House Results 2006: Winning percentages by Party and Region

Bumped with light editing--Chris

A simple snapshot of the past election can be found by looking at two narrow winners from the small freshman class of 2004.  Brian Higgins won two years ago in NY-27 with 51%.  This year he was barely challenged and piled up 79%.  Freshman Democrat Stephanie Herseth (SD-AL) had an even harder time in 2004 winning both a special election in a squeaker and a general election by a slightly larger margin.  Herseth was on many lists of endangered Democrats.  In the end, Stephanie cruised to an easy win with 69% of the vote.

In an election where Democrats did wvery well, Herseth and Higgins typified many of the trends.  No Democratic seats were lost, and most elected Democrats (117 out of 232) were either unopposed or received 70% or more of the vote.  In fact, in the Northeast, 45 of 68 Democratic winners (and nearly all the incumbents) pulled in 70% or more.  Herseth was typical of the second largest group of Democrats:  those polling from 60% to 69% (73 of 232). Overall, twice as many Republicans were elected with percentages under 60% (85) as Democrats (42).  In the closest elections, where winners drew 52% or less, Republicans won by a 26 to 19 margin.  If you wonder why Democrats did not win 40 or more seats, there's the answer.  Unlike in 1994, the losing Republicans managed to win a lot of close elections.

The Republican edge grew as the margins moved up a bit.  from 53 to 55%,  GOPers posted 16 wins to 15 for Democrats.  But from 56% to 59% the Republican edge was a stunning 43 to 8.  If you want to find eighty seats to challenge hard in 2006, they are clearly available within this group.

Although Republicans enjoyed a 92 to 73 edge for races won with 60% to 69% of the vote, Democrats had a whopping 117 to 25 edge in seats won with 70% or more of the vote (or unopposed).  The margins in this super safe class outside the South are amazing.  Democrats won 45 seats in the Northeast with 70% or more; Republicans won none.  In the six Great Lakes States, a region where Republicans have 39 seats to 38 for Democrats, Democrats have a 20 to one edge in these walkovers (the only Republican win in this category was Tom Petri's unopposed effort in Wisconsin).  In the five states bordering the Pacific, Democrats won 23 70+ contests to just 2 for Republicans. Even in the South, Democrats won more seats by 70% or more than Republicans by a 24 to 19 margin.  The edge came from thoroughly gerrymandered Florida, where all 7 seats held by Democrats before the election produced 70%+ wins (6 inopposed and 70% in an open seat) vs.just 1 70+ win for the Republicans.  

(Note: All percentages are from the NY Times web site.  A winning percentage of 52% or under is used for Democrats in LA-2 and for Republicans in FL-13 and the Texas seat in the special election)

The South and the Black Experience

Cross posted at D Kos as a response to pursuit of a non-Southern Strategy by Kos:

grew up on the North Carolina-Virginia border. Where I lived we had two schools, one private for the white kids who didn't want to be around blacks after Jim Crow failed under the courts, and one school that was public with everyone else. I lived in the South until the late 90s. Variously having lived in multiple parts of Virginia, North Carolina, Texas and having visited places like TN and GA.

I want to get into this debate about what strategy the Democratic Party should consider taking as someone who has lived down South, and understands the contours of the debate. I think I understand this better than some who may not be from the region in question, but also because I have lived in California and New York. I know many of these regions.

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The Hortoning Of Harold Ford

I was reading over at fellow Philly blogger, Eschaton's blog site, and he had some interesting things to say about the difference between Southern and Northern racism. His comments were within the context of the latest dust up over the Harold Ford race baiting advertisement in the Tennessee senate race, and the ones being used against Duval Patrick in the Massachusetts governor's race. He observed, and rightfully so, that republicans in the North have used the black bogeyman as the criminal and predator. (See Willie Horton) But on the other hand, the latest advertisement by the republican wedge machine's Southern strategy, portrays the black man as the sexual predator, preying on every Southern white man's fears. You know, the Mandindgo Buck lurking in the fields, ready, at the drop of a pin, to snatch his precious white women from under his very eyes. So in a nutshell, Northern racism is an innate fear of the black criminal predator, and Southern racism is the fear of black sexuality. [His dick is bigger than mine] There is a reason all those black boys were hung down South for even looking at a white woman.

