House Races To Watch
Like most people, I’ll be bouncing between the Internet’s incoming results and the blowhards on television. I’ll be fixated mostly on the larger Presidential and Senate races. That doesn’t mean I won’t be watching for results in some of the House races. So here’s a brief run-down on the ones I’ll be looking for on Tuesday night. All candidates listed are the incumbent (or the Democratic candidate if an open seat).
Ken’s List 08 Races
1. Travis Childers (MS-01)
His was my first donation of the campaign cycle, back during his special election. His general election fight seems much easier, as it’s barely even on the radar. But the size of his margin might give us clues to black turnout in Mississippi, which in turn might help us figure out if the Senate race is competitive.
2. Thelma Drake (VA-02)
Glenn Nye is a young Democrat with foreign policy chops, and is challenging Drake. He was attacked by this do-nothing backbencher for owning a home in DC while living abroad – until news reports surfaced that Drake is personally profiting from the foreclosure crisis to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Obama is expected to carry this district, but the margin could determine whether Nye wins.
3. Sam Graves (MO-06)
The former mayor of Kansas City, Kay Barnes, is not expected to beat gay-baiter Sam Graves, which is something of a disappointment. But there’s other reasons to watch Missouri, so I’ll keep an eye on this race anyway.
Scandals and Foul Mouths
4. Jack Murtha (PA-12)
What is up with Defense Appropriators? Stevens on the Senate GOP side, and now Murtha. Of course, Murtha’s problem isn’t ethics this year, but having a foul mouth. Even the redneck racists don’t like being called that to their face. Will this boot him out of the House? He represents a lot of coal miners whose pensions I help deliver, so I’ll be watching this one.
5. Michele Bachmann (MN-06)
So who exactly among her colleagues is “anti-American”? Even if she manages to win re-election after such an outrageous comment, how can she expect to be effective while working alongside a large House Democratic caucus that she sees as anti-American? Hopefully the district will boot her out, and let the local GOP start fresh in 2010.
6. Marilyn Musgrave (CO-04)
Her district was seen as conservative, but just might vote for Obama. Even so, she has been seen as an ineffective loud mouth, especially on gay marriage. The NRCC seems to have written her off, to the chagrin of the Religious Right.
7. Bill Sali (ID-01)
This congressman is like Bachmann, except even the local Republicans don’t like him. Polls have him trailing even though McCain is going to top 60% easily in this western half of Idaho. So I’d see a win here as temporary, but quite satisifying.
8. Don Young (AK)
He hasn’t lead in a single poll in more than a year, and is fully expected to lose. But like Sali and Bachmann, it might be a temporary loss. This would be good for the GOP – sure, the seniority and top spot on Resources Committee is a lot to lose, but they’d be scandal-free. Oh, btw, Sarah Palin would be up for a second term as governor when this seat faces the voters again in 2010 – could we see her move to Washington?
9. Virgil Goode (VA-05)
Nothing is wrong with sponsoring a gay erotic film. But being a conservative Republican (one who left the DNC over social issues) who allowed a government fax to be used for the gay film crosses too many lines for me to not stop laughing at this scandal. His opponent has been running smart ads, and I’d love to see Goode lose as part of a strong Dem wave here in Virginia.
10. Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01)
She wasn’t expected to win in 2006, and is in the more Republican of the two districts in New Hampshire. But even McCain is trailing here, and she just might prove her 2006 win wasn’t a fluke but a sign of real change in the Live Free or Die state.
11. Chris Shays (CT-04)
He is the last House Republican from New England. Is that a fluke, or does he have a special touch that is keeping him alive? Obama has recorded a radio ad for the Dem challenger in this race, and I’d love to see New England a unanimous sea of blue on the House map.
12. Lee Terry (NE-02)
Jim Esch, a young Democrat in a rematch, is competitive in Omaha, and just might win. A Democrat in Nebraska. Wow. If he’s competitive, that could mean Obama is competitive there too, and we just might see a split in the state’s electoral votes. Those are good reasons to keep an eye on the race.
13. Frank Kratovil (MD-01)
The GOP moderate who held the seat was ousted in a primary by a Club for Growth type. This district leans Republican, but the GOP incumbent has endorsed the Democratic candidate, sending this race into tossup territory. Is it a fluke that Kratovil can win?
14. Joe Knollenberg (MI-09)
How much is this race competitive because the district is changing? How much because McCain abandoned the state? How much because the incumbent, Knollenberg, is serving past his prime here? We really won’t know, but if he loses by a big margin, as opposed to narrowly, it might be a sign of how things are going nationally. If he wins, though, it’ll be an upset.
These are just a few of the many races I’m going to watch, but I don’t want to belabor the point with too many write-ups. And frankly, it’ll be more interesting after the election then during.