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Short, but quite sweet.

Don Cravins, Jr. (LA-07
Jill Derby (NV-02)
Vic Wulsin (OH-02)
Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-03)
Tom Perriello (VA-05)
Judy Feder (VA-10)

There's been quite a bit of news around Donald Cravins of late. Cravins was a prize DCCC recruit into the LA-07 race, challenging incumbent Republican Charles Boustany for a seat that had until recently belonged to Democrat Chris John.

CQ Politics just today changed their rating of their race to "Republican Favored", indicating the potential strength of a Cravins candidacy. Though he enters the race late, Cravins has a solid political base as a state senator:

Cravins seems certain, at least, to far surpass the 29 percent vote share won by 2006 Democratic nominee Mike Stagg, a little-known and underfinanced candidate. Cravins has warmed up for the House contest by winning a state House seat in 2004, and then winning in 2006 to succeed his namesake father, Don Cravins Sr., in the state Senate. The elder Cravens, who now is mayor of the 7th District city of Opelousas, ran for the congressional seat in 2004 but was eliminated by finishing a close third behind Boustany and Democratic Rep. Willie Landry Mount under the single-ballot primary system then used but since abandoned by Louisiana.

The younger Cravins’ state Senate district, which takes in Opelousas and part of Lafayette, gives him a political base that he stands a good chance of expanding by appealing to a heavily Democratic constituency of his fellow African-Americans, who make up a quarter of the 7th District’s population.

Cravins, running in a district with a strong overall conservative lean, also will emphasize some of his more conservative positions, including his support for gun owners’ rights. Before Boustany won the 2004 race for the seat Democratic Rep. Chris John left open to pursue a Senate campaign that failed, southwestern Louisiana had a longstanding, unbroken tradition of voting conservative Democrats into the House.

As for Jill Derby, she ran an unexpectedly strong campaign in a solidly Republican district against Republican Dean Heller. Derby subsequently took a position as chairwoman of the Nevada Democratic Party, but opted for another run earlier this year (she was widely considered one of, if not the only candidate who could make it a race).

It's an unforgiving district - Bush carried 57% of the vote in both 2000 and 2004 in Nevada's Second - but Derby lost by only five points in 2006, 50% to 45%. Heller has not had a stellar freshman cycle in Congress, and Derby's internal polling likely suggests that she has a decent shot once again.

Neither Cravins nor Derby was a huge surprise on this list, but perhaps the longest-awaited addition is that of Dr. Vic Wulsin, running once again in OH-02 against Daredevil Jean Schmidt.

On paper, Wulsin looks like an obvious choice for Red to Blue. She lost just 51% to 49% in an overwhelmingly Republican district in 2006, and her fundraising has outstripped Schmidt's all year. The DCCC's reluctance to add this race previously is understandable, though, given the district's R+13 tilt.

This is certainly a race to be excited about, given Schmidt's controversial political history, and Wulsin's unabashed progressive stances. It's safe to say that Wulsin is likely the most progressive candidate who could have any kind of reasonable shot at winning in an R+13 district such as this one.

Kathy Dahlkemper is an interesting choice, and her inclusion on this is rather exciting for those who had nearly given up on this race prior to the primary. The original frontrunner in this district, Erie City Councilman Kyle Foust, proved to be a fundraising dud, and lost the primary badly to Dahlkemper, who, while a political neophyte, at least showed the ability to raise a decent amount of money.

Still, while the district is favorable at R+1.6, it was unclear for some time whether Dahlkemper would have the political skills to beat incumbent Phil English. However, Dahlkemper's internal polling numbers show the race deadlocked, an inspiring sign given English's far superior name recognition.

Tom Perriello is rather well known on Daily Kos for his fascinating background in international affairs (having worked in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Afghanistan), and for waging a historically strong campaign against Republican Virgil Goode, in a district that hasn't seen a strong Democratic challenge since...well, since Virgil Goode was a Democrat.

Perriello has touted his Catholic faith as determining his commitment to social justice, which seems like a reasonable play in this rural Virginia district. His fundraising has been top-notch, as he's raised even more so far this cycle than Goode has.

Finally, Judy Feder returns for a second round against Republican Frank Wolf after her 57-43 loss in 2006. This is an exceptionally bold and gutsy play by the DCCC, as not only did Feder lose her 2006 match by a decent margin (though the race was much closer than most of Wolf's have been in the past), but the district, at R+5.5, is not exactly a swing district.