This is what the republican party is doing in Tennessee; I call it the missy scare factor -I tried to warn you Harold, leave missy alone. Take a page out of your boy Barack's book- And guess what, it's working; the most recent polls show that Bob Corker,his republican opponent, has drawn even and in some polls is actually starting to inch away. No surprise to the field of course. I know how that commercial would play in some bar in rural Tennessee; and with a race so close, this ad will tip the election in favor of the republican. Hey, even 2% of the vote is crucial at this point. Ken Mehlman and his pals are hoping that this advertisement will close the door on Harold Ford, thus sending a republican back to Washington to fill a senate seat they desperately need. And guess what, it just might work. "I think that there is nothing more repugnant in our society than people who try to divide America along racial lines" Yeah right Ken, unless you are doing the dividing right?

So anyway, all this got me thinking, just what are the differences between racism in the North and racism in the South? Well first, let's give the republicans some credit for recognizing this little phenomena. Of course I would expect no less from the party of race baiters and dividers. But to understand this phenomena you have to understand the old adage, that in the North you can get as much power and wealth as you want, but just don't get too close to me ni***r. Whereas in the South, you can get as close as you want to your white neighbor, but we won't let you get too much wealth and power n***r. Now as someone who has a very unique perspective on this, I am going to agree with that saying. I can make this observation, because I went to school and spent considerable time in the South, but now live and work in the North. So Because of my perspective, I must say that there is something to that old adage, if only because I have seen it played out time and time again. Here in Philly for instance, whites guard their neighborhoods against the negro invasion with everything they have. The schools and neighborhoods are as segregated as the old Jim Crow South. And yet, blacks do well in business, and in certain areas of government and commerce. Blacks and whites work side by side in white collar jobs, yet go home to separate racial enclaves when the clock strikes five.

In the South, on the other hand, blacks and whites live as neighbors, and in many cases the schools are integrated. But when it comes to monetary wealth and power in government and business; the Southern white will let you get so much but no more. His power over you is controlled by his money and his access to it. If farmer Johnson wants a loan to make some improvements on his farm, he had better go to Mr. Charlie down at the bank. And once there, he is at his mercy. ~~~I remember you Johnson, your daddy was a good man, he used to work for my daddy; how much do you need?~~~ . And so it goes.

Another observation I have about Southern as opposed to Northern racism, is that the Northern racist is a racist with no remorse or white guilt. In many cases he is from one of the three main Northern ethnic groups; Italian, Irish, or Polish. And in his mind, he didn't own and damn slaves, and his ancestors came to this country and worked just as hard as some of the slaves did. So he makes no apology for slavery and it's legacy. And in his mind, your black ass should go get a job, and stop begging the government for handouts. The government has done more than enough for you, so it's time to get off your black ass and work. All the time not realizing that his white ass benefited from slavery because of the mere color of his skin. Yeah, your ancestors might not have owned slaves, but people who look like them sure did. It never ceases to amaze me for instance, how white folks will lose their minds over this cities pro quarterback. -who happens to be black-They buy their kids his tea shirt, they pay to see him play, and if he were to ever come around in person, they would lose their natural minds. Yet, these same people, will fire bomb a black families house if they ever had the audacity to move on their block.

In the South there is more guilt to the racism, so they are more polite, more gracious, and more patronizing. When people say that racism is more up front in the South they are wrong. That is a myth and an inaccurate stereotype which started in the fifties and sixties and just carried over to this day. If anything, it's more that way in the North, more open and up front. In the South, like everything else, there is a certain politeness and genteel ism to racism, and it drives me crazy. Here up North, we are more angry, because we have to live on top of one another, and force ourselves to co-exist, while all the time protecting our turfs. There is no pretense, because we don't have time for it.

