This is the third (and fourth) in a series of diaries focusing on taking control of the House from John Boehner ("Bow-ner") and his fellow Tea Party crazies. The series focuses on both our pickup opportunities as well as those where we need to play defense to hold. It provide details on each race, the current polls, some background on our candidate and links to the candidate's site to encourage GOTV efforts.
In Part 1 I listed the first 11 top pickup opportunities for Democrats. In Part 2 I listed the next 11 potential Dem. pickups needed needed to take back the House. Now here in Part 3, I have listed some of the Democrat seats that are under threat and which we need to hold to take control of the House. Also, I have again listed the seats we need to flip to blue in order to control the House, with updated polling data (where available) and any interesting campaign developments. Lastly, I have included Part 4 to sum things up and make my predictions. WARNING, this is a long Diary, but I hope you will find it chuck full of information and lean on BS.
So after you clear the jump /\ with me, let's get started!
Part 1 of this series looked at the first 11 House races we need to flip from red to blue.
Part 2 of this series looked at the next 11 House races we need to flip from red to blue.
In Part 3 of this series, I look at the races where we need to play defense in order to keep a blue seat blue. But first, I take another look at the races we need to flip from red to blue, based on updated polling. Thanks to fellow Kossach Seph Tanner in Part 2, I stand corrected on the number of flips we need to take control of the House. We need a total of 25 seats, apparently due to the 2010 redistricting that throws a monkey wrench into the already complicated process of separating flips from holds. Combining Districts in some States losing representation eliminates incumbents and forces them to either run in different Districts (sometimes against someone in their own party), or simply bow out. Adding new seats in States which are gaining representation, creates new totally open seats where there is no incumbent. This is part of the reason we need 25 seats instead of 22.
Part 4 is the last of the series, where I put all the flips and holds together and make some overall predictions for the House. I decided to combine Parts 3 & 4 into this single Diary since time is getting short (3 days to go), and I'm getting too tied up in my own GOTV activities (gladly tied up) to do a whole other Diary before the Big Day.
Before we get started, I would like you to seriously consider helping one or some of our fine Democrats seeking election to the House either from the list below or your own favorite. Its still not too late to donate by visiting a specific candidates web site, or by visiting the Speaker Pelosi Project at this ActBlue page. Also, if you live in or near one of these swing districts, please consider signing up for some GOTV volunteer work.
Now lets get down to business!
PART 3: The 25 House races listed below are all from Republican held or open seats in which the Dem. candidate is shown to be leading or competitive based on the polls. All polls in this listing come courtesy of TPM Polltracker, a great place to find an extensive listing of House polls.
I have ranked the 25 seats from most likely to less likely pick up opportunity based primarily on the polling of these races. But my ranking also considers the age of the polls, weighting new polls over older polls. For instance a late September poll should give a better indication of voter intent in November than one taken in late July. Also, to be conservative, my ranking gives consideration to whether the poll is Democrat or Republican sponsored, or whether its been done by an independent polling firm like SUSA. For instance, a Republican or independent poll showing the Dem. candidate in the lead should give a greater degree of insurance that the Dem. is truly out front, than a Dem. sponsored poll. The listing below provides the District match-up; the latest poll(s); a link to the Dem. candidates web site where you can learn more about him/her, donate or sign up for GOTV); and my little write up on the race. Hope you find this useful and hope it prompts you to GOTV!
1) IL-08: Duckworth (D) Walsh (R)
Polls: 10/24(I-poll) 50% 40% D +10
10/11(I-poll) 45% 48% D -3
10/7 (I-poll) 52% 42% D +10
9/20 (I-poll) 52% 38% D +14
8/14 (I-poll) 50% 41% D +9
D-Link: Tammy Duckworth
My 2 Cents: Tammy's polling numbers continue to hold strong, with at/near double digit margins. I can't lie, this is one of my favorite picks for a flip since I can't think of a better person than Tammy to beat this A-hole Walsh and send him packing. Please consider giving Tammy's campaign some financial or GOTV support and share in the sweetness of this flip.
