Monday, October 31, 2011

A Dozen GOP-Held House Seats The Republicans Could Lose-- IF The Democrats Offer Competitive Challenges And Not Me-Too Conservatives


Leave aside for a moment whether the conflicted, pusillanimous House Democrats deserve to be entrusted with the majority again. It would be hard impossible to argue that the Republicans deserve to keep it. But that isn't what this post is about. Turning out their respective parties' bases will determine who wins control of Congress next year-- just like it did last year, when disappointed Democrats and left-leaning independents stayed away from the midterm polls in droves-- allowing dozens of implausible teabaggers and extremists to slip into office. Last week PPP released a polling memo identifies a dozen Republicans-- a mix of freshmen and longtime incumbents-- who voters would like to bid farewell to. Here's the list:


Rich Crawford (R) 43%
Someone else 48%
GOP Congress favorability: 38 approve/49 disapprove

Last year Crawford beat slimy Blue Dog Chad Causey for the open seat 52-43%. Next year it looks like he'll have to face state Rep. Clark Hall, who ran for reelection last time unopposed.


Tim Griffin (R) 44%
Someone else 49%
GOP Congress favorability: 36 approve/53 disapprove

A Karl Rove butt-boy and one of the most heavily-funded of the ideological extremists the GOP managed to get into Congress, Griffin beat Joyce Elliott 58-38%. Right now former Lt. Governor Bill Halter is thinking about challenging him.


Dan Lungren (R) 43%
Someone else 54%
GOP Congress favorability: 36 approve/53 disapprove

Ami Bera, who held Lungren to a 50% win last year is running again now-- and the redrawn district is slightly more favorable to Democrats.


Jeff Denham (R) 38%
Someone else 49%
GOP Congress favorability: 43 approve/41 disapprove

Not only is Denham significantly less popular than the GOP in general, this year he has a formidable opponent in farm worker turned astronaut, Jose Hernandez-- and a much less Republican district than the 19th which he represents now.


Elton Gallegly (R) 42%
Someone else 48%
GOP Congress favorability: 40 approve/47 disapprove

No one is certain if Gallegly, who has tried to retire in the past, will even run again but Moorpark City Councilman David Pollock is likely to give him a lot more of a challenge than Tim Allison did last year in what turned into a 60-40% rout.


Mary Bono Mack (R) 43%
Someone else 55%
GOP Congress favorability: 34 approve/54 disapprove

The redrawn district is friendlier territory for Democrats and last year Steve Pougnet held Bono-Mack down to a 52% win. Dr. Raul Ruiz has a compelling life story and may finally be the Democrat to end the wishy-washy political career of Riverside County's absentee congresswoman.


Brian Bilbray (R) 42%
Someone else 51%
GOP Congress favorability: 39 approve/53 disapprove

Former state Rep. Lori SaldaƱa is running in a significantly bluer district than the one Bilbray held onto last year with 57% of the vote. Friends tell me she's a progressive.


Bob Dold (R) 42%
Someone else 50%
GOP Congress favorability: 39 approve/53 disapprove

Dold is in the most Democratic district held by a Republican. Obama won this one with 61% and next year it will be even bluer. Progressive activist Ilya Sheyman looks to be beating corporate shill Robert McKenzie in the Democratic primary race. You can contribute to Ilya's campaign here.


Judy Biggert (R) 41%
Someone else 52%
GOP Congress favorability: 44 approve/50 disapprove

There isn't really an incumbent in this new blue-leaning district, but Biggert will try to present herself as one. First she'll have to get by a gaggle of right-wing lunatics attacking her from the right-- Grundy County board member Chris Balkema, Aurora alderman Richard Irvin, and Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham. And then she'll either face ex-Congressman Bill Foster (a conservative), Juan Thomas, or James Hickey.


Tim Johnson (R) 33%
Someone else 53%
GOP Congress favorability: 30 approve/53 disapprove

Progressive David Gill will be challenging Johnson for the 4th time if he can beat corporate-friendly former state Rep. Jay Hoffman, a right-wing Democrat, in the primary.


Bobby Schilling (R) 39%
Someone else 49%
GOP Congress favorability: 32 approve/54 disapprove

At least 5 Democrats-- Cheri Bustos, state Sen. Dave Koehler, George Gaulrapp, Eric Reyes, and Greg Aguilar-- have lined up to take on the woefully weak Schilling, who won a more Republican-leaning district last year with 53%.


Sean Duffy (R) 43%
Someone else 51%
GOP Congress favorability: 39 approve/52 disapprove

Last year Duffy, who hasn't impressed his constituents, won the open seat with 52%. (Obama won the district with 56% two years before.) Next year Duffy will be facing former state Senator and ex-TV anchor man Pat Kreitlow.



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