Finally, of course, there is the obvious differences. Southern racism is institutionalized, and takes on a group form. There are still segregated the colleges, segregated organizations, segregated churches, and social clubs. Northern racism is individualized it's the individual that's a racist, and not the institutions of government, or groups. It's the individual who tries to keep you out of his neighborhood and home, it's the individual who makes racist jokes behind your back, and who secretly tenses up every time he is alone with you. This is Northern racism, and of the two, I must confess, that it's the form of racism that I do a better job of dealing with.

The truth of the matter is, racism, regardless of where you experience it is bad. And when it is exploited for political gain it is particularly insidious. It's a sad day indeed when one of our national parties resort to these tactics to hold on to power. But hey, what else do we expect when we live in a country where power trumps everything else? Even common decency and moral courage. It's called America folks, and we better get used to it.

I wonder what the weather is like in Cali these days?

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Under the Radar III: The South

The South, as broadly described, has been the key to Republican Presidential success.  In both 2000 and 2004, George W. Bush got a majority of his electoral votes by sweeping every electoral vote in the 11 states of the old Confederacy plus Kentucky and West Virginia.  In 2004, Republicans also picked up four southern Senate seats in Florida (was Bob Graham), South Carolina (was Fritz Hollings), Louisiana (was John Breaux), and North Carolina (was John Edwards).

All of this may make the south look monolithic.  After all, people like Tom DeLay (TX), Bill Frist (TN), and a lot of other southern Republicans have a lot of clout.  The truth is, that the South gives the Republicans a nice edge in the House (88 seats to 52 for the Democrats) and more southern Republican seats are listed as endangered (10) than Democratic seats (7).  Neither cash figures, House seats, nor margins of victory are consistent throughout the region.  Some results are not even consistent within a whole state.  More detailed analysis follows below a discussion of the 52 Democrats currently holding US House seats in the south.

I hope this doesn't sound patronizing.  Southern Democrats in the US House fall into three pretty equal bocs.  Southern blacks make up a third of this group with 17 of the 52 Democratic members.  Most of these individuals come from safe districts and many, but not all, vote mostly along progressive lines.  Another 17 southern Democrats are, by Democratic standards, pretty conservative with Progressive Punch scores under 70.  These members are pretty much the standard stereotype of "southern Democrats" with 15 non-Hispanic whites and 2 Hispanics from Texas.  Some of these individuals face stiff Republican challenges but most do not.  The remaining third of southern Democrats in the House are white (16 of 18 non-Hispanic) Although generally more conservative than "national Democrats", these representatives generally vote progressively between 75% and 85% of the time (two are more liberal, two are more conservative).

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"Mudcat": Webb is Secretariat; Dems can retake the South

bumped from the diaries -- jonathan... we don't have a dog in this primary between James Webb and Harris Miller, but this is an interesting post worth checking out

In today's Roanoke Times, there's an excellent, entertaining profile of Jim Webb senior advisor - and Roanoke County developer - Dave "Mudcat" Saunders (pictured at the far left), one of the most colorful characters I've ever had the privilege of meeting.    Besides advising people like Mark Warner - in his 2001 run for Governor - and Jim Webb for Senate, Saunders is now coming out with a book entitled, "Foxes in the Henhouse : How the Republicans Stole the South and the Heartland and What the Democrats Must Do to Run 'em Out." The book is co-written with another senior advisor to both Mark Warner in 2001 and Jim Webb in 2006 - Harvard Professor Steve Jarding (the guy in the blue shirt next to Mudcat in the picture).   The book is avaliable in bookstores on March 28, and the Saunders/Jarding team is gearing up to  promote it.  

There's more...


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