), 4th most Democratic

Assessment Safe

District: PA-03

Location Northwestern PA, bordering Lake Erie, OH, and NY

Representative Phil English (R)

First elected  1994

2006 margin 54-42

2004 margin 60-40

Bush margin 2004 53-47

Notes on opponents Steven Porter ran in 2004 and 2006, raising about $200K each time, English had about $1.5 million each time

Current opponents Kyle Foust $55K raised, $25K COH

Mike Waltner $100K raised, $65K COH

Tom Myers $140K raised, $75K COH

Kathy Dahlkemper $154K raised, $117K COH;

Demographics 33rd most Whites (93.7%), 42nd fewest Latinos (1.3%)

Assessment Superribbie ranks it as the 50th most vulnerable Republican seat.  On the DCCC list .  The fact that all those Democrats are running is a sign that English is vulnerable.

District: PA-04

Location Western PA, bordering OH

Representative Jason Altmire (D)

First elected  2006

2006 margin 52-48

2004 margin NA

Bush margin 2004 54-45

Notes on opponents In 2006, Altmire ousted Melissa Hart, raising $1.1 million, about half what she raised

Current opponents Hart is back for a rematch, but she has a primary challenger (Ron Francis).  Francis has raised $160K, $113 COH; Hart has raised $385K, $332K COH.

Altmire has raised $1.1 million, $911K COH

Demographics 21st most White (94.3%), tied for fewest Latinos (0.6%)

Assessment Superribbie ranks it as the ninth most vulnerable Democratic seat, and it’s on the DCCC list .  While not safe, Altmire beat Hart, with less money than her, when she was an incumbent.  Now he’s got more money, and he’s the incumbent.  I don’t think it’s quite as vulnerable as Superribbie.

District: PA-05

Location Northern PA, bordering NY.

Representative John Peterson (R) retiring

First elected  1996

2006 margin 60-40

2004 margin 88-12 against a Libertarian

Bush margin 2004 61-39

Notes on opponents In 2006, Don Hilliard raised no money and still got 40%

Current opponents Democrats:

Mark McCracken

Bill Cahir

Rick Vilello

Lots of Republicans. No fundraising numbers from anyone

Demographics 32nd most rural (54%), 6th lowest income (median = $33K), 6th most Whites (96%), 47th fewest Blacks (1.3%), 11th fewest Latinos (0.8%), 99th most Republican

Assessment Somewhat vulnerable. Superribbie ranks it as the 58th most vulnerable Republican seat. The fact that we are competitive here, in a naturally Republican seat, is a really good sign

District: PA-06

Location West of Philadelphia

Representative Jim Gerlach (R)

First elected  2002

2006 margin 51-49

2004 margin 51-49

Bush margin 2004 48-51

Notes on opponents Lois Murphy ran in 2004 and 2006, in 2004, she raised $1.9 million to Gerlach’s $2.2 million; in 2006, she raised $4 million to his $3.5 million

Current opponents Bob Roggio no funding info.  Gerlach has $500K COH

Demographics 70th highest income (median = $56K)

Assessment Somewhat vulnerable,   Superribbie ranks it as the 22nd most vulnerable Republican seat.  On the DCCC list .  Not sure why Roggio has no FEC numbers

District: PA-07

Location Southeastern PA, bordering DE, including King of Prussia

Representative Joe Sestak (D)

First elected  2006

2006 margin 56-44

2004 margin NA

Bush margin 2004 47-53

Notes on opponents In 2006, Sestak ousted Curt Weldon; each raised about $3 million

Current opponents Curt Weldon has $90K COH (but, per comments, appears to not be in it), Craig Williams, no info.  Sestak has $1.7 million COH

Demographics 67th highest income (median = $56K), 41st fewest Latinos (1.3%)

Assessment Superribbie ranks it as the 36th most vulnerable Democratic seat; Sestak’s formidable fundraising advantage makes it a little less vulnerable, I  think

District: PA-08

Location The southeast corner of PA, bordering NJ

Representative Patrick Murphy (D)

First elected 2006

2006 margin 1418 votes out of 250,000

2004 margin NA

Bush margin 2004 48-51

Notes on opponents In 2006, Murphy ousted Mike Fitzpatrick; Murphy raised $2.4 million to Fitzpatrick’s $3.2

Current opponents Thomas Manion (no funding info); Murphy has $1.2 million COH

Demographics 44th highest income (median = $59K),

Assessment   Superribbie ranks it as the 22nd most vulnerable Democratic seat. On the DCCC list .  Another potentially close race, where we appear to have a huge lead in fundraising

District: PA-09

Location The central part of southern PA, bordering MD and a little of WV

Representative Bill Shuster (R)

First elected 2001  

2006 margin 60-40

2004 margin 69-30

Bush margin 2004 67-33

Notes on opponents Neither raised much

Current opponents Tony Barr who got 40% with almost no money in 2006, is running again. No funding info on Barr, but Shuster has only $188K COH, not much for an incumbent at this stage

