House Seats to Target for a Democratic Majority

If Democrats are to regain the majority in the House in 2012, these are the seats they must target:

Republican-held seats:

AK-AL: Don Young

AZ-1: Paul Gosar

AZ-3: Ben Quayle

AZ-5: David Schwiekert

AR-1: Rick Crawford

AR-2: Tim Griffin

CA-3: Dan Lungren

CA-4: Tom McClintock

CA-44: Ken Calvert

CA-45: Mary Bono Mack

CA-48: John Campbell

CA-50: Brian Bilbray

CO-4: Cory Gardner

FL-12: Dennis Ross

FL-13: Vern Buchanan

FL-22: Allen West

FL-24: Sandy Adams

FL-25: David Rivera

IL-8: Joe Walsh

IL-10: Bob Dold

IL-11: Adam Kinzinger

IL-13: Judy Biggert

IL-14: Randy Hultgren

IL-17: Bobby Schilling

IN-8: Larry Bucshon

IA-4: Tom Latham

MI-7: Tim Walberg

MN-8: Chip Craavack

NE-2: Lee Terry

NV-2: Dean Heller

NV-3: Joe Heck

NH-1: Frank Guinta

NH-2: Charlie Bass

NJ-2: Frank LoBiondo

NJ-3: Jon Runyan

NJ-4: Chris Smith

NJ-5: Scott Garrett

NJ-7: Leonard Lance

NM-2: Steve Pearce

NY-3: Peter King

NY-13: Mike Grimm

NY-19: Nan Hayworth

NY-25: Ann Marie Buerkle

NY-29: Thomas Reed

NC-2: Renee Ellmers

OH-1: Steve Chabot

OH-2: Jean Schmidt

OH-3: Mike Turner

OH-6: Bill Johnson

OH-12: Pat Tiberi

OH-14: Steve LaTourette

OH-15: Steve Stivers

PA-7: Pat Meehan

PA-8: Mike Fitzpatrick

PA-11: Lou Barletta

PA-15: Charlie Dent

TX-23: Francisco Canceso

TX-27: R. Blake Farenthold

WI-7: Sean Duffy

WI-8: Reid Ribble

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

NJ-05: Good Trendlines for Shulman

Research 2000 for Daily Kos (10/20-22, likely voters, 9/17-19 in parens):

Dennis Shulman (D): 40 (34)

Scott Garrett (R-inc): 47 (49)

Other: 2 (2)

Undecided: 11 (15)

(MoE: ±5%)

This is a tidy improvement over R2K’s first poll in this district, reflecting in part the fact that Shulman went up on the air between the two surveys. It also helps explain Scott Garrett’s wild freak-out and sick smears against Shulman. (My favorite: Shulman, an ordained rabbi, is “soft on Israel.” Uh huh.) You may also recall that earlier this week, the Club for Growth, which usually cares naught for incumbents, endorsed Garrett and may be getting ready to drop some bucks on his behalf.

In this expensive NYC metro district, Shulman will likely need some outside help of his own if he is to unseat Garrett. There’s still time for the DCCC to come in with a big moneybomb in this (and many other) districts. (Last cycle, for instance, they nuked Charlie Bass in NH-02 on Halloween.) We’ll soon see if Shulman has the momentum to pull off a major upset here.

Bonus finding: McCain leads Obama 51-39 (it was 52-37 in the last poll).

Time to get serious about expanding the field (NJ-05, CA-46, KY-01, IA-05)

Americans appear ready to sweep a lot of Democrats into office on November 4. Not only does Barack Obama maintain a solid lead in the popular vote and electoral vote estimates, several Senate races that appeared safe Republican holds a few months ago are now considered tossups.

Polling is harder to come by in House races, but here too there is scattered evidence of a coming Democratic tsunami. Having already lost three special Congressional elections in red districts this year, House Republicans are now scrambling to defend many entrenched incumbents.

In this diary, I hope to convince you of three things:

1. Some Republicans who never saw it coming are going to be out of a job in two weeks.

On a related note,

2. Even the smartest experts cannot always predict which seats offer the best pickup opportunities.

For that reason,

3. Activists should put resources behind many under-funded challengers now, instead of going all in for a handful of Democratic candidates.

Allow me to elaborate.

