Taking Back the House

Considering our advances at the state level since 2000, the new congressional maps that will be drawn following the 2012 census will give Democrats a much better chance of retaking the House than we currently have in 2006, 2008 or 2010. Current Republican gerrymanders in Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia would not be possible under the current structure of those state governments. Florida and Texas could still be changed, and we need to work hard to make sure that they are changed for the better.

However, winning back the House is not just about having better maps. Indeed, if we remain fifteen seats outside the majority, as we currently are, even new maps will not make taking back the House an easy task. Further, if we continue to leave 30-40 seats uncontested every two years, the party as a whole will suffer.

To win back the House, we need to attack everywhere. Here is my goal:

I complained about the DCCC not being aggressive enough, so I should make clear what level of aggression I would find satisfactory. I want 80 serious challenges to GOP House incumbents every two years and a Democratic name on the ballot in all 435 districts. That remains my goal. I have had enough of just targeting the twenty or so top races--let's engage in a full-frontal assault. It is a task that I hope you will partake in, and one that I believe we should begin to start now. The first step is to identify eighty Republicans against whom we could mount a serious challenge. Fortunately, identifying the first forty-seven is easy. From Adam Tondowsky, here are the forty-seven Republicans who won by the smallest margins (under 20%) in 2004:
The order is by percentage of victory, from lowest to highest. 

				Win%	  Outcome%	2002%
1. Indiana 9	    Mike Sodrel 	 0.5%	  49.5-49.0%	     
2. Pennsylvania 6   Jim Gerlach 	 2.0%	  51.0-49.0%	 51.4%
3. Washington 8    Dave Reichert	 4.8%	  51.5-46.7%
4. Connecticut 4     Chris Shays	 4.8%	  52.4-47.6%	 64.4%
5. Colorado 4	Marilyn Musgrave   6.2%       51.0-44.8%       54.9%
6. Minnesota 6	     Mark Kennedy	 8.0%	  54.0-46.0%	 57.3%
7. Connecticut 2     Rob Simmons	 8.4%	  54.2-45.8%	 54.1%
8. Indiana 8 John Hostettler	 8.9%	  53.4-44.5%	 51.3%
9. New Mexico 1      Heather Wilson	 8.9%	  54.4-45.5%	 55.3%
10. Indiana 2	     Chris Chocola	 9.7%	   54.2-44.5%	  50.5%
11. North Carolina 11 Charles Taylor	 9.8%	  54.9-45.1%	  55.5%
12. New York 29   Randy Kuhl	 9.9%	  50.7-40.8%
13. Louisiana 7     Charles Boustany	10.0%	  55.0-45.0%	       
14. Texas 32	    Pete Sessions	10.3%	  54.3-44.0%	      
15. Virginia 2	    Thelma Drake	10.3%	  55.1-44.8%
16. Kentucky 4	    Geoff Davis 	10.5%	  54.4-43.9%
17. Florida 13	Katherine Harris  10.6%      55.3-44.7%	 54.8%
18. California 26     David Drier	10.8%	  53.6-42.8%	 63.8%
19. North Carolina 8  Robin Hayes	11.0%	  55.5-44.5%	 53.6%
20. New York 26       Tom Reynolds	11.2%	  55.6-44.4%	 73.7%
21. Nebraska 1	Jeff Fortenberry  11.2%      54.2-43.0%
22. Illinois 6	      Henry Hyde	11.6%	  55.8-44.2%	 65.1%
23. Colorado 7	     Bob Beauprez	11.9%	  54.7-42.8%	 47.3%
24. Iowa 1	      Jim Nussle	11.9%	  55.2-43.3%	 57.2%
25. Pennsylvania 8  Mike Fitzpatrick	12.0%	  55.3-44.3%
26. Texas 2    Ted Poe		12.6%	  55.5-42.9%	       
27. Wyoming   Barbara Cubin		13.5%	  55.3-41.8%	 60.5%
28. Nevada 3	     Jon Porter 	14.0%	  54.4-40.4%	 56.1%
29. Texas 22	      Tom Delay 	14.1%	  55.2-41.1%	 63.2%
30. Georgia 11	     Phil Gingrey	14.8%	  57.4-42.6%	 51.6% 
31. Kansas 2	  Jim Ryun	14.9%	  56.1-41.2%	 60.4%
32. New Jersey 7      Mike Ferguson	15.3%	  57.0-41.7%	 58.0%
33. Michigan 11      Thad McCotter	16.0%	  57.0-41.0%	 57.2%
34. Minnesota 2      John Kline 	16.1%	  56.4-40.3%	 57.3% 
35. WV 2   Shelley Capito           16.2%	  57.5-41.3%	 60.0%
36. New Jersey 5     Scott Garrett	16.5%	  57.6-41.1%	 59.5% 
37. Ohio 4	      Mike Oxley	16.8%	  58.6-41.4%	 67.5%
38. Illinois 11       Jerry Weller	17.4%	  58.7-41.3%	 64.3%
39. N. Carolina 5   Virginia Foxx	17.6%	  58.8-41.2%
40. New York 13       Vito Fossella	18.0%	  59.0-41.0%	 69.5%
41. Texas 19  Randy Neugebauer	18.3%	  58.4-40.1%	      
42. Pennsylvania 7    Curt Weldon	18.4%	  58.8-40.4%	 66.1%
43. Michigan 9	Joe Knollenberg   19.0%      58.5-39.5%       58.1%
44. Pennsylvania 15 Charlie Dent	19.2%	  58.6-39.4%
45. Washington 5    Cathy McMorris	19.4%	  59.7-40.3%
46. Ohio 1	      Steve Chabot	19.7%	  59.8-40.1%	 64.8%
47. Iowa 2	      Jim Leach 	19.7%	  58.9-39.2%	 52.2%
Forty-seven is a start, but we need to find at least thirty-three more. My first addition is the New York 25th, currently held by James Walsh, son of a Democratic congressmen from the same district. Despite nearly even voter registration in the district, despite the district voting for the Democratic candidate for President in four consecutive election cycles, despite it being the home of some prominent Democrats such as Terry McAullife and Michael Bragman (and it is where I grew up), and despite Walsh originally winning the seat by less than one hundred votes, the district did not have a Democratic challenger this time. This is a winnable seat, and we did not even try. This is unforgivable. I plan to not let it happen again.

