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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.  

Some notes:

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    Cramer
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
Not the most interesting list, I suppose.

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    Carson
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
I'll look at most of these in order.  Clicking each district's link should bring you to the race's OpenSecrets page.

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!"[1] 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.

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.

A few weeks after the 2002 election, LeSueur penned an op-ed, with the lovely title of "Democrats exploit blacks":
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.

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."

Italics in the original, amazingly enough.  And, uh, is LeSueur pro-affirmative action?

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.

After being laid off, he became a financial consultant.

Escobar's 2002 campaign attracted some national figures:
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.
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

(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.)

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.

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.

Past Campaigns:

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.  

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.  

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.  
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.

34,291 Universe

$10+ Donors

This is a nationwide list of conservative donors.

Competitive Base Rate: $100/M

Charitable/Commercial/Publication:  $75/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

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.)

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.

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.

Doesn't sound like this reporter was too fond of Manger.

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.

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.

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.

Thompson is yet another repeat candidate, although in this case, he spent a little more, and lost by a little less, in 2002.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.'

(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.")

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.

"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."

Bataglia, like a few other Republican challengers we've seen, hit the "support the troops" button:
Just three days after Bataglia married her husband he was shipped off to fight in the Vietnam War.

"I found it disturbing that when my husband returned from the military, he was not respected for the work he had done," she said.

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:
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:

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

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."

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."

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.

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.

Spadea was apparently a former Marine who later became "the elected national chairman of the College Republicans from 1993-1995."  I guess he campaigned energetically:

Both candidates are trying to reach as many voters as possible in the last days of the campaign.

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.

Human Events adds their own classy touches:
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.

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?"

(Swashbuckling?  Two-fisted?  Seriously?  Seriously.)

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.[1] 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.[1] [...] Ameri was founder and president of eTinium, Inc., a telecommunications consulting firm in Portland, Oregon.[1]  [...] Prior to founding eTinium, Ameri was a director at U.S. Leasing, a former division of Ford Credit and Fleet Bank, in San Francisco.[1] [...]She is fluent in English, French and Persian, as well as conversant in Spanish.[1]
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.[7] She was dubbed one of the National Republican Congressional Committee's "Super Six" candidates.[2] 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.[8]
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.


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.

Of course, there was another aspect to this race.  To (sigh) again continue on Wikipedia:
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.


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 also saw some Free Republic search results about Ameri going after Wu over this, but I didn't click through.)

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?

Oh yeah, HI-02.  I don't really want to put together a capsule summary of that.  I doubt it would do it justice, since Ed Case's opponent was...Mike Gabbard.  (A great choice for any liberal!)

Note: Regression analysis via:

Wessa, P. (2012), Free Statistics Software, Office for Research Development and Education,
version 1.1.23-r7, URL

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*PVI
This, in turn, slightly changes the lists.  The strongest Democratic incumbents are now:
AL    5    Cramer
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
The 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.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

    26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

    by Xenocrypt on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 03:44:00 PM PDT

  •  I love this diary and history (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Xenocrypt, David Jarman

    I think the 3rd party challenger in McCollum's seat took nearly only from Democrats.

    Vento is the last name of popular former Rep. Bruce Vento, who was a liberal.  McCollum succeeded him.

    Age 19, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (college)
    Check out my blog at
    Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on almost everything else.
    Berkeley Class of 2015. -.5.38, -3.23

    by jncca on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 04:17:27 PM PDT

    •  Thanks! (0+ / 0-)

      That's interesting- the formula predicts she should have gotten like 71% of the vote, I think, so "spotting" her Vento's total would move her quite a bit farther down the list.

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 04:21:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  slightly more research (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Xenocrypt, bfen, bumiputera

        Vento is indeed Bruce Vento's son.

        He had to beat the Mayor of Maplewood (who appears to be center right) in what might be one of the most high-level Independence Party Primaries ever.  The son of an elected official vs a real one, all for a 3rd party nomination for a Safe D US House seat!

        Age 19, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (college)
        Check out my blog at
        Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on almost everything else.
        Berkeley Class of 2015. -.5.38, -3.23

        by jncca on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 04:40:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  But on the other hand... (0+ / 0-)

      ...Bataglia is pretty entertaining, so I'm glad I got to include her.

