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Part 3 – Upper South Region (WV, KY, VA, TN, NC)

So far in our trip around the United States, the Democrats are +3 overall in swing from the 2010 elections.  

Democratic Pickups – (NH-1, NH-2, NY-24, NJ-3, MD-6)
Republican Pickups – (NY-27, PA-12)

In my original rundown of the Mid-Atlantic region last month, I had NJ-3 as a republican retention, but seeing as Shelley Adler outraised John Runyan in the 2nd quarter of this year and given Runyan not being the strongest of candidates, that was enough for me to make this razor-close seat a democratic pickup, taking the national score from Dem +2 to Dem +3.

In this third installment of StephenCLE’s Baseline House Ratings, we travel into the Upper South Region.  

WV-1 – This was the site of mayhem in 2010, as longtime Democratic representative Alan Mollohan was upset in the primary by Mike Oliverio.  Oliverio took on republican David Mckinley and came up short.  McKinley is taking his tenuous position seriously, and has raised well over 1.5 million so far this cycle.  The democratic candidate here is Susan Thorn, a new and cashless face.  In a historically democratic but recently red seat, I don’t think McKinley has anything to worry about.  
Rating – Safe R

WV-2 – Shelley Moore Capito is one of the more popular incumbents in the house today.  With very little opposition ahead, in the form of democrat Howard Swint, Capito will be back in the next Congress.  
Rating – Safe R

WV-3 – Nick Rahall is one of the congressional old timers, and now holds down a district that used to be solidly democratic but now leans republican at the national level.  He’s got a decent amount of cash on hand and won big in a nasty year for the democrats in 2010.  The republican candidate is underfunded, by the name of Richard Snuffer.  Rahall will be back for another go.
Rating – Safe D

KY-1 – Kentucky is a pretty boring state in terms of congressional races.  This is a 37% Obama district in western KY.  Ed Whitfield is the republican congressman here.  He’ll face the winner of the primary between 2010 candidate Charles Hatchett and 2010 Senate primary candidate James Buckmaster.  And Whitfield will win.  
Rating – Safe R

KY-2 – Looking back, its hard to believe that Brett Guthrie nearly lost this district in 2008.  This is a hugely republican district.  David Williams is the sacrificial lamb democrat here, doomed unless Guthrie pulls the dead girl/live boy double.  
Rating – Safe R

KY-3 – This Louisville-based district is the most democratic in Kentucky, and the only one with a democratic PVI.  John Yarmuth won this district in 2006 and hung on in 2010’s red wave.  He will face 2010 primary candidate Brooks Wicker in the general once he clears an easy primary challenge from Burrel Farnsley.
Rating – Safe D

KY-4 – The retirement of Geoff Davis has led to a free-for-all in the republican primary here in this northern Kentucky district.  It will remain in GOP hands no matter who wins it.  
Rating – Safe R  

KY-5 – Harold Rogers holds down this Eastern Kentucky district for the GOP, and it is one that is turning redder seemingly by the minute.  Kenneth Stepp is the sacrificial democratic candidate.
Rating – Safe R

KY-6 – This is the only seat in the Bluegrass State with a competitive race.  Democrat Ben Chandler has held this seat mostly by doing well in rural areas and running up huge margins in Frankfort and Lexington.  The seat is marginally more democratic now than it was in 2010, when Republican Andy Barr lost by a razor thin margin.  He’s back for another go, but with the year likely to be not as friendly to the GOP as last time around, he’s got an uphill climb.
Rating – Likely D

TN-1 – This is one of the birthplaces of the Republican party, in eastern Tennessee.  Phil Roe is the republican representative, and although Alan Woodruff is in the race for Team Blue, he’s nothing more than a sacrificial lamb.
Rating – Safe R

TN-2 – It always intrigues me that Knoxville is not more democratic in its voting habits, being a large city and a major college town as well.  At any rate, John Duncan is the GOP rep, and he’s got an easy path to victory against Democrat Troy Gooddale.  
Rating – Safe R

