KY-01: Heather Ryan Fights for Renewable Energy!!

In Kentucky’s First District our fight continues to expand our Congressional majorities. We all know that with our slim majorities in our Congress we have been able to achieve little Progressive change. Well, with expanded majorities and a Democratic President, that will all change next year.  

One of the main things Heather Ryan plans on fighting for is the investment in Renewable Energy. We all know that Exxon Ed Whitfield is profiting handsomely from his Exxon and Chevron stock and will try everything in his power to keep renewables from being viable. All one has to do is look at Whitfield’s vote on HR 3221, a bill with this goal:

HR 3221: An Act moving the United States toward greater energy independence and security, developing innovative new technologies, reducing carbon emissions, creating green jobs, protecting consumers, increasing clean renewable energy production, and modernizing our energy infrastructure.…

Of course, Exxon Eddie voted against this Legislation? Why? With his district being a largely rural area, with countless acres of farmland, the investment in the fuels of the future could help this area do something it hasn’t in Whitfield’s whole tenure, create high paying jobs!!

Just think, with investment in research and development Kentucky could lead the way in growing the farm products needed to produce the fuels of the future. We could open up all the factories that have shut down under Exxon Ed Whitfield’s watch to refine these fuels, creating thousands of high-paying jobs for the citizens of this district that Whitfield is supposed to represent. This field holds huge promise for our district, our state, and many of the surrounding states.

Instead, Exxon Eddie votes his stock options. He is more worried about upholding the failed policies of the past than blazing new, promising technologies that ensure Kentucky’s future. I mean, we all know we need to pioneer the fuels of the future, so why not use this opportunity to make our state of Kentucky a leader in this field?

Here at Ryan for Kentucky, we realize that we can no longer live in the past and that we simply must innovate and create new and exciting industries for our citizens. We must create promising new high-paying jobs to ensure the prosperity of our nation and our state. We can do this by asking our citizens as John Edwards did to be patriotic about something besides war. We can ask them to be patriotic about the future of our great state, and our nation.

In 1960, John F. Kennedy told us that we stood at the threshold of a New Frontier, and asked us to help him bring this about. This year, we once again stand at the same threshold, and we simply must take advantage of the opportunities in front of us to move our state and our nation forward. Suppressing Renewable Energy and the promises it holds like Exxon Eddie does is the politics of yesterday. At Ryan for Kentucky we are determined to move foward into a brave new world where nobody is left behind.

We can do this together but we need your help. Exxon Eddie has a million dollars of special interest money in the bank and the Mitch McConnell machine of corrupt Kentucky Republicans behind him. A couple of weeks ago I started Americans for Ryan to raise $1500 for Heather before May 20. I have been down a week as I was diagnosed at a late age with Juvenile Diabetes, and getting back to normal has been harder than I envisioned. Even with a week off, I am one-fifth of the way to my goal, with plenty of time left. Please consider going to my ActBlue page and making an investment in some awesome grassroots Democrats, and an awesome grassroots candidate that WILL FIGHT for Progressive vision in the Congress when elected. No amount is too small and will be put to work immediately. I hope to raise my goal if I can get enough help!!:…

Also, our website has recently had a makeover, so be sure to go check it out!!:

Lastly, Heather Ryan will be appearing on blogtalkradio tommorrow. Here are the specifics:

Catch Heather on Blog Talk

Radio LIVE Monday, March

3rd at 3:00 PM CST.  

Click the Above Blog Talk

Radio logo to go to the

interview and call in


Be sure to catch Heather as she continues the fight for Progressive vision in the Congress, and a true representative for Kentucky’s First District!!!

Best wishes fellow Democrats!!


BruinKid’s Senate race rankings

So with eight months to go, I figure it’s time for an updated look at all the 2008 Senate races.  There are 35 seats up for election because of a scenario in Wyoming and Mississippi where both seats are up, due to the passing of Craig Thomas and the resignation of Trent Lott, respectively.  Now obviously, quite a few of the races are considered “safe” for the incumbent.  So I’ll rank these in terms of tiers.  The top tier will be the races where there is a serious challenger to the incumbent (or at least the incumbent’s party, in cases of retirement), where the party holding the seat has a real shot of switching.  The second tier are races that could become top tier races, but are not at this point.  Tier III are ones where a major event would need to happen for the seat to come into play.  And the safe seats?  Well, Mike Gravel has a better shot at winning the presidency than those incumbents have of losing their races.