2) FL-09: Grayson (D) Long (R)
Polls: 10/12 (D-poll) 56% 41% D +15
10/3 (R-poll) 45% 42% D +3
9/21 (D-poll) 52% 38% D +14
D-Link: Alan Grayson
My 2 Cents: Alan is consistently polling with substantial positive margins even in Republican sponsored polls. It will be so good seeing Alan back on the House floor giving Republicans the tongue lashings they deserve. Can't wait to hear his in your face speeches again. Please consider giving Alan your support.
3) MI-01: McDowell (D) Benishek (R)
Polls: 10/1 (I-poll) 43% 40% D +3
9/20 (D-poll) 49% 40% D +9
9/19 (D-poll) 44% 42% D +2
D-Link: Gary McDowell
My 2 Cents: Consistently positive polling numbers for McDowell no matter who polls this race. A good sign! Gary's campaign appears to be hammering home his defense of Medicare and his opponents votes to cut it, and it appears to be working based on these polls. Probably a flip for us if we work at it and help McDowell GOTV.
4) NH-02: Kuster (D) Bass (R)
Polls: 10/21 (I-poll) 36% 33% D +3
10/6 (I-poll) 38% 35% D +3
9/30 (I-poll) 36% 34% D +2
8/12 (I-poll) 37% 42% D -5
D-Link: Ann McLane Kuster
My 2 Cents: Kuster has had consistently positive polling during the month of October, just at/above the MOE. Since this is a Presidential swing State where Obama is favored, Kuster should benefit from the coattails and a good Presidential GOTV effort. Ann can win this, so please go to Ann's web site and sign up.
5) MN-08: Nolan (D) Cravaack (R)
Polls: 10/28 (R-poll) 40% 50% D -10
10/26 (I-poll) 48% 44% D +4
10/16 (I-poll) 50% 43% D +7
10/9 (I-poll) 46% 45% D +1
10/7 (D-poll) 42% 42% D 0
8/27 (D-poll) 47% 44% D +3
D-Link: Rick Nolan
My 2 Cents: With the exception of the one "R" poll sponsored by the Cravaack campaign, Rick has some good positive poll numbers, most of which come from independent polls. Also, for fun (if you can stomach it) here's a Disco ad from Rick's Opponent. I think he looked rather good back in the 70s.
6) FL-22: Frankell (D) Hasner (R)
Polls: 10/16 (D-poll) 47% 44% D +3
10/16 (I-poll) 47% 47% D 0
10/10 (D-poll) 49% 39% D +10
10/5 (I-poll) 44% 45% D -1
D-Link: Lois Frankell
My 2 Cents: Moved this race up from the 20th spot based on the more recent positive polling for Lois Frankel. This race is tight based on the independent polling, but definitely winnable with a good GOTV effort. Visit Lois's site and see if you can give her a little support.
7) FL-26: Garcia (D) Rivera (R)
Polls: 10/11 (D-poll) 46% 35% D +11
10/5 (R-poll) 41% 43% D -2
9/13 (I-poll) 50% 41% D +9
9/13 (I-poll) 46% 39% D +7
D-Link: Joe Garcia
My 2 Cents: Another Democrat with positive independent polls, This race looks like a good prospect for a Dem. win. To add to Mr. Garcia's advantage, Rivera is being dogged by an FBI probe where Republicans are being accused of entering a phony Dem. candidate Justin Lamar Sternard in the Dem. Primary. As noted in this McJoan Post Rivera doesn't want talk to the press about the matter. Avoiding the press never helps when your knee deep in a scandalized candidacy.
