New Congressional Quarterly Ratings: Very Good News

Congressional Quarterly recently updated its 2006 Projections. Of the 18 contests with new ratings, sixteen have moved in our direction.  Both of the seats moving in the Republican direction are already Republican seats, so no change there.

Of the three Senate seats, Nevada (John Ensign-R) has moved to "Safe Republican," New Mexico (Jeff Bingaman-D) has moved to "Safe Democratic," and Rhode Island (Lincoln Chafee-R) is now a tossup.

In the House, only California-50 (Brian Bilbray-R) is moving toward the Republicans.  Arizona-08, Illinois-06, Minnesota-06, and Connecticut-04, all Republican seats, are now tossups.  Arizona-01, Illinois-10, and Nebraska-01 have entered the list, going from "Safe Republican" to "Republican Favored." Democratic seats in New York-27 and Oregon-05 have dropped off the list, becoming "Safe Democratic." Connecticut-05, Nevada-02, New York-20, Wisconsin-08, and Wyoming-At Large have all been upgraded to "Leans Republican."

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Action Alert: Stop the Sierra Club from Endorsing an (R)

Remember when kos wrote this?

Reps. Rob Simmons (R-CT 02), Chris Shays (R-CT 04) and Nancy Johnson (R-CT 05) have all won their Dem-leaning seats by chipping off parts of the Dem coalition. But given the poor national environment for GOPers, their Dem challengers looked well-positioned to knock them off this cycle.

-- Yet the GOP incumbents have still managed to secure endorsements from liberal interest groups. Planned Parenthood endorsed both Simmons and Johnson. The League of Conservation Voters is backing Shays and Johnson.

-- And labor is trending towards the CT GOPers. Simmons only raised $8K from labor PACs in his '02 run against Joe Courtney (D). In this year's rematch he's already raised $96K, outdistancing Courtney. And so far, Shays has raised comparable amounts from unions as his Dem opponent Diane Farrell.

That's why we lose as a movement.

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Cook Report: Good News!

The Cook Report has been updated recently.  I'm not going to detail everything, but I will mention what has changed since the last edition.  Keep these heating races in mind as you make your final donations.

In the Senate races, Florida is now considered "Solid Democratic." At the same time, Virginia has moved from "Solid Republican" to "Likely Republican." There are now six Republican seats (PA, RI, TN, MT, MO, and OH) listed as tossups compared to just one Democratic seat (MN).  

In the House, four Republican seats (IL-06, CT-04, NC-11 and FL-22) have moved into the tossup category, making 14 total Republican seats that are listed as tossups.  That's one seat less than the total we need to take the House.  And keep in mind, CA-50 was moved out of the tossup column right after the special election, so that won could conceivably become hot again should Busby shake off the gaffe and Bilbray tank.  Oh, and OH-06 has been moved from "Tossup" to "Leans Democratic." So, there are now NO Democratic tossup seats.

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New England Republicans Sell Out Constituents on Budget

While New England was once a bastion of elite Republicans -- think Senator Prescott Bush (R-CT), father to one President and grandfather to another -- today just five lonely self-professed "moderate" Republican Congressmen remain, each of whom is in serious jeopardy of finally losing this year as a result of the general anti-GOP sentiment in the country today. These five House members aren't helping themselves much, either.

This afternoon the House voted on a budget backed by the chamber's conservative Republican leadership, a vote that the GOP narrowly won 218 to 210 -- a surprisingly close margin given the fact that few believe House and Senate leaders will be able to reconcile their to measures, thus making likelihood that victory on such a close vote would result in the enactment of a law close to nil.

Among the renegade Republicans that John Boehner and Roy Blunt were able to whip in to place for the vote was the entire crew of New England "moderates." Without the support of these five House members, the conservative Republican budget would not have passed.

The voting trends of these five districts already augur poorly for these Republicans. George W. Bush carried a single one of these five districts in 2004 -- New Hampshire's 1st district -- and even there he barely hit 51 percent. In a 50-50 year (or more precisely a 51-48 year), these five Republicans -- Rob Simmons (CT-02), Chris Shays (CT-04), Nancy Johnson (CT-05), Jeb Bradley (NH-01) and Charlie Bass (NH-02) -- might not have much to worry about. But given the fact that President Bush is unpopular around the country and radioactive in the Northeast, these five holdovers don't really have the luxury of bucking the will of their constituents by selling out to their party's leadership.

Yet this is exactly what these five did today. It is almost as if Simmons, Shays, Johnson, Bradley and Bass are consciously requesting the pink slip from their constituents while at the same time showing the GOP leadership their fealty in the hope that they will be able to secure plush lobbying positions in January. Let's see if we can't help them in this endeavor -- minus the lobbying gig, of course -- by working to give them the boot in November.

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Chris Shays, Panderer

Cross-posted from Shayswatch

Chris Shays bills himself as a "different type of Republican". Chris Shays claims to be "principled" and "independent". But Chris Shays likes his job. Chris Shays wants to keep his job. So at the end of the day, Chris Shays will say absolutely anything to get re-elected.

We've already seen that Shays, for all his feigned shock and anger at the Republican culture of corruption, was more than willing to support the ludicrously unethical arch-conservative Roy Blunt's candidacy for House Majority Leader, after Blunt hosted a pair of massive fundraisers supporting Shays' re-election.

And we know that Shays has no problem changing his story on who's fault the failed response to Hurricane Katrina was; one minute he's putting almost all the blame on the Democratic state and local officials and the next, he's moving the blame to President Bush in order to distance himself from his so-called "friend".

In his newest political ploy to save his job, Shays has endorsed Joe Lieberman. Shays claims that he's doing this because he's grateful that Lieberman has "spoken the truth" about the war in Iraq.

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