Here are some more I would like to add:

  • DE-AL. I know that former governor Mike Castle is popular, but he is also holds the least pro-Bush district held by any House Republican in the entire country. In 2000, Bush won only 42.4% in Delaware for cryin' out loud. Further, launching a serious challenge against Castle secures both Delaware Senate seats will remain in Democratic hands for a long time to come, as he is basically all that is left of the Delaware Republican Party. Sometimes, winning a serious challenge is not the only thing at stake.

  • NJ-02, Frank LoBiondo. Another strong Democratic district. In 2000, Bush only received 42.9% of the vote here.

  • AZ-01. Rick Renzi was not seriously challenged this time around, but in 2002 he won with under 50% of the vote. Anyone who receives less than 50% of the vote can be beaten.

  • AZ-08. Jim Kolbe has cruised over the past two cycles, but his district is evenly split on Bush.

  • KY-03. Ann Northrup only won by 4% in 2002. She can be beaten.

  • NM-02. Steve Pearce lives in the most pro-Bush of New Mexico's three districts. However, it is still not that pro-Bush, and in 2002 his challenger received over 44% of the vote. Further, popular governor Richardson could have some big coattails in a state with favorable demographic changes.

  • IA-04. Tom Latham won comfortably in 2004 with 61% of the vote, but in 2002 he only received 55%. His district is evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. Don't even tell me that we can't win here.

  • MO-09 is another evenly split district, currently held by Kenny Hulshof, who in 2002 only received 55% of the vote.

  • FL-22, held by Clay Shaw, was about to be seriously challenged by Jim Stork, until Stork encountered health problems that removed him from the race. We need to keep pushing here.