8) CA-52: Peters (D) Bilbray (R)
Polls: 10/30 (I-poll) 46% 46% D 0
10/21 (D-poll) 45% 40% D +5
7/18 (D-poll) 40% 40% D 0
D-Link: Scott Peters
My 2 Cents: The new independent (SUSA) poll confirms this race is tight, meaning it will all come down to GOTV. I word of caution however, as indicated in this DailyKos Elections Post, Romney's up 3 in a district Obama won by 12. So either that 15-point turnaround represents a huge drop for the POTUS in the San Diego region (in which case Peters is still hanging on), or this sample is too red (meaning Peters is actually doing better than SUSA thinks). Also, I took a look at Scott's web site. Turns out he's about my age and rides a bike. I like the guy already (except he looks better in Spandex than I do).
9) OH-06: Wilson (D) Johnson (R)
Polls: 10/10 (D-poll) 49% 43% D +6
9/12 (D-poll) 46% 46% D 0
D-Link: Charlie Wilson
My 2 Cents: Wilson's recent poll suggests he may be in positive territory. Still, as pointed out in this David Nir Post there is reason to take this latest poll with a grain of salt. Romney is up be 2 points in this District, suggesting it might be a little redder than Wilson's poll seems to indicate which is why I'm not ranking it higher for now. But, its still a good pickup opportunity.
10) NY-24: Maffei (D) Buerkle (R)
Polls: 10/17 (D-poll) 46% 44% D +2
9/10 (I-poll) 43% 43% D 0
D-Link: Dan Maffei
My 2 Cents: Added this race to my list of pickups based on the tightness of this race indicated by the polling. As always when a race is tight, GOTV can make the difference. So if you live in or near NY-24, see if you can give Dan some help.
11) FL-02: Lawson (D) Southerland (R)
Polls: 10/5 (I-poll) 47% 46% D +1
10/4 (D-poll) 43% 43% D 0
D-Link: Al Lawson
My 2 Cents: In the face of Lawson's positive poll number, the DCCC and Dem. SuperPacs are starting to put some dollars into this race as David Nir points out. How about YOU!
12) IL-10: Schneider (D) Dold (R)
Polls: 10/29 (R-poll) 46% 54% D -8
10/14 (D-poll) 44% 43% D +1
10/9 (I-poll) 45% 47% D -2
8/12 (D-poll) 46% 46% D 0
D-Link: Bill Foster
My 2 Cents: Don't let that outlier Republican poll fool you, this is a tight race. It is one of the many Illinois seats that are competitive this cycle due to redistricting. It can be flipped with a good GOTV effort.
13) CA-26: Brownley (D) Strickland (R)
Polls: 7/19 (D-poll) 48% 44% D +4
D-Link: Julia Brownley
My 2 Cents: An old poll sponsored by the Dem. campaign. Sorry, but I couldn't find anymore polls on this race which makes me wonder since it would seem competitive and worth polling. That is if the one positive poll result is to be believed. But, since its all I got, I've got to list it as a possible pickup.
14) CA-41: Takano (D) Tavaglione (R)
Polls: 8/12 (D-poll) 42% 38% D +4
D-Link: Mark Takano
My 2 Cents: Another lone, but somewhat more recent positive poll result. Like the one for CA-26 above, I remain suspicious, but have to list it as a pickup. Hope these races are as favorable to us polls as these polls would indicate. Also, Mark's a teacher, and proudly touts it in his campaign. So if you're a teacher or you know or like teachers, please give Mark whatever support you can give.
15) CA-36: Ruiz (D) Bono-Mack (R)
Polls: 10/30 (D-poll) 48% 42% D +6
10/14 (D-poll) 47% 46% D +1
9/13 (D-poll) 44% 47% D -3
D-Link: Dr. Rual Ruiz
My 2 Cents: This is another new race that I have put on my list based on more recent poll results. Although his latest poll maybe a little overly optimistic, there is no doubt that Dr. Ruiz's position is steadily improving. If we can get a large turnout in this District, we can win it.