Note: Some of this may seem repetitive, with information you already know.  That’s because I originally wrote this for the Bruin Democrats, many of whom don’t follow the national races like we do.  Consider this a primer for both newcomers and political junkies alike.

Tier I

1. Virginia: Incredibly popular former Governor Mark Warner (D) is running for this seat that opened up when John Warner (R), no relation, announced his retirement.  Warner left the governorship with a whopping 80% approval rating.  That’s freaking unheard of.  He’ll face another former Governor, Jim Gilmore (R), who some of you may remember tried running for President last year.  Gilmore was known as the governor who helped drive the state into near-bankruptcy with his car tax cut, and Warner as the one who fixed the problem when he took over for Gilmore.  Rasmussen Reports released a poll two weeks ago showing Mark Warner would CRUSH Jim Gilmore, 57%-37%.

2. New Hampshire: John Sununu (R) is about to become 2008’s version of Rick Santorum.  Democrats could run a ham sandwich against him, and it would be a competitive race.  No, really.  But why settle for a ham sandwich when you can run the former governor?  Jeanne Shaheen (D), who Sununu beat in 2002 thanks to some illegal phone-jamming on Election Day for which several GOP operatives went to prison, has led Sununu in almost every single poll taken.  The latest from the University of New Hampshire shows her leading 54%-37%.  Rasmussen shows a closer race, with her leading 49%-41%.  A general rule of thumb: any incumbent polling under 50% in an election poll is in trouble.  Under 40%, and you can start writing their political obituary.  Add to that, the fact New Hampshire strongly went blue in 2006 all over the place, kicking out both Republican Congressmen and flipping over 80 seats in the state House, giving Democrats control of both state legislature for the first time since 1910, and Sununu has to be considered the most endangered incumbent.

3. New Mexico: When Pete Domenici (R) announced he was retiring, it suddenly turned this former Tier III seat into a top tier race.  Rep. Tom Udall (D) announced for this seat shortly thereafter.  Yes, he is part of the famed Udall political family; his father Stewart served as Interior Secretary under JFK, and his uncle Mo was an Arizona Congressman for 30 years, also running for President in 1976.  Stewart Udall was largely responsible for just about all the environmental laws that were passed in the 1960s.  The GOP side will feature a primary fight between Reps. Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce.  So the entire New Mexico U.S. House delegation is running for this Senate seat!  Before Udall even entered the race, hypothetical matchups from Research 2000 and SurveyUSA showed him crushing both GOP opponents by over 15 points.  But a more recent Rasmussen poll shows a closer race, though with Udall still hitting the 50% mark in both matchups.  The main New Mexico blog questioned the accuracy of the poll, given their matchup showing Obama tied with McCain, defying the trends you see in other states.

4. Minnesota: Norm Coleman (R) won this seat in 2002 only after Paul Wellstone (D) died just a few weeks before the election.  With two top challengers in comedian Al Franken and lawyer Mike Ciresi, Coleman had a change of heart on Iraq, actually criticizing Bush over his handling of Iraq for the first time in years.  And the polls have been steadily favoring the Democrats, especially Franken.  While earlier polls showed Coleman leading by double digits (though under the 50% mark), both Democrats have been steadily closing the gap.  And in February, three polls came out showing Al Franken either leading Coleman or basically tied: Minnesota Public Radio (Franken 43.2%, Coleman 40%), Rasmussen (Franken 49%, Coleman 46%), and SurveyUSA (Coleman 47%, Franken 46%).  Ciresi doesn’t seem to do as well.  Franken is showing himself to be much more than just a comedian.  In 2007, he raised close to $7 million from over 81,000 people!  The Minnesota SEIU, a decent-sized union, just endorsed Franken too.  In case you’re wondering, there’s no “primary” for the Democrats, but rather the nominee will be picked at the party convention this June among about 1,400 delegates.