Demographics 19th most rural (59.5%), 3rd most White (96.4%), 60th fewest Blacks (1.6%), 17th fewest Latinos (0.9%), 2nd fewest nonBlack, nonWhite, nonLatino, 42nd most Republican

Assessment  Long shot

District: PA-10

Location Northeastern PA, bordering NY and NJ

Representative Christopher  Carney (D)

First elected  2006

2006 margin 53-47

2004 margin NA

Bush margin 2004 60-40

Notes on opponents In 2006, Carney ousted Don Sherwood, spending $1.5 million to Sherwood’s $3 million

Current opponents  Dan Meuser has raised the most of several Republicans: He has $398 COH; Chris Hackett has $386K; others much less.  Carney has $766K.  

Demographics 27th most rural (55.4%), 9th most White (95.5%), 71st least Black (1.9%), 51st least Latinos (1.4%)

Assessment Very vulnerable Superribbie ranks it as the 5th most vulnerable Democratic seat. On the DCCC list .

District: PA-11

Location Eastern PA, including Scranton and Wilkes-Barre

Representative Paul Kanjorski (D)

First elected  1984

2006 margin 72-28

2004 margin 94-6 against a minor party

Bush margin 2004 47-53

Notes on opponents No money

Current opponents  Lou Barletta has $851 COH and $300K in debt (hmmmm….). Kanjorski has $1.5 million.  He should share

Demographics 97th lowest income (median = $35K)

Assessment  Safe

District: PA-12

Location An odd, thready district in southwest PA

Representative John Murtha (D)

First elected  1974

2006 margin 61-39

2004 margin unopposed

Bush margin 2004 49-51

Notes on opponents In 2006, Diana Irey raised $850K to Murtha’s $3.2 million.

Current opponents William Russell has $25K COH, Murtha has $529K

Demographics 32nd poorest (median income = $31K), 16th most Whites (95.0%).  3rd fewest Latinos (0.6%)

Assessment Safe

District: PA-13

Location Suburbs and exurbs of Philadelphia

Representative Allyson Schwartz (D)

First elected  2004

2006 margin 66-34

2004 margin 56-44

Bush margin 2004 43-56

Notes on opponents In 2004, this seat was open and Schwartz beat Melissa Brown, raising $4.5 million to Brown’s $1.9 million. In 2006, Raj Bhakta raised $400K to Schwartz’ $2.2 million

Current opponents Marina Kats has no fundraising report.  Schwartz has $1.6 million COH, she should share

Demographics Not unusual on what I track

Assessment Safe

District: PA-14

Location Pittsburgh and suburbs

Representative Mike Doyle (D)

First elected  1994

2006 margin 90-10 (against a Green)

2004 margin unopposed

Bush margin 2004 30-69

Notes on opponents NA

Current opponents No Republican; Doyle has $400K COH

Demographics 26th lowest income (median = $30K), 71st most Blacks (22.5%), 41st most Democratic

Assessment  Free ride

District: PA-15

Location Central part of eastern NJ, including Allentown and Bethlehem, bordering NJ

Representative Charlie Dent (R)

First elected  2004

2006 margin 54-43

2004 margin 59-39

Bush margin 2004 Kerry won by 786 votes out of 300,000

Notes on opponents In 2004, this was an open seat, and Dent beat Joe Driscoll, each spending about $2 million.  In 2006, Charles Dertinger raised little

Current opponents Sam Bennett has raised $194K and has $94K COH; Dent has over $500K COH.  Bennett is one of my favorite candidates.

Demographics Not unusual on what I track

Assessment  Vulnerable. Superribbie ranks it as the 32nd most vulnerable Republican seat.

District: PA-16

Location Southeastern PA, centering on Lancaster

Representative Joe Pitts (R)

First elected  1996

2006 margin 57-40

2004 margin 64-34

Bush margin 2004 61-38

Notes on opponents Lois Herr ran both times, raising about $80K the first time and $300K in 2006; Pitts raised just under $500K the first time and just over that in 2006

Current opponents Bruce Slater has just $7K COH, to Pitts’ $175K

Demographics 86th most Republican

Assessment Long shot

District: PA-17

Location South and east of central PA, including Harrisburg

Representative Tim Holden (D)

First elected 1992

2006 margin 65-35

2004 margin 59-39

Bush margin 2004 58-42

Notes on opponents In 2004, Scott Paterno raised $1 million to Holden’s $1.6 million.  The 2006 opponent raised little

Current opponents Toni Gilhooley has $31K COH to Holden’s $780K

Demographics Not unusual on what I track

Assessment Safe

District: PA-18

Location Suburbs of Pittsburgh

Representative Tim Murphy (R)