  • CT-05, held by Nancy Johnson, only gave 43.4% of its Presidential vote to Bush in 2000.

  • AL-03, held by Mike Rogers. Rogers escaped with only 50% of the vote in 2002. His district is not very strong Republican. He can be beaten.

  • Here are some more anti-Bush seats where we did not come very close to Republican incumbents this time around: NJ-03 (Jim Saxton); NY 03 (Peter King); NJ-4 (Christopher Smith); IL-10 (Mark Kirk); FL-10 (C.W. Young); NY-24 (Sherwood Boehlert).

  • Here are some more evenly split districts where we did not come very close to Republican incumbents this time around: NY-19 (Sue Kelly); NY-23 (John McHugh); MN-03 (Jim Ramstad).
That adds another twenty-one challenges to the original forty-seven, bringing the total of possible serious challenges to 68. To bring our total to 80 serious challenges, we need to come up with at least twelve more, and preferably twenty or thirty more. This is where you come in.

Use the comments to list any Republican held seat that I did not list here that you believe Democrats could potentially win given a serious enough challenge. With every seat you list, provide an explanation for why you think a Democrat could win in that district. I will use the information to help my ongoing updates over at Our Congress. Our fight begins now.

Tags: House 2006 (all tags)



RE: How to do it...
I am pushing for the creation of PACs by the Dem Party Committees in each Congressional District here in Michigan. The purpose of which will be to:

  1. help organize the county parties
  2. establish a perminant precinct level org.
  3. establish PACs in each Congressional district that will raise cash during the 18 month period.

For goal number three, I would like to try and raise $500,000 as seed money. This amount of cash would be a nice little piece of cheese for skilled candidates and take some of the pressure off during the primary race.

It would be rather modest to raise. 50,000 people kicking in $10.00 would do it. That's $0.56 a month!

We can use actblue and raise even more chas for the close races...

Now imagine a world where we have 435 House races with at least $500,000, and more in targeted races....

I really don't think we would need all 435, in fact, just going after the 200 Republican seats would be enough....

So that's $100,000,000 over the next 18 months. Or, $5,555,555.56 a month.....seems like a lot, but it really isn't.

So let's get PACs set up in each of these Congressional districts!!

by Nazgul35 2005-01-17 09:49AM | 0 recs
Re: RE: How to do it...
Hey...I am interested in helping out in congressional districts in MI.  I just moved back and I live in Dave Camp's district (puke).

I have no money, but a desire to organize.

I helped out with campaigns in NM, but don't who to contact in Mt Pleasant.

Know anybody?

by chanupi 2005-01-17 10:07AM | 0 recs
Re: RE: How to do it...
Contact your local MeetUp group....they will be tied in to what we are doing.

Also, go to your county Dem party and get involved.

The state party convention will be Feb. 19th at the Cobo center.

We are joining forces with the justice caucus to allow progressives and reformers a stronger voice in the party. Make sure you join the Michigan Dem Party by the 19th of this month so you can vote at the convention...

They will hold district caucuses at the convention and you can find out more there about what to do....

Welcome aboard!!!!!!!!!!!

by Nazgul35 2005-01-17 01:46PM | 0 recs
Could I please get an Amen!
Please help me get rid of my congressman, Henry Hyde. Christine Cegelis, with some support, might have made it even closer this year. I'm pretty sure she's running again next time, so let's have a little help this time DCCC.
by michael in chicago 2005-01-17 09:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Could I please get an Amen!
She is running. For sure.

You should contact her about helping out in these early stages.  I know she is very interested in tackling netroots outreach.  You could probably be of great service there.

I am from Palatine, but after the election I spent a small amount of time with her and her campaign manager from 2004.  I think her field director is just staying right through as well.

She seemed nice enough.  Look her up.


by Tim Tagaris 2005-01-17 10:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Could I please get an Amen!
Thanks. I'll send Pat and Sandra an email.
by michael in chicago 2005-01-17 11:15AM | 0 recs
Toss another one on the fire...
Ohio-16 is most likely going to be an open seat.