5. Colorado: Wayne Allard (R) kept his pledge of only serving two terms, and is retiring from the Senate.  Democrats have cleared the path for Rep. Mark Udall here.  He’s Mo Udall’s son, and Tom Udall’s cousin.  On the GOP side, former Rep. Bob Schaffer is the likely nominee.  Colorado has been trending bluer recently, picking up a Senate seat in 2004 (Ken Salazar), and a congressional district and the governor’s office in 2006.  Schaffer had previously lost the GOP primary for that Senate seat back in 2004 to Pete Coors.  At the end of 2007, Udall was sitting on a $3.6 million warchest, with Schaffer trailing by over $2 million.  Money isn’t everything, but damn.  Dick Wadhams (no, really, that’s his name) is taking over Schaffer’s campaign. Wadhams got Allard first elected to the Senate, and became a rising start in the GOP for managing John Thune’s 2004 win over Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle in South Dakota.  But, he was also in charge of managing George Allen’s 2006 re-election bid in Virginia, sending him from a 20-point lead seven months out to defeat.  (Allen revealing his inner racist greatly helped, too.)  However, recent Rasmussen polling shows Schaffer barely edging out Udall, so this race is far from a given pickup.

6. Louisiana: Mary Landrieu (D) is the most endangered Democratic incumbent in 2008.  But how endangered that really is remains to be seen.  She was able to win in 2002, a decidedly strong year for the GOP.  Karl Rove was able to woo state treasurer John Kennedy (no relation to the Kennedy family in Massachusetts) to switch parties to run for re-election to State Treasurer as a Republican last August, and after winning, he announced he would challenge Landrieu for her Senate seat.  Party switching actually seems rather common in Louisiana.  And hundreds of thousands of residents from New Orleans and the surrounding areas never came back to the state after Hurricane Katrina, making it even more red than it used to be.  Bobby Jindal (R) didn’t even need a runoff to win the governor’s race last year, getting over 50% of the vote on the first ballot and performing stronger than expected.  So that doesn’t bode well for Landrieu’s chances.  The good news for her is that she raised over twice as much as Kennedy did in the fourth quarter last year (October – December) and has almost 10 times as cash on hand as he does.

7. Alaska: Ted Stevens (R) is always a candidate for retirement, being 85 years old now, but says he will seek a sixth term.  But Stevens is in some legal trouble, with the FBI having raided his home last June in connection with possible bribes from Veco Corp., where several executives have already pled guilty to bribing his son Ben, who was the former state senate president.  Former Veco CEO Bill Allen admitted some bribe money also went towards Ted Stevens.  Democrats got their top choice when Anchorage mayor Mark Begich announced he was forming an exploratory committee (the first step in running).  His father Nick Begich was a former Congressman, who was killed in a plane crash along with House Majority Leader Hale Boggs (D-LA) in 1972.  A Research 2000 poll from December showed Begich already leading Stevens 47%-41%.

8. Oregon: Gordon Smith (R) has two challengers in lawyer/activist Steve Novick (D) and Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley (D).  Smith’s approvals from 2007 are not as good as they were in 2006 and before.  We’ll see if that trend continues.  The state party itself is in financial trouble too, facing over a quarter million dollars in debt, and the IRS is calling for some missing payroll taxes.  Rasmussen polling still shows Smith with double digit leads over both Democrats, but he is under the 50% mark.  Interesting to note, Smith is actually a cousin to the two Udalls running for Senate.

9. Maine: Susan Collins (R) doesn’t have the stature that fellow Senator Olympia Snowe (R) has.  Rep. Tom Allen (D) is running to challenge Collins.  But even though Maine is a blue state, he’ll have an uphill climb.  Collins has worked hard to craft her moderate credentials.  The most recent polls all show Collins over the 50% mark, with almost 20-point leads over Allen.  And the Maine newspapers suck.  I mean, really suck.

10. Texas: John Cornyn (R) has some pretty anemic poll numbers, and the immigration issue seems to have triggered a change in the Latino community.  State rep. Rick Noriega (D) got a nice boost when wealthy trial attorney Mikal Watts (D) dropped out of the race and threw his support to Noriega, ensuring a united Democratic front against Cornyn in November.  Noriega is also Lt. Col. in the Texas National Guard, served in Afghanistan after 9/11, and was chosen to coordinate relief efforts in Houston after Hurricane Katrina.  Earlier polling shows Texans are largely dissatisfied with Cornyn, and a baseline poll from last September showed Cornyn beating Noriega 51%-35%, with only 40% saying Cornyn deserved re-election.  And that was before Watts dropped out of the Democratic primary.  The Texas GOP seems to be concerned about this race, as they recently demanded Noriega release his military records… to them.  Instead, Noriega released his records to the entire public and denounced their swiftboating tactics at the same time.  Well played, sir.  However, the fundraising numbers are troubling, with Cornyn having outraised Noriega by more than a 4-to-1 margin in the fourth quarter, and Noriega trailed by almost $7 million in cash on hand to end the year.

