I've been thinking we need to look more at history here at DKE, so let's step into the Wayback Machine and consider the 2004 House Elections--the last non-"wave" election cycle, and just far enough back to be familiar without being overworked. I ran a simple regression analysis (borrowed with permission from twohundertseventy) on all the contested races outside of Georgia, Texas, and Louisiana. Who did better than expected? Who did worse than expected? We'll find out after the jump, but here's one hint: I might have called this diary "why it might be just as well that Democrats didn't go with Ron Kind for Senate".
I used Swing State Project's Presidential Results by Congressional District post and Wikipedia's entry on the 2004 House Elections. I then ran a multivariate regression at Wessa using twohundertseventy's simple model, with three variables:
-PVI, which was just an average of Bush's district performance in 2000 and 2004 (PVI up to a constant),
-Rinc, which was "1" if there was a Republican incumbent running and "0" otherwise, and
-Dinc, which was the same thing except for Democratic incumbents.
I omitted Louisiana since it has a jungle primary, Texas and Georgia because their mid-decade redistricting screws up either the notion of incumbency or the Presidential numbers, and any race that didn't have a Republican running against a Democrat. The goal was to explain Rvote, the Republican share of the two-party vote.
Rounding off the coefficients, the result was:
Rvote = 19.51+ 10.15*Rinc -13.18*Dinc + 0.62*PVI.This had an r-squared of about 0.92.
1. Incumbency really, really mattered in 2004. The advantage for a Democratic incumbent relative to an open seat was 13 points, and Republican incumbents had a 10 point advantage--vote share, not margin. Even large differences in PVI would be completely swamped by that. Only a few incumbents lost in 2004, and they're both considered major upsets by this model.
2004 was the last non-wave election cycle, as I said, and it's possible that three wave elections in a row have led us to somewhat under-estimate the power of incumbency. (It's also possible incumbency is less powerful than it used to be.) I think this is an important question to understand when trying to figure out, for example, the 2012 Massachusetts Senate election.
2. Democratic incumbents had, on average, a slightly greater advantage than Republican incumbents. Remember, this was back when seemingly-invincible Democrats like Chet Edwards, Rick Boucher, and Ike Skelton still held down tough seats.
Let's look at some specific races. Given how many interesting races there are, I might actually break this diary up into a series. (Not that I need another series! But I don't want people's eyes to glaze over any more than they already will.)
Oh--I'm generally terrified of small mistakes, and I've already picked up on and corrected a few, but there are so many elections here that even my anxieties are somewhat alleviated. Aside from a reminder of the importance of national and impersonal factors like incumbency and PVI, this is also a way to find out about a bunch of interesting elections.
Best-Performing Democratic Incumbents:
The model has these Representatives as the best-performing Democratic incumbents, in this order:
AL 5 CramerNot the most interesting list, I suppose.
NC 7 McIntyre
MS 4 Taylor
TN 8 Tanner
MO 4 Skelton
TN 9 Ford
WV 1 Mollohan
RI 2 Langevin
MN 7 Peterson
NY 16 Serrano
IL 4 Gutierrez
OH 17 Ryan, Tim
TN 6 Gordon
MI 1 Stupak
NY 10 Towns
Worst-Performing Democratic Incumbents:
This should be more fun. The model has these Representatives as the worst-performing Democratic incumbents, in this order:
IN 7 CarsonI'll look at most of these in order. Clicking each district's link should bring you to the race's OpenSecrets page.
MS 2 Thompson, Bennie
CA 39 Sanchez, Linda
VA 8 Moran
OR 5 Hooley
RI 1 Kennedy
NY 1 Bishop, Tim
IN 9 Hill
WI 3 Kind
IA 3 Boswell
WI 2 Baldwin
MN 4 McCollum
ME 1 Allen
NJ 12 Holt
OR 1 Wu
HI 2 Case
1. IN-07: Julia Carson managed to win only 54.3% of the vote, compared to 43.7% for her opponent Andy Horning, while Kerry carried this district with 58% of the vote. Horning spent basically nothing--$25,303--while Carson spent $419,603. As Wikipedia notes,
Carson was reelected with little difficulty in 1998 and 2000[...but her] poor health and physical struggles led to tighter-than-expected races afterward. In the 2002 election, her district was renumbered as the 7th District after Indiana lost a Congressional district after the 2000 census, and was made slightly more Republican than its predecessor. Carson faced public affairs specialist Brose McVey. In a heated campaign that led to Carson leaving the stage in protest in their final pre-election debate, she won re-election 53 percent to 44 percent. She was re-elected by just over 11 points in 2004 defeating Republican Andrew Horning and Libertarian Barry Campbell.Carson would, unfortunately, pass away in office a few years later. She was succeeded by her grandson, André Carson, who himself won relatively narrowly in a special election and considerably under-performed Barack Obama in 2008.
