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Hello everybody and welcome once again to StephenCLE's House Ratings.  

This 4th section of the House Baseline ratings will take us to the South Atlantic region, a region consisting of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.  Before we jump in, let's take a look back at the first three regions:

Northeast Region -
Democrats pick up NH-1, NH-2, NY-24
Republicans pick up NY-27
Score = Democrats +2

Mid-Atlantic Region -
Democrats pick up NJ-3, MD-6
Republicans pick up PA-12
Score = Democrats +1

Upper South Region -
Democrats pick up no seats
Republicans pick up NC-8, NC-11, NC-13
Score = Republicans +3

Total National Score = Even

SC-1 – We open the South Atlantic region in South Carolina, where Republican Tim Scott defends a very republican seat centered on Charleston.  His challenger is Bobbie Scott, a not well known democrat. This is the seat which an openly LGBT candidate, Linda Ketner, nearly pulled off a mammoth upset in 2008, but I don’t foresee a close race this time.    
Rating – Safe R

SC-2 – Joe Wilson is running unopposed in November.
Rating – Safe R

SC-3 – Working our way toward the Piedmont now, and Jeff Duncan sits in an extremely republican district, R+18 to be exact.  Democrat Brent Doyle is running against him, but he’s little more than a sacrificial lamb.
Rating – Safe R

SC-4 – Here’s another hugely republican district, this one held by republican Trey Gowdy.  Much like neighboring SC-3, the democrats put up a sacrificial lamb in Deb Morrow, but this race isn’t going to be any more interesting than watching paint dry.
Rating – Safe R

SC-5 – This is John Spratt’s old district in northern South Carolina.  The district was shored up nominally in redistricting as it moved from R+7 to R+9.  Mick Mulvaney is the republican representative, and though he only has about 200k cash on hand right now, his democratic opponent Joyce Knott is utterly cashless and facing a huge uphill climb.
Rating – Safe R

SC-6 – Now we hit the lone democratic district in the Palmetto State, which covers much of the central part of the state.  James Clyburn is the representative here, and at D+17, he has nothing to worry about.
Rating – Safe D

SC-7 – This is the one seat where we might, emphasis on might, see some action in SC this fall.  This is a new district based in Myrtle Beach, and as a consequence you had a clown car primary on both sides.  Both republican Tom Rice and democrat Gloria Tinubu are tapped out financially at the moment, so the race will come down to partisan lean and campaigning, as well as future fundraising.  The district is 45% Obama, in other words, very favorable for Rice.  Tinubu will have to run the race of her life to win.    
Rating – Likely R

GA-1 – Jack Kingston’s district was drawn to be much more democratic in redistricting, but that’s all relative as it moved from R+16 to R+9.  There are two democrats looking to take him on in Lesli Messenger and Nathan Russo, but both are utterly cashless and looking more like lambs than wolves.
Rating – Safe R

GA-2 – I was rather surprised when Sanford Bishop survived the 2010 red wave, as virtually all democrats in the deep south not in safe seats went down to defeat. (his colleague John Barrow and AR-4’s Mike Ross are literally the only other ones I can think of).  Perhaps because of this show of electoral strength, Bishop’s district was made more democratic in redistricting, to 58% Obama from 54%.  Three republicans are vying for the right to take on Bishop in November, but none of them have any cash.  This looks pretty safe for November.
Rating – Safe D

GA-3 – Lynn Westmoreland is often near the top of most democrats’ Most Odious Republicans list.  But in honesty, he’s just doing his job.  At R+19, his district is one of the most republican you’ll find.  He’s running unopposed in November.  
Rating – Safe R

GA-4 – Now we move into Atlanta, where Henry Johnson finds himself holding onto a D+20 seat that was actually weakened in redistricting.  The seat isn’t unopposed for November, but it might as well be.
Rating – Safe D

GA-5 – John Lewis is an institution in the House and in this Atlanta based seat, and at 84% Obama, this is one of the most democratic districts in the nation.  
Rating – Safe D

GA-6 – We now move into Atlanta’s blood red suburban/exurban counties.  Tom Price holds this seat for the republicans and at 40% Obama, this is actually the most democratic of the seats in the Atlanta exurbs.  Unfortunately for Robert Montigel and Jeff Kazanow, the two democrats looking to take him on in November, you need cash and great campaigning to win on such red turf.  Without the first, doing the second is impossible.  
Rating – Safe R

GA-7 – This is another exurban district, and it is blood red.  Rob Woodall will have no trouble winning against token opposition this fall.
Rating – Safe R