TN-3 – This district is nearly as republican as the hyper-red 1st and 2nd.  Representative Chuck Fleischmann is facing a primary challenge from Scotty Mayfield and Weston Wamp.  This might either knock out Fleischmann or seriously wound him, as the two challengers have both raised at least 600k each.  But this district is too red, and the democratic challengers, William Taylor and/or Mary Headrick, too cashless and too weak to take advantage.
Rating – Safe R

TN-4 – It was expected that in this newly gerry-rigged seat that State Senator Bill Ketron was going to run against Scott Desjarlais in the primary, but he declined.  Desjarlais actually lucked out and isn’t facing a primary, but the democrats have put up a decent candidate in State Senator Eric Stewart.  Stewart has raised 354k so far and holds nearly 200k cash on hand, but that’s about a 3-to-1 deficit to Desjarlais.  Even though this is a very red district in terms of PVI, its one that democrat Lincoln Davis held for a long time, so its not completely unwinnable.
Rating – Likely R

TN-5 – Blue Dog Jim Cooper isn’t considered to be a great fit for this district, but in all honesty, Team Blue is lucky this seat wasn’t dismantled and cut to pieces in redistricting.  Cooper will face token opposition here in November and win.  
Rating – Safe D

TN-6 – Republican rep Diane Black is facing a primary rematch against 2010 primary opponent Lou Ann Zelenik.  Whoever wins the primary wins the seat as no democrat filed for November.
Rating – Safe R

TN-7 – Marsha Blackburn is one of the more outspoken House GOPers, and she can easily afford it coming from such a hugely GOP seat as this one.  Democrats Chris Martin and Credo Amouzouvik are battling in the primary for a chance to get blown out in November.
Rating – Safe R

TN-8 – This district in rural western Tennessee used to be Dem-leaning, but has moved rapidly rightward in recent years.  Stephen Fincher has fundraised as though he’s facing a tough fight, and has raised well over 1.8 million, a very impressive total.  He has to face a primary against Annette Justice, but should easily prevail.  The democratic primary is a three way affair, between John Bradley, Timothy Dixon, and Christa Stoscheck, but none of the three have been impressive on the fundraising front.  
Rating – Safe R

TN-9 – This district centered on Memphis always seems to have racially based primary battles, as democratic rep Steve Cohen is a white man representing a VRA seat.  He’ll likely turn back another such challenge this year and waltz to another easy win in November.
Rating – Safe D

VA-1 – Robert Wittman is the GOP rep in this east-central Virginia seat.  His only opposition comes from Democrat Adam Cook, who is virtually cashless.
Rating – Safe R

VA-2 – This is a seat of real opportunity for the Democrats.  It’s been a rocky first term for Scott Rigell, who’s been in murky waters at times in terms of ethics.  He’s fundraised very well, raising about 1.65 million so far and holding 917k on hand.  However, his democratic challenger, Paul Hirschbiel, has done very well on the fundraising front as well, raising 1.15 million and holding 797k on hand so far.  This district is virtually unchanged at R+5, and it turned over in 2008, so if Hirschbiel campaigns well, he might be able to pick this one off.  Early edge to Rigell, but definitely one to watch.
Rating – Lean R

VA-3 – This gerrymandered seat is hugely democratic, and representative Bobby Scott will be back in congress for another term.  
Rating – Safe D

VA-4 – This race is kind of odd.  Randy Forbes, the GOP representative, is sitting in a fairly marginal seat in southern Virginia, one that was a 49-49 tie in the 2008 presidential.  Yet he has less than 100k cash on hand.  You’d expect the democrats to be running hard here, but didn’t get a top tier challenger.  Chesapeake city councilwoman Ella Ward is the favorite to win the democratic primary, but she has virtually no cash.  I don’t know if Forbes and Ward plan to campaign from their front porches, but in either case, this could be a real sleeper or a real snoozer depending on who gets their finances in gear first.
Rating – Likely R