Furthermore, can we get an investigation into how the hell Rick Renzi won by so much in Arizona this cycle?  I am not sure there was a single entity outside of the blogosphere that wasn't raising money for Babbit.  If $1.2 million doesn't make you a serious challenge, who is scouting and recruiting these candidates?

Also, my aunt saw Henry Hyde a few weeks ago at a breakfast and that might be open pretty soon as well.


by Tim Tagaris 2005-01-17 09:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Toss another one on the fire...
AZ-5 is likely to be an open seat since J.D. Hayworth is rumored to be running for Governor.  Unfortunately there are not a lot of Dems in leadership positions who I can think of to recruit to run.  Harry Mitchell, the former mayor of Tempe and current state senator, and state rep Meg Burton-Cahill are ones who comes to mind and there may be others on the Tempe city council.  However the other state legislative districts that overlap AZ-5 have all republicans in the state legislature.  This points to the need to put effort into the farm team as well.
by zii 2005-01-17 11:32AM | 0 recs
Renzi v. Babbitt
I don't have any inside information on this, although I did send Babbitt a small amount of money.  But I knew this race would be a problem for Dems when I saw 1) Babbitt's picture on his web site looking like Elmer Fudd and 2) a Renzi TV ad with him looking handsome and casual in a pickup truck with a cowboy hat.  As much as we may wish it didn't, personal appeal (real or manufactured) does matter.
by zii 2005-01-17 12:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Toss another one on the fire...
Rick Renzi seems to be a pro at the insider political game.  I believe the RNC has a policy of letting congressmen from Republican-held swing districts get whatever appropriations they ask for, because they know that is a way to win voters and hold onto seats.  Renzi has thrown out bones to all kinds of constituencies, including getting a lot of money for the Navajo Nation over the last two years.  As a result, the Navajo Nation endorsed Renzi and then also endorsed Babbitt the next day while standing by their Renzi endorsement.  The Navajo Nation usually endorses only Democrats.  There were actually some precincts on the Navajo Nation that were won by Kerry, Stu Starky for Senate (over McCain), and Renzi for Congress, showing that there were a lot of people who voted straight Democratic tickets except for Renzi - not just on the Navajo Nation but throughout the district.  Another example is the mining towns in the southeast part of the district (e.g. Clifton and Globe), which usually vote Democratic due to strong United Mine Workers presence, but the Babbitt name is not a popular one there (I'm not sure why, I've heard it goes back to labor disputes in the 1980s and Bruce Babbitt).  Even Flagstaff went heavily for Kerry but split 50-50 between Renzi and Babbitt.

I'm not defending Renzi here.  He probably belongs on the top-10 list of sleaziest politicians in Congress.  But he knows how to play the appropriations game, and the RNC lets him because they know this is a swing district.  He also unfortunately knows how to play the vicious attack ad game, while the last two Democratic nominees ran timid campaigns.  To win this seat we need somebody who will go straight for the jugular and  deal with Renzi on his own level.

by ACSR 2005-01-17 01:33PM | 0 recs
Montana At-Large
  1. It is likely to be an open seat when Rehburg runs for Senate after Burns retires

  2. Democrats have the mo' in Montana
by blogswarm 2005-01-17 09:57AM | 0 recs
How To Get The Raw Data
I need to do an analysis of the 18 Ohio Congressional Disricts.  Of course there is the pitifully organized Secretary of State website.  It would be good to get the Presidential vote broken down by congressional district.

I also would like to get the 435 district information in a decent format.

Does anyone have this data in a usable format?

by bringohiohome 2005-01-17 10:30AM | 0 recs
Factual correction.
"Current Republican gerrymanders in Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia would not be possible under the current structure of those state governments."

