House GOP Recruitment Fail
by Jonathan Singer, Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 02:23:06 PM EST
House Republicans thought they had an excellent pick up opportunity when Democratic Congressman Marion Berry of Arkansas announced that he would not be seeking reelection. Indeed, considering that his district tends to lean about 8 percentage points more Republican than the nation as a whole, the Republicans were probably right to be giddy. That is, at least until they failed to recruit a strong candidate.
Arkansas' filing deadline passed Monday afternoon and while Republicans made a lot of noise about their chances in the 1st district in the days after Rep. Marion Berry (D) announced his retirement, all the sound and fury may have actually signified nothing....
Here's Swing State's take:
Republicans had sought to get one of several state legislators into the race -- state Sens. Davy Carter or Johnny Key. However, both said no, leaving the GOP without a backup plan. Meanwhile, top-tier Democrats piled into the race in this historically-Democratic district, including state Sen. Steve Bryles, former state Sen. Tim Wooldridge, state Rep. David Cook, and Berry's former CoS, Chad Causey. Like PA-12, here's a district where the Democratic tradition and the disparity between the two parties' benches may just save our bacon despite an ominous trend at the presidential level.
If the Republicans are to retake the House, they're going to need to win in districts like Arkansas 1 -- or at the least recruit a credible candidate -- as well as districts like the R+16 Alabama 2, where the freshman Democratic incumbent leads by margins of 24 percentage points or more against all Republican challengers. If they're unable to do such things, it's not at all clear to me just how they could possibly be a near-lock for gaining the majority in November.