In 2008 and again in 2010, I put together a series of diaries focusing on taking/keeping control of the House. Worked out well in "08", not so well in "10". So here we are again in 2012, needing to take back House control. But in 2012, the need is much greater than it was in 2008. Because in 2012, the House is not just controlled by Republicans, its controlled by a bunch of "Tea Party" fanatics who hold sway over the Republican leadership and are hell bent on stopping any legislation proposed by President Obama or the Democratic Senate. And I for one, don't think we can sit around hoping that this Republican House will change its tune when President Obama gets re-elected and we retain Senate control.
That's why I'm once again beginning a series of diaries aimed at taking back the House. The series will focus on both our pickup opportunities as well as those where we need to play defense to hold. It will provide you with details on each race, the current polls, some background on our candidate and links to the candidate's site to encourage donations and GOTV efforts. So after you clear the jump /\ with me, let's get started!
UPDATE: Also please take sometime to read this similar Diary by ArkDem14. Very well thought out with sound reasoning. I'm so jealous!
Before I get into the "Nitty-Gritty" of this series, let me first take a few words to clear up some things.
First, this is not intended to draw attention away from our efforts to get President Obama re-elected or the Senate races which are important to our continued control of that body. Although our prospects are improving, I am not in anyway saying that these races are "shoe-ins" or that we should shift our efforts away from the Presidential/Senate races. I'm simply saying that we need to keep up the momentum we are building in those races, and use it to help us with the House races.
Second, I know some of you are thinking that taking back the House is an exercise in unrealistic optimism. In doing this diary series, I'm not trying to paint a rosy picture. Its frankly a long-shot and the odds are still very much stacked against us. But with the improving picture for Dems. nationally, its not totally impossible. Besides its clear that this year we are in a position to play offense and its likely we can take back a number of House seats. Even if we fall short of the 22 seat flips we need to take control, a good effort on our part can substantially lessen the Republican majority. Lessening their majority to a few seats will make it tougher for them to stop all Dem. legislation entirely, since we would only need to swing a few moderate House Republicans (granted there are very few "moderate" Republicans left). It will also make it easier for us to flip control of the House in 2014, especially if Boehner continues to use the House as a roadblock.
Now that, that's cleared up, lets get things started.
Part 1 of this series (this Diary) will look at the first 11 House races we need to flip from red to blue.
Part 2 of this series will look at the next 11 House races we need to flip from red to blue in order to get the 22 needed to take control of the House.
Part 3 of this series will look at the races where we need to play defense in order to keep a blue seat blue.
Part 4 and the last of the series, will put all the flips and holds together and evaluate where we stand in terms of taking control and where our efforts should be concentrated (IMHO).
PART 1: The 11 House races listed below are all from Republican held or open seats in which the Dem. candidate is shown to be leading in the polls. All polls in this listing come courtesy of TPM Polltracker, a great place to find an extensive listing of House polls.
I have ranked the 11 seats from most likely to less likely pick up opportunity based primarily on the polling of these races. But my ranking also considers the age of the polls, weighting new polls over older polls. For instance a late September poll should give a better indication of voter intent in November than one taken in late July. Also, to be conservative, my ranking gives consideration to whether the poll is Democrat or Republican sponsored, or whether its been done by an independent polling firm like SUSA. For instance, a Republican or independent poll showing the Dem. candidate in the lead should give a greater degree of insurance that the Dem. is truly out front, than a Dem. sponsored poll. The listing below provides the District match-up; the latest poll(s); a link to the Dem. candidates web site where you can learn more about him/her, donate or sign up for GOTV; and my little write up on the race. Hope you find this useful and hope it prompts you to donate and/or GOTV!
1) IL-08: Duckworth (D) Walsh (R)
Polls: 9/20 (PPP) 52% 38% D +14
8/14 (PPP) 50% 41% D +9
D-Link: Tammy Duckworth
My 2 Cents: What more can be said about this race then hasn't been said already. Having Iraq War Veteran Tammy Duckworth take down Tea Party crack pot Joe Walsh will be especially sweet. Please consider giving Tammy's campaign some financial or GOTV support and share in the sweetness of this flip.
2) FL-09: Grayson (D) Long (R)
Polls: 9/21 (D-poll) 52% 38% D +14
D-Link: Alan Grayson
My 2 Cents: He's Back! And ain't it Great. Won't it be fun to see Alan back on the House Floor speaking truth to the Republican power and holding nothing back! A word of caution however. Since the only poll we have (that I'm aware of) is sponsored by the Grayson campaign, I have to advise that we take the 14 point lead with a grain of salt. Still, its likely he is ahead by a reasonably good margin. Please consider giving Alan your support.
