House 2008: More Recruitment Troubles Plague GOP

In recent weeks I've spent some time documenting House Republicans' enormous difficulty recruiting solid candidates to run in districts with potentially vulnerable Democratic incumbents. According to Congressional Quarterly, such problems apparently continue to endure for the GOP.

Two congressional seats in Colorado that the Democrats captured in recent elections would almost certainly be high up on GOP strategists' target lists for the 2008 House elections -- if the overall political environment were more promising for the Republican Party.

But at a point in the fall of 2007 when the parties have candidates in place for most of the contests expected to be competitive a year from now, the Republicans have yet to recruit candidates to oppose Democratic incumbents John Salazar in Colorado's 3rd District and Ed Perlmutter in the 7th.

The slow start for the challenging party in these districts is noteworthy given that Republicans are statistically competitive in both. The GOP held the 3rd District seat as recently as 2004 and only turned over the 7th to the Democrats last year.


Dick Wadhams, the Colorado Republican Party chairman, did not attempt to put on overly optimistic spin on his party's prospects in the 3rd and 7th districts. He said he would like to have candidates already, and does not know what will emerge in either district. He attributed the absence of Republican candidates to the difficulty of facing an incumbent.

You know things are getting bad for a party when (a) it can't find a candidate willing to run even in a district in which it generally wins by a healthy margin on the presidential level, as the Republicans do in CO-03; and (b) when the hack who heads the party can't even muster up the energy to at least do a little spinning to explain his party's recruitment woes. And as the Democrats continue to enjoy great recruitment successess -- the latest coming in Illinois 11th district, an open seat race where state Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson has apparently decided to run for the Democratic Party's nomination, giving the Dems a tremendous shot at picking up the seat -- every recruitment failure for the GOP, like the ones in Colorado's third and seventh districts, becomes even more painful.

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Fundraising for Freshman Democrats: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Hill published an article highlighting some of the fundraising efforts of freshmen Democrats in the House.  Apparently, many are doing quite well.  David Loebsack (IA-02) has raised about $71,000.  Kirsten Gillebrand (NY-20) has raised $65,000 in PAC money alone.  Earl Perlmutter (CO-07) has raised $79,000.  Charlie Wilson (OH-06) has raised $34,000.  Paul Hodes has raised $35,000.  Jason Altmire (PA-04) and Patrick Murphy (PA-08) have both raised $50,000 in PAC money alone.  Zack Space (OH-18) and Steven Kagen (WI-08) have both raised $35,000 in PAC money.

As far as simple financial numbers go, this is good news.  All of these candidates are vulnerable to some degree.  So, if all of these House members are already off to good starts, they may be able to force out potentially strong challenges early on.

But the article also has some worrying relevations.  For one thing, Nancy Boyda (KS-02) has raised only $13,000.  Considering the presidential vote in her district (Bush won it by 20 points), Boyda is probably one of our top five most vulnerable Democrats.  Plus, she will not have Sebelius' coattails helping her and will instead have to contend with the Republican tide at the top of the ticket from the eventual Republican nominee and Senator Pat Roberts. Finally, she will possibly face a rematch against Jim Ryun. More over the flip...

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14 New Polls (4 Senate, 10 House) From CIS

The Right-Wing Anti-immigration group, the Center for Immigration Studies, has 14 new polls out from 10 different House districts and 4 different Senate races. The polls focus on immigration, but also ask which candidates the poll respondents plan to vote for in these 14 races. The polls are all from about the time the Foley scandal broke, with polling done both before and after the scandal (Foley resigned on September 29th). Generally speaking, the Senate polls seem to have been conducted before Foley broke, while the House polls were done shortly after.

CIS did not report candidate percentages, which I calculated from the raw crosstabs in the "detailed breakdown" for all the polls. If anyone wants to check my math, that would be greatly appreciated.

Having just glanced over the results, some of the samples seem to skew a bit to the R side, so keep that in mind, along with the Right-Wing leanings of CIS. The 14 races polled are MO-Sen, PA-Sen, NJ-Sen, MT-Sen, AZ-05, CT-04, IN-08, KY-04, PA-06, TX-17, LA-03, GA-08, CO-07, and OH-06.

For the results, see the flipside.

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What do they have in common? A new Republican 527 called Americans for Honesty on Issues that has popped up to run negative ads against 9 Democratic House candidates.  Some of the negative ads have already run in Iowa and Colorado.

Candidates and titles of attack ads:

Bruce L Braley IA-01
"No Funds For Troops"

Edwin Permutter CO-07

Brad Ellsworth IN-08
"The Tarnished Badge"

Gabrielle Giffords AZ-08
"Path to Citizenship"

Baron P Hill IN-09

Patricia A Madrid NM-01

Heath Shuler NC-11
"Heart in Tennessee"

Kenneth Ray Lucas KY-04
"Six Years & Zip"

Joseph Simon Donnelly IN-02
"Tax Attack"

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ActBlue: Reward the Dems surging in the new blue wave!

As a result of the Democratic surge in polls announced today, I've set up a page on ActBlue to reward all the Dems who are surging ahead:

ActBlue: Blue Wave

As I write on the page, I left off people who are currently behind because I wanted to give folks an easy way to reward those who are surging ahead. That doesn't mean you shouldn't help others join the blue wave! It just seemed like we should reward those who have been doing good.

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