Roundup of news on U.S. House races

Congratulations to Judy Chu, the newly elected member of Congress from California's 32nd district. On Tuesday Chu easily defeated Republican Betty Chu by 61.7 percent to 33.1 percent in this strongly Democratic district. She will replace Hilda Solis, who left Congress to become Barack Obama's secretary of labor.

Over at Swing State Project, James L. posted a big chart containing second quarter fundraising and cash-on-hand numbers for most U.S. House incumbents and major challengers. Click over to read about some names and numbers that jumped out for him. Among the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's 41 Frontline incumbents, Jim Hines (CT-04) raised the most money last quarter, and Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) raised the least.

James L.'s overall conclusion:

I'm struck by the lackluster sums from many highly-touted candidates on both sides of the aisle. For the Dems, Michael Bond (IL-10), Charlie Justice (FL-10), Paula Flowers (TN-03), and Bill Hedrick (CA-44) in particular will need to step up their game. But many GOP candidates had pretty underwhelming quarters, too: Charles Djou (HI-01), Sid Leiken (OR-04), Jon Barela (NM-01) and Frank Guinta (NH-01) were all well south of $100K this quarter. (If you can't out-raise Carol Shea-Porter, something is wrong with you.) No doubt the crappy economy is tightening the cash flow for many candidates right now, but these candidates will have to start finding the money sooner rather than later.

In other House fundraising news, fans of Congressman Tom Perriello (VA-05) will be pleased to know that Republican Virgil Goode, whom Perriello defeated last November, raised just $154 during the second quarter. That's one hundred and fifty-four dollars. Sounds to me like Goode isn't eager for a rematch, although he does still have around $139,000 cash on hand from last year's campaign. Perriello raised about $213,000 during the second quarter and has about $381,000 on hand.

In other bad news for Republicans hoping to make gains in the House next year, incumbent Jim Gerlach (PA-06) announced plans to run for governor of Pennsylvania, forcing the GOP to defend his seat in the Philadelphia suburbs. Also, Congressman Mark Kirk (IL-10) appears likely to run for Barack Obama's old Senate seat in 2010 instead of for re-election to his House seat. Taniel noted at Campaign Diaries,

IL-10 and PA-06 are two of only six districts that voted for John Kerry in 2004 but that are still represented by Republicans. Both men somehow survived the blue waves of the past two cycles but their situation was simply not tenable and it is not surprising seeing either of them flee their district.

If Mike Castle decides to run for Joe Biden's old Senate seat in Delaware, Republicans will also have to defend the at-large House seat Castle has held for a long time. That seat has the second-highest Democratic voting performance of all Republican-held House districts (after LA-02). Incidentally, why do journalists let Republicans like Castle take credit for stimulus spending they voted against?

With the economy likely to get worse before it gets better, Democrats could still be in for a rough election cycle next year. However, every tough district Republicans have to defend will siphon money away from districts the GOP is trying to pick up.

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CT-04: Jim Himes Defeats Chris Shays

This is huge. Jim Himes has defeated the last Republican left in New England. This is my home district. Thank you CT-04 for giving my parents some REAL representation. Jim is a great guy and actually a perfect match to the district.

This is a great night.

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CT-04: Barack Obama Records Radio Ad For Jim Himes

Jim Himes, Democratic challenger to my Republican parents' congressman, Rep. Chris "last Republican left in New England" Shays, has a new radio ad up that features Barack Obama urging a vote for Himes.

You can listen to it HERE.

In it, Obama does more than just say "I urge you to vote for [insert Democrat here]", he talks about why voters should send Jim to Washington:

I need your help in electing Jim Himes to Congress on November 4th. If we want to change the way Washington does business then we need to send the right people to Washington. Jim Himes is the son of a hard working single Mom. He left a successful career in business to build environmentally friendly affordable housing. He's someone who will expand opportunity for all Connecticut families.

This is a particularly big get for Himes for a couple of reasons. First of all, CT-04 -- my old stomping grounds -- is a D+5 district. Obama is absolutely going to crush this district and pairing Obama and Himes is crucial for Jim to win. Shays keeps winning because Democrats and Independents keep voting for him. Obama is sending the signal that that is not an option this year. Also, in 2006, Shays's Democratic challenger went into election day with many polls having her tied or winning but where she lost it was with the anemic turnout among voters in the district's largest city, Bridgeport. We know that won't be a problem this year at the presidential level. Obama is doing his best to make sure that the surge of voters that turns out for him trickles down to Jim. Help Jim keep this ad on my parents' radio by contributing to his campaign HERE.

For all his post-partisan language throughout the campaign, Obama's actions have told a different story. At every opportunity -- particularly during the several special elections we had earlier this year -- Obama has exploited his list and his online (and off) infrastructure to help the Democratic candidates. Barack Obama knows that the larger his majority, the larger the mandate and the more change he can make. That's, in part, what this ad is about.