3) FL-26: Garcia (D) Rivera (R)
Polls: 9/13 (SEIU) 50% 41% D +9
9/13 (PPP) 46% 39% D +7
D-Link: Joe Garcia
My 2 Cents: When you have two polls from separate organizations showing our candidate leading winning the race by similar margins, you gotta believe our chances for a flip are good. This contest comes complete with a scandal where Republicans are apparently being accused of entering a phony Dem. candidate Justin Lamar Sternard in the Dem. Primary. Rivera denies any affiliation with Mr. Srernard whose campaign funding is being investigated by the FBI. This scandal comes complete with a "no trespassing or you'll get drenched" warning. See what I mean here. Pretty funny stuff!
4) MI-01: McDowell (D) Benishek (R)
Polls: 9/20 (D-poll) 49% 40% D +9
9/19 (PPP) 44% 42% D +2
D-Link: Gary McDowell
My 2 Cents: Gary's campaign appears to be hammering home his defense of Medicare and his opponents votes to cut it, and it appears to be working based on the two polls so far. This is probably closer to a 2 point and not a 9 point lead, but its probably a flip for us if we work at it and help McDowell GOTV.
5) CA-41: Takano (D) Tavaglione (R)
Polls: 8/12 (D-poll) 42% 38% D +4
D-Link: Mark Takano
My 2 Cents: A somewhat large grain of salt with this one. The poll is sponsored by the Takano campaign and its an early August (old ) poll. But on the positive side, if Takano had any lead back in August, chances are that it is bigger now as Dems. are generally polling better in September than they were in August. Mark's a teacher, and proudly touts it in his campaign. So if you're a teacher or you know or like teachers, please give Mark whatever support you can give.
6) CA-26: Brownley (D) Strickland (R)
Polls: 7/19 (D-poll) 48% 44% D +4
D-Link: Julia Brownley
My 2 Cents: Again, like CA41, we have an old poll sponsored by the Dem. campaign. But, also again, I've go to believe that any sort of lead back in July is bigger now.
7) NH-02: Kuster (D) Bass (R)
Polls: 9/25 (PPP) 51% 45% D +6
8/12 (UNH) 37% 42% D -5
D-Link: Ann McLane Kuster
My 2 Cents: Wow! What a turn-around, from being 5 points down to 6 points ahead. While such a dramatic shift in the polls usually raises suspicious eyebrows, this might be the real deal. After all it is consistent with the same Statewide trend we are seeing towards President Obama. I wouldn't be at all surprised if we were not seeing some coattail effect here. Anyway, please consider helping Ann. With a good GOTV effort we can flip Bass right on his ---!
8) AZ-09: Sinema (D) Parker (R)
Polls: 9/10 (GZA) 45% 41% D +3
D-Link: Kyrsten Sinema
My 2 Cents: I'm a little concerned about this being a likely pick up opportunity since Arizona is not expected to be an Obama coattail State, but every District is different and this independent poll suggests this can be a flip. Check out this smart ad and please consider giving Kyrsten your support.
9) MN-08: Nolan (D) Cravaack (R)
Polls: 8/27 (D-poll) 47% 44% D +3
D-Link: Rick Nolan
My 2 Cents: This race is probably within the MOE, but the fact that this is Minnesota (strong Dem. turnout) and the fact that again the more recent national polls are trending blue, makes me think we have the edge in this race. Also, for fun (if you can stomach it) here's a Disco ad from Rick's Opponent. I think he looked rather good back in the 70s.
10) AZ-01: Kirkpatrick (D) Paton (R)
Polls: 7/26 (R-poll) 46% 43% D +3
D-Link: Ann Kirkpatrick
My 2 Cents: The fact this is an older poll conducted by the Republican Paton campaign, makes me feel real good about the fact that it shows Kirkpatrick with a small lead. Also, the fact that the Republicans have recent ads running against Ann (here) further indicates that they consider this a competitive race. Please consider helping Ann help overcome the Republican's financial advantage in this race.
11) NH-01: Shea-Porter (D) Guinta (R)
Polls: 9/25 (PPP) 48% 47% D +1
8/12 (UNH) 45% 43% D +2
D-Link: Carol Shea-Porter
My 2 Cents: Although Shea-Porter's lead is small and within the MOE, the fact that it has held constant over almost 2 months is a good sign. Let's give Carol some love with a contribution and robust GOTV effort.
Well, that's my first 11 potential House pickups. You may consider there are others that should be in the top 11, and if so I would be glad to know about them and here your arguments. However, I limited my picks to polled races. So while there might be races not yet polled where you feel our chances of flipping are good, I'm reluctant to include them without a supporting poll or two.
Please remember that the point of this Diary series is to help focus and encourage support for the Dem. House candidates we need to work for to strive towards our goal of taking majority control of the House. So please consider volunteering for GOTV and/or donating to the Dem. House candidates in this series or others which you feel will help us take back the House. Remember without majority control of the House, we are likely in for at least two more years of the same Republican obstructionist shit.
Stay tuned for Part 2 in this series where I will list my next 11 pick up opportunities to get us to the 22 we need and update the first 11!