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 04:25:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  interesting (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    atdnext, bfen, CF of Aus, ArkDem14

    A lot of the struggling Dems' opponents were much better funded than the typical challenger, but that creates a chicken-or-the-egg issue: did they do well only because they had money, or were they able to raise money because they were getting traction even without money?

    Kind's relatively poor showing is easily explained by Schultz, who was a much stronger opponent than an entrenched incumbent usually draws.

    I would be curious if your results changed if you made a distinction between freshman incumbents and longer-term incumbents. I think this would matter most for elections following a wave year such as 1996 and 2010. 2008 is a bad example even though it followed a wave, because it was an even bigger wave in the same direction.

    SSP poster. 43, new CA-6, -0.25/-3.90

    by sacman701 on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 04:42:55 PM PDT

    •  The fundraising thing occurred to me as well (0+ / 0-)

      I didn't really want to include campaign spending, because a) I'm lazy and b) I think that somewhat muddies the definition of "candidate quality".

      Still, here are some counter-examples from Democratic incumbents, where "well-funded" means, like, "six figures".

      PA-17, where Tim Holden faced a well-funded Scott Paterno, and out-performed the model.

      CA-09, where Barbara Lee faced a well-funded Claudia Bermudez, and out-performed the model.  (Although, having looked at Bermudez's FEC sheet, I think it's another direct mail case.)

      CA-29, where Adam Schiff faced a well-funded Harry Scolinos (a partial self-funder), and under-performed the model, but only a little.

      OH-09, where Marcy Kaptur faced a well-funded Larry Kaczala, and slightly beat the model's expectations.

      That's also why I kept bringing up the rematch races, where candidates who did well on a small budget got more money, and sometimes didn't do any better.

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 04:54:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  On the other hand... (0+ / 0-)

      I think it's entirely reasonable that elections with more equitable spending will have more "partisan activation" and less ticket-splitting, so even though I'm generally skeptical of campaign spending having a big effect, I'm not surprised that these challengers were generally well-funded.

      Tomorrow, hopefully, we'll see about the good Democratic challengers as well!

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 04:59:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I see a recurring theme here... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kleinburger, CF of Aus

    One that we're only seeing more of now. Basically, 20 years ago we started to see that partisanship and ideology trump incumbency. In the era of Tip O'Neill, many House Democrats didn't have to worry too much about reelection as long as tjey raised enough $ and built enough local goodwill to get over 50%. But in the era of Dick Gephardt and Nancy Pelosi, we've seen that old adage challenged as Blue Dogs have fallen because the "D" by their names became too toxic in culturally conservative districts... As well as new Democrats winning simply because they were running in districts that were becoming allergic to the "R" label.

    This is why Democrats can't win any California districts that McCain won, and this is why Republicans may not be able to win any Arizona districts that Obama wins.

    •  I think this is very much an open question... (0+ / 0-)

      We've had three wave elections in a row--all of which still had incumbency mattering, but I don't think as strongly as it mattered in 2004.  After all, if a wave means anything, then it means that incumbents lose.

      Is that basically a coincidence?  Are voters growing more partisan and single-ticket, as you suggest and others have suggested?  Or will we start to see more 2004-esque status quo elections again?  

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 04:56:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think 4 wave elections in a row (0+ / 0-)

        has happened ever, and at least not since 1900.  If 2012 is a wave, I think it's fair to say we're in a new era.

        Age 19, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (college)
        Check out my blog at
        Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on almost everything else.
        Berkeley Class of 2015. -.5.38, -3.23

        by jncca on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 05:01:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  To some extent, the question is (0+ / 0-)

          How much staying power will the new Republican incumbents in light red/purple/light blue seats have?  Will incumbency carry them through?

          26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

          by Xenocrypt on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 05:07:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Waves (0+ / 0-)

          I'd call 1930, 32, 34, 36, and 38 all wave elections.  The first two saw big GOP losses, Dems held tough districts in 34 and 36, and 1938 had the GOP comeback.

          You're an odd fellow, but you do make a good steamed ham.

          by Samara Morgan Dem on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 06:49:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Re: WI-02/WI-03 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    WI-02: This district tends to have pretty high turnout even for races lower on the ballot, and Republicans here are a bit more organized than you might expect in a Safe D district (remember, 8 years earlier this district had a R incumbent). Some rural parts of this district are ancestrally Republican as well. And yes, Baldwin is probably liberal enough to discourage ticket splitting in her favor.