16) IL-17: Bustos (D) Schilling (R)
Polls: 10/18 (I-poll) 49% 45% D +4
10/15 (R-poll) 44% 51% D -5
10/9 (I-poll) 46% 46% D 0
9/26 (D-poll) 45% 47% D -2
D-Link: Cheri Bustos
My 2 Cents: Another close Illinois race. But also another in growing string of races where the Dem. candidate seems to be heading into positive poll margins as we get closer to election day. And yet again another race where GOTV can make all the difference. So please see if you can help Cheri flip this seat.
17) IL-11: Foster (D) Biggert (R)
Polls: 10/28 (I-poll) 50% 50% D 0
10/9 (I-poll) 45% 49% D -4
10/9 (I-poll) 46% 44% D +2
8/29 (R-poll) 43% 42% D +1
D-Link: Bill Foster
My 2 Cents: Its pretty clear that this is a race, like many others in this list, that will probably turn on a few thousand or a few hundred votes. I can't stress enough the importance of GOTV in races like this one.
18) AZ-09: Sinema (D) Parker (R)
Polls: 10/15 (I-poll) 42% 44% D -2
9/10 (I-poll) 45% 41% D +4
D-Link: Kyrsten Sinema
My 2 Cents: I remain concerned about this being a likely pick up opportunity since Arizona is not an Obama coattail State, but every District is different and the independent poll suggests this can be a flip. Check out this smart ad and please consider giving Kyrsten your support.
19) NH-01: Shea-Porter (D) Guinta (R)
Polls: 10/31(I-poll) 41% 48% D -7
10/26 (I-poll) 47% 48% D -1
10/21 (I-poll) 36% 38% D -2
10/6 (I-poll) 35% 45% D -10
9/30 (I-poll) 46% 35% D +11
8/12 (I-poll) 45% 43% D +2
D-Link: Carol Shea-Porter
My 2 Cents: Some crazy polling shifts in this race which probably have more to do with the internals of each poll and their sample sizes than any real shifts in the race itself. So the best that can be said about this race is that its probably close. A good turnout for President Obama based on a good GOTV effort could make NH-01 turn blue.
20) AZ-01: Kirkpatrick (D) Paton (R)
Polls: 10/4 (R-poll) 45% 50% D -5
7/26 (R-poll) 46% 43% D +3
D-Link: Ann Kirkpatrick
My 2 Cents: No new polling, so no identifiable change in this race. I still think this race is competitive despite the early October Republican poll. However, since this is a Rep. poll, I doubt whether Kirkpatrick is actually down 5 points. Also, the fact that the Republicans have recent ads running against Ann (here) further indicates that they consider this a competitive race. Please consider helping Ann help overcome the Republican's financial advantage in this race.
21) IA-04: Vilsack (D) King (R)
Polls: 9/25 (D-poll) 45% 48% D -3
9/25 (I-poll) 44% 46% D -2
D-Link: Christie Vilsack
My 2 Cents: Yes, as you can see, I am now adding races (like this one) to my potential pickup list that are polling completely in negative territory. I have simply run out of races with mainly positive results, which was inevitable at some point because as we all know, the House is an uphill battle for us this cycle. Still these polls show Vilsack within the MOE, and the strong Obama ground game in this State could make this a win for us. So if you're in Iowa, please consider giving Christie some GOTV support.
22) NY-18: Maloney (D) Hayworth (R)
Polls: 10/17 (I-poll) 42% 49% D -7
10/7 (D-poll) 42% 44% D -2
9/20 (D-poll) 43% 43% D 0
D-Link: Sean Patrick Maloney
My 2 Cents: Added this race to my list because of our candidate's FINE Italian Name. Just Kidding! This race is somewhat a favorite of mine. Did some door knocking for Maloney last weekend and got some good responses. Also, Nan Hayworth is real "Tea Party" through and through. How she won this upstate NY seat in 2010 is beyond me. And how she is seemingly ahead in 2012 after having a straight Tea Party voting record is also baffling. I would like nothing better than to see her get booted out. Lastly, SANDY is the wild card in this race. NY-18 is the District immediately above NYC and there are still a lot of areas without power. What effect this will have on turnout is unknown, and how voters unhappy about their bad situation will view Nan's or Sean's response is unclear. Time will tell.