GA-8 – This is Jim Marshall’s old seat before he got washed out in the 2010 red wave.  In a sign of how things are changing in the rural south, not only did the democrats not put up a first-tier challenger against freshman republican Austin Scott, they didn’t put up a challenger at all.  Scott is unopposed.
Rating – Safe R

GA-9 – This is effectively the new seat that was created following the 2012 redistricting, and man is it a bastion of wingnutty folks.  You basically have a clown-car primary on the right in which the winner wins the seat in November.  The favorites there include state representative Doug Collins and businesswoman Martha Zoller.  For the democrats, Jody Cooley is running unopposed, so she’ll be embarking on the campaign trail until November hoping for a dead girl/live boy double.
Rating – Safe R

GA-10 – Paul Broun has a primary challenger, but once he beats that challenge back, he will be unopposed in November.
Rating – Safe R

GA-11 – Another snoozer in a highly republican district, this one held by Phil Gingrey.  Like many other Georgia house republicans he does have a primary challenger, and this one could be significant as opponent William Llop is into the six figures in cash raised.  That might be a contest to watch, but as for November, Democrat Patrick Thompson will need a miracle.
Rating – Safe R

GA-12 – Here’s the one seat that will see a lot of action in 2012 in Georgia.  John Barrow was one of the rare rural democrats in the south not in a VRA district that survived the 2010 wave.  His task will be much tougher in 2010 though, because his seat got cut into pieces politically, going from a fairly even PVI to R+10 or thereabout.  Because of the redraw, you have a clown car primary on the republican side for the right to take him on.  Businessman Rick Allen and State Representative Lee Ivey Anderson are the co-favorites to win the primary, though David Wright McLeod might have a chance as well.  Barrow has been raising money like there’s no tomorrow, he’s raised 1.86 million and holds an astounding 1.38 million cash on hand.  Meanwhile, his opponents are all under 200k cash on hand and will likely be tapped out following a late primary with little time to turn around for the general.  This is a very hard call.  Does Barrow have what it takes to be the next Jim Matheson or Dan Boren?  I say yes, based on his mammoth cash lead and the fact that he’s no stranger to tough races.
Rating – Toss Up / Tilt Democratic

GA-13 – Here’s a safe democratic seat in South Atlanta.  David Scott is running unopposed in November and wouldn’t have trouble winning even if he wasn’t.
Rating – Safe D

GA-14 – This is the old ninth district for the most part, and this might very well be the single most republican seat in the country under the new PVI calculations.  I feel sorry for democrat Daniel Grant, who will be busting his hump just to get over 20% in November against incumbent Samuel Graves.  
Rating – Safe R

FL-1 – We head to the Florida panhandle now, and here we find one of the most republican districts in the nation.  Republican Jeff Miller has very little to worry about here.
Rating – Safe R

FL-2 – This district is emblematic of the shifting that has taken place in formerly dixiecrat areas of the south.  Prior to 2010, Allen Boyd was considered fairly safe, but the district turned along with the red tide and swept him out convincingly.  Steve Southerland is the GOP rep here now, and he’s done an extremely good job raising money.  He has 1.20 million raised and over 700k in the bank.  The democrats do have a strong challenger here in state representative Leonard Bembry, assuming he doesn’t get upset in the primary, which is surprisingly clown-car-ish considering this is a fairly republican district at R+4.  That’s actually down from R+6 thanks to redistricting, but Bembry only has about 60k in the bank right now.  This is one to keep an eye on, but Southerland clearly has the edge.
Rating – Likely Republican

FL-3 – This seat is held by Clifford Stearns, and at R+12, a pickup isn’t exactly likely.  Stearns has to deal with a primary challenge from businessman Ted Yoho and State Senator Steve Oelrich first, and both have raised solid cash so it could be interesting.  But it stays red for sure.
Rating – Safe R

FL-4 – Ander Crenshaw’s seat takes in most of Jacksonville’s blood red suburbs and exurbs.  He’s got nothing to sweat this year, or ever, unless its in a primary.
Rating – Safe R

FL-5 – It annoys me greatly that Corrine Brown’s district wasn’t taken apart in redistricting.  It’s an awful district that stretches from Jacksonville to Orlando.  She’s safe.
Rating – Safe D

FL-6 – This is a new district on Florida’s northeastern coast, stretching from St Johns County to Daytona Beach.  At R+6, it’s a republican district but not totally out of reach for Team Blue.  Unfortunately, the democrats didn’t put up a strong challenger here, a match between cashless candidates Vipin Verma and 2010 candidate Heather Beaven will take place.  On the republican side, you have state rep Fred Costello, Jacksonville councilman Richard Clark, and businessman Ron DeSantis among the favorites.  Whoever emerges, the democrats’ lack of fundraising and stature leads me to believe this won’t be as competitive as it should.
Rating – Safe R