First elected 2002

2006 margin 58-42

2004 margin 63-37

Bush margin 2004 54-46

Notes on opponents Each raised about $100K, Murphy raised over $1 million each time

Current opponents Beth Hafer $106K raised, $42K COH

Brien Wall $35K raised, $16K COH

Steve O’Donnell $260K raised, $203K COH

Daniel Wholey $56K raised, $45K COH

Demographics 10th most Whites (95.4%), 77th fewest Blacks (2.0%), tied for fewest Latinos (0.6%)

Assessment Vulnerable. Superribbie ranks it as the 60th most vulnerable Republican seat.  On the DCCC list

District: PA-19

Location Southern PA including Gettysburg

Representative Todd Platts (R)

First elected  2000

2006 margin 64-33

2004 margin 91-4 against a Green

Bush margin 2004 64-36

Notes on opponents Phillip Avilo raised $175K against Platts’ $375K

Current opponents Phil Avilo , no fundraising info

Demographics 68th most Whites (92.2%)

Assessment Long shot

District: RI-01

Location Northern and eastern RI, bordering MA and CT

Representative Patrick Kennedy (D)

First elected  1994

2006 margin 62-36

2004 margin 64-36

Bush margin 2004 36-62

Notes on opponents In 2004, David Rogers and Kennedy each raised about $2 million.  In 2006, his opponent raised little

Current opponents None; Kennedy has $700K COH, he should share

Demographics Not unusual on what I track

Assessment safe

District: RI-02

Location Most of the state

Representative Jim Langevin (D)

First elected  2000

2006 margin 73-27 against an Independent

2004 margin 75-21

Bush margin 2004 41-57

Notes on opponents  No money for Republicans

Current opponents None

Demographics Not unusual on what I track

Assessment Safe

TN-Sen: Tuke launches website

I’m far away from Tennessee and in fact have never been there but here I am writing about the Senate race of Tenneseee.

But Bob Tuke has launched his website.

It includes a nifty issues section where I found out Bob has signed on to the netroots-made Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq.

Only in the race for a few weeks and he already has a site with issues, videos, endorsements, events, polls and action items. Sounds like he’s on a roll.

Here is the message that greats visitors to his website.

A Message from Bob Tuke

Entering the US Senate race was not a decision that I took lightly. As I traveled our great state and talked with countless Democrats, Independents and Republicans, I heard an overwhelming frustration for how Washington just keeps getting it wrong. Failing health care. Surging gas prices. Endless and misguided war.

The Senate needs another Marine to tackle the tough issues, not another career politician. In the Marines we are trained to take the high ground and hold it, and that’s what I plan to do in this campaign: To Take the Hill. Together let’s take the Hill from career politicians, and give the power back to ordinary Tennessee families. I will listen to you, and I will fight for you.

And this campaign starts with you. So please explore the site, sign-up, and get involved.

Semper Fi,

And here is the video he kicked off his campaign with:

Donate to Bob Tuke before March 31.

CA-46 Debbie Cook vs Dana Rohrabacher

This race caught me eye in a dkos diary earlier this week. Checking the CA-46 tags, there were four pretty much un-noticed diaries this past week talking about CA-46:

The Best Hypocrisy Red Money Can Buy

CA-46 Rohrabacher Allies “Bleed” Mayor Debbie Cook

CA-46 Rohrabacher Allies Smacked Down, Ordered to Pay Costs

CA-46 Rohrabacher Sues Mayor Debbie Cook Again, Loses Again

Wingnut Dana Rohrabacher (R) has easily held this district since winning in 1988 (he won by 23% last time).

This year his opponent will be Huntington Beach Mayor Debbie Cook, ( an impressive grassroots progressive. Apparently the California Republican Party is so worried that Rohrabacher may be vulnerable and is facing a strong challenger this time, their Treasurer plus a former Chair of the California GOP filed some frivolous lawsuits against Debbie Cook, essentually just to cause her to have to waste time and money to defend against them.

Happily, on Wednesday an Orange County judge threw out the suit, and Thursday a Sacramento judge ruled against the GOP as well. And Cook’s lawyers will get their fees from the Republicans.  

(Details and many other links are in the about diaries for those interested; Ballot suit draws criticism and Sacramento court sides with H.B. mayor are good news stories.)

It would be sooooo sweet to get rid of Rohrabacher this election. If we’re lucky, the anti-war wave might even reach into solid red Orange County…

Monday’s story SSP’s Competitive House Race Ratings (3/24/08) put it as Likely R. The PVI is R+6.

My guess is that it will take Cook a couple of tries to crack this nut. Hopefully she can assemble and maintain a good campaign team, and come close this Nov. Then in 2 years unseat Rohrabacher.

Or just possibly after another 2 years in an even smaller Republican minority, Rohrabacher just might decide he’d rather be lobbying for big $$ and call it quits and go surfing.