Tier II

I decided, for the sake of my own sanity, not to try to rank the Tier II and III races.  These are given in alphabetical order, by state.

Kentucky: Even though Mitch McConnell (R) became the Senate Minority Leader, he is a top target of the Democrats.  And with former Governor Ernie Fletcher (R) losing his re-election bid to Steve Beshear (D) 59%-41% last November, that made Kentucky Democrats even more confident.  But then Kentucky Attorney General Greg Stumbo (D) and State Auditor Crit Luallen (D) both declined to run, and netroots favorite Lt. Col. Andrew Horne (D), a Marine who has served in both the Persian Gulf War and the Iraq War, dropped his bid.  Rasmussen had shown both Stumbo and Luallen holding McConnell under the 50% mark, and for the Senate Minority Leader who can bring home the pork, that showed significant dissatisfaction with McConnell in Kentucky.  Now, the Democratic establishment seems to have coalesced around wealthy businessman Bruce Lunsford, who’s lost several primaries before, and ticked off a lot of Democrats by endorsing Fletcher over Ben Chandler (D) for Governor back in 2003 after losing the primary to Chandler.  The blogs are, ah, less than pleased.  We’ve yet to see how Lunsford would match up against McConnell.

Mississippi-B: Roger Wicker (R), appointed by governor Haley Barbour (R) on New Year’s Eve after Trent Lott (R) resigned to become a lobbyist, won’t have all the incumbency power Lott had accumulated over the years.  Wicker was the Congressman from MS-01, so he’s won elected office previously.  But Democrats scored a huge get when former Governor Ronnie Musgrove announced he was running for Senate, and former Rep. Ronnie Shows (D) ended his campaign, deferring to Musgrove.  Some polls have shown this matchup would be close.

Nebraska: With Chuck Hagel (R) retiring, all eyes had turned to former Nebraska Governor and Senator Bob Kerrey (D) to see if he would challenge for this open seat.  But, he announced last October that he wouldn’t run.  But Mike Johanns (R), who was also a former Governor of Nebraska, quit his job as Bush’s Agriculture Secretary to run for the seat.  The netroots were thrilled when rancher and history professor Scott Kleeb (D) threw his hat in the ring.  While Kleeb lost the NE-03 House race in 2006, that district is the most Republican in Nebraska, and Kleeb got a higher-than-expected 45% of the vote.  That’s had a lot of people thinking he would actually win in the other two districts, and thus a statewide race.  Of course, that doesn’t take into account how he’d be running against the former governor of the state.

South Dakota: Tim Johnson (D) is fully back at work after suffering a brain hemorrhage in December 2006.  His illness had made Republicans hesitant to challenge or attack him.  Governor Mike Rounds (R) would be a top challenger, but hasn’t made any indications that he will give up his governorship for the seat.  And when polling shows Johnson may be the most popular Senator in the country, why would he?

Tier III

Alabama: The Democrats’ top hope in Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks announced he was not running, leaving little-known state senator Vivian Figures (D) the only challenger to incumbent Jeff Sessions (R).  But… with the recent 60 Minutes piece on former Alabama governor Don Siegelman (D) being sent to prison on incredibly flimsy charges which Karl Rove may have had a hand in, those of us who’ve been following the story know that the guy who supposedly gave illegal contributions to Siegelman had also done the exact same thing with Sessions.  And it seems Sessions was desperate enough to try and kill the 60 Minutes story before it aired.  So there’s a chance Sessions will get ensnared in this growing scandal, in which case his seat may not be so safe.  But for now, it’s still Tier III.

Idaho: It’s looking like a rematch between Lt. Governor Jim Risch (R) and former Congressman Larry LaRocco (D), who lost the 2006 Lt. Gov. race to Risch by a sizable 58%-39% margin.  While LaRocco finished 2007 with more cash on hand than Risch, he had been raising money for most of 2007, while Risch only jumped in after the Larry Craig airport bathroom… ah… incident.

New Jersey: Frank Lautenberg (D) said he’s running again, but his age is always a concern, as he is already 84 years old right now.  His poll numbers also don’t look that good, but no New Jersey politician’s numbers ever look really good.  But no top-tier challenger has yet stepped up to challenge him.  Anne Estabrook (R) recently plopped $1.6 million of her own money into her campaign, but when she answers questions like this, Lautenberg may not have much to worry about.