    WI-03: Ron Kind was facing a very serious opponent in an ancestrally Republican district, and it's nothing against his electability that he only overpreformed Kerry by 5 points. Schultz's district is some of Kind's better territory, and his brand of Republican was somewhat stronger in 2004 when the Fitzgerald/CfG purges were just starting.

    Male, 22, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02, remorseless supporter of Walker's recall. Pocan for Congress and Baldwin for Senate!

    by fearlessfred14 on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 05:36:30 PM PDT

    •  Yes, I should have clarified (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that an exercise like this is really all about relative candidate quality--I fully believe that, for example, WI-03's presence on the list is more about Schultz being a good candidate than it was about Kind being a bad candidate.  (Not sure how to make that into a title, though.)

      I find it a little hard to believe that the guy who self-funded by borrowing money while paying no income taxes was a formidable opponent, but who knows?  It's also possible that this district is generally difficult for Democrats to out-perform the top of the ticket in, but since Baldwin's been the only incumbent for so long, it's hard to say.  (Perhaps Pocan or Roys will help out with this question.)

      On the other hand--there don't seem to be a lot of districts like WI-02 on this list, do there?  Maybe NJ-12?  If it's something to do with WI-02 itself, then what other districts would have similar properties?

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 05:43:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  WI-02 (0+ / 0-)

        has rapidly been trending Democratic however, and it's much more Democratic now, as a reaction against Walker, than it was even in say, 2004. And in the early 1990s it was essentially only a Democratic leaning district, held by a liberal Republican.

        "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

        by ArkDem14 on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:56:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  On Baron Hill in IN-09 (0+ / 0-)

    in 2004. There was a lot of late dirty outside money spent in that race. Also some mysterious billboards against Hill that sprung up right before the election.
    He also had to fight against a 59-40 win by Bush over Kerry. The rest of the districts were either close or Democratic in 2004.

    "So there's a time for silence, and there's a time for waiting your turn. But if you know how you feel, and you so clearly know what you need to say, you'll know it. I don't think you should wait. I think you should speak now." -Taylor Swift

    by SouthernINDem on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 05:58:34 PM PDT

    •  But the district's partisanship... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      is taken into account by the formula, or should be, anyway.  Outside of Georgia, Texas, and Louisiana, Hill was the only Democratic incumbent to lose, and there were Democratic incumbents where Kerry did even worse, in:

      UT    2
      MS    4
      MO    4
      ND    AL
      SD    AL
      VA    9
      AL    5
      Several of those races, like ND-AL, SD-AL, and UT-02, had Republican challengers who spent competitively.

      None of the Democratic incumbents in these Bush districts even came close to losing, either:

      TN    6
      TN    4
      KY    6
      PA    17
      SC    5
      WV    1
      MN    7
      KS    3
      NC    7
      FL    2
      NC    2
      WV    3
      MI    1
      AR    1
      TN    8
      AR    2
      WA    3
      (I think the worst by sheer vote margin was in KS-03, where Dennis Moore won by ten points against Kris Kobach.)

      Democratic incumbents mostly did pretty well in 2004--which is why the worst-performing ones in this model are safe seat Democrats with unimpressive wins, and the one Democratic incumbent to lose--Hill.

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 06:08:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great job: looking forward to more! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ArkDem14, jncca

    It's actually safe to include Georgia: they did their mid-decade redistricting in 2005 when the GOP had complete control.  That's why Barrow and Marshall almost lost in 2006 despite the improved conditions for Dems nationwide.

    22, male, new CA-18 (home and voting there), LA-2 (college)

    by Jeff Singer on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 08:40:33 PM PDT

  •  Slight mistake with MS-4 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You have it marked down as Edwards when this seat was held by Gene Taylor.

    •  Unless it was meant to be (0+ / 0-)

      TX-17 Chet Edwards.

      Political Director, Daily Kos

      by David Nir on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 09:29:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, it's Taylor... (0+ / 0-)

        I didn't include Texas thanks to the mid-decade redistricting confusion.  I just put in the wrong name.  (Edwards might well have appeared if there was a decent way to include Texas.)

        26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

        by Xenocrypt on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 10:18:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Georgia did not redistrict (0+ / 0-)

          Until 2006. So can you include them?

          Political Director, Daily Kos

          by David Nir on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 10:48:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I could have... (0+ / 0-)

            except that the Presidential results are for post-2006.  If you have the circa-2004 numbers, I could re-run the numbers including those.  (Or did you already e-mail them to me?)