1. A lot of seemingly safe incumbents have lost in wave elections, even in districts tilted toward their own party.

The Republican landslide of 1994 claimed my own Congressman Neal Smith, a 36-year incumbent who had a senior position on the House Appropriations Committee. Democratic House Speaker Tom Foley spent “what aides say may total $1.5 million to $2 million, a staggering amount for a House race” in 1994, but he still lost to George Nethercutt in Washington’s fifth district.

Many of you probably remember long-serving House and Senate Democrats in your own states who were swept away in the Reagan landslide of 1980.

By the same token, a lot of entrenched Republicans lost their seats during the 1974 post-Watergate wave. That was the year Iowans elected Tom Harkin and Berkley Bedell in the fifth and sixth Congressional districts, where both candidates had lost elections in 1972.

2. Even the political pros and the best analysts cannot always handicap Congressional races accurately, especially House races where public polls are scarce.

In 2006, could anyone have predicted that Lois Murphy (who almost beat Republican Congressman Jim Gerlach two years earlier) would fall short again in PA-06, while the massively under-funded Carol Shea-Porter would defeat Jeb Bradley in NH-01?

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee poured millions into IL-06 in 2006, only to see Tammy Duckworth lose to Peter Roskam. Meanwhile, Larry Kissell didn’t get the time of day from the DCCC and came just a few hundred votes short of beating Republican incumbent Robin Hayes in NC-08.

My point is that we can’t always know where our best chances lie. Sometimes a stealth candidate can catch an incumbent napping in a race that hasn’t been targeted by either party.

Look at the seats Republicans are now worried about, according to Politico:

GOP Reps. John B. Shadegg of Arizona, Lee Terry of Nebraska, Henry Brown Jr. of South Carolina and Dan Lungren of California are all fighting for their political lives, a reversal of fortunes that has caught even the most astute campaign observers by surprise.

Markos commented on the Politico piece,

Shadegg’s AZ-03 is R+5.9.

Terry’s NE-02 is R+9.0.

Brown’s SC-01 is R+9.6

Lungren’s CA-03 is R+6.7.

We haven’t had any public polls in Iowa’s fourth or fifth district races, but last week Republican incumbent Tom Latham (IA-04, D+0) released his first negative television ad, suggesting that his internal polls may show Becky Greenwald gaining on him.

I can’t tell you today who will win on November 4, but I guarantee you that some Democrats in “tossup” seats will lose, even as other Democrats take over “likely Republican” or “safe Republican” districts. Which brings me to my third point.

3. We need to expand the field of Republican-held districts we’re playing for.

Thankfully, the bad old days when the DCCC would target 22 races, hoping to win 15, are just a memory. The DCCC has put more than 60 Republican-held seats in the “Red to Blue” category. Not all of those seats have seen media buys or other significant financial investment from the DCCC, however.

Plus, as I mentioned above, Dan Lungren is sweating bullets in CA-03, which isn’t even on the Red to Blue list.

In 2006 we won at least two seats that were not in the Red to Blue program (IA-02 and NH-01) and came oh, so close in NC-08.

The bottom line is that a lot of Democratic challengers with the potential to win are not getting the support of the DCCC. This post at Swing State Project lists lots of seats once thought safe for Republicans, which are becoming competitive.

Where can netroots fundraising have the most impact? In my view, it’s in the winnable districts where there will be no influx of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the DCCC or other outside groups. Many of these are districts where an additional $50,000 or even $25,000 can make the difference.

The mother of all moneybombs dumped three-quarters of a million dollars into Elwyn Tinklenberg’s campaign in 24 hours over the weekend. It was a strong statement against the intolerance and bigotry Michelle Bachmann (MN-06) displayed on Hardball.

While I respect the enthusiasm, I can’t agree with those who are still asking the netroots to give to Tinklenberg, even after he’s collected more than $750,000 and the DCCC has promised to put $1 million into this race. Tinklenberg now has the resources to run an aggressive paid media and GOTV effort for the next two weeks. He probably has more money than he can spend effectively with so little time left.

Raising $50,000 for each of ten good challengers would be a better use of our energy than continuing to push activists to give to Tinklenberg.

Remember, few challengers are able to match incumbents dollar-for-dollar, but that doesn’t mean they can’t win. They don’t need to match incumbent spending, but they do need the resources to improve their name recognition and capitalize on the Democratic wave.