2. MS-02: Bennie Thompson won only 58.4% of the vote in this Mississippi Delta district, against a Republican with the awesome Mississippi Delta name of Clinton LeSueur, who got 40.6%. This was while George W. Bush was getting only 40% of the vote here. That might not seem like much of a difference, but remember, incumbents mostly dominated in 2004.
Bizarrely enough, this was something of a marquee race. LeSueur (I have no idea how to even pronounce that) spent competitively--$329,714 to Thompson's $724,653. However, he actually did better, while spending considerably less, running against Thompson in 2002. (Which is important to keep in mind if you think campaign spending is really key to understanding elections.) This election was part of the Republicans' never-ending and often hilarious attempts to promote black candidates. Here's Wikipedia:
As a Democrat, LeSueur grew disenchanted with the party's liberal positions on abortion and gay marriage. In 2001, he switched to Republican affiliation, after having struggled with that decision for some time, even to the point of saying, "Lord, I don't want to be a Republican!" In 2002, he ran as the Republican candidate in Mississippi's 2nd congressional district against incumbent Democrat Bennie Thompson and ran on a strongly socially conservative platform. He was defeated, having obtained 42.7 percent of the vote to Thompson's 55.1 percent—a close margin, given the district's heavy Democratic tilt and the fact that LeSueur received little encouragement from the national party.A few weeks after the 2002 election, LeSueur penned an op-ed, with the lovely title of "Democrats exploit blacks":
He challenged Thompson again in 2004. This time, he attracted more attention from the national Republican Party, and spoke at the 2004 Republican National Convention. He lost again, receiving 40.6 percent of the vote. To date, he is the only Republican to have made a credible bid against Thompson.
It is injustice for them to call for Lott's resignation when Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., voted against affirmative action on the Senate floor, yet as a vice presidential candidate said he wants to "amend it, not end it" and received a standing ovation from Mfume.Italics in the original, amazingly enough. And, uh, is LeSueur pro-affirmative action?
It is injustice for them to call for Lott's resignation when Jackson has fathered a child in an extramarital affair and not a soul spoke out against it.
I share the sentiment expressed by Rep. J.C. Watts, R-Okla., that Lott's comments "went too far, but were appropriate to the forum. I took his comments as complimentary humor that often accompanies personal tributes. His comments were as serious as the venue at which they were delivered — at a birthday party."
3. CA-39: Linda Sánchez got only 60.7% against Republican Tim Escobar in this district, while Kerry was getting 59%. This election is fairly similar to MS-02, as Escobar did better, despite spending considerably less, in 2002 than he did in 2004. In 2004, Sánchez spent $782,521 to Escobar's $767,996, while in 2002, she spent a whopping $1,074,253 to his $169,239, only to get 55% of the vote! That should be yet another cautionary tale about broad assumptions about the power of money in politics. (And jeez, I have a positive impression of Linda Sánchez, but spending a million bucks in this district to get 55% of the vote is weak sauce indeed, even in an open seat. Although--see below--that's likely combining her primary and general spending.)
Escobar seems to have been, basically, a Some Dude:
He is a retired Army officer and is now a member of the Army National Guard, where he serves as both an attack and air assault pilot.He studied aeronautics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and worked as a tooling draftsman and designer for McDonnell Douglas.Escobar's 2002 campaign attracted some national figures:
After being laid off, he became a financial consultant.
CERRITOS - House Speaker Dennis Hastert will headline a fund-raiser for Republican Tim Escobar, who is running for the 39th Congressional District seat against Democratic candidate Linda Sanchez.Honestly, I don't know if I see the point of such a law, and that's a pretty lame scandal, but perhaps it had some effect.
Hastert is expected to endorse Escobar at a luncheon Aug. 19 at the Sheraton Cerritos Hotel.