Neither Illinois nor New Jersey are Republican gerrymanders.

by Mr Moderate 2005-01-17 10:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Factual correction.
They aren't? Both states were controlled entirely by Republicans in 2000, unless I am mistaken, and have a suprisingly low percentage of Democrats in their delegation considering how "blue" they are. Am I wrong?
by Chris Bowers 2005-01-17 11:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Factual correction.
Illinois Democrats held the House in 2000, and redistricting there yielded an incumbent protection plan, with a "fair-fight" combined district to account for the lost congressional seat.  [Their State Legislative lines were decided by the flip of a coin -- Democrats won in 2000.]

New Jersey Republicans had a solid hold on both branches of the legislature in 2000, but redistricting in New Jersey is non-partisan.  A Republican gerrymander would have easily removed Rush Holt from the House and reconfigure Bergen enough to cause problems for either Rothman or Pascrell.  Instead, all parties agreed to a bipartisan incumbent protection plan, with the Holt and Ferguson districts configured to allow semi-competitive races in 2002.

[Republicans and Democrats in NJ could not come to an agreement for their state legislative plan, and the tie-breaking vote from the commission chose the Democratic set of lines, resulting in an almost instant pick up of the State Assembly.]

by Mr Moderate 2005-01-17 11:56AM | 0 recs
Re: correction?
if both these now-blue states had
incumbent protection redistricting
after the 2000 census,
could they have been Republican
gerrymanders after the 1990 census?
or after the 1980 census, given our
elected-for-life Congress?
( how long has redistricting in
Jersey been non-partisan or
bi-partisan? )

could still be much room for reform
after the 2010 census.
or do like Tom Delay and not delay.
redistrict now and eliminate
a bunch of Republican seats.

by Woody 2005-01-18 07:43AM | 0 recs
Anyone for NH-2?
I think this belongs on a target list, at least the list of 80.

This is the more blue of NH's two CD's, and includes the part
right near MA where I live.  I worked in 2004 for a group called
Swing The Vote (swingthevote.us) which was an anti-Bush PAC
targeting Cheshire County (Keene) and there is a MA and VT
volunteer base that can work there.

Hodes lost by just over 20, but the race was closer than that
before Hodes had some health problems and at one point the
DCCC was thinking about throwing money into it.  Charlie Bass
is a seven-term (I think) incumbent and is fairly popular, but
we should be ready to ride a possible wave of Bush/Delay revulsion.

Donkey Rising had NH-2 on a fairly short list of Repub
incumbents in districts carried by Kerry, probably all of these
should be in the list of 80.

PoliticsNH.com had a story a while back that Hodes was thinking
about, apparently leaning toward, running again.  Anyone know
of other potential candidates?

by DaveMB 2005-01-17 11:34AM | 0 recs
Iowa 5
This is a relatively safe Republican seat.  However, the current congressman, Steve King, is so far to the right that he embarrasses a many N's and some R's.  He also says dumb things.  He tried to downplay the prison-tortue scandle as just a few soldiers pulling fraternity pranks.

A Democrat with a well-respected last name and/or connections to agriculture and business might be able to win.  For example, Jim Schaben Jr. (son of fmr. Dem candidate for Governor), Tom Bedell (son of fmr. Congressman), or a member of the Garst family (seed corn company) might be able to raise the money to beat King.

King clearly believes he is unbeatable and has no intention of toning down his right-wing rhetoric.

It's a long shot, but not unthinkable.

by Nate Willems 2005-01-17 12:39PM | 0 recs
More on AZ
Some more info regarding the AZ situation from the last election.

Although AZ-1 and AZ-8 should have been the closest races, they were slightly beaten out for this honor by

Camacho (D) 38.4%
Franks (R)  59.2%

Camacho is a hard campaigner and supposedly a moderate and Franks is so uninspiring as a congressman that the moderately conservative Arizona Republic (Phoenix) endorsed Camacho.  Franks was the only incumbant they did not endorse.

Rogers (D) 38.2%
Hayworth (R) 59.5%

Rogers is a young woman with little professional or political experience beyond being an extremely enthusiastic and hard working supporter of the local (AZ) Dean for President campaign.  She leveraged these latter qualities (and the district's moderate tendancies) to a decent showing.  (District is approx. 28% Dem, 45% Rep, 24% Ind, 1-2% Lib)

by zii 2005-01-17 12:45PM | 0 recs
Re: More on AZ
Camacho has run twice against Franks now, with about the same results (59%-38%).  The district is just too heavily Republican, about 2-1 Republican in voter registration, to be winnable.  

