Building a Real House Majority, Part Three: The Northeast Strategy

Part One, Part Two

Nixon's infamous "Southern Strategy" form 1968, based around making racially-charged appeals to whites in order to win southern electoral votes, had receptive audiences outside of the south as well. Certainly, white southerners were the primary targets of Nixon's appeals, but there can be little doubt that a smaller percentage of white around the country also were receptive to Nixon's overtures. I point this out to emphasize that while what I am about to call the "Northeast Strategy" focuses on congressional districts in the Northeast, there are congressional districts that fit into the description of the strategy all around the country.

The Northeast Strategy is based on a simple premise: it is easier for Democratic incumbents in Democratic-leaning districts to defend their seats than it is for Democratic incumbents in lean-red or solid red districts to defend their seats. It is easier on a number of levels:
  • 1. Democratic incumbents in Democratic-leaning districts feel less pressure to defect from the Democratic majority position on key votes;
  • 2. It is more difficult for Republicans to find and recruit strong candidates in majority-Dem districts, given a smaller pool of potential candidates in the general population and among lower-level elected officials;
  • 3. Democratic incumbents in lean-red and solid-red districts will be targeted by the RNC and NRCC before Democratic incumbents in lean-blue districts will;
  • 4. Very few congressional elections see enough of a national swing to flush out a significant number out incumbents even in lean-red or blue districts. In fact, outside of 1994 and 2002, since at least 1992 there has not been a single year when the national popular vote for the House would have suggested that a Democratic incumbent in even a district with only a +1.5% Dem Partisan Voting Index would have lost.
For all of these reasons, it is easier for Democratic incumbents in lean-Democratic districts to hold onto their seats than it is for Democratic incumbents in lean-red or solid-red districts.

The "Northeast strategy," as I propose it, entails looking at potential 2006 Democratic pickups in the House, and weighting their order of value based upon the degree of difficult in holding the seat once we take it. For example, after 2006, it will be far more difficult to hold the TX-22 than it would be to hold the CT-02. Thus, at least when only this factor is considered, it would make sense for Democrats to spend more resources trying to take a district like the CT-02 than trying to take the TX-22. While the two districts might cost the same amount of resources to win in 2006, the CT-02 would take far fewer resources to hold after 2006. Thus, for the sake of our chances in future elections, if we were forced to choose between which seat to take, the choice would have to be the CT-02, no matter how sweet it would be to win DeLay's old district.

Now, I am not writing about this strategy to in any win diminish my personal commitment to the fifty-state strategy. I still believe 100% in competing everywhere, in challenging Republicans everywhere, and on staying away from selective targeting of races and states as much as possible. I feel, instead, that this is another strategic layer to an overall theory of retaking the House that I have been looking at since the 2004 election. Specifically, I am advocating for the full-scale targeting of every Republican held seat with a partisan voting index of +1.5% Democratic or more in every election. While I believe that every Republican in Congress should face a democratic challenger with at least $40K to run a campaign, I also believe that every Republican in a district with a Democratic PVI of 1.5 or more should face a challenger with at least $400K and a strong, complimentary grassroots / netroots operation. This should be the target for every election cycle.

There are eighteen seats currently held by Republicans that meet the criteria I laid out above. Most, but by no means all, can be found in the northeast. All of them would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for Republicans to win in most years if they are facing a Democratic incumbent. Those eighteen seats are as follows:<Br.<Br> CO-07, CT-02, CT-04, CT-05, DE-AL, FL-22, IA-01, IA-02, IL-10, KY-03, NH-02, NJ-03, NM-01, NY-25, PA-06, PA-07, PA-08, PA-15, WA-08

If we take any of these seats, it is going to be very difficult for Republicans to get them back without redistricting the seat. However, since Republicans already drew the gerrymandered lines in most of these seats, and because Republican control over state legislatures looks as though it will be considerably weaker in 2010 than it was in 2000, even that is not very likely.

Certainly, Democrats have to defend more of these types of seats than Republicans. In fact, DavidNYC puts our defense list of these sorts of seats at 25, seven more than the Republican total of 18. However, 2006 is not going to be the sort of year where Republicans are going to be able to seriously challenge, much less actually defeat, many Democratic incumbents in lean-red or solid red districts. The serious challengers just are not there, and in a year that will go at least lean-Democratic, Republicans will be spending their resources playing defense. Thus, 2006 presents Democrats with an opportunity to increase the number of safe and fairly safe districts for us to hold going into the 2008 and 2010 elections. For every seat listed above that we win this year, we save several hundred thousand dollars for our campaigns in 2008 and 2010. Like the fifty-state strategy, this would actually provide us with more resources, not less, to target swing districts in any given cycle.