Escobar is a military veteran, a former union aerospace worker and past president of the La Mirada Chamber of Commerce. Although he won the Republican primary, he faces a major challenge against Sanchez in a majority-Democratic district, which includes Artesia, Cerritos, Hawaiian Gardens, Lakewood, La Mirada, Lynwood, Paramount and South Gate.
Sanchez, a Lakewood attorney, won a close Democratic primary, beating South Gate Councilman Hector De La Torre by 5 percentage points.
Most recently, Sanchez's campaign made headlines after it was determined that a sum of $429 of campaign funds was used to pay for her state bar fees. Federal law bans the use of campaign funds for personal expenses.
4. VA-08: Democratic incumbent Jim Moran only managed 59.7% of the vote, as Kerry was carrying this inner NoVA district with 64%, against Republican Lisa Marie Cheney(!!). Moran spent $1,677,506 to Cheney's $332,610 to achieve that dismal result.
Lisa Marie Cheney, by the way, is only "a distant relative of the vice president", by marriage. That WaPo article also points out that Moran's spending advantage might be illusory (i.e., sloppy categorizing by OpenSecrets):
Cheney said she always wanted to run for political office someday and decided to run for Congress in March of last year, shortly after Moran made remarks about the Jewish community's influence on the decision to go to war with Iraq at an antiwar forum. The remarks were widely condemned by constituents and fellow members of Congress.It sounds like this was more a case of Moran being a bad candidate than it was a case of Lisa Marie Cheney (whose full name I will continue to use) being a particularly good one. Rosenberg's primary challenge couldn't have been hurt by Moran's comments, and that probably helped hurt Moran's resources and image even further.
Yet even Cheney's supporters concede that she faces an uphill battle against Moran, a seven-term incumbent from a largely Democratic district. She has received little or no financial support from the national Republican Party, though her campaign did raise more than Moran's in the most recent fundraising quarter, according to federal election reports -- $120,000 to Moran's $114,000.
Moran had more than $1.28 million earlier this year but spent $900,000 to defeat lobbyist Andrew M. Rosenberg in the June Democratic primary. At the end of last month, Moran had $269,122 on hand, compared with Cheney's $58,574.
Throughout the campaign, Cheney has made Moran's many past missteps -- personal and financial -- a central theme. She included a list of Moran's shortcomings in a recent fundraising letter that raised eyebrows in some quarters. The letter included an accusation that Moran had beaten a former wife, a reference to a 1999 argument that resulted in police being called to Moran's home. No charges were filed.
5. OR-05: Darlene Hooley spent $2,054,417 to her challenger James Zupancic's $1,291,211. With 52.9% of the vote, Hooley definitely out-performed Kerry's 49%, but compared to other incumbents in similar districts, she didn't do very well.
Zupancic, a Brigham Young alum and Mormon, had a decent "profile" for Oregon:
Zupancic was a pioneering entrepreneur in the early days of the voice-mail industry. He later moved to a top law firm in Portland and was elected to the Lake Oswego School Board.(Frankly, I also wouldn't be surprised if his Mormon/BYU connections might have helped out his fundraising--Oregon has a decent amount of LDS population and influence.)
Zupancic lost a 2002 bid for the Legislature, but after he raised a significant amount of money for that race, he turned around and mounted this year's congressional race.
Still, this might have been more about the incumbent. Hooley, despite a relatively conservative record (she voted for the Iraq War, and SaoMagnifico told me she was to the right of the district's current Representative, Kurt Schrader), never seemed to nail down this district like other incumbents did.
6. RI-01: Ah, RI-01. Something about this district must attract relatively weak Democrats or relatively strong Republicans. Patrick Kennedy won easily in this seat, getting 64.1% of the vote while Kerry carried the district with 62%. Still, again, we know that many incumbents did even better.
Kennedy actually got out-spent! He spent $1,958,492 to $2,133,062 from his opponent, Republican Dave Rogers. When I Googled Rogers and Kennedy, the first results were on Free Republic. Here's a non-FR source, the Washington Post:
Rogers passed Basic Underwater Demolition training in Coronado, Calif., and became a Navy SEAL.Yes, this is yet another heavily-hyped, heavily-funded repeat candidate in a safely Democratic district. Unlike LeSueur and Escobar, Rogers spent similarly insane amounts in 2002, although Kennedy out-spent him then. But like LeSueur and Escobar, Rogers did worse the second time around.