The Arizona Republic endorsed Camacho in both 2002 and 2004 over Franks, and also endorsed Franks' Republican primary opponent in 2004, and they are a conservative Republican paper, which makes me think the Arizona Republic editors have some sort of personal grudge against Franks.

AZ-5 is also problematic for the same reason, lopsidedly Republican in voter registration.  

I think our best bet might be Kolbe's district.  It's a Democratic district but Kolbe wins crossover votes because he is openly gay and pro-choice, even if he does vote along the usual hard-right party lines on economic and foreign policy issues.  But he barely fended off a primary challenge from the right wing of his own party, and another primary challenge from the "Club for Growth" types could happen again in 2006.  The catch, if somebody from the hard right defeats Kolbe in the primary, the Democrat wins the general election in that district.  As for Kolbe himself, there is simply no excuse for Democrats crossing over to vote for the enemy (I feel the same way about McCain, Specter, etc.).  Somehow we need to educate Democratic voters about the importance of straight-ticket voting and inculcate some team spirit.  Accomplish that, and Kolbe (and Renzi) are history.

by ACSR 2005-01-17 01:53PM | 0 recs
Wrong on Walsh
My first addition is the New York 25th, currently held by James Walsh, son of a Democratic congressmen from the same district.

Willaim Walsh, father of James Walsh, was also a Republican:  


That list is rather optimistic. Anyone winning by more than 5% is usually considered reasonably safe, absent some major development. Once you get to #10 on that list, the margin is almost 10%. Absent an open seat, the chances aren't that good for most of the list.

by SLinVA 2005-01-17 02:49PM | 0 recs
MI - 07
Michigan's 7th District could have been taken this year if we hadn't wasted the opportunity.

It was open this year (Nick Smith retired), and on the Republican side there were a bunch of conservatives and one moderate in the primaries, and the moderate, Joe Schwarz, won. All it would have taken would be to run a moderate Democrat (Doug Spade would've been good, he's extremely popular in Lenawee County), and he could have been beaten. Instead, we had Sharon Renier, a nice woman who, sadly, was too liberal for this district.

Since Schwarz is so moderate (called a RINO by some), I suspect he'll be challenged in the primaries in 2006. It would be tough, but in the right atmosphere a Democrat could win.

It'd also send a powerful message: Jackson, MI is in the district, and Jackson, MI is where the Republican Party first formed in the 1850s.

by Fitzy 2005-01-17 04:22PM | 0 recs
Here are some more:
MD-6 (I think Bartlett is retiring)
Several districts in Michigan (I forget which)
MT-AL (Montana now has a deep bench of possible Democrats who could challenge this wingnut)]
NH-2 (can't believe you forgot this one!!!)
TX-23 (Bonilla squeaked by Cuellar in 2002)
by raginillinoian 2005-01-17 04:41PM | 0 recs
Other Races
In addition to those targeted races I think we should adopt Kos' strategy from this past election, to have a well-funded challenger to every member of the Republican leadership.  The Delay race wouldn't have even been close without the support the netroots gave to Morrison, because that left us in great shape when Delay started to implode under the weight of his questionable ethics. We should also look into challenging the Virginia 7th, 10th, and 11th, currently held by Eric Cantor, Frank Wolf, and Tom Davis, respectively.

Va 7th

The VA 7th seems like it should be a great distric for us, given that it not only includes a large part of Richmond, but also includes the UVA campus.  Cantor won this district with only 75% of the vote, despite the fact that the Democrats did not field a candidate and the independent who was on the ballot does not even appear to have had a website.  Demographically this district appears to be ok for us, given that nearly 20% of the population is enrolled in either college or grad school and it includes a large part of urban Richmond, including the University of Richmond and the VCU campuses.  Bush won this district 61/38 this year, and 62/34, so it is by no means democratic leaning, but it is one that could go our way, based on the number of colleges in the district.  At the very least Cantor should be challenged strongly because of his position as assistant majority whip, which should make him an attractive target.