This should be seen as a considerable vote of confidence in Feder as a candidate. Like Perriello, her fundraising has been exceptional this cycle (she's raised well over a million dollars), which may be a central reason for the optimism.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 05:20 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Just donated to Jill Derby (3+ / 0-)

  •  Dr. Vic! Alright!!!!!! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, Dallasdoc, kath25, MjolnirOfThor
    My first "adopted" race in 2006 -- and she came SO close. I've adopted her again this year and am doing what I can. This time she could really unseat Jean "Scrunchie" Schmidt, an embarassment to the state of Ohio.

    We're retiring Steve LaTourette (R-Family Values for You But Not for Me) and sending Judge Bill O'Neill to Congress from Ohio-14:

    by anastasia p on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 05:23:41 PM PDT

    •  Good for you! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk, kath25, Populista, MjolnirOfThor

      She's not on my monthly donation list, but I'm incredibly happy to see the DCCC stepping up to help her.  Aside from Marilyn Musgrave and Patrick McHenry, there are few House members I'd be more personally happy to see canned than Mean Jean.

      Hanoi didn't break John McCain, but Washington did.

      by Dallasdoc on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 05:25:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wish I could help more this year (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc, Populista
        But I lost my job a couple of weeks ago. I was so hoping things would turn out differently and I could send nice checks to my favoured candidates but it wasn't to be. I've "adopted" Dr. Vic and Bill O'Neill (my home district, Oh-11, is Democratic plus 33, and you could scour the district with a magnifying glass and never locate our congresswoman's Republican opponent) this year. I was also hoping to send a little something to Betsy Markey, which I will do if I find a job quickly. It's hard to decide whether Scrunchie Schmidt or Marilyn "Gays are the biggest threat to America" Musgrave is the bigger idiot.

        We're retiring Steve LaTourette (R-Family Values for You But Not for Me) and sending Judge Bill O'Neill to Congress from Ohio-14:

        by anastasia p on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 06:56:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I sent her money twice in 06. (0+ / 0-)

      As soon as I can recover from temporary financial problems, she's getting more money.

      "If the answer is infinite light why do we sleep in the dark?" Paul Simon

      by shpilk on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 05:30:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, baby! Go, Vic! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Common Sense Mainer

      I got a cross-country girlcrush on Wulsin.

      I'm sure Schmidt will be just as gracious in retirement as she has been in office.  I'll bring the sandwiches and lemonade for when we all get to sit and watch her meltdown.

      America: Show your support for it with more than jingoistic slogans or leave it.

      by CJB on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 05:34:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I met Dr. Vic in 2006 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CJB, Populista
        when an attorney general candidate I had worked for in his primary had a fundraiser for her at his house up here in Cleveland. She was so lovely, articulate, gracious and on the mark I knew I had to help her. She even agreed with me that Scrunchie Schmidt needs a better haircut.

        We're retiring Steve LaTourette (R-Family Values for You But Not for Me) and sending Judge Bill O'Neill to Congress from Ohio-14:

        by anastasia p on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 06:58:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Do not count Schmidt out (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        While things look bad for her (I mean, even Dick Cheney didn't want to be seen with her -- that's gotta tell you something)Schmidt is a practiced dirty trickster.

        The latest threat to Wulsin is Independent David Krikorian who threatens to make it a 3-way race, splitting the anti-Schmidt vote in the eastern district, where Wulsin is hardly known.

        Krikorian is gettin help from Republicans who don't want the seat falling to Democrats even at the risk of keeping Schmidt around another 2 years.

        •  Oh, I wouldn't put anything past Schmidt. (0+ / 0-)

          She's as nasty as they come.  Don't know much about the Indy.  Looks like he's pulling some pretty good numbers poll and money-wise, though.  What's his MO?

          America: Show your support for it with more than jingoistic slogans or leave it.

          by CJB on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 08:16:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  His MO is the district split (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            OH-02 was cobbled together from two prior districts. The east (Pike, Scioto, Adams, Brown) has little connection to the west (Hamilton, Clermont, Warren).  Wulsin needs about 70% of the vote in Pike and Scioto to win. If Krikorian cuts heavily into that, he can siphon off a big enough pool of Democratic votes to keep Schmidt in the seat, which is the point.

            Basically, Krikorian is going after the Democratic primary voters who went for Stephen Black -- a Republican-turned-Democrat.

            Wulsin needs to get her act together in the east or she won't win.

    •  OH-02 is NOT R +13 (0+ / 0-)

      As of the huge shifts of registration status in the 2008 primary, OH-02 is now majority DEMOCRAT by registration, according to the SOS.