He left the Navy in 1994 and returned to Rhode Island, where he lives in Portsmouth with his wife, Nancy, and two sons, Patrick and Scott.
This is David Rogers' second bid to oust Patrick Kennedy. He was unopposed in the primary election.
In 2002, Kennedy, a Democrat, won over 60 percent of the vote and Rogers received 37 percent.
Oh, and if you want to buy Rogers' donor list, you can!
Dave Rogers is a U.S. Navy SEAL who challenged liberal Democrat Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island.My emphasis. Looks like Rogers was a direct mail candidate, as you might expect from the "Republican fantasy" aspect of all this. (I don't want to link to the right-wing blogs, but from a glance, they seemed to like the "help a Navy SEAL beat Ted Kennedy's son!" angle, and I'm sure direct mail firms liked it even more.)
Never shy to refer to Patrick Kennedy as one of the most liberal members of Congress, the Friends of
Dave Rogers donor list is comprised of hard-core conservatives who are conservative on fiscal, social,
and of course, military issues. These donors support pro-family legislation, cutting spending and taxes, and protecting the United States of America. And of course, they support President Bush's foreign policy efforts and rebuilding the U.S. Military. Over 99% of these donors have given in the last twelve months, with an astonishing 69% having contributed in the last three months and an average gift of $25.
This is a nationwide list of conservative donors.
Competitive Base Rate: $100/M
- 20% commission to recognized brokers -
CONTINUATIONS: Raczkowski for Senate, SUPA, Latino Alliance, TAPS, Black Republican Freedom Fund, Operation Smile, Honeycutt for Congress, Young America’s Foundation, Soldiers Angels
7. NY-01: Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop won a narrow upset in 2002, but he won 56.2% while Kerry and Bush almost tied in this district with 49% each. That sounds pretty good, but to continue to repeat myself, incumbents generally had even more of an advantage than that. Bishop spent $1,908,440 to Republican William Manger's $1,367,904.
Thanks to Bishop's narrow initial win, this was another election that attracted national attention. Here's CNN, which called this a "nasty race":
Intent on avenging the 2002 defeat -- GOP leaders still claim Grucci lost it more than Bishop won it -- the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) invested heavily financially, buying cable TV ads in the district.Doesn't sound like this reporter was too fond of Manger.
Manger, a former Southampton Village Board Member, showed fund-raising prowess and dipped into his own pocket, loaning his campaign more than $200,000.
Manger went on the offensive with ads that accused the Democratic freshman representative of driving Southampton College into bankruptcy while he was an administrator at the school, while NRCC ads attacked the incumbent for not supporting U.S. troops.
Bishop said he was saddened by the closing of the school, and called the Manger ad baseless. He also returned fire by running a TV ad featuring wounded Iraqi war veteran Lt. John Fernandez, a West Point graduate from Rocky Point, who lost his right leg below the knee and left foot in the Iraq war.
While neither candidate has strong roots in the district, Bishop portrayed himself as a hard-working moderate who is responsive to constituents and who has earned another term. He picked up the backing of environmental groups, as well as some unions that had backed Republican Grucci in 2002.
Blueblood newcomer Manger tried to use four years as a trustee in tiny Southampton village and 14 months of campaigning full-time to overcome being unknown to most voters. He also ran on the Conservative Party Line, and earned the support of some police unions.
8. IN-09: Somehow I left this off my first draft, but Democratic incumbent Baron Hill lost to Republican challenger Mike Sodrel, which is basically an unforgivable sin as far as this model goes, however narrow the loss, and even if John Kerry was only getting 40% of the vote at the time.
I doubt these two need much introduction, but Hill spent $1,634,699 to Sodrel's $1,286,633. Interestingly, this was yet another re-match, but in round one, Sodrel spent more than Hill, but lost. Again, remember that the next time you assume that "money buys elections".
9. WI-03: Ron Kind out-performed the top of the ticket here, getting 56.4% to Kerry's 51%, but the model remains un-impressed. Kind spent $1,189,099 to just $531,538 from his challenger, Republican...Dale Schultz. Schultz, even then, had been a State Senator since 1991, and he would later become famous among national political activists as the only Republican in the Wisconsin Senate to oppose Scott Walker's bill banning collective bargaining among public employees.