23) TX-23: Gallego (D) Canseco (R)
Polls: 9/30 (R-poll) 37% 47% D -10
9/17 (D-poll) 43% 38% D +5
D-Link: Pete Gallego
My 2 Cents: I know what you're thinking. Flipping a Republican seat in Texas! I must be nuts! But the wide gap between the Dem. and Rep. sponsored polls leads me to believe that this could be a tight race.
24) CO-03: Pace (D) Tipton (R)
Polls: 10/1 (D-poll) 39% 42% D -3
D-Link: Sal Pace
My 2 Cents: I know its only one poll and its in negative territory, but we're nearing the end of the list and there are a lot of pickup opportunities left. Besides, its still within the MOE where a good GOTV effort can make a difference.
AND NOW --- DRUM ROLL PLEASE --- The final flip we need to take over the House IMHO!
25) FL-18: Murphy (D) West (R)
Polls: 10/26 (R-poll) 48% 47% D +1
10/17 (D-poll) 47% 47% D 0
10/16 (I-poll) 42% 51% D -9
10/5 (I-poll) 41% 53% D -12
9/28 (I-poll) 49% 45% D +4
9/27 (D-poll) 52% 43% D +9
9/25 (R-poll) 41% 52% D -11
8/24 (D-poll) 47% 46% D +1
D-Link: Patrick Murphy
My 2 Cents: And I saved the best for last! The best in terms of this being one of the most entertaining races to watch. You just never know what the next totally bat-shit crazy thing Allen West will say next. But give the guy credit, he always manages to top himself. Take a look at this post to see an example of the off-the-wall stuff he is mailing out to voters. It's so bad even West's Republican Primary Opponent has endorsed Patrick Murphy. What a Loon!
Well, that's my 25 potential House pickups. You may consider there are others that should be in the list, and if so I would be glad to know about them and here your arguments. However, I limited my picks to polled races. So while there might be races not yet polled where you feel our chances of flipping are good, I'm reluctant to include them without a supporting poll or two.
Now on to the House races where we need to play De-Fence! The list below is admittedly not an exhaustive list, but a sample of the races where I think we may be in a little trouble based on the polling. You may know of other seats that are in jeopardy, and if so please feel free to list them in the comments.
On the bright side, we are not losing badly in any of our currently held seats. Most threatened seats have polls showing a deadlocked race or the Dem. trailing by a few percentage points within the MOE. So these seats can be held with some good GOTV and in some cases, a little luck. Without further a-do, here we go:
1) CA-10: Hernandez (D) Denham (R)
Polls: 10/1(D-poll) 43% 45% D -2
D-Link: Jose Hernandez
My 2 Cents: This race appears to be for an open seat once held by John Garamendi, a Democrat, so I'm putting it in my list of seats we need to hold. And since the only poll we have is a Democrat poll showing Jose down by 2, its a seat that appears to be threatened. But this is a seat we can and should keep on our side of the aisle, because if you check out his web site, Jose is a former Space Shuttle Astronaut. How can you vote against an ASTRONAUT for God's sake! So please consider doing a little GOTV for Astronaut Hernandez, and let's see if we can give his candidacy a "BOOST"! Sorry, couldn't resist the pun.
2) IA-03: Boswell (D) Latham (R)
Polls: 9/20(D-poll) 45% 45% D 0
D-Link: Leonard Boswell
My 2 Cents: Even though this is a fairly out-of-date poll, any Democrat sponsored poll showing a tie is an indication that the seat is in danger. Still, if Obama gets a good GOTV effort in Iowa as expected, Boswell should be able to ride the Presidents turnout coattails. If your in IA-03, please direct some of your GOTV efforts to help keep this seat blue.
