20 key House recruiting priorities.
by Democraticavenger, Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 03:13:54 PM EDT
On the whole Democrats are doing exceptionally well when it comes to House Challenger recruitment. By my count there are already 45 districts in which well-established challengers could potentially win. Additionally Democrats have another five districts in which challengers are pretty close to declaring and if such challengers declared would also make these very competitive. This amounts to already 50 potential wins. While this is very good news, I believe there are about twenty more districts in which a Democrat could win if a proper challenger would emerge . With any luck we should be looking at 70 Republicans or more than 1/3 of the Republican House Caucus on the Run. The twenty districts in need of a challenger are on the flip with brief explanations of each. It is also extremely important to remember challenger does not have to mean extremely well funded, well connected party insider or self-funder. In 2006 we won with many first time , regular people who worked very hard. We need just as many Tim Walz's, as Nick Lampson's.
1. PA 6
This is the most surprising of the districts to currently be without a challenger in Jim Gerlach entire career in Congress he has never gotten above 52% of the vote. His district is only 1 of 8 remaining districts that voted for Kerry and in sending a Republican to Congress. I have heard in and out many names floated but as of yet have not heard of a declared challenger. I imagine that should not last long but still until it is rectified it is clearly the biggest problem district out there.
2. IL 6
This district was waiting on Tammy Duckworth decision of whether to run against Peter Roskam or not, now that the decision has been made. Democrats are in need of a new candidate. Peter Roskam only got 51% in a district that only gave George Bush 53%. This could well be Obama territory and not having a House Challenger would be shame.
3. DE AL
This district has been held extremely well held by Republican Michael Castle for a relatively long time and will be an extremely difficult get and yet it is the most Democratic district of any held by a Republican. So far no credible challenger has emerged but if one does Mike Castle can be beat.
4. IL 18
This newly minted open seat should be of considerable value, while it is a generally tough district giving Bush 58 percent of the vote. Its Republican Members of Congress have been more moderate than most. We need a strong candidate in this race as we should in all under 60 Bush open seats.
5. MN 3
Jim Ramstad is defiantly a slippery customer who has a tendency to vote correctly on a number of occasions, and yet his district in Minnesota, like the one now held by Congressman Tim Walz, barely gave the Republican any margin with which to work. Another earnest Minnesotan can and should make this race a real fight. At the very least a challenge will make Jim Ramstad do the right thing more often.
6. MI 11
This district seems to be one of utmost importance, it was one of the five
seriously under targeted in 2006. The criteria are those races in which an incumbent is held to less than 55% while spending less than $ 500,000. The other four all seem to have challengers in place. This district simply can not be left to go unchallenged. It also gave George Bush only 53% of the vote. Simply put. We can beat Thaddeus McCotter.
7. FL 10
Bill Young is the type of incumbent who needs pushing into retirement, his district only voted for the President 2004 by an exceptionally small margin and yet he has been re-elected by very large margins over and over. He is however quite old and a strong and declared challenger could make him think twice about running for re-election. Plus given his age, he could lose even if he does run for re-election
8. NJ 3
Jim Saxton sometimes talks like a moderate but is many ways a conservative, he was held to under 60% against a very under-funded challenger in 2006 and represents another just Bush win with roughly 51%, in 04 but which Gore won by near double-digits. I heard rumors of state-senator John Adler getting into the race but until I hear more than rumors, we need a candidate.
9. NY 3
There are only six New York State Republican House members left and already four have challengers, and three have very serious challengers. There are still sadly two who lack the kind of challenger they need. Peter King's race is one of them. A very similar district to NJ 3 in that it went slightly for Bush in 04, but near double digits for Gore in 2000. All the other Long-Island district have fallen. A well place challenger should make this one fall as well.
10. OH 12
The pattern should begin to be emerging, this is a district in which George Bush won by the slightest of margins with an incumbent who receive less than 60% in 2006. It was one of the better funded challenges though our candidate faced other obstancles. Given the still somewhat toxic environment for Republicans in Ohio, along with a Presidential year, Pat Tieberi is clearly vulnerable to the right kind of challenger.
11. NY 13
One of only Six Republican from New York, and one of only two without a challenger, this district showed a bigger Bush swing than NY 3, but also went for Gore by a similar amount. Vito Fossella represents Staten Island and Brooklyn. Steve Harrison on an extremely small budget held Vito to only 57% and therefore the right challenger should be able to win. New York could at the end of 2008 have no Republican left in the delegation and hopefully with CT we can have a Republican free North East from New York to Maine.
12. VA 2
It is not the nature of the district but Thelma Drake's mediocre performance that have landed her on the hot heat, after winning the seat initially in 2004 with only 55% of 3 points behind Bush's take her 2006 performance of only 51% makes her in serious jeporardy were a serious challenger to emerge. We need one, if only to help our 2008 VA Senate candidate.
13. NJ 2
This is another barely won for Bush 2004, Gore much bigger Winner 2000, moderately Republican held districts, the reason it falls lower on the scale than NJ 2 is the Republican Frank LoBiondo holds up better than does Jim Saxton, and is also more politically strewed. Still a strong challenge here and it is a winnable race.
14. Il 11
It is actually amazing to be that Jerry Weller is not considered more vulnerable given the fun he has with ethics and yet, his 55% win over very capable John Pavich indicated taking him out in a district that gave George Bush 53% will be difficult, but Illinois could be Obama country and the right challenger could have Weller's number.
15. OH 3
Mike Turner sits on the type of district that swung well in 2006. It gave George Bush 54% of the vote in Dayton Ohio. It is not an easy sell and yet Mike Turner is not a long time member having only been recently elected in 2002. He also was held to under 60% against a very late declaring challenger after a debacle with our first candidate. It is the type of district that could swing and therefore should be challeneged.
16. IL 13
Judy Biggert sits on a moderately Republican districts in generally suburban Illinois The district gave George Bush about 53% of the vote, she has not often been challenged though she did dip below 60 in the most recent election despite nominally funded opposition. Seats in Illinois that fit this profile must have viable challengers as a Democratic winning 60% of the vote there in the Presidential is a real possibility[if you doubt, the Dem and Green got 60% against the last Republican to hold statewide office, so 60% is clearly possible]
17. MI 8
Mike Rogers faced down with 55% a pretty good challenger in 2006 election, and yet the 54% that Bush got in the District in 2004 means it could flip. It was these Suburban leaner districts that made for the last 10 of the Democrats House wins, this district and PA 4 seems to have a possible similarities, the point is that there is simply no reason to give up here.
18. MI 6
Fred Upton usually wins big but the district is relatively moderate, giving George Bush 53%, it isn't a high priority but a challenger could win here. If I had to guess I would say Both Stabenow and Granholm one this district. We need to compete here.
19. FL 18
One of the very few district in which the George Bush percentage dropped versus 2000, FL 18 is the most Democratic of the three Miami area Cuban district, This district only gave George Bush 54% of the vote and while its Incumbent is well entrenched the right kind of challenger could move this district on the path to becoming Democratic.
20. MI 4
This district is mostly listed for the round number as Bush's 55 here, along with 61% by Dave Camp in 2006, does not give me much grounds for getting too excited and yet, 55% is not so larger as to give up hope. Dave Camp could be defeated if a very high quality challenger were to emerge.