Interestingly, Schultz and Kind differed on trade issues, which might have helped Schultz, relatively speaking:
In addition to education, both candidates listed economic development as a priority, although they have different plans for achieving it.10. IA-03: In this swing seat that Bush and Kerry basically tied in, Democratic incumbent Leonard Boswell got 55.2% of the vote against Republican Stan Thompson. Boswell spent $1,545,133 to Thompson's $838,904.
Kind said he has a plan to spur job creation in the 3rd district. His plan includes fairer trade, investment in education and investment in science and medical research.
Schultz said he opposes trade deals that Kind has voted for in Congress. If elected, Schultz said he would start a Western Wisconsin Trade Advisory Group composed of workers, the university system, work force development people and others.
And, probably precisely because it was a rematch, this race also attracted national attention. Here's CNN:
Thompson repeated many charges he leveled against Boswell in the earlier campaign, including accusing the Democrat of breaking a term-limit pledge he made when he first ran for office. Boswell called the promise a mistake and asserted his four terms have allowed him to develop seniority.Man, Thompson sounds like a class act, huh? Anyway, Boswell was surely hurt, relatively speaking, by being targeted, but Boswell is another incumbent who never really nailed down his seat.
The 44-year-old Thompson also made an issue of Boswell's age -- 70 -- running an ad that depicts an aging, overweight man struggling to swing a baseball bat.
A few billboards in the Des Moines area were another source of controversy. The signs -- "Congressman Leonard Boswell supports amnesty for illegal aliens. Do you?" -- referred to Boswell's co-sponsoring of a bill that would help undocumented immigrants working on farms gain legal status. Although Thompson opposed the bill, he said he did not endorse the ads and called on the independent group responsible to take them down.
Thompson, a staunch supporter of President Bush's decision to invade Iraq, raised a new issue in this campaign, accusing Boswell of not funding the troops because he voted to authorize the use of force but against an $87 billion package to finance the war.
Boswell countered that there was plenty of money available to support the troops and there was no method for holding officials accountable for how the $87 billion would be spent.
11. WI-02: Democratic incumbent Tammy Baldwin got 63.3% of the vote, compared to John Kerry's 62%. (I would have thought that's an even-weaker showing than Kind's, but who am I to argue with regression?)
I'm glad to be able to take another, more comprehensive look at this election, since I've written a bit on Baldwin's weak general election history in the context of her current Senate race. In one of those diaries, I wrote that her 2004 election seemed to be an unimpressive showing, and this might be some kind of confirmation of that.
Still, I also didn't know that Baldwin faced a relatively well-funded challenger, unlike many incumbents in blue seats. Baldwin certainly had the spending advantage, spending $1,448,889 to Magnum's $660,833. Magnum was something of a self-funder, with half of that money coming from his own pocket. As a radio station owner making "his first bid for elected office", Magnum wasn't an impressive candidate on paper, but perhaps he campaigned well.
But I kind of doubt Magnum was much of a candidate. Apparently his finances were kind of mysterious, according to this article from shortly after his 2006 re-match against Baldwin. And by "kind of mysterious" I mean "he didn't have any". I really feel obligated to quote the article nearly in full:
In the final weeks of his failed bid to unseat Rep. Tammy Baldwin this fall, Dave Magnum loaned his campaign $525,000. But Magnum hasn't paid state income taxes since 2002 because, he says, his broadcast company has not been profitable. So if he has no income, where did Magnum get half a million dollars to loan his campaign?(Magnum said " the reason he hasn't paid any state income taxes is because his businesses had major losses while his wife had breast cancer, so there was no profit to pay taxes on. Corporate losses can be carried forward under Wisconsin law. Magnum's wife died in 2002.")
At the time, his spokesman, Chris Lato, told the Associated Press: 'He has had success as a businessman, he is basically using the clout that he's built up and the goodwill that he's built up to borrow money to help fund the campaign. He's doing things with his business and his personal holdings to obtain the funds needed to run for office.'
[...he needs to say from where...]
In his post-election campaign report, filed last week, Magnum did not indicate where he got the money. When asked about this, he replied in an e-mail, 'My FEC compliance consultant is reviewing the report to see if any additional information needs to be filed regarding loans.'
Magnum's campaign filings reveal something else: He never paid payroll taxes to the state or to the Internal Revenue Service for the staff who worked on his campaign.
Magnum says that everyone who worked on his campaign did so as a consultant, not staff, 'so they're responsible for their taxes.'