Quite a few of these seats are already high on the target list for the DNC and the DCCC. However, not all of them are. DE-AL, IA-02, IL-10, NH-02, NY-25, and PA-15 have not received much national attention. PA-07 is quickly rising in national prominence, and I would like it to stay that way. NY-25 is close to my heart, and actually has a reasonably strong challenger this time around in Dan Maffei. Last time, we didn't even run a challenger in that seat, which ahs a Democratic PVI of +3.4%. I hope that our previous lack of attention to that seat does not hurt Maffei, but it probably will. That is all too reminiscent of our near failures to find candidates for PA-15 and IA-02, even in a year with as much promise as 2006.

This is not a complicated strategy, and I think it makes pretty obvious sense in terms of resource distribution. I have no problem throwing a lot of our resources to win seats like IN-09 and TX-22, both of which saw Kerry drop under 40% in 2004. We can win those seats, and we need to push hard for them. However, if one takes the long view into account, seats with Democratic PVI's should be our primary targets. It will produce easier to hold seats with more loyal representatives. It is essential in building a real majority in the House.

Tags: House 2006, strategy (all tags)

Comments

62 Comments

NH-02?

[NH-02 is lean-Dem, has attracted little attention]

The Democratic candidate is Paul Hodes, who ran against Bass in 2004 and lost by about 60-40.  The other organized contender for the primary dropped out last month.  His strategy appears to be to make the most of the (quite real) ties between Bass and Delay, and urge energy independence.  Bass is trying to present himself as a moderate, clean government advocate, and environmentalist

I have not yet seen an analyst with much confidence in Hodes, as NH-02 has not been on any lists of possible takeovers.  Hodes has expressed the hope of raising $2M, which is probably about what he'd need to pull it off.  He had a fundraiser recently with several sitting MA congresspersons, but he still has some debt left over from 2004.

I will probably wind up working in this race, since it's next door to me and my own rep (Olver, MA-01) is safe.

by DaveMB 2006-04-13 11:48AM | 0 recs
Re: NH-02?

Don't forget NH-1 while it leans slightly more to the right than NH-2, a well funded candidate with the right message can pick this seat off.  

by nascardem 2006-04-13 01:33PM | 0 recs
Carol Shea-Porter
is my candidate on NH -1.  While she has three guys to fight off, she stands out from that crowd as principled, eloquent, and knowing Jeb Bradley very, very well.  She has been following him around the district for a couple of years to every town meeting he holds, and asking the hard questions.
And, she is a woman, and we will never solve the problems this country has until women are equally represented in Congress!
by bloomingpol 2006-04-13 02:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Carol Shea-Porter

I am all for ANYONE who can win. Enough vanity candidates. It will take 2m or more to beat Bradley. The filing period ends June 16, a serious candidate needs to have 500g coh to get this race targeted.

by Blue State Boy 2006-04-14 01:25AM | 0 recs
Let's Say who is running in CT-2

Ct-2 is no sure thing and is going to take a lot of work and money. Rep. Simmons is going to get a lot of support from these CT Yankees who think he is a moderate. Joe Courtney needs your financial help to get the message out about how Simmons is in the pocket of the GOP.

http://www.joecourtney.com

This is a shoestring campaign folks and really needs your support. The Courtney folks don't even have bumper stickers yet!

by JJonMyDD 2006-04-13 03:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Let's Say who is running in CT-2

Over half a mil raised (not counting the present quarter) and you're calling that a shoestring campaign? I am sure Courtney will be outspent by Simmons, but I think it's misleading to call this a shoestring campaign, and it does a disservice to those candidates who really are running with almost no financial backing.

by DavidNYC 2006-04-13 03:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Let's Say who is running in CT-2

OK- No pissing matches. I apologize upfront to those candidates with smaller bank accounts. But as someone who lives in the district let me tell you Simmons is raising money hand over fist while the Courtney campaign is saving every penny. Because they are going to need it.