North Carolina: Both Governor Mike Easley (D) and state rep. Grier Martin (D) decided not to run for this seat, giving Elizabeth Dole (R) some good news.  The declared Democrats are state senator Kay Hagan and businessman Jim Neal.  The blogosphere seems to be supporting Neal in this race.  FYI, if Jim Neal were to get the Democratic nomination and then beat Dole in the general, he would be the first openly gay Senator in U.S. history.

Oklahoma: James Inhofe (R) looks pretty safe, though interestingly enough, Inhofe has never gotten to 50% approval in the history of SurveyUSA’s polling.  State senator and netroots favorite Andrew Rice (D), who lost his brother in the 9/11 attacks, has declared for this race.

South Carolina: This race is only in Tier III because Lindsey Graham (R) may actually be primaried out of his own party, for his support of Bush’s immigration plan.  The natives are restless.  A party switch is much less likely, but a different senator serving in this seat come 2009 is a distinct possibility.

Tennessee: Well, businessman Mike McWherter (D), son of former Tennessee Governor Ned McWherter (D), announced back in November that he was not going to run for this seat, a blow for Democrats.  But, former Tennessee Democratic Party chair Bob Tuke announced last week that he will run.  It remains to be seen if Tuke can make this a real race against Lamar Alexander (R), who was also a two-term governor of Tennessee and the Secretary of Education under George H.W. Bush.

Democratic safe seats

Arkansas (Mark Pryor)

Delaware (Joe Biden, so safe I forgot to include him last time)

Illinois (Dick Durbin)

Iowa (Tom Harkin)

Massachusetts (John Kerry)

Michigan (Carl Levin)

Montana (Max Baucus)

Rhode Island (Jack Reed)

West Virginia (Jay Rockefeller)

Republican safe seats

Georgia (Saxby Chambliss)

Kansas (Pat Roberts)

Mississippi (Thad Cochran)

Wyoming (Michael Enzi)

Wyoming (John Barrasso)

So there you have it, my personal rankings for the 2008 Senate races, as they stand at the beginning of March.  Things can still change if some candidates jump in or drop out.  But the filing deadline has already passed in some states, so getting our dream candidate in some of these races has already passed.  And we won’t know what the national mood will be 8 months from now.  Still, given that, these are my picks, and I’m sticking with them… until my next update, at least.

Feel free to rip me apart in the comments, telling me I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, how could I possibly put a certain race in Tier II or III when it’s so obviously a top tier race, why I’m being too optimistic in some seat, etc.  Have at it, folks.  🙂

Congressional races round 2: Iowa, Indiana, Kansas

Here’s part seven of the second round of congressional races.  Earlier parts are   here

Indiana has 9 representatives: 5 Democrats and 4 Republicans

Filing deadline was Feb 22, primary is May 6

Iowa has 5 representatives: 3 Democrats and 2 Republicans

Filing deadline is March 14, primary is June 3

Kansas has 4 representatives: 2 Democrats and 2 Republicans

Filing deadline is June 10, primary is August 5

District: IN-01

Location Northwestern IN, bordering IL and Lake Michigan, south from Gary about 100 miles

Representative Peter Visclosky (D)

First elected  1984

2006 margin 70-27

2004 margin 68-32

Bush margin 2004 44-55

Notes on opponents No money

Current opponents Mark Leyva, who lost in 2004 and 2006

Demographics Not unusual on what I track

Assessment  Safe

District: IN-02

Location Northern central IN, south from South Bend to Kokomo

Representative Joe Donnelly (D)

First elected  2006

2006 margin 54-46

2004 margin NA

Bush margin 2004 56-43

Notes on opponents Donnelly ousted Chocola while spending less than half what he spent (Donelly – $1.5 million, Chocola $3.4)

Current opponents Luke Puckett or Tony Zinkle

Demographics Not unusual on what I track

Assessment Not completely safe, but Chocola was harder to beat than either of the challengers Superribbie ranks this as 23rd most vulnerable Democratic seat.

