House Ratings: Things look even better in October!
by LeftistAddiction, Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 04:41:32 AM EDT
The full rankings are available on Campaign Diaries.
Plenty of action in House races since our first ratings came out in mid-September. This is recruitment and retirement season in the House, and Ohio has been the center of it all, with three Republicans retiring, two of them in very competitive districts (OH-15 and OH-16). Democrats have had better news on the recruitment front as well (look at AK-AL, FL-24, IL-11 and MN-06), but Republicans reply that they are very satisfied with their newest candidates in NM-01 and OH-07...
A lot will still happen in the next few weeks. Republicans are afraid that many more Republicans will announce their retirement, for that has really been to bottom line so far: Whatever chance the GOP had of reclaiming a majority next year (and it was already a slim chance) has been erased by the number of competitive open seats the party will have to defend, some of them completely unexpectedly. Two good news the Republicans did get recently were from unexpected places. The first is from VA-11, a blue-trending district held by Republican Tom Davis. It appeared certain that Davis would run for Senate -- offering the seat to Dems, but it now seems he will stay where he is. The second good news came from MA-05, where the GOP got a "moral victory" this week in the special election that the Democrat won by only 5% in a very Democratic district. Moral victories might not be much, but Hackett's near-win in very red OH-02 in 2005 certainly prefigured larger gains in 2006.
I have only written full descriptions of seats that have made news over the past month. For deatiled descriptions of the other races, check last month's rankings. Only a few seats saw their rating change in the past four months. I indicated upgraded or downgraded next to them to indicate whether they became more vulnerable or less vulnerable for the incumbent party. Here is the quick run-down:
- Less competitive: OH-02, VA-11
- More competitive: AK-AL, IN-09, IL-11, KS-03, NM-11, NJ-03, OH-07, OH-14
Republican seats, Lean take-over (4)
- AZ-1 (Open)
- CA-4 (Rep. Doolittle): Nothing much has changed since last month. Doolittle is under heavy investigation for his ties with Abramoff, and he is refusing to retire, drawing fire from his own party. Democrats are running 2006 nominee Brown, and if Doolittle stays the GOP candidate, they seem assured of carrying the seat. But if the RNCC is successful in getting Doolittle to retire, the race will drop down and strongly favor Republican. It is a red district and is rated so high only because of Doolittle's troubles.
- NM-1 (Open, upgraded): Heather Wilson is running for Senate, and this swing district finally opened up. Republicans got the candidate they white when Sheriff White jumped in the race, but the seat slightly leans Democratic and that should play help the Democratic nominee (right now probably Heinrich, but 2006 nominee Patricia Madrid could jump in) cross the finish line. White released a poll showing him ahead in a general election, but it was an internal poll. We will downgrade the race is that is confirmed by independent pollsters.
- OH-15 (Open): Republicans have pretty much given up on this seat since Rep. Pryce announced she was retiring. A whole line-up of Republicans passed up on the race one after the other, most notably former Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro. Democrat Kilroy (the 2006 nominee) seems to have the Dem nomination wrapped up, and should sail to victory. With so many other seats to worry about in Ohio, the GOP will likely not spend that much time defending this one.
Democratic seats, Lean take-over (1)
- FL-16 (Rep. Mahoney)
Republican seats, Toss-up (12)
- CO-4 (Rep. Musgrave): Angie Paccione, the 2006 nominee, was preparing for a rematch against Musgrave, but announced she was dropping out in late September. This leaves Betsy Markey, a former aide to Senator Salazar, as the likely Democratic nominee.
- CT-4 (Rep. Shays)
- IL-10 (Rep. Kirk): Democrats are in the midst of a tight primary fight between Jay Footlik and 2006 nominee Daniel Seals.
- IL-11 (Open, upgraded): Rep. Weller's decision to call it quits in this competitive district made it a top target for Democrats overnight. Their hand strengthened when they unexpectedly convinced Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson to jump in, while the leading Republican declined to run. Depending on where GOP recruitment ends up, this race could soon move up to "Lean Takeover."
- MN-03 (Open): Rep. Ramstad's retirement made this race an instant toss-up, but the GOP is reportedly pressuring him to reconsider his decision, arguing that conditions are too bad this cycle and Ramstad should wait one more to open his seat. That about tells you how vulnerable this seat is.
- NC-08 (Rep. Hayes)
- NJ-03 (Rep. Saxton, upgraded): Republicans think they finally have the candidate in this swing district that Bush narrowly carried in 2004 but that Gore won by 10 points in 2000. State Senator John Adler is running, 18 years after a first run against Saxton at age 31. Depending on who tops the presidential ticket, this race could go either way.
- OH-1 (Rep. Chabot)
- OH-16 (Open): Rep. Regula announced he would retire in mid-October, after years of speculation that his time had come. Democrats are running a strong candidate in the form of state Senator John Boccieri, but it might very well be that they would have had an easier time defeating the aging Regula than competing for an open seat in a district that is marginally Republican.
- NY-25 (Rep. Walsh)
- PA-06 (Rep. Gerlach)
- VA-11 (Rep. Davis, possibly open; downgraded): In the last rankings, this seat was ranked "lean takeover" because Tom Davis looked sure to jump in the Senate seat and open up this northern Virginia district in a region that has been trending Democratic. But it now looks like Davis not retire after all. Democrats are certain to challenge him more than they did in 2006, but Davis would start up as the favorite if he runs.
- WA-8 (Rep. Reichert)
Democratic seats, Toss-up (11)
- CA-11 (Rep. McNerney)
- GA-8 (Rep. Marshall)
- IL-8 (Rep. Bean)
- IN-09 (Rep. Hill, upgraded): Republican Mike Sodrel announced earlier this month that he would run for the seat for the fourth competitive time against Democrat Baron Hill. The Democrat won in 2002, Sodrel in 2004, then Hill again in 2006! The GOP contends that the presidential race should give Sodrel the necessary turn-out boost among conservatives, while Democrats contend Hill is prepared for Sodrel this time. If Sodrel had taken a pass, this seat would have been far less competitive -- but a third rematch guarantees that it will go down the wire.
- KS-2 (Rep. Boyda)
- NH-01 (Rep. Shea-Porter)
- NY-19 (Rep. Hall)
- OH-18 (Rep. Space)
- PA-04 (Rep. Altmire)
- PA-10 (Rep. Carney): This seat is very Republican, and the GOP has plenty of candidates (for example Chris Hackett and Don Meuser) who want to take on Carney. The netroots are unlikely to provide him with great help, as Carney has been very conservative since his election -- saying for example that he would like to see Republican Chuck Hagel be president. Though that's probably the way to survive in this district.
- TX-22 (Rep. Lampson)
Read the rest of the rankings -- and detailed accounts of many more races, including all lean retentions and potentially competitives (THERE ARE A LOT!) etc..., here, at the rankings page!
Tags: AK-AL, AZ-01, CA-04, FL-16, House, IL-10, IL-11, IN-09, KS-03, NC-08, NH-01, NJ-03, NM-11, NY-19, NY-25, OH-01, OH-02, OH-07, OH-14, OH-15, PA-04 OH-16, pa-06, PA-10, rankings, TX-22, VA-11, WA-08 (all tags)