Thursday, October 19, 2006

More GOP Incumbents in Trouble?

Amidst reports that the DCCC is considering taking out a big loan to fund the expanding field of competitive races they see, is this report that Melissa Hart is one Republican whose race has suddenly turned into a good opportunity for Democrats:

NRCC nervous about Rep. Hart's race
By Jonathan E. Kaplan

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) bought nearly $200,000 in television airtime on Tuesday to defend Rep. Melissa Hart’s (R-Pa.) seat while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has reserved airtime in the race that had previously been considered a safe seat for Republicans.

The sizable television buys indicate that the field of competitive House races is expanding; Democrats are finding opportunities in places where they had not expected to be competitive. In Hart’s district, there are 55,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans, "We seek to solve potential problems before they become problems," said Carl Forti, the NRCC’s spokesman...

This story probably doesn't really indicate any trouble for Hart. Note that the DCCC 'reserved' airtime. They have not bought it, and might well never air any ads.

Rather, this story illustrates where the race for the House is today: Democrats are talking about a wealth of potential new opportunities. Melissa Hart, Gil Gutknecht, Bill Sali (the GOP candidate in Idaho's open seat) have all been heavy favorites, but Democrats suddenly sense opportunity.

The race for Congress may soon look like a high-stakes poker game. Don't be surprised to hear soon that the DCCC is borrowing money to fund newly-competitive House races. And expect one of the GOP campaign committees to borrow money as well, if only to demonstrate its confidence.

Which side is bluffing?

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