Va 10th

Frank Wolf has held this seat for 13 terms now, and despite his 26 years in the house, he will only be 67 in 2006, making it unlikely this will be an open seat anytime soon.  This district went pretty solidly for Bush both times, 57% in 2000 and 55% this time around, but it is much more friendly to us than other parts of the state. Also, though Bush pretty much held steady in this district, Wolf's support fell from 84% in 2000 to 71% in 2002 to 63% this time around. The district includes a large part of suburban Fairfax county, which has been becoming steadily more liberal for almost a decade now.   Also, the district is relatively friendly for us demographically, as 43% of residents have college degrees.

Va 11th

The rest of Fairfax county resides in the 11th district, which has been represented by Tom Davis for the last decade.  This is probably the most winnable district for Democrats, as Bush lost this district both times, albeit by narrow margins.  Also, in this most recent election Davis' support fell from 82% to 60%.  This district can be quite fertile for Democrats, as Gov. Warner won this distrit 55-45 4 years ago. In terms of education, the 11th is even more friendly than the 10th, with 48% of residents having a college degree or higher.

Although it is probably unlikely that Democratic candidates could defeat all three of these entrenched incumbents they could certainly put up more competitive races than we have recently.  Davis is probably the most vulnerable of the three, given that he represents the only democratic majority district of the three, but all three races could be competitive.  

by jjbman1121 2005-01-17 06:44PM | 0 recs
Won't Be Much Of A Challenge
Cantor, Wolf & Davis all ran ahead of Bush in their districts. They won comfortably by just about any definition, and absent some major scandal, they won't have any electoral trouble in the near future.  

Wolf & Davis do very well with Democratic leaning federal employees, who make up a significant portion of their suburban Washington districts, since they both push civil service pay & benefits issues. Federal employees are pragmatic enough to know that their chances for bigger raises increase if they have a foot in the door with both parties.

One correction, not all of Fairfax County is in the 10th & 11th Districts. A large part is in the 8th district, represented by Jim Moran, who although a Democrat is, sad to say, a bigger embarassment due to his personal peccadilos than the other 3 combined.

by SLinVA 2005-01-18 04:18PM | 0 recs
Wrong on 7th/UVa
The VA 7th seems like it should be a great distric for us, given that it not only includes a large part of Richmond, but also includes the UVA campus.

No, it doesn't.  UVa is in the 5th (Virgil Goode (R)).  The 7th isn't even in the neighborhood.

-Waldo Jaquith

by Waldo Jaquith 2005-01-21 06:50PM | 0 recs
Texas CD 14
This is a seat that is a good potential pick up for Dems.  Ron Paul is the incumbent republican.  The district was changed with the latest redistricting.  Paul was in a heavily republican district before.  However, Galveston county(which is heavily democratic) was put into it.  Parts of his heavily republican district was taken away.  There were two reasons.  Delay wanted to make it hard for Nick Lampson to win.  He wanted to make it easy for Paul to lose(Delay and Paul don't like each other).  Of course the democrats didn't run anyone against Paul.  They were hoping that the redistricting to be knocked down in court.  Lost a real opportunity.

We recently started a DFA group in Galveston.  Our goals are to support Morrison in his next run, find someone to run against Ron Paul, and have a democrat run for every office in 2006.  We had ten open slots in 2004.  So please put down Texas CD 14.


by Deja Vu 2005-01-17 07:26PM | 0 recs
Possible Strategies
There are districts where republicans are 60-80% of the population....which leads to one of two situations.

  1.  Dems can win but only if they run republican-lite.  Liberals hate that but thems the facts.  Our current efforts to attack these people such as at talking points is not fair in my opinion, conservative dems in conservative districts are VERY progressive for the territory and should be treated as such.