      This has been known since May. Ok so then what took the DCCC this long?  Did they just want Jean Schmidt to kick around some more?

      IT'S ABOUT TIME!!!

  •  Go Cravins!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If he becomes a feature candidate here, I'll be the first to donate money to him!  He's exactly who we need in Congress.

    "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided." --Barack Obama, June, 2008

    by oldskooldem on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 05:25:42 PM PDT

  •  We're all awash in a Purple Haze! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Call me optomistic, but this just rocks!

    It is always the extremes that hold reason hostage. - snout 2007

    by MjolnirOfThor on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 05:26:37 PM PDT

  •  It's been a rough week for Congressman Goode (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, kath25, JohnCos

    First he got mocked on the Daily Show:
    (His response to this is hilarious I highly suggest reading it
    And now this. It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.
    GO TOM! I'm so glad the DCCC realized that this race is the real deal.

    I mail myself a copy of the Constitution every morning just on the hope the Bush administration will open it and see what it says.--Bill Maher

    by dancingdemocrat on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 05:27:54 PM PDT

  •  What about NJ 07 ? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Republican Mike Ferguson is vacating this seat, so no incumbent is running.  Linda Stender ran against him in 2006, and came within a hair's breadth of winning.  Now, against a non-incumbent, she stands a great job in a state which is historically more of a swing state.

    I've been happy to support her financially and work-wise.  But I never see her candidacy on this forum.  I think she's got a great chance of turning red to blue.  

    Where's the love???

  •  Donate. Vic Wulsin can win. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "If the answer is infinite light why do we sleep in the dark?" Paul Simon

    by shpilk on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 05:29:48 PM PDT

  •  Feder has a good shot (0+ / 0-)

    That district is much more Democratic than most realize. NCEC has it at around 48%. VA Dems have had a good record in the 10th in recent years.

  •  I've met Vic Wulsin (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and she's terrific!

    Pretty progressive (not as much as I am, but this is a conservative district) and smart, and funny, and nice.  And interested.  

  •  Not entirely surprising that Feder's on the list (0+ / 0-)

    We all know that Mark Warner's going to win Northern Virginia in a romp--the only question is how dark a shade of blue Northern Virginia's going to be when the Senate totals come in.  It's not entirely unreasonable that he'll generate some long coattails for Feder.

    The Repubs distort, but we will not abide.

    by Christian Dem in NC on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 05:44:07 PM PDT

  •  CA-46 (0+ / 0-)

    I was hoping Debbie Cook,  challenging Dana Rohrabacher, would make it.

    CA-46: Rohrabacher's Replacement sends a message from NN

    I guess she's not doing so well.
    Ah well, maybe next time.

    •  That's a very tough seat (0+ / 0-)

      Rohrabacher is very popular with his constituents for some reason I can't fathom.  He is a surfer, though, and this is California ...

      "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." (Frederick Douglass, 1857)

      by dotalbon on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 06:03:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great news (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JohnCos, dancingdemocrat

    Glad to see Perriello make it.

    Hopefully next up will be Orange to Blue.

    John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

    by Populista on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 06:02:21 PM PDT

  •  The Wulsin campaign is working hard. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I got a call from one of their volunteers a few days ago -- I had donated back in 2006, but only $10 or $20. I guess they are calling every single donor trying to get them to give again. (She also sends a LOT of paper mail, and an extra LOT of email, just saying.)

    Glad her fundraising is doing so well. Must be all that hustlin'.

    "Not just with words, but with deeds." -- Barack Obama

    by kath25 on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 06:20:33 PM PDT

  •  Well (0+ / 0-)

    I am not sure if Feder can win, but I do think that she will scare Wolf. She will probably do better than she did in 2006.

    Wolf reminds me of Connie Morella. Although Morella represented a much more heavily Democratic district, from her first election in 1986 and through the next five cycles, she would win more than 70% of the vote. In 1998 Ralph Neas, who was head of People for the American way, held her to 60%--still a solid win, but less than the 70%+ margins that she used to command. In 2000 Terry Lierman held her to 52% of the vote--a shocking 8% drop in two years. Redistricting made her district even more Democratic, and then-state Senator Chris Van Hollen defeated her in 2002.

    What I could see happening is that Feder holds Wolf to maybe 51-55% of the vote. It scares him, but Wolf ekes out a win, probably due to the very conservative precincts out in Clarke, Warren, Fredrick, Fauquier, and Winchester City counties. While Wolf probably loses the Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, Manassas City, and Manassas Park City county parts of the district, he keeps Feder's margin of victory low enough that the rural precincts are enough to wipe out whatever lead she has in the district's exurban and suburban precincts.