The pissing match or throwing down the gauntlet:

I read a lot about Democrats on this site with not a chance in Hell to win that we all gather around to support. I have given over and over again. How about talking up Joe Courtney? All the stars are lining up for this guy in this once long held Democratic district but yet Courtney gets very little mention or support in the netroots community. Can someone explain why?  He is the definition of local guy, grassroots, means what he says, honest, progressive candidate. He was a former State Rep, is the town lawyer of a small town, he has run before and has the experience to pull this one out. This is a district we could actually win. If the netroots took up the Eastern Strategy proposed it could raise a half mill for courtney all on it's own.

Which by the way will not buy many ads in this TV market when Rob Simmons is blanketing the airways in October with his Tom DeLay dollars.

Back at you David...

by JJonMyDD 2006-04-13 04:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Let's Say who is running in CT-2

I like Courtney and I think he's got as decent a shot as anyone. Simmons is in the most D district held by a GOPer in the nation.

That said, this is just an issue of what sells in the blog world. Curt Weldon does something outrageous, it's all over the blogs. Same with Henry Cuellar, and so forth. Rob Simmons is not a crazy nut and is thus less likely to give us fodder.

And hey, I blog in my spare time for my enjoyment. I'm not Amy Walter or Stu Rothenberg - I can't track every single House race. I don't know if Courtney's done any blog outreach, but I do know that I haven't heard from them.

Please don't misunderstand - I am not asking to be waited on hand-and-foot. It's just that with only so much time and brain space to go around, I simply can't go looking for information on every race. Personally, I wish I had been hearing more from Courtney and several other campaigns, but I can't make it my life's work to seek them all out.

by DavidNYC 2006-04-13 04:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Let's Say who is running in CT-2

There was no reason for you to write the following:

I am not asking to be waited on hand-and-foot.

But now that you have, do you mind unpacking this statement?  Or should we accept what this statement implies?

by illinois062006 2006-04-13 04:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Let's Say who is running in CT-2

Huh? That statement just means, "I don't expect any kind of special treatment, but outreach from campaigns is a good thing, since I only have so many hours in the day I can devote to this."

by DavidNYC 2006-04-13 06:56PM | 0 recs
Over-Parsing Trivialities
Seemed clear to me ....
by Curt Matlock 2006-04-13 07:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Let's Say who is running in CT-2

Given that this district is listed as a "toss up" in the Cook Political Report, one would expect one who monitors competitive races to have an interest in the district.  Why must they contact you?  Is it too much to ask for initiative?  Or does one have to be $motivated$?

by illinois062006 2006-04-13 04:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Let's Say who is running in CT-2

Blogging is a hobby. It's not a job, it's not a career. It's something I do for fun. Almost all the posts I write are because I seek out information. A handful are because I've received helpful e-mails, either from campaigns or Dem groups.

If I had all the time in the world, I'd write about every race. It just so happens that on the days I've had time to do serious news-gathering, I haven't seen much that's compelled me to write about Courtney vs. Simmons. That's just the way the chips have fallen. (I have written about the race in the past, and in fact, I just mentioned it again today.)

Your amusing bracketing of the word "motivated" in dollar signs is such an embarassing (for you) attack on my motives that I can only chuckle with amusement. That you would hurl such baseless accuastions around speaks volumes about you. If I were to do the same, I'd accuse you of being in the pay of Republican operatives - but, unlike you, I don't make outrageous accusations like that.

by DavidNYC 2006-04-13 07:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Let's Say who is running in CT-2

Interestingly, despite the fact that Chris Bowers is a full-time blogger and the fact that MyDD has three main-page posters plus a host of guest-posters, they've only managed to write a single post about CT-02 - and that was just a single line containing Courtney's fundraising numbers!

I guess the guys at MyDD don't show any initiative, huh? They must be waiting on their paychecks from Courtney, I suppose.

by DavidNYC 2006-04-13 07:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Let's Say who is running in CT-2

Actually, I pay David to not write about CT-2.

by Matt Stoller 2006-04-13 07:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Let's Say who is running in CT-2

Yeah, well, your check bounced. That's why I wrote about it today.

by DavidNYC 2006-04-13 07:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Let's Say who is running in CT-2

2nd CT  blog is set up and easy to check in on this race and a Shayswatch for the 4th. We blog in CT.

by Democraticavenger 2006-04-17 01:46PM | 0 recs
Re: NH-02?