District: IN-03

Location Northeastern  IN, bordering MI and OH, including Fort Wayne

Representative Mark Souder (R)

First elected 1994

2006 margin 54-46

2004 margin 69-31

Bush margin 2004 68-31

Notes on opponents In 2006, Souder actually got outspent – both spent about $700K, but Thomas Hayhurst spent a little more

Current opponents Michael Montagno

Demographics 33rd most Republican in Cook PVI

Assessment Gotta be a long shot, but Superribbie ranks it as 68th most vulnerable Republican seat

District: IN-04

Location Central IN, including western and southern suburbs of Indianapolis

Representative Steve Buyer (R)

First elected  1992

2006 margin 62-38

2004 margin 69-28

Bush margin 2004 69-30

Notes on opponents In 2006, David Sanders spent $133K to Buyer’s $500K

Current opponents Nels Anderson

Demographics 25th most Republican per Cook PVI, 47th fewest Blacks (1.3%)

Assessment long shot

District: IN-05

Location Central IN, including eastern suburbs of Indianapolis

Representative Dan Burton (R)

First elected 1982

2006 margin 65-31

2004 margin 72-26

Bush margin 2004 71-28

Notes on opponents Katherine Carr, the opponent both times, raised very little money

Current opponents Chester Kelsey and Mary Etta Ruley

Demographics 22nd fewest in poverty (5.2%), 10th most conservative per Cook PVI

Assessment Long shot

District: IN-06

Location Southern part of eastern IN, bordering OH

Representative Mike Pence (R)

First elected  2000

2006 margin 60-40

2004 margin 67-31

Bush margin 2004 64-35

Notes on opponents Neither raised much

Current opponents Barry Welsh

Demographics 41st fewest Latinos

Assessment Somewhat vulnerable Superribbie ranks him the 79th most vulnerable Republican

District: IN-07

Location Indianapolis and suburbs

Representative None (Julia Carson died in office) special election will be Andre Carson (D) vs. Jonathan Elrod (R)

First elected  NA

2006 margin NA

2004 margin NA

Bush margin 2004 42-58

Notes on opponents NA

Current opponents see above

Demographics  50th most Blacks (29.4%)

Assessment Quite vulnerable. Superribbie ranks this the 37th most vulnerable Democratic seat, with a score of 91

District: IN-08

Location The southern part of eastern IN, including Terre Haute and Evansville

Representative  Brad Ellsworth (D)

First elected 2006

2006 margin 61-39

2004 margin NA

Bush margin 2004 62-38

Notes on opponents Ellsworth ousted Hostetler, and also out-raised him – $1.7 million to $580K

Current opponents Greg Goode or Paul Abramson

Demographics 34th most Whites (93.7%), 17th fewest Latinos (0.9%)

Assessment Vulnerable Superribbie ranks this the 27th most vulnerable Democratic seat, with a score of 95

District: IN-09

Location Southwestern IN, including Bloomington

Representative Baron Hill (D)

First elected 2006

2006 margin 50-45

2004 margin NA

Bush margin 2004 59-40

Notes on opponents Hill and Mike Sodrel have been exchanging this district for years; in 2006, Hill raised $1.9 million to Sodrel’s $2.7 million

Current opponents Sodrel is running, as is Aaron Hawkins

Demographics 60th most rural (47.7%) and 58th fewest Latinos (1.5%)

Assessment One of the most vulnerable Superribbie ranks this the 7th most vulnerable Democratic seat, with a score of 110

District: IA-01

Location Northern part of eastern IA, bordering WI and IL

Representative Bruce Braley (D)

First elected  2006

2006 margin 55-43

2004 margin NA

Bush margin 2004 46-53

Notes on opponents This was an open seat, Braley and the Republican each had about $2.4 million

Current opponents None declared

Demographics 61st most Whites (92.1%)

Assessment Superribbie (link above) gives this a vulnerability of 86 (45th most vul Democrat) but Braley won pretty easily vs. a well-funded opponent.  Of course, if no one runs, it’s completely safe.

District: IA-02

Location Southeastern IA, bordering MO and IL, including Cedar Rapids

Representative Dave Loebsack (D)

First elected  2006

2006 margin 51-49

2004 margin NA

Bush margin 2004 44-55

Notes on opponents Loebsack ousted Jim Leach, in a race where each spent about $500 K

Current opponents Lee Harder (per WIKI, but perhaps others)

Demographics 53rd most Whites (92.4%)

Assessment Superribbie gives this one a 94, but Harder does not appear to be a serious threat.

