House GOP Facing Serious Recruitment Problems

You know things are especially bad for a party when it has trouble recruiting candidates in districts in which they have institutional advantages (e.g. a big registration edge) to go up against potentially vulnerable incumbents of the other party. But such is apparently the case for House Republicans. Take a look at this news out of Georgia courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Political Insider blog.

In past election seasons, Democrats Jim Marshall in the 8th District and John Barrow in the 12th have been perennial Republican targets. And on paper, they're still vulnerable.

But the anointed GOP candidate in the middle Georgia race against Marshall, former Air Force major general Rick Goddard, has had a rough start.

Even more indicative of trepidation among Georgia Republicans, and their fear of a poor harvest in '08, is the party's failure -- thus far -- to field any candidate to challenge the Savannah-based Barrow.

If Barrow and Marshall aren't the two most endangered Democratic incumbents in the House, then they're certainly among the handful of members of the majority who could potentially have the most trouble in 2008. Neither Barrow nor Marshall received more than 51 percent of the vote in 2006, a great year for Democrats.

So why, then, aren't serious challengers lining up to go up against the two this year? Local dynamics and personal decisions by potential candidates certainly play a lot into it. But so, too, does the current environment, which as a result of being so terrible for the GOP is scaring off potentially strong Republican candidates around the country from challenging Democratic incumbents who may be beatable. Sure, you say, the establishment press sure doesn't make it seem like things are this bad for the GOP, or that good for the Democrats, for that matter. But in instances like these it is the Republican state legislators in rural Georgia saying no to the Republican establishment inside the Beltway that I might turn to in order to find out just what the environment is like around the country.

Tags: House 2008, House Republicans, Recruitment (all tags)



Same in CT

The two GOP challengers to freshmen Dems Courtney (CT-02) and Murphy (CT-05) have both had a rough go of it so far: the touted Sean Sullivan (CT-02) with very lackluster fundraising so far, and David Capiello (CT-05) with questions arising about his work for a shady subprime lender.

by tparty 2007-09-12 03:49PM | 0 recs
Re: House GOP Facing Serious Recruitment Problems

Clearly the Democrats will continue to control the House of Representatives after 2008, so who in their right mind is going to want to take on an incumbent Democrat, even a weak one, only to get a position in the minority where you can't do a damn thing worthwhile? It's a great time to be a Democratic candidate, and not much joy in being a Republican one who would have to run the gauntlet of an election campaign for a less than desirable job.

by owlskinner 2007-09-12 03:53PM | 0 recs
Isn't this just one anecdote?

I'd like to see some information suggesting pervasive recruiting problems before I read too much into these very few anecdotes.

Yes, it's encouraging that these very vulnerable Dems aren't being more seriously challenged to date, and even more so that the likelihood of the Dems being in the majority will depress recruitment significantly (along with depressing the money race), but this is a pretty small example from which to be making statements about recruitment nationwide. Perhaps the title should be changed to reflect that this, so far, is just about Georgia.

by verasoie 2007-09-12 05:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Isn't this just one anecdote?

There are stories about recruiting woes on this site almost every day.  It is hardly anecdotal.

by stuckinsf 2007-09-12 05:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Isn't this just one anecdote?

That made me laugh since that's pretty much the definition of anecdotal, stories.  Of course, that doesn't mean the stories aren't true.  It would be nice though to see some kind of study that looks at prior year recruitment of challengers and the quality of those challengers versus the same info from the same time period this year.  Logic also supports the anecdotal evidence.

by msstaley 2007-09-12 07:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Isn't this just one anecdote?

The Democrats have candidates in more than 100 of the 201 Republican districts.  (Excludes Ohio 5)

The Republicans have candidates in about 50 of the 232 Democratic districts (Excludes Massachusetts 5).

Raw numbers like that are one indication, a better indication would be the number of potentially competitive candidates.  I count about 45 for the Democrats, and I haven't looked at the Republicans.

by Adam T 2007-09-13 04:11AM | 0 recs


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