The Cook Political Report lists both of these races as "Likely Republican," but they are at least listed in its competitive House race chart.  I imagine attention has been given to these races if they have made Cook's list, and I imagine more attention will be given to NH-01 once the primary is over.  But the field is clear in NH-02?  If so, this is a race worth focusing on.

by illinois062006 2006-04-13 03:31PM | 0 recs
Re: NH-02?

[field clear in NH-02 for Hodes?]

Here's the story in PoliticsNH on the withdrawal of Clemens, the other organized Democrat (if that isn't an oxymoron) in NH-02.  This is the last story they've run on the NH-02 race -- NH-01 has been more newsworthy lately with one of the Democrats getting lost in the woods and so forth.  (He's getting out of the hospital tomorrow.)

by DaveMB 2006-04-13 07:22PM | 0 recs
NH-01: Jim Craig

He is going to report raising $150,000 in the 5 weeks since becoming a candidate. He is currently the Dem Leader in the NH House. I think he will easily win the Primary and has a good shot at beating Bradley if he has the funding. Nearly all of the party establishment is behind him in NH.

by abc 2006-04-13 07:08PM | 0 recs
Re: NH-01: Jim Craig

Yeah, I had the impression he would be the state establishment fave. Do you think Carol Shea-Porter has a shot? She sure seems like the most progressive and the most unlike Bradley.

by DownWithTyranny 2006-04-13 08:44PM | 0 recs
Good Short Term Strategy

I think this is a good short term strategy to get the House back.  There is no doubt the NE has been trending heavily blue for more than a decade and that seats flipped in this region are more likely to remain Dem.  However, the Northeast and Midwest are also losing population relative to the rest of the country so every 10 years there are fewer seats in these regions.  To keep a sustained majority, we will need to expand to other regions of the country.

by John Mills 2006-04-13 11:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Short Term Strategy

One problem is that politics is more than this kind of theoretical exrcise.  Personalities and local factors are important.  I agree we should target these seats, but pay some attention to how popular the incumbent is and how well-known the challenger, as well as the meke-up of the district on other dimensions besides party line voting before deciding where to commit resources.  This is why open seats are so important to contest.

The same initial strategy can identify seats in faster growing areas like the Southwest and Northwest.  It is not at all restricted to the Northeast.

by Mimikatz 2006-04-13 02:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Good Short Term Strategy

Agree 100%.  

by John Mills 2006-04-13 02:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Good Short Term Strategy

Not a lot of vulnerable Republican seats in the northwest.  Just one, actually: Washington's 8th, where Darcy Burner is giving freshman Rep. Dave Reichert (R) a real run for his money, which he has a lot of.  Other than that, the only R-held seats are super-safe ones east of the mountains.

by lorax 2006-04-13 03:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Good Short Term Strategy

time to start laying seeds for making them less safe, then.

by wu ming 2006-04-17 09:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Good Short Term Strategy

I guess, but that goes against the thrust of this diary.  Those resources would probably be more valuable in vote-rich, heavily populated places like Orange County, California than in empty eastern Washington and Oregon.

by lorax 2006-04-22 04:30PM | 0 recs
Iowa 02

We didn't almost fail to recruit a candidate - David Loebsack has been running for a while, his campaign just biffed it when it came to signatures.

by ItsDrewMiller 2006-04-13 12:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Building a Real House Majority, Part Three: Th

Why no other New York seats, like Peter King's NY-03, Vito Fossella's NY-13, and such? The latter one includes parts of Brooklyn!

by jlk7e 2006-04-13 12:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Building a Real House Majority, Part Three: Th

Those are tough seats for Dems.  Bush carried both last year and the incumbents are relatively popular.  

With King, his hand was strengthened in 2002 redistricting because he traded Dem areas for Repub areas from both Steve Israel and Carolyn McCarthy.  He will be tough to beat since he has the most Repubs seat in Nassau County.

With Fossella, he could be vulnerable to the right Dem from Staten Island, but the two candidates talking about running are from Brooklyn.  With the separatist identity of Staten Island, a Brooklyn will not win that seat.