Which House races should we target for a moneybomb? I would suggest looking at the list of candidates on the Blue America ’08 page at Act Blue, as well as the candidates endorsed by Russ Feingold’s Progressive Patriots Fund. We have good reason to believe that those candidates will stand up for progressive values.

I would then pick a few Democrats on those lists who are not benefiting from large independent expenditures by the DCCC or others.

Our money will go further in districts with relatively inexpensive paid media.

I would also favor candidates taking on particularly odious incumbents, such as Dennis Shulman (running against Scott Garrett in NJ-05) and Debbie Cook (facing Dana Rohrbacher in CA-46). RDemocrat has written a book’s worth of material on why we should support Heather Ryan against “Exxon Ed” Whitfield in KY-01.

And what kind of Iowan would I be if I didn’t mention Rob Hubler, who is taking on Steve King in IA-05? My fellow Iowa blogger 2laneIA published this comprehensive diary showing that if we’re talking about the most ignorant and bigoted wingnuts in Congress, King gives Michelle Bachmann a run for her money. Click the link to read all about King’s “greatest hits,” including his suggestion that we electrify the border fence with Mexico like we do “with livestock,” his prediction that terrorists will be “dancing in the streets” if Obama becomes president, and his pride in working to scale back funding for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (which he calls Socialist Clinton-style Hillarycare for Illegals and their Parents). King considers his work to reduce SCHIP funding a “key moment” in his Congressional career.

Amazingly, there’s even more to dislike about King than 2laneIA had room to mention in that piece. For instance, while still a state senator, King was a leading advocate for Iowa’s “official English” law, which was adopted in 2002. Then he filed a lawsuit in 2007 to stop the Iowa Secretary of State’s office from providing voter information in languages besides English. It’s not for nothing that Ann Coulter calls King “one of my favorites.”

Hubler is a good progressive who spoke out against the FISA bill and supports the Responsible Plan for Iraq. I just found out yesterday that during the 1980s he was INFACT’s national director of the boycott against Nestle. Hubler also happens to be running a great campaign, but he is not getting much outside help except from Feingold’s Progressive Patriots Fund, which has sent an organizer to work on the campaign.

Two dozen House Democrats already represent districts with a partisan voting index of R+5 or worse. We should be able to increase that number in two weeks and send home Republicans who didn’t even realize they were in trouble.

Few people have enough money to donate to every worthy Democratic candidate. But if the netroots could raise more than three-quarters of a million dollars for Elwyn Tinklenberg in just over 48 hours, we ought to be able to raise $50,000 each for ten good challengers, whose races are relatively low-profile.

Who’s with me on this, and which districts should we target?

Field Report with Pictures – Lobbyists Rally for Corrupt GOP Congressman Scott Garrett

Crossposted on Daily Kos and Blue Jersey

Last night, I joined a rally of Lobbyists for Republican Scott Garrett, who gathered to thank Garrett for supporting the financial industry that has run our economy into the ground. Scott Garrett, who represents New Jersey’s fifth Congressional district, doesn’t just accept campaign donations and personal loans from the financial giants that caused our current economic crisis – he hired a former Countrywide lobbyist as his chief of staff. Garrett is among the nation’s strongest supporters for deregulation of the financial industry that puts profit before people struggling thanks to today’s economic crisis.

More and pictures after the jump…

Lobbyists for Scott Garrett Rally

My name is Erica, and this week I started working on the Dennis Shulman for Congress campaign. With ‘Lobbyists for Scott Garrett,’ our campaign is highlighting Garrett’s ties to both the housing crisis and the special interest culture of corruption. As a member of the House Financial Services Committee and Housing Subcommittee, Garrett is unduly influenced by the industry he is supposed to regulate. This week, the Shulman campaign released a new ad calling on voters to fire Scott Garrett for letting the greed and speculation run rampant under his watch.

See the ad here – Fire Scott Garrett

Shulman for Congress is also underscoring Scott Garrett’s record as one of the staunchest conservatives in Congress. By the end of 2006, the American Conservative Union had only given a “perfect” score of 100 to two members of Congress for their lifetime voting record – and Scott Garrett was one of them. Yet the district he represents, a politically moderate swath of suburban New Jersey – is nowhere near to the far-right views Garrett pushes in Washington. Voters here are looking for leadership to get our economy going again, work towards alternative energy solutions, and bring an end to the war in Iraq.