3) MA-06: Tierney (D) Tisei (R)
Polls: 10/27 (I-poll) 31% 37% D -6
9/26 (I-poll) 37% 45% D -8
9/10 (I-poll) 46% 34% D +12
D-Link: John Tierney
My 2 Cents: For the life of me, I can't figure out how a Democrat could be losing in Massachusetts. But after Scott Brown, I guess anything is possible. Still, we should be able to hold this seat with ramped up GOTV. So please go to John's site and sign up if your in/near MA-06.
4) NY-27: Hochul (D) Collins (R)
Polls: 10/4(I-poll) 47% 47% D 0
D-Link: Kathy Hochul
My 2 Cents: As many of you know, this is the District that Kathy Hochul won in a special election after the Republican resigned in disgrace. Even though this is a purple-ish red District, Kathy won it by focusing on Paul Ryan's plan to privatize Medicare. Now she is in another tough race and needs your help. If you live in Western NY, see if you can give her some GOTV support.
5) PA-12: Critz (D) Rothfus (R)
Polls: 10/1(R-poll) 40% 42% D -2
9/20 (R-poll) 38% 38% D 0
D-Link: Mark Critz
My 2 Cents: Given these are Republican sponsored polls, grain of salt is required. But not so big of a grain that you don't think this race is close, because it probably is. GOTV is still required.
PART 4: In summing things up, the first thing that needs to be said is that it is highly unlikely that we will retain every single seat we currently hold. There will be losses which means its highly likely that in the end we will need to flip more than 25 seats from red to blue in order to take control. On the brighter side though, the number of seats that could flip from blue to red is likely to small since all polls indicate this to be a red to blue election wave, although the height of the wave is debatable. And judging the height of the wave is the tough job.
Before I give you my predictions (which you are of course free to agree or disagree with), you should know I pride myself as being a member of the "Reality-Based" community here at Kos. I try, as best I can, to emulate Nate Silver (or "Pablano" as he used to be known around here), in that while I'm a Democratic partisan, I try make unbiased predictions based on the cold hard numbers the polling provides us. A tough job, because I am always battling between letting my partisanship shine through and being too rosy, and over-suppressing my partisanship and being too bleak. Now that you know where I'm coming from here are my three (3) predictions in the form of questions and answers:
Question 1: Will we pick up seats in the House?
Answer 1: Fine, this is an easy one. I give it a 99% chance that we will see a net gain of seats in the House (I never give 100% since nothing is an absolute certainty).
Question 2: Will we pick up enough seats to take control of the House?
Answer 2: I give it a 25% chance that we will take back control of the House this cycle. Now before you get upset, remember I said I would be reality based. In order to take back the House we would have to win all the flips where our candidate is ahead as well as the 6 or so where the races are even or we are slightly behind, based on current polling, besides not losing a single Dem. incumbent seat. That's a pretty tall order. Still we could get other un-polled flips in addition to the 25 in my list, so I think a 1 in 4 chance may be about right.
Question 3: How many seats will we pick up?
Answer 3: Hedging my bets a little, I would say between 15 and 20 seats. That basically all the seats in my list that are currently polling in positive territory. I also think that there is a 50-50 chance that we could get within 3 to 5 seats of the majority, which will give House Republicans virtually no wiggle room.
One additional prediction. There is a good chance that we won't know who will control the House on Election night, and maybe not for days or weeks later. That's because there could easily be more than enough races at the end of the night that will be too close to call and which will be subject to recounts, absentee ballot challenges and rulings on provisional ballots. There could be weeks of legal wrangling before the matter of who controls the House is settled.
Please remember that the point of this Diary series is to help focus and encourage support for the Dem. House candidates we need to work for to strive towards our goal of taking majority control of the House, if not this cycle, then the next for sure. So please consider volunteering for GOTV to the Dem. House candidates in this series or others which you feel will help us take back the House.