And Carlson, a retired accountant, questions whether this is legal. He says that under federal rules, people who are told by an employer what to do and how to do it are employees. 'The IRS could take one look at his reports and determine he should pay payroll taxes,' says Carlson. 'It's pretty black and white.'
I don't know if it's something about Baldwin, something about her district, or something about 2004, but even running against this guy, as an incumbent, she barely managed to out-perform the top of the ticket.
12. MN-04: Betty McCollum managed to get only 57.5% of the vote against Republican Patrice Bataglia and independent Peter Vento. Vento managed to get over 9% of the vote, but even looking at McCollum's share of the two-party vote, her performance in a 62% Kerry district lands her in the 11th spot on our countdown. McCollum considerably out-spent Bataglia, spending $707,384 to her $194,717.
Bataglia, a longtime member of the Dakota County Board of Supervisors at the time of this election, would seem to be a stronger opponent than many safe Democratic seats would see. Although apparently she didn't have a website. College Republicans V.P. Mark Richter gave Bataglia this ringing endorsement:
Tony Richter, vice president of College Republicans, said he spends more of his time focusing on the campaign of Rep. Mark Kennedy, R-Minn., but he is pleased with what he has seen of Bataglia.Bataglia, like a few other Republican challengers we've seen, hit the "support the troops" button:
"I have heard her speak a number of times, and I'm impressed by her determination," Richter said.
"She shouldn't be underestimated," he said, "She brings a tremendous amount of energy to the table - students latch on to that."
Just three days after Bataglia married her husband he was shipped off to fight in the Vietnam War.Bataglia was later found to have "knowingly or with reckless disregard of the truth prepar[ed] and disseminat[ed] campaign material that was false with respect to certain acts of Fourth Congressional District candidate Betty McCollum." Why? That kind of thing--she sent out this flier:
"I found it disturbing that when my husband returned from the military, he was not respected for the work he had done," she said.
The front of the flyer asks, “Where does Betty McCollum stand on supporting our military and protecting our country? Take a look at her voting record...” The front side also has space for the mailing information. The back side of the flyer states:In a lengthy judgement that I haven't read, the judges found, I guess, that Bataglia's claims were bullshit. She was "hereby assessed a civil penalty of $700."
Even after 9-11 Betty McCollum has consistently opposed supporting our troops and protecting our
country from terrorists...
[...list of votes...]
Our Military and our country deserve better
13. ME-01: Democratic incumbent Tom Allen faced Republican Charlie Summers in this seat where John Kerry won 55% of the vote. Allen won 59.7%, which wasn't so great, relatively speaking. He spent $727,772 to Summers' $505,698. This was Summers' second try for this seat, out of three so far. He later became Maine's Secretary of State and is currently running for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Olympia Snowe. At the time of this election, Summers had been a state Senator, an aide to Olympia Snowe, and a Naval Reservist who, "[a]fter Sept. 11, 2001, [had] his unit was activated[,] and he worked seven months in the Pentagon"
In the comments to one of my Baldwin diaries, David Nir actually referenced Allen:
And in fact, years ago, James L made a similar observation that turned out to be quite prescient. He noted that Tom Allen's re-election numbers were consistently less-than-stellar. While it's hard to know if A had anything to do with B, Allen never gained any traction against Susan Collins and a race that, on paper, many had imagined to be promising turned out to be an utter dud.According to the Portland Phoenix, in their endorsement of Allen:
Charlie Summers has made every effort in this race to convince voters that Tom Allen hasn’t done enough for them while representing the First District in US House of Representatives by pointing to two things: Allen’s exchanging his seat on the Armed Services Committee for one on Energy and Commerce, thereby potentially removing himself from discussions germane to jobs at BIW and Portsmouth, and Allen’s having sponsored nary a bill that passed over the past two years.You can see the Phoenix's longer profile of that election for a bit more detail:
Summers spokesman Steve Berlin, in contrast, sounds a note of unity with Bush policy. "Charlie supports the war in Iraq; Charlie supports the war on terror," says Berlin. "It’s critical that we follow through on our commitment to bring democracy to people who have been oppressed for so long."14. NJ-12: Most of the people that I've talked to have been surprised to see Jeopardy! champion Rush Holt on this list. Holt won easily, getting 59.3% of the vote to Kerry's 54%, but, for example, Carolyn McCarthy was getting 63% of the vote to Kerry's 55% at the same time. Holt spent an insane $1,651,175 to Republican Bill Spadea's $341,354. I have no idea why.