These are probably secondary targets.

by John Mills 2006-04-13 12:44PM | 0 recs
Unless you write more posts

... on how to reconcile the 50 state strategy with this one, talking about this will be difficult. The nuts and bolts of it so to speak.

by MNPundit 2006-04-13 12:35PM | 0 recs
The Northeast Strategy -- CO-07

While it doesn't directly affect the 7th CD, Bob Beauprez' campaign for governor is either in the ditch or imploding -- your choice. His campaign manager quit/was fired, while Both Ways Bob says he will debate and then won't debate and then will debate and then won't debate.

http://www.soapblox.net/colorado/frontPa ge.do

The CO-07 is a lean Dem competitive district, with boundaries drawn by a Democratic staffer. (3000 vote plurality for Al Gore.) The judge threw out the GOP gerrymander map and lawsuit, so this is one we should win.

Angie Paccione vs Marilyn Musgrave in the CO-04 is winnable, too.

http://www.angie2006.com/

I like Bill Winter in the CO-06, but this a Stepford GOP district -- let's hope the voters have had enough of Tom Tancredo's racist BS.

http://www.winterforcongress.com/

by ck 2006-04-13 12:42PM | 0 recs
CO-07 Probably, CO-04 only Maybe

If we get more fallout from Bush negatives and Republican mis-management, CO-07 should go Dem. (NW, North & NE suburbs of Denver)

In CO-04, (Northern Colorado, plus low-population Eastern Plains) Marilyn Musgrave won with 51% in 2004 despite being in a district that went 57/37 for Bush. Midterm elections discourage Independents, which may make it harder to make up the difference.

Angie Paccione is an enthusiastic, live-wire who could win if:
 - GOP turnout is apathetic
 - Dems are engaged
 - Immigration issue helps turns out hispanics
 - Musgrave's extremism continues to turn-off voters

A Stanford Grad and a top Basketball player on the women's circuit, Angie has been serving in the State Legislature since 2002. She has good name recognition, and good Christian credentials, but she doesn't wear them on her sleeve like the right-wing Musgrave theocon.

It would be ironic if a black-italian from the South Bronx were to represent this very-white district (less than 1% black, but 17% hispanic).

by MetaData 2006-04-13 10:01PM | 0 recs
Sorry: CO-07 will be Perlmutter or Lamm

The two leading dems for the CO-07 seat are Ed Perlmutter and Peggy Lamm (related by divorce to the form Governor of Col). Either would be decent Dems, moderate but not irresponsible, rather than strongly liberal.

Of the seven House seats in colorado, 2 seats are heavily Dem, 2 are heavily GOP. One leans Dem (CO-07) and one leans slightly Republican, but is confidently occupied by John Salazar (Ken's brother). As I said, CO-04, Musgrave's seat tends Republican but is a Dem possibility due to Musgrave's extremism.

A 4-3 split is about as good as we can do without Tancredo imploding, which I guess is a possibility, if not likelihood!

by MetaData 2006-04-13 10:14PM | 0 recs
Musgrave was hurt by...

...a series of very good attack ads by a disposable 527 that nobody seems to know anything about.  I saw them on the Internet before the election, but the website to the 527 disappeared afterwards.  I don't live in the state, so I can't say how often they aired, but it is my understanding that they were the cause for her underperforming in 04.  That is, unless the 527 or somebody else reappears and spends money on the race, Musgrave's low numbers may not be duplicated.

by Geotpf 2006-04-13 10:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Building a Real House Majority, Part Three: Th

Just as Nixon used racially-charged issues as a wedge issue to gain voters in the south, the Northeast also needs to find its wedge issue. Now to find that wedge issue.

Here's some ideas: environmental issues (acid rain from the hardly-regulated Ohio River Coal Plants), the urban sprawl mess that is overrunning the upstate NY and New England villages.

We need to hit a nerve with the on the fence voter to make them pick the Democrat over the Republican to make the NE strategy work.

by T Dubya Ault 2006-04-13 12:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Building a Real House Majority, Part Three: Th

I think also minimum wage. Unfortunately, many/most states in the northeast don't allow citizen-sponsored ballot measures, so you've got to wedgie them in other ways.

by DavidNYC 2006-04-13 02:18PM | 0 recs
Stem Cells

Eliot Spitzer just came out with a big stem cell proposal yesterday.  I realize Repubs in the NE are less beholden to the religious right than in other parts of the country but this is a winner issue for us.  Jon Corzine used it last year.  Look at the fits it is giving Jim Talent.  

