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I decided to do some ridiculous hypothetical congressional races last weekend.  Second semester senior-ness can be pretty awesome sometimes :)

I was wondering what the effects of assuming every nat'l congressional ballot was 50-50 would do to House races.  I started with 1992 (I was born right after the elections) and continued through the present day, neglecting special elections.  

1992 in the Senate:

Six flips took place in a relatively eventful year, giving the Democrats a 55-45 majority (54-46 after Bentsen joined Clinton's cabinet).

The Democrats won California, as Dianne Feinstein romped to victory, and also defeated incumbent Bob Kasten in Wisconsin.  

However, the Republicans did some seat-flipping and tough holding of their own, picking up the other seat with little-known Bruce Herschensohn defeating Rep. Barbara Boxer, who apparently is too liberal for the state of California.  In the South, incumbents Wyche Fowler, Terry Sanford, and Ernest Hollings were all defeated, losing to Paul Coverdell, Lauch Faircloth, and Thomas Harnett, respectively.  Hollings' loss was especially a surprise, given his seniority.  

In the House Democrats didn't fare much better, losing 12 seats, not including redistricting.  However, the effects of redistricting and racial gerrymandering were felt in the South, incumbents such as
Ben Erdreich of Alabama and Richard Ray of Georgia were both defeated.

Easy open seats victories were won by:
Scotty Baesler (D-KY)
Mike Castle (R-DE)
Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
Bobby Scott (D-VA)
Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

In more narrow open seat races, Republicans won some as well.
Bob Gardner defeated Eric Fingerhut in Northeastern Ohio
Tony Meeker defeated Elizabeth Furse in the Portland Suburbs
John Jones defeated Tim Holden in Eastern Pennsylvania
Enid Waldholtz defeated Karen Shepherd in Salt Lake City
Doc Hastings defeated Jay Inslee in Central Washington
Jon Fox defeated the triple M in the Philly Suburbs
Bob Mappert beat Maurice Hinchey in upstate New York

The only Republican incumbents to lose were John Jacob Rhodes to Sam Coppersmith in the bright red Phoenix Suburbs, Tom Coleman to Pat Danner in rural Missouri, and Don Ritter to Paul McHale in Pennsylvania.  Democrats, particularly in rural areas, didn't far quite as well.  Here is the casualty list:

Jay Dickey defeated Beryl Anthony in Southern Arkansas
Tal Cloud defeated Rich Lehman in a redistricting-fueled battle in the Central Valley
Ed Munster defeated Sam Gejdenson in a moderate Connecticut district
Bill Tolley defeated Jim Bacchus on the Space Coast
Steve Buyer defeated Jim Jontz in Rural Indiana
Roscoe Bartlett defeated Bev Byron in Maryland
Peter Blute and Peter Torkildsen defeated Democrats in Massachusetts
Rod Grams beat Gerry Sikorski in Minnesota
Bernie Omann defeated freshman Collin Peterson in Minnesota as well.  Peterson stated he would not return to politics under any circumstances.
Jim Talent defeated Joan Horn in Missouri, which also featured Hal Volkmer's loss to Rick Hardy, a shocker given Volkmer's seniority.
Ron Stankiewicz beat Peter Hoagland in Omaha
Rick Lazio beat Tom Downey out on Long Island.
Martin Hoke defeated Mary Oakar in Ohio.
Bill Townsend somehow beat Austin Murphy in deep blue Western Pennsylvania
Bob Inglis and Zach Wamp defeated female incumbents in the South
Chip Taberski defeated Ron Coleman in El Paso in another shocker.  The Latino community must turn out much more strongly.
Henry Bonilla crushed the corrupt Al Bustamente in San Antonio.

And there you have it.  The 1992 elections are now in the books.  On to 1994, where we can see if President Clinton can pull an upset and gain some seats.  Most pundits would say no.

1994 in the Senate:

Republicans made massive gains, ending up with a 53-47 majority after 2 Democrats switched parties.

The South was a particularly fertile region, with pickups as follows:

Bill Frist beat incumbent Jim Sasser in Tennessee.  
In the other Tennessee race, Fred Thompson cruised to an open seat victory Democrats never seriously contested.  Likewise, Jim Inhofe cruised in Oklahoma.

In other parts of the country, Jon Kyl won an open seat in Arizona, as did Olympia Snowe in Maine, Spencer Abraham in Michigan, and Mike DeWine in Ohio.

Democrats weren't shut out, however.  Harris Wofford didn't crush the far-right Rick Santorum, but Santorum appears too socially conservative for Eastern Pennsylvania, and the Pittsburgh-area congressman appears done from politics.  Ann Wynia defeated Rod Grams in blue Minnesota, although the first term congressman put up a challenge.  Wynia appears ready to hold this seat for quite some time.