FL-7 – This seat just northeast of Orlando is the site of a nasty republican primary battle between representatives John Mica and Sandy Adams, and both are raising and spending cash aplenty.  At just R+5, you’d think that the democrats would be putting up a decent fight here, but that doesn’t appear to be the case, as Nicholas Ruiz and Jason Kendall, the two democrats in the race, are utterly cashless.  At this point it looks like whoever wins the republican primary wins in November.  Major fail.
Rating – Safe R

FL-8 – This seat takes in the Space Coast and stretches down through Indian River County along Florida’s East Coast.  It’s pretty republican at R+8, and by the looks of it, rep Bill Posey will be easily re-elected.
Rating – Safe R

FL-9 – Now this seat is one of the new seats created by the 2010 redistricting. It takes in most of Osceola County and takes in Kissimmee and parts of the Walt Disney World Resort.  It is D+3, making it competitive.  Former congressman Alan Grayson is running here, and predictably he has built up a massive warchest with 2.54 million raised and 1.38 million on hand.  By comparison, his most likely opponent, Osceola County Commissioner John Quinones, has just 105k on hand.  However, Grayson is a total firebrand, arguably viewed among independent voters as the Michelle Bachmann of the left.  If Quinones campaigns well and picks up the fundraising this one could be tight.  Right now I give Grayson the edge though.
Rating – Lean D (6th democratic pickup)
National Score – Democrats +1

FL-10 – Now here is a rare seat that the democrats actually are contesting significantly despite it being red territory.  Daniel Webster won his seat in 2010 by beating Alan Grayson, and now he finds himself in an R+7 district consisting of Orlando’s western suburbs and exurbs.  The challenge comes from Orlando’s former chief of police, Val Deming.  Deming has a strong profile for the district and has been fundraising like a maven, netting 1.05 million raised and 600k on hand.  That outstrips Webster’s 828k raised and 473k on hand.  Whenever an incumbent is behind in cash on hand it is significant, especially if the challenger is already three steps ahead of Some Dude status.  It’ll be a tough fight for Deming given the PVI of the seat, but he’s got a good chance.
Rating – Lean R

FL-11 – Richard Nugent is the representative in this largely rural seat centered on Ocala.  At R+8, he doesn’t have much to worry about.  He faces token opposition in November.  
Rating – Safe R

FL-12 – This seat takes in most of the northern suburbs and exurbs of Tampa and Saint Petersburg.  Gus Bilrakis is running here, and while at R+6 the democrats should be able to put up somewhat of a fight here, they don’t have much besides a slew of cashless Some Dudes running.  Ugly.
Rating – Safe R

FL-13 – Bill Young is an institution in Pinellas County, and though retirement speculation has been rampant in recent years, he’s clearly not stepping aside.  This seat is pretty much even politically, went for Bush in 04 but carried by Obama in 2008.  Young doesn’t have much cash at 122k on hand, and presumably not much energy to campaign at this stage either, but he is popular.  It’ll take a hard-fought campaign to beat him.  The democratic opponent here is state representative Jessica Ehrlich, who has a decent profile for the district.  She doesn’t have a lot of cash on hand, but she is close to even with Young.  If she picks up the fundraising pace, this race could get interesting very quickly.
Rating – Likely R

FL-14 – Kathy Castor’s district is centered on Tampa.  It’s safe.  
Rating – Safe D

FL-15 – Dennis Ross’s district covers a lot of ground in the I-4 corridor between Tampa and Orlando.  This essentially suburban/exurban territory is fairly republican at R+8.  Strangely though, he’s running unopposed.  Why no democrat is contesting a 45% Obama district, that blows me away.
Rating – Safe R

FL-16 – This seat saw a razor-close house race in 2006, where Vern Buchanan barely won the seat.  Throughout his time in the house he’s had various ethics problems to deal with, which could make him vulnerable.  To his credit, he has raised 1.83 million this cycle and has 940k on hand.  He’ll need it, because his challenger is a strong one, former democratic state rep Keith Fitzgerald.  Fitzgerald is a fairly astute campaigner and has raised 897k so far this cycle, holding 651k on hand.  The district has a slight republican lean at R+5, but this will be a fight.
Rating – Lean R

FL-17 – This seat consists of a lot of rural territory in central and southern Florida, and thus is extremely republican.  Tom Rooney has nothing to sweat here.
Rating – Safe R