Asked whether Summers had reservations about the failures of prewar planning and intelligence, or the execution of the war and occupation, Berlin refused either to criticize Bush administration policy or to defend it. "Charlie agrees," he said in the practiced cadence of an oft-repeated sound bite, "like Tom Allen has before, that the world is a safer place now that Saddam Hussein is no longer in power."
Which didn’t answer the question, and may or may not be true, but it lines up with party talking points. This is something Summers accuses Allen of, noting that Allen votes with his party 98 percent of the time, and highlighting his own heretical (for a Republican, anyway) opposition to NAFTA.
Both candidates are trying to reach as many voters as possible in the last days of the campaign.Human Events adds their own classy touches:
To accomplish this, Republican nominee Spadea has been walking through the district, planning to cover 200 miles and visit 44 towns before the election. "What [is] key to the walk was that we touch almost a hundred thousand people in local areas," he said. "That personal touch [makes] the difference."
Spadea lists strong homeland security, reimportation of pharmaceuticals from Canada and empowerment of small businesses as the strongholds of his platform. These are the most important issues to the 15,000 people he has spoken with on his campaign, he said.
Spadea currently serves as vice president of education and career development for a realty firm and lives in Princeton Borough.
One swashbuckling campaigner who plans to knock this anti-conservative theory into a cocked hat this fall is Bill Spadea, former U.S. Marine and vice president of Weichert Realtors, the largest individually owned real estate company in the nation. As the Republican nominee against three-term Rep. Rush Holt (D.-N.J.), the 35-year-old Spadea at first seems the antithesis of most GOP candidates and elected officials in the Garden State: With no apologies, he is strongly pro-life, anti-tax, and pro-2nd Amendment. As the two-fisted national chairman of the College Republicans, Spadea found his experience as a Marine corporal was very useful in battling the left. (“They had their demonstrations, and we roughed it up a few times,” recalled United Press International’s Peter Roff of his CR days with Spadea.) After completing his study of history and political science at Boston University, Spadea in 1996 served as deputy campaign chairman for Pat Buchanan’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination.(Swashbuckling? Two-fisted? Seriously? Seriously.)
So how does someone cut from Spadea’s ideological cloth defeat Holt in a district that includes Monmouth, Hunterdon counties, and the city of Flemington? “By taking the message of just how far outside the mainstream Holt is to voters, going one-on-one and door-to-door,” says the GOP hopeful without hesitation.
“And please don’t forget his endorsement of Howard Dean for President,” said Spadea, noting that his opponent was one of the first elected officials in New Jersey to embrace the antiwar, pro-UN, pro-civil union Vermonter. Recalling Holt’s votes against greater defense spending even after 9/11 and Dean’s running to the left of John Kerry on the Iraqi War during the Democratic nomination process, the feisty Spadea declared: “There is no issue in this campaign of greater importance than our security. Like Howard Dean, my opponent never got the message on fighting terrorism. The President needs a few good men in Congress. So why not send him a former Marine who will support him in making America safe again?"
Anyway, this crap didn't work, obviously, but Spadea was apparently a better candidate than many Democratic incumbents in safe seats faced, and Holt at least felt obligated to open up his campaign wallet.
15. OR-01: By contrast, I don't think anyone's too surprised that David Wu ended up on this list. This was a hugely expensive race, where Wu spent $2,752,272 to $2,183,277 from his opponent, Goli Yazdi Ameri. For all that money sloshing around, Wu ended up with 57.8% of the vote in a district where John Kerry was getting 55%.
