Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Republicans Are Mostly Playing Defense In House Races-- Except For A Few Blue Districts That Trump Won


Matt Cartwright deserves reelection

Over the weekend, Politico ran an essay about how Republicans will try to make up for expected losses in the 2018 midterms by targeting Democrats in Trump districts. Reporter Elena Schneider kicked off her piece by focusing on progressive champion Matt Cartwright. Matt's district (PA-17) stretches from Carbondale to Scranton and Wilkes-Barre and the south to Pocono Summit, the Delaware Water Gap and Nazareth and as far south as Easton in the east and Freemansburg in the west. It was gerrymandered to shove as many traditional blue collar Democratic voters into one misshapen district as possible to protect 3 Republican-leaning seats-- PA-10 (Tom Marino), PA-11 (Lou Barletta) and PA-15 (Charlie Dent). Last year the PVI was D+4 and Cartwright was reelected 155,766 (53.9%) to 132,969 (42.7%). But Hillary's status quo message was the exact opposite of what voters there wanted and Trump creamed her 53.4% to 43.3%-- in a district Obama had taken 55.4% to 43.3% four years earlier. The swing was unique to Hillary and Trump and was unrelated to Matt Cartwright, a consistent and effective advocate for working families.

Goal ThermometerWhen Schneider writes that "Trump had painted Cartwright’s turf red beneath his feet" she was being overly dramatic and... basically incorrect, even if the numbers people at Cook now give the district an R+1 PVI. Still, the Republican Party is targeting Matt in a big way this cycle. They've recruited a self-funding Wall Street hack, John Chrin, a former managing director at JP Morgan Chase who lives on millionaires' row in swanky Short Hills, New Jersey-- a Wall Street company town. He claims he can run in PA-17 because his paternal grandfather owns a company that owns a landfill in Northampton County. Chrin's mansion is about a two hour drive--more if there's traffic on the I-80-- from Scranton and Wilkes-Barre in the district. He lives in Leonard Lance's district although I suppose he can move into his grandfather's company's landfill if the commute to PA-17 gets too arduous for him. Trump's tax scam is tailor-made for people exactly like John Chrin. On the right is the ActBlue "Trump District Progressives" thermometer. It's important; please take a look and contribute what you can. So far this cycle Cartwright has raised $894,267 to Chrin's $667,266, although, notably, $563,715 of what Chrin "raised" came from a check he wrote to his own campaign. Cartwright told Schneider that "the real question is: Why did I do well there too? Why did 30,000 Trump voters also vote for Matt Cartwright? I think the reason is that I focus on jobs and wages, better jobs and better wages." Progressive Punch awarded Cartwright an "A" rating. He's the caucus whip for the Congressional Progressive Caucus and vice chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environmental Coalition Caucus.

Some of the other Democrats the GOP is targeting aren't worth the effort to defend. Nationally, Democrats would be better off without Blue Dog Cheri Bustos who is looking to rise in the party leadership where she can spread her repulsive Republican-lite approach to policy. Bustos is one of the worst Democrats in the House. Her lifetime crucial vote score is 50%, indicating she votes as much against important progressive legislation as for it. ProgressivePunch gave her an "F." Her district is in the northwest corner of the state and pretty blue. Obama beat McCain 60-39% and beat Romney 57-41%. Clinton was too much to swallow and Trump eked out a narrow win, 47.4% to 46.7%. The PVI dropped from D+7 to D+3. Bustos won reelection with 60% and-- despite trying to gin up contributions by whining how endangered she is, she has no serious competition. The NRCC candidate, Mark Kleine has raised $508,150 ($135,000 self-funded) to Bustos' $1,273,349. She has $2,363,367 cash on hand. Don't waste your money giving her any contributions-- unless you like Democrats from the Republican wing of the party and want to see her build power.

Another crap Democrat, Wisconsin New Dem Ron Kind, is also in the NRCC's sights. His district borders on Bustos'; he was first elected in 1996 and has been a pretty dependably bad vote, although not as bad as she is, but also with an "F" from ProgressivePunch. The district voted for Obama both times he ran-- 59-39% against McCain and 55-44% against Romney. Again, a blue collar district that was all wrong for Hillary. Trump beat her 49.3% to 44.8% and 2015's D+5 PVI is now even. Republicans are usually happy enough with Kind's conservatism to not even run candidates against him. He doesn't have a serious challenger this year. He had no opponent at all in 2016.

"Republicans are mostly on defense in the House of Representatives ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, with Democrats looking to erase the GOP’s 24-seat advantage and take back the majority," wrote Schneirder. "But Republicans are also confident they can pad their margin by picking off some Democrats in heavily white, blue-collar districts next fall, despite the political winds blowing against them elsewhere in the U.S.-- and Democrats are relying on those members to learn the lessons of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss to avoid 2018 surprises." The districts the GOP is going after, besides Cartwright's, Bustos' and Kind's, include, NH-01, where Carol Shea-Porter is retiring, NV-03, where right-wing imbecile Jacky Rosen is running for the U.S. Senate, Rick Nolan's district in northern Minnesota and the last remaining Iowa Democratic seat, Dave Loebsack's and the southern Minnesota seat Tim Walz is abandoning to run for governor-- and that's likely the only one they'll win.

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home