FL-18 – This is the other new seat drawn after the 2010 redistricting, and this seat will be a major fight.  On one side you have Allen West, a true tea party fanatic who has been known to make ridiculous statements on the level of Michelle Bachmann.  On the other side you have Patrick Murphy, a well-funded democrat who seems to be a champion of many liberal causes.  The newly drawn seat is pretty much even at R+1.  West has an incredible 3.7 million cash on hand, but Murphy is prolific as well, raising 2.27 million and holding 1.3 million on hand.  This is going to be the House’s version of blood and guts warfare in the campaign, but I refuse to believe a man as odious as Allen West can hold an Obama district in a presidential year.  
Rating – Toss Up/Tilt Democratic (7th democratic pickup)
National Score – Democrats +2

FL-19 – This seat centered on Fort Myers and Naples is very republican, and with Tom Rooney running for Senate we’ve seen a clown car primary on the republican side.  Some of the contenders include businessmen Trey Radel and Chauncey Goss, and state representative Gary Aubuchon.  Democrat James Lloyd Roach is in the race as well, but he has little cash and little chance.
Rating – Safe R

FL-20 – This seat stretches from the rural parts of Palm Beach and Broward counties toward the coast, and its extremely democratic.  Alcee Hastings is running unopposed.
Rating – Safe D

FL-21 – This seat covers the inland area between FL-20 and FL-22, and though it isn’t as democratic as FL-20, this seat at D+12 isn’t competitive.  Ted Deutsch will have an easy re-election.
Rating – Safe D

FL-22 – This once extremely gerrymandered seat has been redrawn and is now compact, running along the coast of Palm Beach and Broward counties.  This will be a battle of sorts, as two well known candidates, former Senate candidate Adam Hasner for the republicans and state senator Lois Frankel for the democrats, are dueling it out.  Both are well-funded, but Frankel has the advantage since the seat is D+5 in PVI.  Definitely one to watch.
Rating – Lean D (8th democratic pickup)
National Score – Democrats +3

FL-23 – This seat in coastal Broward and Miami-Dade counties is a really democratic one, and its home to DNC chair Debbie-Wasserman Schultz, seen by many on the right as Alan Grayson 2.0.  But for them, too bad, because she’s got nothing to worry about here.
Rating – Safe D

FL-24 – We now come to this compact seat in northern Miami, home to Frederica Wilson.  This is one of the most democratic seats in the nation at D+33.  Snooze.  
Rating – Safe D

FL-25 – Mario Diaz Balart holds this seat after he switched districts following his brother’s retirement (and consequently that seat got picked apart as a result).  At R+10, the seat isn’t exactly fertile ground for democrats, plus Balart is fairly popular as well.
Rating – Safe R

FL-26 – Now this seat will be very interesting, but has its pitfalls.  Embattled representative David Rivera is just about the consummate douche of the GOP caucus and has ethics issues like Foghorn Leghorn has bad jokes.  At just R+4, this district was nearly carried by Obama and got bluer in redistricting.  Geographically it takes in Monroe County, inland Miami-Dade, and the keys.  2010 candidate Joe Garcia is back for another run and he actually leads Rivera in money raised and cash on hand, with 381k in the bank to just 203k for Rivera.  The trouble for Garcia is that he has a tough primary challenge from Gloria Romero Roses, who is decently funded herself.  The primary has already gotten somewhat nasty, and won’t leave a ton of time for the winner to turn around for the general election.  So much to consider here.  Last year I though Rivera was a goner, but he was re-elected, so this time I’m being more cautious, at least until after the primary.
Rating – Toss Up/Tilt Republican

FL-27 – Illeana-Ros Lehtinen is one of the most popular representatives in the country, and her district got shored up in redistricting at the expense of David Rivera.  That’s good government in action.  Unfortunately for Team Blue it pretty much takes this seat off the board.  Manny Yevancey will try anyway, but good luck.
Rating – Safe R

REGION WRAPUP – This region is pretty much a snoozer until you get to Florida.  John Barrow’s seat in GA-12 is definitely a prime target for the GOP, and it is pretty much their only shot at a pickup in this region outside of maybe the new seat in FL-9.  The Democrats have much greater opportunities, and have at least 6 legit targets in the state, West, Rivera, Buchanan, Young, the open seat in FL-22, and the brand new FL-9.  Right now I have Team Blue picking up half of those, and with Barrow squeezing through, that gives the Democrats a +3 in the South Atlantic Region, bringing the national score to Democrats +3 through 4 regions.  

Next up…my home sweet home…the Eastern Great Lakes

Originally posted to StephenCLE on Thu Jul 26, 2012 at 08:06 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.


What will be the net swing in the South Atlantic Region?

14%7 votes
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8%4 votes
26%13 votes
16%8 votes
16%8 votes
6%3 votes
4%2 votes

| 49 votes | Vote | Results

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