Larry Sabato, who recently moved CT-04 into the "Leans Dem" category, issued his "The Last Word - Almost" projections for what to expect on Tuesday. Take a look at Sabato's graphic below to get a sense of what sort of majority -- and with it, mandate -- Obama just might have beginning in January.

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House Race Update

Charlie Cook and Larry Sabato both have updated House race rankings wherein most races that are showing movement are shifting in the Democrats' direction. Cook's projection has Democrats winning a net of between 23-28 seats and Sabato expects Democrats will win an "astounding 22-27 seats" (up from 15-20 in his previous rankings.)

Some good stuff happening around the country in some key races below:

  • CT-04 In my home district and where my parents still reside, I am thrilled to see Sabato upgrade Jim Himes' challenge to Bush enabler Chris "last Republican left in New England" Shays to "Leans Dem." A friend of mine who lives in the district is feeling the momentum shift in media coverage, number of Himes signs he's seeing and the effectiveness of the ads. Here's Himes's latest, which makes the best case against Shays in this D+5 district:

    Donate to Jim Himes HERE.

  • WA-08 A new Survey USA poll of this race shows Darcy Burner surging to a 4 point lead over Dave Reichert.

    In an election for US House of Representatives from Washington's 8th Congressional District today, thirteen days till votes are counted, momentum, at least in part attributable to a rising Democratic tide nationwide, is now with Democrat Darcy Burner, who see-saws ahead of Republican Dave Reichert, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for KING-TV in Seattle. Nominally, it's Burner 50%, Reichert 46% today. Compared to a SurveyUSA poll 6 weeks ago, Reichert is down 8 points, Burner is up 6. The September poll was taken at a time when the national Republican party had just finished a successful convention, and the nomination of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate was new and novel. At that time, in Washington state, SurveyUSA showed McCain within 4 points of Barack Obama, statewide, and showed Reichert 10 atop Burner. Today, SurveyUSA shows Obama 16 points atop McCain, a swing of 12 to the Democrats. And, SurveyUSA shows Burner 4 atop Reichert, a swing of 14 to the Democrats.

    No wonder, then, that the right and the local media is throwing the kitchen sink at Darcy (kos has the rundown.) And the NRCC ain't leaving. So kos has launched a fundraising drive to get her to $250,000 HERE. Help her out. And don't forget that this is the last day of the Netroots Nation auction where you can bid on Darcy's autographed t-shirt.

  • AZ-03: Democrat Bob Lord is running an excellent race against Bush rubber stamp John Shadegg. Lord is up 1 in the latest DCCC poll and has just released this ad in the district:

    There's also some really odd stuff happening surrounding Shadegg including his campaign's credit card showing up in Bob Lord's campaign office and Shadegg's campaign sending out an alert to his e-mail list that he has won yet another retraction over what he says is a false claim that he had an affair many years ago; gee, John, I wasn't even thinking about all that stuff about an affair but now I am!

    This is looking better and better for Lord every day. Give to his campaign HERE.

  • CA-46: As I wrote the other day, momentum is really building for Debbie Cook against lazy crazy do-nothing Dana Rohrabacher. They held their first and only debate on Tuesday where Debbie demonstrated clearly why she would be a strong progressive voice in Congress. When asked after the debate why she didn't go after Rohrabacher, she said:

    "It's not my style," she said. "You don't want to make the same mistake that the Republicans have made with McCain in going negative, negative, negative. I think it's quite apparent that he's done nothing for this district in 20 years. And if people don't understand that, me telling them isn't going to change anything."

    "He's an a**," Cook continued. "I can't respond to him. He's a liar."

    HaHa. Awesome. And check out her closing remarks below:

    Donate to Debbie over at Blue America's ActBlue page and your donation will be matched.

    Update [2008-10-23 20:17:49 by Todd Beeton]:Oh, and you gotta see this picture. It really captures the race in a nutshell. Rohrabacher can't believe he {gasp!} has to defend his seat! God forbid.

Plenty more good news where this came from, especially over at Swing State Project. What Republicans do you want desperately to get the boot? Post them in the comments with a link to a donation page of the Democrat.

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14 GOP House Reps in the Northeast - How many after November?

From the diaries - Todd

The Northeast (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island & Vermont) has been sharply trending towards the Democratic party for some years now. Increasingly at a State and Federal level Republicans are finding it harder to get elected in the Northeast, be they conservatives or moderates, particularly in statewide races. And this years election seems certain to thin out their ranks even further.
We now have 7/9 Governors, 14/18 Senators and 51/65 House Districts!

Below the line for a look at the 14 GOP held House Races in the Northeast in 2008.

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