Friday, July 28, 2017

Midterm Momentum Is Building Nicely-- Another Democratic Legislative Win This Week In New Hampshire


Can Democrats take back the House next year? Yes-- if they have more candidates like Randy Bryce and fewer "ex"-Republicans like the CA-39 Lottery Winner

Last Friday we talked about how progressives are winning special elections in red areas of New Hampshire. Tuesday it happened again. Kevin Cavanaugh, a Democratic alderman in Manchester shocked the political establishment with a grassroots campaign that beat Republican former Sen. David Boutin in a special election Boutin held from 2010 through last year. To understand what happened-- and how Cavanaugh won 55-44%-- first look at the registration numbers in the state Senate district that includes 3 Manchester wards and the nearby small towns of and the towns of Bow, Candia, Dunbarton and Hooksett:
undeclared- 36%
Republican- 35%
Democrat- 29%
Both campaigns raised much more than is normally raised for a state legislative special election-- Cavanaugh $125,771 and Boutin 108,000. The turnout was 21%, relatively strong for a summer special election in a state legislative race. Cavanaugh ran up a big margin in Manchester-- 61.2% to 37.8% and Boutin didn't win his hometown, Dubrow, with a wide enough margin to make up for it. According the WMUR, "Democrats credited Cavanaugh's win to an outpouring of enthusiasm from voters frustrated by the GOP legislative and congressional majorities at the State House and on Capitol Hill."

That all said, Sabato's Crystal Ball just changed 13 ratings for the 2018 congressional midterms-- all but one in favor of Democratic candidates. The one was a swingy district in Nevada that right-wing garbage Dem Jacky Rosen is abandoning in her quest for a Senate seat. She's one of the 10 worst Democrats in the House and is unlikely able to beat Dean Heller-- but could be swept into office in an anti-Trump tsunami. She leaves NV-03 very vulnerable to a GOP win and it goes from "leans Dem" to "toss up." This is Sabato's whole list of changes:

If Democrats do have a chance to win the House next year, it might be because they translated a currently big field of announced candidates into credible opportunities to flip not just some of the top seats on their list of targets, but also some seats that, on paper, might not seem like they should be competitive. If that’s what happens-- a big if at such an early point in the cycle despite President Trump’s unpopularity and the usual midterm trends that favor the party that does not hold the White House-- it would mirror what happened when the Democrats last won the House from Republican control in 2006.

That year, Democrats ended up netting 31 seats, but they were not exactly the 31 seats that many might have thought would flip going into the election.

Several embattled GOP incumbents from districts that Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry had won or came very close to winning in 2004 ended up eking out close victories in 2006, including Reps. Chris Shays (R, CT-4), Heather Wilson (R, NM-1), Deborah Pryce (R, OH-15), and Jim Gerlach (R, PA-6). Had one known before the election that all four of these Republican incumbents would have won, it would have been reasonable to question the Democrats’ ability to net the 16 seats they needed to win the majority.

And yet, Democrats ended up gaining double what they needed, in large part because while they didn’t win all of the most obviously competitive races, they won some upsets through good performances by unheralded challengers. For instance, then-college professor Dave Loebsack (D) surprisingly knocked off Rep. Jim Leach (R, IA-2) and social worker Carol Shea-Porter (D), who defeated a candidate backed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in her party’s primary, upset Rep. Jeb Bradley (R, NH-1).

As we unveil our latest House ratings changes this week, we’ve been thinking about 2006 and the importance, to Democrats, of fielding as many credible challengers as they can. That’s because even if there is a positive environment for Democrats next fall, they are not going to knock off every clearly vulnerable GOP incumbent. Many Republicans who sit in districts that Hillary Clinton won last fall are proven vote-getters who ran well ahead of President Trump last fall, like Reps. Mike Coffman (R, CO-6), Carlos Curbelo (R, FL-26), Barbara Comstock (R, VA-10), Dave Reichert (R, WA-8), and others. Democrats probably will have to beat some of these incumbents in 2018 to win the House-- or hope that some decide not to run for another term, like Clinton-district Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R, FL-27)-- but defeating all of them is unrealistic. Hence, the necessity of expanding the map.

...At this point in the cycle, Democrats have more than 200 filed House challengers who have raised at least a small amount of money ($5,000 or more). That’s more than the combined total of Democratic challengers at this point of the cycle in the last four cycles, and way more than either party has had in midsummer of the off year over the last decade and a half.

Granted, $5,000 raised and being registered with the Federal Election Commission isn’t a tremendously high bar, but the early wave of candidates is striking compared with previous cycles. Additionally, as Malbin writes, the candidates are not necessarily clustered in the same districts: “So far, 105 different Republican incumbents have Democratic challengers with $5,000. At this same time in 2009, only 50 of the Democratic incumbents were up against challengers with $5,000.”

However, there are some packed fields already, too. For instance, Democrats kicked off their 2018 campaign message in Berryville, VA, earlier this week, which is in VA-10, held by the aforementioned Rep. Comstock. This is a district-- Clinton won it by 10 points — that is a major Democratic target. However, party leadership’s preferred candidate, state Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D), actually finished behind three other Democrats in fundraising in the past quarter. Democrats also already have big fields in some races in California, which uses a top-two primary system to determine general election contests. All candidates, regardless of party, run in the primary, and the top-two vote-getters advance to November. It’s possible that big Democratic fields could lead to Republican incumbents in targeted districts advancing to the general election against another Republican, which has happened to Democrats in a couple of targeted races in recent years (and also to Republicans in the state’s U.S. Senate race last year). The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reserves the right to get involved in primaries: Will it do so in a major way next year? And, if the DCCC does, will it upset activists who distrust party leadership and believe that party bigwigs tilted the scales against Bernie Sanders in last year’s presidential primary? If Democrats begin to recoil at party leadership, the Democratic establishment might have to navigate through the same intraparty battles that sometimes bedeviled Republicans in the Obama years.
The bottom 2 charts show how the Beltway looks at seats that are potentially up for grabs but the criteria is pathetic and outmoded. Best example is that WI-01, Paul Ryan's seat, doesn't even show up as a possibility. It will, but the Beltway and it's silly arms are always months behind reality. The first chart shows the Republican-held seats Sabato sees as worth contesting. And the second one shows the Democrats who they think are targetable by the NRCC. With the exceptions of Carol Shea-Porter, Rick Nolan, Dave Loebsack and Matt Cartwright these are not Democrats worth defending.

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At 11:17 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

A step by step process we'll take any win we can get congrats to Kevin.

At 1:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NH ain't most of the usa.

Looking at the grid, the democraps would have to fail to lose ALL their seats plus fail to lose ALL the toss-up and leaning R seats to flip the house.

Never ever underestimate the democraps' aversion to majorities. It makes it much harder for them to serve their donors and ratfuck their voters when they have numbers indicating they could do whatever they SAY they want.

And if they DO fuck up and flip the house, Pelosi and hoyer and cliburn et al will certainly never allow MFA or anything else at all that corporations and billionaires won't want.

So... all this support and enthusiasm for the democraps... I have to ask... TO WHAT END, people??


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