            26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

            by Xenocrypt on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 10:52:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  We also have (0+ / 0-)

          The following data for Texas:

          2000 by the 2002 lines (I don't know if we have 04 by the 02 lines)

          00/04 by the 2004 lines

          00/04/08 by the 2006 lines (remember, SCOTUS re-drew map in '06)

          Political Director, Daily Kos

          by David Nir on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:25:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The problem with Texas (0+ / 0-)

            (or so I thought) is how to count "incumbency", in addition to the district line confusion, given that nominal incumbents had new territory, and that incumbents had to run against each other, and so on.  (Should it be a number between zero and one?  The nominal incumbent?  Does "incumbency" mean "currently elected official" or "familiar name to the district"?).  I suppose I could try it a few ways, but I'd rather have a clear idea beforehand.

            The problem with Louisiana is that jungle primary results aren't really comparable to other results.  Do you aggregate the party totals, or what?

            26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

            by Xenocrypt on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:31:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I might also use the spreadsheet (0+ / 0-)

            to look at an earlier election, like 2000.  However, I really hate having to deal with Perot's totals district by district--sure, he seems to have taken evenly from Bush and Clinton nationally, but did that vary from one place to another?  Maybe in liberal areas he took from Clinton, and in conservative areas he took from Bush?  Or vice-versa?

            26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

            by Xenocrypt on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:34:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Very good - your results seem pretty solid (0+ / 0-)

    and the two lists seem to make sense. I will trust you on the model - the reasoning sounded good but the formula was too complex for me... I didnt always pay attention in statistics which I now regret a little.

    It is too soon to say that incumbency has lost it's potency but certainly the Internet and 24 hour news cycle seems to make it hard for incumbents to buck the trend... But maybe it will go back to normal if we have a few non wave elections.

    It seems that the underperforming incumbents are also generally not entrenched incumbents... Reinforcing the power of incumbency in that cycle.

    Town Planner, 30 years Old, Election Junkie, Thinks John Boehner is starting to be worried about holding the House...

    by CF of Aus on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:50:38 AM PDT

  •  Excellent work (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Really enjoyed this!

    Re Rush Holt: I'm not sure if this would have played a role, but recall that in 1998, Holt only first won this seat by a narrow margin (defeating incumbent Mike Pappas). Then in 2000, he won re-election by an even narrower margin (just a few hundred votes).

    Political Director, Daily Kos

    by David Nir on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 09:31:34 AM PDT

    •  Thanks! (0+ / 0-)

      Always a high compliment.

      If nothing else, Holt's past elections might explain why he spent so much money.  However, according to Wiki, "Redistricting before the 2002 elections made Holt safer, in part by adding much of Trenton."

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 10:20:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good point about redistricting (0+ / 0-)

        Though of course, while Holt got some safer turf, he also had to introduce himself to new voters. Though by 2004... I'm not sure that still holds much water.

        Political Director, Daily Kos

        by David Nir on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:23:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's the tricky part (0+ / 0-)

          about attempting this kind of analysis immediately after redistricting.  twohundertseventy has alluded to trying to disentangle the effects of incumbency post-redistricting (like, looking at things on the precinct level, comparing new and old precincts) but I don't know if anything came from those efforts.

          26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

          by Xenocrypt on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:33:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  incumbents and redistricting (0+ / 0-)

            You could assign a valuse based on the fraction of the new district population that came from the old district. For example, 29% of the new PA12 was in Critz's old district, so he would have an incumbent value of 0.29.

            SSP poster. 43, new CA-6, -0.25/-3.90

            by sacman701 on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:13:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  you'd also have to take media (0+ / 0-)

              markets into account.

              One might take on only 30% new territory, but if it's all in a different media market, that makes a big difference.

              Age 19, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (college)
              Check out my blog at
              Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on almost everything else.
              Berkeley Class of 2015. -.5.38, -3.23

              by jncca on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:21:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Never had any time to take this (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CF of Aus, Xenocrypt

            nationally, but

            Draw your own interpretations. To me it seems like you could argue that incumbency advantage is composed of structural and personal parts (ie fundraising/free media vs. name recognition and popularity) and the first part carries over to the new district and the second one doesn't. Which is why the popular people with large advantages take a hit and the meh ones like Watt, Ballance and Hayes (Kouri's opponent) don't.  

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