VA-5 – Robert Hurt narrowly survived in 2010, knocking out progressive champion Tom Perriello.  The district is virtually unchanged at 48% Obama, and Hurt is fundraising well, with 1.42 million raised and 685k cash on hand.  The democrats have a fairly strong challenger here in former USAF General John Douglass, who has a fairly good profile for this military heavy state.  He’s also raised 661k so far, and holds about 300k on hand.  How Charlie Cook and others are rating this Safe R, that’s just ignorant.  This seat turned over in 2008, so its not out of the range of possibility that it could again.  
Rating – Lean R

VA-6 – Now we have a seat that is truly non-competitive.  Bob Goodlatte won’t be sweating very hard here.  He does have to face a primary challenge from Karen Kwiatkowski and a general election match against democrat Andy Schmookler, but they are both third tier.
Rating – Safe R

VA-7 – This is the home district of one Eric Cantor, the leader of the tea party faction of the House.  I cannot, in good faith forecast such a leviathan going down in his home district when he has over 1 million cash on hand and the heart of all the tea flavored folk here.  However, democrat Wayne Powell has raised nearly 300k thus far and is giving it an honest effort.
Rating – Safe R

VA-8 – This solidly blue seat in NoVA is held by Jim Moran, and will continue to be after November.
Rating – Safe D

VA-9 – Morgan Griffith took over this Appalachian district in 2010, defeating longtime incumbent Rick Boucher.  It’s really become a difficult seat for Dems, and though Anthony Flaccavento is going to try to win, his climb is as steep as the highest Appalachian slope.
Rating – Safe R

VA-10 – Frank Wolf is perhaps one of the most entrenched Republican incumbents in the country, and it would take a herculean effort to beat him even though this seat is getting bluer.  In redistricting it did change from 53% to 51% Obama, making it R+2 or thereabout.  The democratic challenger here is Kristin Cabral, who doesn’t appear to be a complete walkover financially, but isn’t exactly top tier.  Wolf should have no trouble winning.
Rating – Safe R

VA-11 – Gerry Connolly barely held on here in 2010, narrowly beating Keith Fimian, and was bolstered hugely in redistricting as this seat went from 57% to 62% Obama.  He’s been raising money like a fiend too, he’s at 1.72 million raised this cycle.  The republican candidate is Christopher Perkins.  At just 45k cash on hand, he’s got the deck stacked against him in almost every way possible.
Rating – Safe D

NC-1 – Now we head into North Carolina, which based on a gerrymandered redistricting map could be the GOP’s best state in the country for pickups.  But they won’t get this VRA seat in rural northeastern NC, held by GK Butterfield.  It’s safely democratic.
Rating – Safe D

NC-2 – This seat, held by Renee Ellmers ever since her upset win over Bob Etheridge in 2010, changed dramatically in redistricting.  It went from 52% Obama down to 43%.  And her democratic challenger, Steve Wilkins, is completely cashless.  Just like that, a representative considered by many as driftwood carried in by the 2010 wave is pretty much entrenched.  
Rating – Safe R

NC-3 – This coastal seat is hugely republican.  Walter Jones won’t have any trouble here.
Rating – Safe R

NC-4 – David Price had a surprisingly tough race in 2010, nearly losing what was then an R+8 district.  Strangely, that might’ve been a long term benefit for Dems as the GOP would’ve had to figure out how to protect 11 GOP seats instead of 10, and probably dummymandered.  As it is, 2010 NC-8 candidate Tim D’Annunzio is running against Price, but he’s sure to be crushed in this democratic vote sink.  
Rating – Safe D

NC-5 – Virginia Foxx is rather odious, and her district did turn bluer in redistricting, but only to 42% Obama.  That’s not exactly prime pickup territory, but Elisabeth Motsinger is going to try anyways for Team Blue.  She doesn’t have much cash though.
Rating – Safe R