    A close Feder loss will probably encourage the elected Democrats from the district--probably maybe Rob Herring, David Poisson, Ed Caputo, Janet Howell, and others that I can't think of--to run against Wolf in 2010. And they'll probably win.

    But the other scenario is that most elected Democrats wait until 2012. That is, they'll wait to see if the legislative redistricting process makes the district less Republican. And if the Democrats control at least the State Senate it is probable that the district should be more competitive.

  •  Problems with Dahlkemper (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm throwing out my reservations if anyone cares to comment.  As in, 'what would you do if....?'

    I proudly voted for Keith Ellison before moving from MN-05 to PA-03.  It's been a political shocker to find myself in such an unprogressive place.

    This district is not the most savvy; many are apathetic or simply do not understand government or law.  Dahlkemper is a died-in-the-wool anti-woman candidate, and once she gets in, which she very well could, voters aren't likely to move too quickly to unseat her if she's a little wingy rather than a lot.  There just isn't a lot of political will if the incumbent isn't outrageously awful or from an outrageously awful party.

    So...I'm always thinking 'more and better Democrats,' and with Kathy Dahlkemper one will get 'more' but perhaps never get an opportunity for 'better' as the will to primary her out is just unlikely to be there unless she really irks people in some way.

    Schumer chose Bob Casey for Senate, but a lot of voters who really didn't know one candidate from another chose Dahlkemper.  Most voters I talk to have no idea what her positions are or why she has five kids or even that she does.  Our only progressive candidate came in fourth, though he had an enthusiastic little bunch of backers with brains.  I think he was just too far ahead for some.

    Rural Pennsylvanian from District 3. Yes, I'm bitter and so are a lot of my neighbors.

    by Black Mare on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 07:36:41 PM PDT

    •  I've spoken to Dahlkemper (0+ / 0-)

      Yes, she's unapologetically pro-life, but at least she's consistent and opposes the death penalty too (IIRC).  Yes, I preferred Mike Waltner.  It didn't happen.  I didn't give a dollar to Casey, and I probably won't here either, but certainly she'd be better than English (who himself is pro-life) in any event.

      She self-funded 100K of her 400K+ total, fwiw.

      I don't understand "why she has five kids" to even be a cognizable question.  Who cares why?

      •  The 'why' (0+ / 0-)

        I don't understand "why she has five kids" to even be a cognizable question.  Who cares why?

        I'm very, very worried that she will gleefully support the new definition of 'abortion,' which includes all hormone-based birth control.  For years we've been told the legality of The Pill would not ever, in any sane person's imagination, be challenged.  I doubted such confidence after a scary experience with so-called 'pro-choice' Dems in Minnesota circa 1990's.

        And I was right.  This issue isn't getting much traction, even here.

        Rural Pennsylvanian from District 3. Yes, I'm bitter and so are a lot of my neighbors.

        by Black Mare on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 05:26:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Tom Perriello VA-05 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Juniperus, JohnCos

    This is awesome news!

    Tom's grassroots campaign is fighting hard for us here in Central Virginia. Please consider a small DONATION to his campaign.

    I can't wait to see an end to Virgil Goode's reign of terror and racism.  Seriously, he's an assclown.

    Calling Goode an assclown might actually be totally against Tom's positive, result based campaign, so sorry...but I'm ashamed he's my Congressman.  Tom Perriello will bring dignity and change back to our district.

  •  Perriello Will Win The VA-05 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's so great to see the national party supporting us the same way we're getting support in district. We've had a great July, launching our economic REVIVAL tour and really getting our name out to this huge district. Our volunteers are working hard, they've tithed almost 500 hours to local charities, and  with Sen. Obama and soon-to-be Sen. Mark Warner, this is the year for the 5th, and all of Virginia to turn bright blue.

    We appreciate everyone's support!

    I am a proud staffer for Tom Perriello, because I believe he is the leader the Virginia Fifth deserves.

    by JohnCos on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 08:56:57 PM PDT

  •  Just Donated to Judy Feder (0+ / 0-)

    Just looked at her bio and some previous results in the district and this made my decision very easy...Both Jim Webb and Tim Kaine won there in 06 and 05, and I would have to imagine the outer ring DC suburbs have not done a 180 and started turning red again.  If Feder trails Mark Warner by 15 points in this district she still probably wins by 2 or 3 points...those are some really loooong coat tails.  This is a Democrat I can feel comfortable sending my financial support.  We need to send more Dems like this to DC.  GO JUDY!

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