The Dems are the party of medical progress, the Repubs are the party of medieval medicine.  We should use it everywhere.  

by John Mills 2006-04-13 02:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Building a Real House Majority, Part Three: Th
The Northeast Strategy is the best possible use of campaign money.  It offers a good way to take the House back, gives us the best chance of retaining seats, and it gives us the ability to bring in more progressive members.  Not only are red seats hard to win/maintain.  It's also hard to find a progressive that can win in those seats.  Normally A Democrat has to be quite conservative to appeal to the voters in those districts.  
Of course having a conservative Democrat in a red district is better than having a a Republican, but   I'd much rather see money spent on the seats where we will have the upper edge in future elections.
by blueryan 2006-04-13 12:56PM | 0 recs
DE-AL

I like the idea, but now it's time to nitpick around the edges :)

DE-AL will never go Democratic until Mike Castle quits. He is a popular former governor and just about the most moderate republican in the House (even more so than Shays I would say). Lots of cross-over appeal in this very moderate state. Not that we shouldn't run somebody against him (maybe we can even convince him to switch parties after we take control of the house next year), but I think the 400k could be better spent roughing up Virgil Goode, Charles Taylor, Robin Hayes, etc. Even though these areas voted for Bush, they are still heavily populated with people that vote Democratic in state and local elections (and Taylor's district is still trending somewhat blue nationally as well). If you get a Democrat elected in these areas, I imagine they'd stick around for as long as they wanted to, a la Mike McIntyre or Brad Miller.  

by adamterando 2006-04-13 01:04PM | 0 recs
Re: DE-AL

I agree. I'd rather spend that money on trying to oust, say, Nancy Johnson. But that said, when Castle retires, the seat had better be ours.

by DavidNYC 2006-04-13 02:19PM | 0 recs
Re: DE-AL

Yeah, same goes for when Biden retires </snark>.

But I don't think we'll have any trouble getting a Democrat elected there when Castle quits. The GOP bench in Delaware is pretty thin for the forseeable. Unfortunately I don't think Ruth Ann Minner will continue the trend of former DE guvs going on to national office. She's not the most popular person in the world.

But while I'm speculating about Delaware state politics, the question is, if the Dems have to pick a regional candidate to replace Castle, do they go for a Dem from the population and liberal center of the state or do they pick someone from the rural and conservative part of the state to draw in the southern voters?

by adamterando 2006-04-13 02:39PM | 0 recs
You have to make the connection for voters

That a vote for a moderate Republican = a vote for Bill Frist, Rock Santorum, Tom DeLay and other rabid wingnuts to be named later.

A vote for a Republican moderate = giving committee control and oversight to the far right wing of this country.

The vote to hand the leadership of the Congress over to the right extermists and never have a vote that matters again.

by Nazgul35 2006-04-13 01:19PM | 0 recs
Re: You have to make the connection for voters

A few years back, the Dems took Connie Morella's seat in the MD suburbs by labeling her "an enabler" of the DeLay machine.

by David Kowalski 2006-04-13 03:26PM | 0 recs
Re: You have to make the connection for voters

Which is an attack we should be using all the time, on all so-called Republican "moderates."

by DavidNYC 2006-04-13 04:46PM | 0 recs
Re: You have to make the connection for voters

Only after the district was re-districted, and with that only 52-48 in something like 66% Gore District.

by Democraticavenger 2006-04-17 01:49PM | 0 recs
Great long-term thinking!

I was going to put a but in the heading, but that would have been a tad misleading.

Because I'd say that there's no but about the strategy of skewing resources to blue districts that should be easier and cheaper to retain than red districts.

I just wonder whether the DCCC isn't doing this already, and, if not, why not?

Because it doesn't, with the greatest respect, seem to be the most counter-intuitive of ideas. One might even call it obvious.

I can't help wondering with TX-22 whether Rahmbo might be thinking of it as some kind of pissing contest or virility test. (Ergo, a big spend, despite an objective risk/return estimate going beyond 06 which might suggest he'd be better off spending on those blue districts Chris was talking about.)

by skeptic06 2006-04-13 01:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Great long-term thinking!

I think the DCCC probably in large part IS already thinking along these lines. Many of our top-tier targets are indeed in the NE: The CT seats, the Philly burbs seats, etc.

However, I think one difficulty is recruitment. After years of being promised the world by Dick Gephardt, Rahm Emanuel's job is a lot harder. Hell, it's not just Rahm. Even local folks who want to do recruiting have a tougher time of it.