NC-6 – John Coble’s seat was another that turned bluer in redistricting in order to help out Repubs in the marginal seats, but at 43% Obama he shouldn’t have much to worry about.  Democrat Tony Foriest is opposing him in the general, but he’s basically a Some Dude.
Rating – Safe R

NC-7 – Now this race looks juicy.  Mike McIntyre sat in a fairly red district prior to 2010 and is fairly well rehearsed in appealing to a red-tinged electorate, but this seat went from 47% to 42% Obama in redistricting, and is now R+11.   Some good news came about in the primary, as 2010 candidate and republican favorite Illario Pantano was upset by state senator David Rouzer, a fresher face but one who only has about 170k cash on hand at the moment.  Meanwhile, McIntyre has raised 1.43 million and holds over a million on hand.  In such a red seat, reflexively I want to toss McIntyre, but he’s proven to be a very tough out, and with that large money advantage, if he campaigns well he wins.
Rating – Toss Up / Tilt Democratic

NC-8 – Larry Kissell, much like Mike McIntyre, faces a buzzsaw in the form of redistricting, going from R+2 to R+12.  And unlike McIntyre, Kissell didn’t sit in a McCain district before this year nor has he campaigned and been in the House as long.  The good news is that he’s been able to sit back for a while as republicans Scott Keadle and Richard Hudson are headed to a runoff.  Once that is decided though, it’ll be a fight for Kissell, especially since he only has 600k cash on hand.  I don’t see him surviving against the winner of the runoff.  
Rating – Lean Republican (3rd republican pickup)
National Score – Democrats +2

NC-9 – This seat in suburban Charlotte actually got bluer in redistricting, and was already trending democratic before redistricting.  Sue Myrick, the current representative, has retired, making an open seat.  The seat is R+8, but I think Democratic chances might not be completely snowed in here.  First, they landed a solid candidate in Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jennifer Roberts.  Secondly, the two republicans, 2008 Lt governor candidate Robert Pendergraph and Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jim Pendergraph, are headed to a runoff and are virtually cashless.  Roberts actually has the cash on hand advantage, but has only raised 254k.  If she ramps up the fundraising this could be a potential sleeper.
Rating – Likely Republican

NC-10 – Patrick McHenry fought off a primary challenge, and now that he has done so, looks to be a lock for November.  Democrat Patsy Keever is running, but really doesn’t have a shot.
Rating – Safe R

NC-11 – This Appalachian seat was already a red one, but now its uber-red at R+13.   Heath Shuler, the democratic representative, saw the writing on the wall and retired.  At present, two republicans, 2010 primary candidate Vance Patterson and Mark Meadows, a headed to a runoff.  Both have been drained cash-wise.  The democratic candidate is state Wildlife Resources Commissioner Hayden Rogers, who actually has done well fundraising at 492k raised, but just 200k or thereabout in the bank.  Ultimately this seat is too red for her to win though.
Rating – Safe R (4th republican pickup)
National Score – Democrats +1

NC-12 – This district, quite possibly the most gerrymandered in the nation, is home to democrat Mel Watt.  He’s sure to be back after November
Rating – Safe D

NC-13 – This is another seat that was gerrymandered away from the democrats, going from 59% Obama to just 45%.  Representative Brad Miller ended up retiring after threatening to run in NC-4 against David Price.  Now you have a heads-up battle between republican George Holding and democrat Charles Malone.  Neither seems to have much cash, but at this point Holding has a huge partisan edge.
Rating – Safe R (5th republican pickup)
National Score – EVEN

Region Roundup – This was a snoozer of a region for the most part, at least until we got to the gerrymander in North Carolina, which caused the republicans to make up the 2 seats they dropped in the Northeast and the 1 they dropped in the Mid-Atlantic, gaining 3 seats to move the national swing back to even.  Really they could grab a 4th if McIntyre can’t hold on.  In a best case scenario, I don’t know, maybe they upset Chandler in KY-6 for a +5.  For the democrats, man, there’s just not much here.  Maybe Kissell surprises and holds on, and maybe there’s a surprise or two in Virginia and either Scott Rigell or Robert Hurt goes down.  If they pull off that trifecta, and that would probably only occur in a late developing Dem wave, you’d have an Even score for the region.  But that is the polyanna of polyannas.  