In the House, after some party switches, Republicans did quite well, picking up 19 seats.  

The easy open seat victories were as follows:
Matt Salmon in the Phoenix Suburbs
Joe Scarborough in the Florida Panhandle
Saxby Chambliss in Central Georgia
Jerry Weller in Illinois
Dave McIntosh in Indiana
Sam Brownback in Kansas
Dick Chrysler in Central Michigan
Gil Gutknecht in South Minnesota
Roger Wicker in Mississippi
Frank LoBiondo in South Jersey
Dave Funderburk in Eastern North Carolina
Richard Burr in Western North Carolina
JC Watts in Oklahoma
Lindsey Graham in South Carolina
Jack Metcalf in Northern Washington

With this many open seat pickups, there's no wonder that Republicans gained so many seats.  With incumbents it was much more mixed.

Democrats losing included:
Karen English to JD Hayworth in Phoenix
Don Johnson to Charlie Norwood in Georgia
Larry LaRocco to Helen Chenoweth in Idaho
Don Rostenkowski to Mike Flanagan in Chicago, due to corruption
Jill Long to Mark Souder in Indiana.  It appears she is a poor candidate and has no statewide future.
Dick Swett to Charlie Bass in New Hampshire.  Perhaps the name did him in.
David Mann to Steve Chabot in Cincinnati.
Bill Sarpalius to Mac Thornberry in West Texas.

And that's it.  Not too many incumbents went down.

Republican incumbent casualty list:

Jay Dickey to Jay Bradford in dark blue South Arkansas.  Bradford appears poised for a long stay in Congress (sorry, Mike Ross).
Ed Munster to an unnamed Democrat in CT-2 (I refuse to make up names of hypothetical congressmen).
Gary Franks to Jim Maloney in Connecticut as well.
Peter Torkildsen lost to John Tierney.  No surprise there.
Silvestre Reyes defeated freshman Chip Taberski in El Paso.
John Baldacci won an open seat, as did Pat Kennedy.

Speaker Tom Foley faced a close race but won.  He has announced plans to retire after this term, when he will be replaced by Dick Gephardt.

Over the flip, my running tally of which representatives we know now wouldn't exist in this alternate universe.  Join me :)

In the Senate:

Barbara Boxer--never elected.  Senator is Bruce Herschensohn
Ernest Hollings--lost in 1992.  Senator is Thomas Harnett
Rod Grams--lost open race in 1994.  Senator is Ann Wynia
Rick Santorum--lost as challenger in 1994 to Senator Harris Wofford.  
Jim DeMint--no reason to leave the House in 2004.
Mark Dayton--no reason to run in 2000.
Amy Klobuchar--no reason to run in 2006.
Bob Casey--no reason to run in 2006.

In the House: Note that many Dem losses happened in 1992 rather than 1994 in this scenario.

George Radanovich, Jeff Denham--Tal Cloud is the Rep. from CA-19.
Rob Simmons, Joe Courtney--Dem from CT-2 is the Rep., and he's stronger than Gejdenson, so wouldn't lose in 2000.
Dave Weldon--Bill Tolley was Rep. from FL-15 until 2008 retirement.
Collin Peterson--lost re-election in 1992. Bernie Omann is the Rep. from MN-7.
Maurice Hinchey--Bill Mappert won the 1992 open seat election.
Ted Strickland, Charlie Wilson, Bill Johnson--Bob McEwen won in 1992, and is still the rep. from OH-6.
Liz Furse--never elected.  Tony Meeker (R-OR) was the Rep. until demographic changes led to his loss in 2000.
Eric Fingerhut, Steven LaTourette--both replaced by Bob Gardner (R-OH14)
Tim Holden--never elected, John Jones won race.  This also means George Gekas survived in 2002.