If we have anything approaching a decent year in 2006, though, recruitment will be much easier in 2008.

by DavidNYC 2006-04-13 02:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Great long-term thinking!

So do you think that the bench is a little weak this year?

by HellofaSandwich 2006-04-13 09:42PM | 0 recs
IL-11 and John Pavich

IL-11

This race is also one that should be included in this group.  The district went for Gore/Nader in 2000 and only went for Bush in 2004 narrowly because the Dems didn't really have to do much in Illinois.  The incumbent, Jerry Weller, is disliked across the district, the challenger, John Pavich is a former CIA counter-terrorism officer and the data suggests an influx of Dem votes.  Cook Report has it as a Republican plus 1 and the DCCC has said its one of its three targeted Illinois races.  It is the most heavily union district in the state and Pavich already has gained a boatload of union endorsements.  And as a final plug, Pavich has been endorsed by the Bloomington chapter of DFA and has been working with a progressive Dem volunteer group.  

by JolietMatt 2006-04-13 01:40PM | 0 recs
Vermont's not a shoe-in people!

Folks,

When people think of Vermont, they think it's the bluest state in the country.

Guess again.

For the lone House seat, expect a VERY close battle between Democratic candidate & Senate Pro Tempore Peter Welch and Lt. General Martha Ranville, who recently stepped down as the Head of the Vermont National Guard to run as the GOP candidate.

So far- and this is only preliminary polling- Rainville has more support going for her than Welch. Go to PoliticsVT.com for more details.

Rainville comes across as nice person or someone who won't "rock the boat" on the issues. A moderate Republican of sorts. People will fall for it and some may consider Peter Welch as a career politican, looking to advance his own career.

I like the idea Chris Bowers puts forth. But if this is going to work, then I would also include states that "aren't" clinches when they look like them.

I guarantee this will be a close one and it's better we have this discussion now than after November when Sanders old seat turns "red."  

by Brattlerouser 2006-04-13 02:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Vermont's not a shoe-in people!

Is her decision to keep the Delay donations getting any traction yet?

by adamterando 2006-04-13 02:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Vermont's not a shoe-in people!

It didn't get that much traction. She made it sound like it was no big deal, legal, etc.

Check the story on http://www.vermontguardian.com/ or VT Politcs Online for more info.

by Brattlerouser 2006-04-13 04:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Vermont's not a shoe-in people!

See, this is THE problem Democrats always have.  Sooner or later people get fatigued and/or run out of money.  VT should be a gimme.  Perhaps Dems around the country are simply annoyed that this seat may be competitive, for IF they can't win in fucking VERMONT, then perhaps Dems do NOT even deserve a House majority.  Ever think of that?  If Vermont's progressive Democrats allow a Republican to take this seat, they deserve what they get and I won't have any sympathy for them at all.

We have enough problems without having to worry about Vermont.  That should be a no-sweat.  National guard head?  Yawn.  Gimme a fucking break.

by jgarcia 2006-04-13 06:40PM | 0 recs
Vermont is bizarre

I mean, currently, the state has the only independent Senator and the only independent House Representative (who says he's a Socialist).  However, keep in mind that the indie Senator used to be a Republican.  I think the state is very lefty, but not very blue (Democrat).  That is, thier party loyalty is the weakest in the nation, so a moderate running as a Republican could easily win.  I hope our canidate is strong-we can't expect to win on party makeup alone.

by Geotpf 2006-04-13 11:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Vermont is bizarre

And don't forget that they went for Vinick over Santos...

by DaveMB 2006-04-14 03:50AM | 0 recs
NM-01

New Mexico's first district should be a priority for multiple reasons.  Heather Wilson is not the moderate she claims to be: a brief visit to www.progressivepunch.com reveals she is not in that middle group of Republicans who are numerically moderate.  Wilson also represents an urban district where grassroots activism can actually work without too much effort.  This is also a seat in the West, and a victory here bodes well for other Western seats in the future.  Patricia Madrid will also own this seat for years to come.  But more importantly, this will put an end to Wilson's career.  Unless she runs for public office, she will have to wait at least six years for Bingaman to retire.  But if Madrid wins, she is poised to run for Domenici's seat if he chooses to retire.