Total Republican pickups – 5 – (NY-27, PA-12, NC-8, NC-11, NC-13)
Total Democratic pickups – 5 – (NH-1, NH-2, NY-24, NJ-3, MD-6)

Next up…the South Atlantic Region.


What will be the net result in the Upper South Region?

3%1 votes
6%2 votes
9%3 votes
3%1 votes
12%4 votes
18%6 votes
33%11 votes
9%3 votes
6%2 votes

| 33 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Great stuff here (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Allen, MichaelNY, KingofSpades

    A few notes about NC:

    NC-6 is Howard Coble. His opponent, Tony Foriest, was a state senator until he was swept out with the 2010 red tide. Sadly, with little money, Foriest probably stands little chance vs 81-year old Coble. But he gets my vote anyway in my new district.

    I expect McIntire to hold on in NC-7. In NC-8, I think Kissell will make it close and would call it toss up/tilt Republican.

    NC's 2nd primary was this past Tuesday, and the winners were Richard Hudson with 64% (NC-8), Robert Pittenger with 53% (NC-9), and Mark Meadows with 76% (NC-11).

    The Democrat in NC-10 - Patsy Keever - ran in NC-11 against Charles Taylor about 10 years ago.

    The Democrat in NC-11 - Rogers - is Shuler's Chief of Staff.

    NC-4 (soon to be NC-6) Obama/Biden 2012

    by bear83 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 07:11:56 PM PDT

  •  Comments (3+ / 0-)
    KY-3 – This Louisville-based district is the most democratic in Kentucky, and the only one with a democratic PVI.  John Yarmuth won this district in 2006 and hung on in 2010’s red wave.  He will face 2010 primary candidate Brooks Wicker in the general once he clears an easy primary challenge from Burrel Farnsley.
    Kentucky's primary was in May, so I think it's been cleared. (Same thing for KY-04 - the primary has already happened, and the Republican nominee slash congressman-elect is Thomas Massie.)
    Chesapeake city councilwoman Ella Ward is the favorite to win the democratic primary, but she has virtually no cash.
    Again, Virginia's primary already happened in June.

    Re: NC-04, I believe Price won 57-43 - not an awful margin in 2010. (It looked like he was in danger at first, but that was just because Wake County reported quickly.)

    NC-06: Howard Coble, not John.

    NC-07: Not sure how an establishment candidate beating a crazy war criminal is a good thing.

    NC-08: The runoff was decided this week - Hudson won.

    NC-09: Same deal, runoff happened - Pittenger won.

    NC-11: Again, runoff happened, and Meadows beat Patterson. Also, Rogers is a man, and is actually a pretty good candidate - he's been fundraising well and has political experience from being Heath Shuler's campaign manager/chief of staff.

    Voting in RI-01, went to college in IL-01.

    by sapelcovits on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 07:15:56 PM PDT

  •  Re: Knoxville (4+ / 0-)

    The reason Knoxville isn't bluer is because it is in ultra-red East Tennessee. Unlike most of the South, which was Democratic due to opposing Lincoln and Reconstruction, East Tennessee supported the Union in the Civil War and has been staunchly Republican since. There are precious few Blue Dogs there, except in coal country. Instead, there is a somewhat moderate Republican faction that attracts mildly conservative voters who nonetheless vote straight ticket R. Finally, UT-Knoxville gets its students mainly from elsewhere in Tennessee, so they aren't ultra-liberal. In short, Knoxville is blue for its region, but it's still only purple, and the suburbs are blood red.

    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 Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 10:30:46 PM PDT

  •  The only issue I have here .... (0+ / 0-)

    .... is your description of Virginia Foxx as "rather odious."  That's like describing Michelle Bachmann as "kind of crazy"!!!!!!!!!

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