Friday, June 09, 2006

House GOP Right to be Optimistic

Yesterday I linked to Stu Rothenberg's analysis of the results of Tuesday's election. National Journal's Hotline takes a crack at it as well, and notes an important fact: if Democrats want to retake the House, they will have to win districts more reliably Republican than the one they lost Tuesday:

June 07, 2006
Ruby Red Tuesday
Much of the Dem post-primary spin has centered on the fact that Francine Busby performed capably given the Republican nature of CA 50.

But if Democrats plan on winning back the House, they’re going to have to win races in even redder territory. In fact, almost half of the Dems’ top pickup opportunities are in districts that Bush carried with over 55% in 2004. Here’s a list of Bush’s vote share in these vulnerable incumbents’ GOP districts:

Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY 04): 63%
Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN 08): 62%
Rep. Don Sherwood (R-PA 10) 60%
Rep. Mike Sodrel (R-IN 09): 59%
Rep. Thelma Drake (R-VA 02) 58%
Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH 18) 57%
Rep. Charles Taylor (R-NC 11) 57%

Add the MN 06 (57%) and TX 22 (64%) open seats, and you’ve got 9 top-tier Dem races in heavily GOP districts, districts that make CA 50 (55%) look less than “ruby red.” [JOSH KRAUSHAAR]

The race won by Bilbray did not represent the Democrats' 'dream scenario,' but they had every shot to win. Given the nature of the Congressional vacancy, this district was ground-zero for the 'ethics issue' to make a difference. Bilbray was a lobbyist, which provided valuable fodder, and turnout was set to favor Democrats given the Democratic gubernatorial primary the same day. Nevertheless, Francine Busby did not even improve her performance from the primary to the special election.

Democrats will need to do much better in November than they did on Tuesday. They will need to win races in more hostile districts, and they will need to do it in a number of places at once - not just in a 'one-off' race like the one they just lost.

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