I sincerely hope everyone will donate to Madrid's campaign.  She is statistically tied with Wilson, and she is already aggressively attacking Wilson on everything from wiretapping to environmental laws.  If NM-01 becomes a Democratic seat, NM-02 and other Western seats will simply fall in line, thereby making Bowers's Northeastern strategy a Southwestern strategy.

www.madridforcongress.com

by illinois062006 2006-04-13 03:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Building a Real House Majority,

Come on guys credit where it is due. We currently have 414 congressional districts with candidates and more to come. That is a stunning effort that goes oft unnoticed.

Only 3 repubs a re definitely without a dem challenger all in the south.

So if we are all serious about the NE strategy then go and give Charles Dertinger a hand to get ob the ballot via write in. Or find a write in dem to run in PA 9.

BTW the 50 state page is being revamped but a sort of working document has been posted.
http://www.barrywelsh.org/fiftystate/con gressionalRaces041206.htm

by BENAWU 2006-04-13 04:26PM | 0 recs
Florida 10

How come we are not aggressively targeting the Florida 10th District.(St Petersberg) - Represented by Congressman Bill Young.

It is a swing District. Gore narrowly won Florida 10th in 2000 -Old Boundaries (53-44) and the new boundies(50-49). Bush won the Florida 10th in 2004(51-48).

Bill Young is a potential Retiree.

by CMBurns 2006-04-13 04:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Building a Real House Majority

Someone mentioned NY 13 (Staten Island and part of Brooklyn).  This district is something of fool's gold in terms of Democratic targets.  Yes, its part of New York City.  However, two thirds of the district is made up of Staten Island, which is very self-consciously Republican, partly as a way for people there to differentiate themselves from the rest of New York City.  Bush got something like 56% there, which was a better result for him than in any other district in New York, New England, or New Jersey.  It was also the result of one of the bigger rises in his share of the vote between 2000 and 2004.

Its not even a good place to absorb the energy of New York City activists; its very difficult to get to if you don't have a car.  And any Congressman from that district better be from the island.

One data point in favor of the Northeast strategy is the difficulty Busby is running into in another 56% Bush district.  She seems to have hit a wall at the level of Kerry's support there.  And this is a place where the Republicans were hit by a major scandal, and there was a good, well funded Democratic campaign.  Aside from the handful of "scandal specials", I think the Democrats can forget about winning anyplace in 2006 where Bush got more than 56% of the vote.

by Michels 2006-04-13 08:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Building a Real Senate The Northeast Strategy

Don't forget that this strategy works for taking back the US Senate as well! There are seven Republican US Senate seats in the all Blue Northeast. Both of the senate seats in Maine, NH and Pennsylvania are GOP and RI has one too.

If we took back all seven...

by Blue State Boy 2006-04-14 01:16AM | 0 recs
Carol Shea-Porter for Congress, NH-1

I am a friend of Carol's who has been with her at many of the Jeb Bradley town meetings.  Carol has spent two years following Jeb around from one meeting to the next, asking the hard questions and never getting any answers.  (Typical response:  "We-e-el, I'll have to study that.")  People are increasingly angry at Bradley, from what I can see at the meetings, where even Republicans are now angry and critical, recently even in his home town of Wolfeboro.  Carol knows Jeb and his record well -- very well after two dozen town meetings -- an essential prerequisite to winning the seat.  

Carol has fire, mental agility, intelligence, compassion for others, a gift for public speaking, a sense of humor, and an in-depth knowledge of the national issues on which she has been focusing for the last three years.  

Take a look at Carol's web site and in particular the Citizen Endorsements by people who know her http://www.carolforcongress.com/index.ph p?blog=6&cat=34
and listen to her radio interview here:
http://www.carolforcongress.com/index.ph p?blog=6&cat=26
She is a great candidate whose motivation is and has always been service to others.

As for the candidates who are NH House reps. -- please note  that with 430+ House reps. in a small state like this one, voters only know the reps. from their own tiny region.  Except for voters from Manchester, those who do not make it a point to follow state politics -- that's most voters, even devoted followers of national politics -- would have no idea who either of the Manchester candidates was, no matter what House position he might hold.  So being a House rep. in itself confers no particular advantage on a candidate in NH, in terms of name recognition with voters.  All the Democratic candidates have to get out there and make themselves known.

We're got a real primary here, a competitive race, not some kind of coronation.

People on the ground here are more in tune with the situation than out-of-state "experts" who analyze races in states they've never visited.

Pay attention to our race here.  It should be interesting.  

by fairgame 2006-04-14 08:04AM | 0 recs

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