Ameri, a native of Iran, has an interesting story. Here's Wikipedia:
Ameri first came to the United States when she was 17 in 1974 to attend Stanford University. There, she earned a B.A. in Communications and French Literature and, later, her M.A. in Communications. She also studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. At Stanford, she met and later married then-fellow student Jamsheed "Jim" Ameri, now a real estate investor. She became a United States citizen in 1989. [...] Ameri was founder and president of eTinium, Inc., a telecommunications consulting firm in Portland, Oregon. [...] Prior to founding eTinium, Ameri was a director at U.S. Leasing, a former division of Ford Credit and Fleet Bank, in San Francisco. [...]She is fluent in English, French and Persian, as well as conversant in Spanish.Wikipedia continues that:
Ameri's campaign gained a great deal of attention from political insiders in Washington, D.C. because of her fast-paced fundraising skills. She was dubbed one of the National Republican Congressional Committee's "Super Six" candidates. She was also ranked by the Federal Elections Commission as the number-one Congressional challenger candidate in the country in total dollars raised for the 2004 primary and general elections cycles.An article in VOA News adds some context to Ameri's fundraising and to her campaign issues:
Such unbridled patriotism won Goli Ameri strong support among Oregon Republicans and so has her ability to tap into a new source of campaign contributions, her fellow Iranian Americans. Oregon Republican Party chair Kevin Mannix is eager to tout Ms. Ameri as a spokesperson for President Bush's policies, such as the war in Iraq and the Patriot Act.Of course, there was another aspect to this race. To (sigh) again continue on Wikipedia:
Mr. Wu is a Stanford-educated attorney who specialized in high technology issues. Since he left his law practice for Congress in 1998, he's angered many of his former clients with his vocal opposition to most favored trade status for China, citing his native country's poor record on human rights.
But China is a major trading partner for Oregon and its growing high technology industry. Goli Ameri hopes to tap into that anger with a campaign pledge to increase trade with the Pacific Rim.
The contest received national attention when, late in the campaign, Wu admitted that he had been disciplined for attempted sexual assault of a female classmate while he was a student at Stanford in 1976. Ameri did not focus on the issue initially, but heavily pushed it in the closing days of her campaign.The Williamette Week suggests that the story may have backfired on Ameri and on the Oregonian, which broke it:
Some believe the story didn't deserve airing at all. The more persistent question concerns the timing of its publication. The story hit the streets just four days after The Oregonian endorsed Goli Ameri, Wu's Republican challenger, and just three days before ballots arrived in mailboxes across the divided 1st District. Ameri, whose highly touted bid has languished in polls, used the story to savage Wu in a debate on Friday.(I also saw some Free Republic search results about Ameri going after Wu over this, but I didn't click through.)
In the days following the story's publication, David Wu's damage-control strategy largely consisted of criticizing The Oregonian's conduct, rather than disputing its story.
Still, journalism ethicists contacted by WW voiced deep qualms about the story.
"This is absurd," Bivins says. "It doesn't meet the relevance test. And when I read what they went through to get this, I was appalled, because in the end they couldn't prove anything. It was all hearsay."
Unlike most intra-journalistic spats, the question of whether The Oregonian did right by dredging up Wu's past will have an empirical answer of sorts: election returns. And one poll released last week showed Wu moving up the day The Oregonian's story broke.
I wouldn't blame Ameri, necessarily, for her "highly touted bid" "languishing in polls". According to this regression analysis, she was one of the best Republican challengers in the country. But incumbency is powerful, and PVI is powerful, and being a good candidate usually isn't enough.
And that seems as good a note to end on as any. Next up: Weak Republican incumbents, perhaps?
Note: Regression analysis via:
Wessa, P. (2012), Free Statistics Software, Office for Research Development and Education,
version 1.1.23-r7, URL http://www.wessa.net/
3:57 PM PT: Somehow, I forgot to include IN-09 the first time I published this. I didn't include too much about it now, since Hill and Sodrel are probably much more familiar players than those in the other elections, but I regret the mistake.
Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:07 PM PT: Re-running the numbers with the Georgia results (courtesy of what I should have known David Nir had already given me) gives a very slightly different equation:
Rvote = 19.47+9.61*Rinc-13.53*Dinc+0.63*PVIThis, in turn, slightly changes the lists. The strongest Democratic incumbents are now:
AL 5 CramerThe list of worst-performing Democratic incumbents is the same, except that Kind and Hill are now transposed. It might be a surprise to see Bishop on there, but this version of his district actually went for Bush twice, and he still won with 66.8% of the vote.
NC 7 McIntyre
MS 4 Taylor
TN 8 Tanner
MO 4 Skelton
WV 1 Mollohan
TN 9 Ford
RI 2 Langevin
MN 7 Peterson
IL 4 Gutierrez
TN 6 Gordon
NY 16 Serrano
OH 17 Ryan, Tim
GA 2 Bishop, Sanford
MI 1 Stupak
IL 12 Costello
NY 10 Towns