Our campaign isn’t afraid to take the fight to Scott Garrett and expose his corruption. We recently launched several websites to highlight Garrett’s atrocious record-including his support for Big Oil, his refusal to acknowledge scientific evidence for global warming, and his opposition to a woman’s right to choose, even for victims of rape or incest.

Garrett Caused the Crash

Scott Garrett and the predatory lenders are a case study in Washington’s corrupt special interest culture. Garrett has accepted more than three quarters of a million dollars from the financial industries he is supposed to oversee in Washington, and put his taxpayer-funded office in the hands of a chief of staff who had lobbied for Countrywide and Washington Mutual.

Oilmen for Garrett

Scott Garrett has voted to subsidize Big Oil, for drilling off the New Jersey shore and in the federally protected areas of Alaska, and has taken $69,000 from the oil industry.

Global Warming – It’s a Real Threat

Scott Garrett refuses to accept the overwhelming body of scientific evidence showing that man-made greenhouse gases cause global warming and that it is a real threat to our way of life. He voted to remove language from an appropriations bill acknowledging that greenhouse gases cause global warming and that global warming is a real threat.

Your Choice Not Scott’s

In a district where 70% of residents support reproductive choice, Scott Garrett opposes a woman’s right to choose in all instances, even for victims of rape or incest.

Garrett Shrubs

Career politician Scott Garrett gets a huge property tax break because he says his brother sells $700 worth of shrubs annually. Garrett takes up to $41,000 a year in tax breaks meant for real farmers, and failed to disclose this shrub farm as required by federal law.

In what promises to be a tough race, the amazing outpouring of netroots support for Dennis’ campaign cannot be underestimated. The Daily Kos community raised $20,000 dollars for our campaign in September –  and we here at Shulman for Congress can’t thank you enough. With a horrendous right wing opponent, an inspiring candidate, and your help, together we can elect a strong progressive leader to Congress this November.

Lobbyists for Scott Garrett Rally

NJ-05: Garrett Under 50 Against Shulman

Research 2000 for Daily Kos (9/17-18, likely voters, no trendlines):

Dennis Shulman (D): 34

Scott Garrett (R-inc): 49

(MoE: ±5%)

This is the first public poll of the race in New Jersey’s fifth congressional district, where Rabbi Dennis Shulman is taking on retrograde wingnut Rep. Scott Garrett. There are a number of things worth pointing out about these results.

On the positive side, Garrett is below the fifty percent mark, which is always troubling for an incumbent. At the same time, his favorables stand at a weak 44-38 – almost as many people dislike him as like him. On the flipside, Rabbi Shulman’s favorables stand at 36-26, which means that nearly 40% of likely voters don’t yet know who he is. In other words, he has room to grow.

It’s exactly that growing room which gives Shulman the chance to make up the fifteen-point gap that R2K says he faces. Shulman’s doing pretty well among Dems, winning them at a 72-11 rate, while Garrett is doing ten points better among members of his own party, taking Republicans by 77-6. The real issue, though, is independents. Garrett cleans up here 48-35. The good news for Shulman is that this group is the least familiar with him: fully 45% of indies say they have no opinion of the Democrat – an opportunity, if Shulman can get his name out there.

Those independents are the real X-factor in this poll. They make up a huge 54% of the sample, while Republicans clock in at 27% and Dems at 19%. This is actually pretty close to where registration stood in the district before Super Tuesday. However, Dem registration has shot up since then; I’m told that more recent figures indicate the district’s makeup is more like 44I-32R-24D today. But knowing registration numbers is one thing – figuring out who will show up on election day is quite another.

And in that regard, NJ-05 is a bit of an electoral engima. The district voted for Bush in 2004 by what looks like a daunting 57-43 margin. In 2000, however, the margin was half as wide, just 52-45. Why the seven-point shift, when Bush only gained about three nationwide? Most analysts I’ve discussed this with believe there was something of a “9/11 effect” here, just as there was in many parts of the tri-state area.

If this assessment is accurate, then this right-ward shift may have been temporary. One possible piece of support for this thesis is the presidential head-to-head, which shows McCain leading Obama 52-37. Obama trails past Dem performance quite significantly, but McCain is at Bush 2000 – and not Bush ’04 – levels, for the moment. In a red district, though, undecideds are more likely to drift Republican, so McCain’s current 52% may not be his ceiling.