District: IA-03

Location Central IA, including Des Moines

Representative Leonard Boswell (D)

First elected  1996

2006 margin 52-46

2004 margin 55-45

Bush margin 2004 Bush by 250 votes (of 300,000)

Notes on opponents In 2006, Boswell and Lamberti each raised about $2 million

Current opponents None declared

Demographics 75th most Whites (90.1%)

Assessment Superribbie gives this a 94; Boswell has had only one comfortable win (in 2000).  If Lamberti runs, this may be competitive

District: IA-04

Location Northern central IA, including Ames.

Representative Tom Latham (R)

First elected  1994

2006 margin 57-43

2004 margin 61-39

Bush margin 2004 51-48

Notes on opponents In 2006, Selden Spencer raised about $500K to Latham’s $1.1 million.  The 2004 opponent raised less

Current opponents William Myers

Demographics 20th most Whites (94.7%), 27th fewest Blacks (0.8%), 54th most rural (49.5%)

Assessment Superribbie gives this a vulnerability of 95; in national elections IA-04 has been very close. But Latham has won reasonably easily.  I don’t know much about Myers

District: IA-05

Location Western IA, bordering SD and NE, including Sioux City and Council Bluffs

Representative Steve King (R)

First elected  2002

2006 margin 59-36

2004 margin 63-37

Bush margin 2004 60-39

Notes on opponents Joyce Schulte ran in 2004 and 2006, raising about $70K each time

Current opponents :

Rob Hubler


Bob Chambers

Demographics 33rd most Whites (93.7%), 18th fewest Blacks (0.6%), 53rd most rural (50.6%)

Assessment Long shot

District: KS-01

Location The western 3/4 of KS, bordering NE, OK, and CO

Representative Jerry Moran (R)

First elected  1996

2006 margin 71-20

2004 margin 91-9 (vs. a Libertarian)

Bush margin 2004 72-26

Notes on opponents John Doll, in 2006, raised about $60K

Current opponents  James Bordonaro (no site)

Demographics 61st most rural (47.6%), 10th most Republican per Cook PVI

Assessment Long shot

District: KS-02

Location Eastern KS, except for Kansas City. Includes Topeka

Representative Nancy Boyda (D)

First elected  2006

2006 margin 51-47

2004 margin NA

Bush margin 2004 59-39

Notes on opponents Boyda ousted Jim Ryun, while spending $300K less than he did ($700K to $1 million)

Current opponents Jim Ryun and Lynn Jenkins

Demographics Not unusual on what I track

Assessment Vulnerable.  Superribbie ranks this the 3rd most vulnerable Democratic seat, with a score of 112.  If Ryun wins the primary, it’s probably not too vulnerable, but Jenkins has a good shot

District: KS-03

Location Kansas City and suburbs

Representative Dennis Moore (D)

First elected  1998

2006 margin 65-34

2004 margin 55-43

Bush margin 2004 55-44

Notes on opponents In 2006, Chuck Ahner raised $400K to Moore’s $1.8 million; in 2004, Kris Kobach raised $1.2 million to Moore’s $2.4 million

Current opponents Joel Balam, Nick Jordan and possibly Chuck Ahner and Paul Showem

Demographics Not unusual on what I track

Assessment  Superribbie gives KS-03 a 88 (42nd most vulnerable Democrat).  Moore had several close races before 2004.

District: KS-04

Location Eastern part of southern KS, bordering OK, including Wichita

Representative Todd Tiahrt (R)

First elected  1994

2006 margin 64-34

2004 margin 66-31

Bush margin 2004 64-34

Notes on opponents Neither raised money

Current opponents Donald Betts

Demographics Not unusual on what I track

Assessment At first glance, this looks like a long shot; but, prior to 2004, Tiahrt had several close races, and Betts, a state senator, is his first serious opponent.  Could be interesting

How’d the NRCC Do?

Back in September, the NRCC was talking some big talk:

The committee is expecting recruits to emerge soon against Reps. Michael Arcuri (D-N.Y.), John Barrow (D-Ga.), Baron Hill (D-Ind.), David Loebsack (D-Iowa) and Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.), who are all without major committee-recruited GOP challengers. All but Barrow are freshmen.

The NRCC is meeting with potential candidates against Murphy and Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.), another freshman without a major opponent.

Meanwhile, Indiana Republicans have been anxiously awaiting word from former Rep. Mike Sodrel (R), who is rumored to be in for a fourth straight match-up with Hill. And Iraq veteran Wayne Mosley, an orthopedic surgeon, has been mentioned as a potential challenger to Barrow.

How did Tom Cole and his merry crew fare with recruitment? Tell us in comments.