  2.  If we are just going to run losers we should have a designated loser so its clear we know we are losing.  I suggest the highest ranking Dem party member that lives in the district.  The dangers of getting known for running people when we are going to lose is that we cement the image of being wacky losers because credible people can read the writing on the wall and don't want to run when losing unavoidable.  If we consistently run a party type it makes it obvious that we know we are losing and are running out of principal and then on occasion we will win due to scandal or sheer luck etc.
by donkeykong 2005-01-17 10:24PM | 0 recs
fact check
In what districts are Republicans 60-80% of the population?
by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 05:38AM | 0 recs
Re: fact check
Check out http://www.electoral-vote.com/

If you are refering to registered republican you may have got me.  If you are refering to vote republican then:

Wyoming, Idaho, Texas, Utah, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, both Dekotas, Alabama, Missippi, Kentucky,  and Indiana all went Bush with 59% or greater.

Within these states there are districts that voted 60% or greater republican.  And probably even districts where 60% regestered republican.

by donkeykong 2005-01-18 11:14AM | 0 recs
Regarding Texas
First of all, TX-2, 19, and 32 were the result of re-redistricting. Given that incumbent candidates lost last time, it's hard to imagine a challenger doing any better. I think TX-32 is long-term going to be more competitive, but probably not until after the 2011 redistricting anyway.

TX-19 is gone for good. Charlie Stenholm was conservative and powerful, and he got waxed. Please note that Lubbock County went 75% for Bush in 2004. This is not a swing district.

Some other districts may be in play in 2006:

TX-23, currently held by Henry Bonilla. Raginillinoian is correct that he squeaked by Henry Cuellar in 2002, but that was before his district was made more Republican by the redrawing in 2003. What may make this a good target is that Bonilla is all set to run for Senate if Hutchison steps down as expected. I'd like to see State Rep. Richard Raymond challenge for this seat, but if it's open, it ought to be a free-for-all.

TX-14, held by Ron Paul. The Secretary of State's analysis prior to the adoption of the new map showed this district to be about 61% Republican, which is less Republican than all the other GOP-leaning districts except TX-2. The challenge here will be finding a good candidate, as I fear the bench is thin. I'm glad to hear that the Galvestonians are working on it.

TX-21, held by Lamar Smith. Smith nearly lost the Travis County portion of his district to a no-name perennial candidate. A strong candidate, perhaps one based in Smith's Bexar County, could make a race out of this. I've been hoping for current San Antonio Mayor Ed Garza, who is term-limited this year, to take a shot at it.

TX-07, held by John Culberson. This is practically a fantasy scenario, but that same SOS report which showed TX-14 to be only 61% GOP shows TX-07 to be 70% GOP, yet Culberson managed only 64% against another no-name. Maybe there's more Democratic support there than we think. The district still includes a large swath of heavily Republican West Houston, but it also includes the heavily Democratic Montrose (formerly in Sheila Jackson Lee's TX-18) and the mostly Democratic Rice/Medical Center area (formerly in Chris Bell's TX-25). I know Bell won't take on Culberson (he has bigger things in mind), but I'd love to see his predecessor, Ken Bentsen, give it a try. I know I'm dreaming, but it feels good to do so.

Longer term, I expect TX-31, held by John Carter, to become competitive. Williamson County, normally a Republican stronghold, was surprisingly modest in its support of Bush in 2004 - only 65%, down from nearly 68% in 2000 (Kerry got nearly 34%, compared to less than 28% for Gore). It's a rapidly growing place, and like Fort Bend County, is closely connected to the urban area (Travis County) it's nearest to. This one is a few cycles away, though, and there's just no bench at all right now. The leading indicator will be someone knocking off one of the State Reps for Williamson, Dan Gattis or Mike Krusee.

by kuff 2005-01-18 06:55AM | 0 recs
Non partisan redistricting
I really think the overarching problem is the partisan redistricting. I think we should force a vote through congress that calls for non partisan redistricting in every state. If it gets defeated Democratic challengers can run on the Republicans being cheaters and power hogging.
by sam89 2005-01-18 09:20AM | 0 recs


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