One final thought: Neither candidate in the fifth CD (which is covered by the ultra-expensive NYC media market) has gone up on the air yet, so there is plenty of potential for this race to move.

General Clark Endorses Dem “Darling”

It is only a matter of time  before he bursts forth onto the national scene and captures the hearts and minds of thinking people everywhere in this country.

Here is my (obscenely biased but very reasonable) prediction.

Come November (and likely well before) he will be a national phenomenon: Russert will interview him on Sunday morn; Olbermann will speak of him while delivering a special comment; the gray lady will profile him; NPR will consider all things related to him; the right will be disarmed by him; and the left will celebrate him.

Truly, he’s a progressive’s wet dream.

The man is Dennis Shulman. And if you don’t already know it, he is running to unseat the unspeakably awful Scott Garrett (R) in NJ-5.

Garrett is a lovely poster child for the extreme right (e.g., he is still loving and supporting the Iraq war and still hating on stem cell research and a women’s right to choose). Of course, these principled positions Garrett holds are all rooted in his profound love and respect for the sanctity of human life.

However, it’s looking like Garrett is going to have a serious fight on his hypocritical hands if he is to hang on to to his seat this November.

With General Wesley Clark’s recent endorsement, Shulman’s momentum, exposure, and ability to raise those all important dollars continues to rapidly grow.

There is no longer any question about the viability of his campaign.

Indeed, as Roll Call’s John McArdle noted, Shulman has become “a darling of the Democratic establishment on Capitol Hill.”

Please check Shulman out, spread the word, and (if you are able and willing) donate.

I am confident you will be inspired by his life story, his progressive ideas, and his sensible approach to leadership.

NJ-5 is ours if we want it.

NJ-5: Shulman Secures Aronsohn Endorsement

Dennis Shulman, the inspiring blind doctor and rabbi who is seeking to unseat Republican incumbent Scott Garrett in NJ-5, has just secured the endorsement of Paul Aronsohn, who ran and lost to Garrett on the Democratic ticket two years ago.

With this crucial endorsement, in addition to raising nearly $200,000 in 2007, Shulman has established his bona fides  and is increasingly looking like the Democratic candidate to beat in this district that finally has a real chance to swing blue.

In other NJ-5 news, Steve Goldstein, the Garden State Equality chair and another supporter of  Shulman, found just the rights words to capture the uniqueness and potential of Shulman’s campaign when he commented:

“The only prayer of winning [in Nj-5, which is a predominantly Republican district] is to throw a Hail Mary pass – or I should say, a Hail Moses pass – by nominating a Dennis Shulman who has one of the most compelling life stories imaginable.  His kind of life story comes once in a blue moon among candidates and has the potential to capture the imagination of this Republican  district and transcend party lines.”

As a Shulman supporter myself, I couldn’t agree more with Goldstein’s assessment. Shulman really is a “blue moon” kind of candidate who possesses that rare ability to deeply and authentically connect with and inspire voters, regardless of party affiliation.

NJ-05: “To speak about God, and remain silent on Vietnam, is blasphemous.”

These are the words of the great rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

And it is these words, and this man, that have inspired rabbi Dennis Shulman (D) to challenge conservative extremist Scott Garrett (R) in NJ-5 this 2008.

Like his spiritual forefather, Shulman has concluded that he can no longer speak about God and remain silent on Iraq, as well as many of the other pressing and important issues of our times.

To learn more about Dr. Shulman, who is also a practicing psychologist, check out this recent New York Sun profile: Shulman Aims To Be First Blind Rabbi in Congress

Scott Garrett’s (R-NJ5) Big Budget (SCHIP) Mix-Up

In response to Garrett’s shameful vote to not override President Bush’s SCHIP veto, NJ-5’s Democratic challenger Dennis Shulman has called on the ideologue to get his priorities straight.

As Shulman points out, “We need to get our fiscal house in order, but our children don’t need to be the ones left behind by Garrett’s last minute scramble to clean up his fiscal mess.”

Even more troubling, but no less surprising, is the fact the Garret seems to not have bothered to even read the SCHIP legislation he so self-righteously condemned. Fortunately, Matthew Fretz did bother to read it and, point-by-point, systematically exposes the unbridgeable gap between Garrett’s words and that pesky little thing called reality.

In other news, Shulman’s campaign continues to gain momentum. Check out this recent article on the blind rabbi in the Jewish Standad.