Supposedly Endangered House Dem Up 20+ Points

Charlie Cook seems to think it's all but a fait accompli that the Democrats will lose the House of Representatives in November. He might want to tell that to the voters in Alabama's second congressional district, which despite tending to lean about 16 points more Republican than the nation as a whole looks on track to reelect its freshman Democratic Congressman this year by a wide margin.

A new poll conducted for Rep. Bobby Bright's (D-AL) campaign shows that while he may sit in a very vulnerable CD, he starts out in strong shape for re-election.

The survey, conducted by Anzalone-Liszt (D), shows Bright leading Montgomery Councilor Martha Roby (R), AL school board member Stephanie Bell (R) and businessman Rick Barber (R) handily. The survey was conducted 2/8-11, among 500 LVs; It has a margin of error of +/- 4.4%. The survey was first posted in the Montgomery Advertiser.

General Election Matchups 
Bright    54%        Bright    55%
Roby      30         Bell      29

Bright 58%
Barber 26

This is an internal poll, and there are enough reasons to take such campaign-sponsored surveys with a grain of salt that I need not be too explicit with a word of caution. That said, these aren't the types of numbers that look to be skewed -- and if they were, the National Republican Congressional Committee would already be out with its own numbers showing a radically different outcome. In the absence of such pushback from the Republicans, it's not hard to imagine that the Democrat Bright is in fact leading by a wide margin -- perhaps not 24 percentage points and more, but a wide margin nonetheless -- in the very red district he represents.

And this represents a genuine challenge to the model employed by some of the Beltway prognosticators that says the Democrats have already put themselves in position to lose the House this cycle. If the Republicans can't even be competitive in an R+16 district featuring a freshman Democrat in a race Cook now labels as "a tossup," how, exactly, are they supposed to win back the 40 seats they need to regain a majority in the chamber?

GOP fails to get Carney (PA-10) to switch parties

Republicans are hoping other Democrats will follow the example of Parker Griffith (AL-05), who switched parties this week. According to the Politico,

Democratic Rep. Chris Carney received a phone call Wednesday from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) asking him to consider becoming a Republican, a top GOP official told POLITICO.

A spokesman for Carney declined to say if the congressman was considering such a switch.

"No further comment at this time," said Carney spokesman Josh Drobnyk, who would only confirm that the call took place.

In a brief interview, McCain declined to offer details about the conversation.

"I just said, `Whatever you do, I know that you'll make the right decision for the country,'" said the Arizonan.

Carney defeated Republican incumbent Don Sherwood in 2006. Pennsylvania's 10th district has a PVI of R+8. Carney voted for the stimulus bill and the House version of health care reform, so I doubt he could survive a GOP primary, even though he did vote against the climate change bill.

In any event, Carney has "no plans to change parties," according to a statement he released today.

Meanwhile, conservative Democrats Walt Minnick (ID-01) and Bobby Bright (AL-02) also confirmed that they not switching. Like Griffith, Minnick and Bright have opposed key items of the Democratic agenda.

Update [2009-12-23 21:47:11 by Jonathan Singer]: This story gives me the opportunity to post one of the most memorable political ads of all time, one that really helped seal the deal for Carney in 2006. An ad by his opponent.

There's more...

House 2008: Flood of GOP Retirements Continues

And the hits keep coming for the Republicans:

Rep. Terry Everett (R-Ala.) announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election in 2008. The eight-term lawmaker posted a statement on his Web site that said he reached the difficult decision not to run again over the weekend.

This one, in and of itself, doesn't represent the type of trouble for Republicans that other retirements in competitive districts in Illinois and Ohio do simply for the fact that this is such a Republican district. According to the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voting Index, the district leans about 13 points more Republican than the nation as a whole in presidential elections, for instance.

But at the same time, with every coming Republican retirement, whether in a competitive district or not, there is more momentum for members on the fence to jump ship. If the chances of retaking the majority are nil for the Republicans, as it currently appears, why is it worth it to spend the next year plus running for reelection, even if that reelection bid is about as foregone a conclusion as these things come in politics (as was the case for Everett)? So don't be at all surprised if this isn't the end of the stream of retirements for House Republicans.

There's more...


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