Frank Riggs, Mike Thompson--Dan Hamburg remains the only Rep. with a ponytail
Mike Ross--Jay Dickey lost in '94 to Jay Bradford.
Many Reps who would win in '96 would have won in '94 in this case; those are not listed.
Bob Barr.  George Darden remained in Congress for quite a few years after narrowly winning in 1994.
John Hostettler.  He lost in 1994, and Frank McCloskey stuck around til a 2004 retirement.
Todd Tiahrt.  Dan Glickman survived '94.
Ed Whitfiled.  Tom Barlow survived as well.
Jim Langley, Mike Michaud.  Dennis DuTremble is the Democrat from ME-2.  Hopefully he runs if Snowe retires.
John Ensign.  Jim Bilbray won in '94, retiring in 2000.
Bill Martini.  Herb Klein won in'94
Mike Forbes, Tim Bishop.  George Hochbrueckner is still the rep. from Suffolk Co.
Walter Jones.  Martin Lancaster survived '94.
Bob Ney, Zack Space, Bob Gibbs.  Greg DiDonato remains the Rep. from OH-18, although redistricting probably means he will be forced to retire this year.
Tom Coburn.  Virgil Cooper won the race in OK-2.  Coburn never ran for anything again.
Jim Bunn, Darlene Hooley, Kurt Schrader.  Catherine Webber won this open seat and remains the Rep.
Phil English, Kathy Dahlkemper.  Bill Leavens is still the Rep. from PA-3.
Tom Davis, Gerry Connolly.  Leslie Byrne remains the Rep. from this area.
Rick White.  Maria Cantwell didn't lose re-election.
Linda Smith, Brian Baird.  Jolene Unsoeld stayed the Rep. until her 2004 retirement.
Randy Tate.  Mike K (what's his last name, I wrote it down wrong) didn't lose.
Mark Neumann, Paul Ryan.  Peter Barca remained the Rep. for this area.  No Ryan Plan :)

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    18, D, CA-14 (home) CA-09 (college next year). Economic liberal, social libertarian, fiscal conservative. Put your age and CD here :) -.5.38, -3.23

    by jncca on Fri May 06, 2011 at 06:09:41 PM PDT

  •  People forget how poorly Democrats did in 1992 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drobertson, bythesea, marykk

    downballot.  I expected Democrats to get to 60 in the Senate that year, but surprisingly, Democrats lost Sanford(NC) and Coverdell(GA) and failed to beat D'Amato in New York and stayed at 57 seats.  Had they got those 60 seats, Clinton's healthcare plan may have passed.  

    •  Coverdell(GA) was the Republican. (0+ / 0-)

      The Democratic incumbent was Wyche Fowler. Had Fowler won re-election in 1992- we would not have to deal with Zell Miller.  Fowler-D would have won re-election in 1998- Democrats are at their high point. Barnes-D was elected Governor  in 1998. In 2002- Republicans took over GA- Barnes-D lost re-election and Max Cleland-D lost re-election to the other GA US Senate Seat. Fowler-D would have retired like his fellow Southern Democratic US Senators such as Graham-FL,Breaux-LA,and Hollings-SC rather than lose re-election in 2004.   Had Sanford-NC won in 1992. he would have remained in the US Senate until his death in 1998- the candidate who then Governor Jim Hunt appoints would have been the incumbent in 1998 instead of Lauch Faircloth. We would not have to deal with John Edwards.  Had Abrams-D unseated D'Amato-R in 1998- Schumer-D would have remained in the US House- would have become US House Democratic Whip instead of Steny Hoyer.

  •  Or, (0+ / 0-)

    someone can fall in with a gaggle of thieves and strike it rich.

    Crazy world, anything can happen ;-)

    When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace- Hendrix

    by Maori on Fri May 06, 2011 at 06:25:41 PM PDT

  •  Great work...tipped and rec'd! n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, jncca
  •  Another hypothetically we need to mention is the (0+ / 0-)

    1994 US Senate Races in CA,NJ,and VA. Vulnerable Democratic incumbents Fienstien-CA, Lautenberg-NJ, amd Robb-VA who survived the 1994 GOP wave lost in 1994 to Arianna's ex husband-CA, Haytaian-NJ and Ollie North-VA.
    Could Michael Huffington be able to win in the re-election in 2000 the likely DEM nominee Al Cheechi- after he came out of the closet-after his divorce to Arianna. If he survived in 2000- could he have survived in the 2006 DEM wave.  If he surived again in 2006- would he remain as a Republican or would he switch parties knowing that he can't win in the Republican primary these days.  
    Haytaian would have lost in 2000 to Bob Menendez-who would have been the DEM nominee. due to Gore coattails.  Florio and Corzine would not have ran.  Doug Forrester-would have been elected to the other NJ US Senate Seat. other than Bill Bradley/Frank Lautenberg-D their was no credible candidate with high name id replace Torricelli-D.  Forrester would have lost re-election in 2008 wave due to Obama coattails.
    Ollie North getting elected in 1994 would have forced George Allen to lobby George W Bush for a cabinet position.  Would Mark Warner run the US Senate in 2000 or for Governor in 2001.

    •  yes, but (0+ / 0-)

      my hypothetical involves only candidates who underperformed their year losing.

      feinstein overperformed, since she won in '94, as did the others you cite.

      18, D, CA-14 (home) CA-09 (college next year). Economic liberal, social libertarian, fiscal conservative. Put your age and CD here :) -.5.38, -3.23

      by jncca on Sun May 08, 2011 at 06:14:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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