Competitive Hold Seat Tier 1
West Virginia 1
Democratic Incumbent: Alan Mollohan ($ 674,593 cash on hand)
Republican challenger: State Delegate and bar owner Chris Wakim ($ 318,306 cash on hand)
This is one of the more Democratic districts in West Virginia but Mollohan (http://www.mollohan2006.com/ ) has recently gotten caught up in a corruption scandal. With what has recently happened involving Bill Jefferson Mollohan's scandal hasn't really penetrated the public conscience nationwide but I have no idea of its effect in West Virginia. Factor in that Chris Wakim has decent fundraising and some name recognition in the district and that is enough to make the race competitive.
Tier Two Competitive (22 Seats)
4 open seats
2 first term
Republican Incumbent: J.D. Hayworth ($ 1,049,710 cash on hand)
Democratic Challenger: ex-state party chairman, State Senator, former Tempe Mayor, and retired teacher Harry Mitchell ($ 666,476 cash on hand)
This seat, containing the cities of Tempe and Scottsdale (which are fairly close to Phoenix, though Phoenix is in other districts) was expected to be safe until several polls showed Hayworth (generally considered a rising star for the Arizona GOP) as being vulnerable. This led State Senator/ex-Arizona Democratic Party chairman (and former Tempe Mayor) Harry Mitchell (http://www.harrymitchellforcongress.com/ ) to enter the race. Currently Mitchell has had some good fundraising, erasing a good portion of Hayworth's cash on hand lead. This district is even enough to be competitive but I believe that Scottsdale tilts at least somewhat Republican.
Incumbent: Marilyn Musgrave ($ 1,074,836 cash on hand)
Democratic Challenger: State Representative Angie Paccione ($ 419,776 cash on hand)
Many people describe this as a rural, conservative, district which isn't particularly true as it includes fast growing towns/cities such as Fort Collins, Greely, and Loveland (http://nationalatlas.gov/... ) though, granted, the eastern portion of the district is rural and conservative (though the growth areas of the district are in the towns/cities). The Democratic nominee is State Representative and former teacher Angie Paccione (http://www.angie2006.com/ ) who represented western Fort Collins in the State House. Musgrave is a single issue anti-gay bigot who supposedly has horrible constituent service. Paccione has had good fundraising (better than former State Senator Stan Matsunaka had at this point in '04) but the key seems to be Weld County. Musgrave lost Larimer and Loveland counties but she managed to win Weld County by 15 points which went a long way towards deciding the election.
Incumbent: Nancy Johnson ($ 2,621,000 cash on hand)
Democratic Challenger: State Senator Chris Murphy ($ 1,021,569 cash on hand)
Recently this race was moved up past Connecticut 4 by The Fix column (http://blog.washingtonpost.com/... ) due to Johnson being hurt by a MoveOn ad and, unfortunately, Shays favorability numbers. Something to also bear in mind is that Johnson has not had a strong challenge in awhile and that, while this district is the most Republican district in Connecticut I don't think that it is all that Republican. State Senator Chris Murphy (http://www.murphyforcongress.org/ ) is the strongest candidate to run in this seat in a good while and, even though he has a two
Illinois 6 (open)
Republican Candidate: State Senator Peter Roskam ($ 1,339,555 cash on hand)
Democratic Candidate: Iraq war veteran & non-profit group executive Tammy Duckworth ($ 901,694 cash on hand)
Here is a race that split the DCCC and the netroots as Duckworth won a contentious primary against '04 nominee Christine Cegelis (with college professor Lindy Scott as the third person in). A lot of people felt the DCCC interfered overly in the primary and some hurt feelings resulted. However, Duckworth (http://www.duckworthforcongress.com/ ) is in a winnable district (Western Chicago suburbs according to the description I've read of the race) and has the fund to compete.
Incumbent: Chris Chocola ($ 1,554,483 cash on hand)
Democratic Challenger: attorney Joe Donnelly ($ 435,215)
This northeastern Indiana district includes the town of South Bend. Chocola is a fairly hard-right conservative who was elected in one of the narrower wins in 2002 (beating former Congresswoman Jill Long 51-47) and has managed to win by decent, if unspectacular margins ever since. Beyond being far-right Chocola has in the past favored a total privatization of the Social Security system (http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/... ). Now, despite having nearly 3 to 1 cash on hand margin Chocola ran behind Donnelly in a South Bend Tribune poll (46-41) and the Cook Political Report changed it to a toss-up. Donnelly (http://www.donnellyforuscongress.com/ ) is going to have to work but this district is very winnable.
Incumbent: Anne Northup ($ 1,854,187 cash on hand)
Democratic Challenger: newspaper publisher John Yarmuth ($ 417,929 cash on hand)
Kentucky 3 is actually one of the more Democratic leaning districts in Kentucky centering around Louisville and made up of the whole of Jefferson county and Northup faced close races up until 2004 (when Democratic nominee Tony Miller did horridly in a debate and got blasted in negative ads from it). This year the Democrats have nominated newspaper publisher John Yarmuth (http://www.johnyarmuth.com/ ) who has a solid amount in cash on hand.
Incumbent: Gil Gutnecht ($ 826,391 cash on hand)
Democratic Challenger: teacher and National Guard Veteran Tim Walz ($ 252,829 cash on hand)
The first Congressional District in Minnesota is made up of the entire Southern portion of the State (http://nationalatlas.gov/... ) which, while Republican leaning, has a number of counties which voted for John Kerry in 2004 (Blue Earth, Fillmore, Freeborn, Mower, Nicollet, Winona) and it also has one of the key Democratic-trending areas in the state in Olmstead county (where Democrats have increased their percentage of the vote in recent years and won a recent state legislative special election). If Walz (http://www.timwalz.org/ ) is able to take Olmstead County by a good margin it would go a long way to offsetting the more conservative Western portions of the district. Gutnecht is well ahead in cash on hand so any help given to Walz would be appreciated.
Nevada 2 (open)
Republican Candidate: Secretary of State, ex-State Assemblyman & ex-stock broker Dean Heller ($ 521,389 cash on hand)
Democratic Candidate: University Regent & education consultant Jill Derby ($ 513,817 cash on hand)
This is normally a conservative district that basically encompasses all of Nevada except Clark County. However, the seat is vulnerable as incumbent Representative Jim Gibbons is running for Governor. That has opened things up as a contentious three way primary (Heller, conservative State Rep. Sharon Angle, and Gibbons' wife State Representative Dawn Gibbons) led to a recount fight and Heller having to spend more money on the primary than he probably wanted. Meanwhile, University Regent Jill Derby (http://www.jillderby.com/ ) is having excellent fundraising for a tough seat in a Republican leaning district. Derby is a good candidate who has the fundraising to compete in this open seat.
Republican Incumbent: Jon Porter ($ 1,609,758 cash on hand)
Democratic Challenger: ex-congressional aide Tessa Hafen ($ 600,587 cash on hand)
Nevada 3 (Las Vegas suburbs, including the quickly growing city of Henderson) is what I would consider a "Signpost" district because it is the sort of district I can see us winning in an election in which we win control of the House but will lose otherwise if an incumbent holds it. Fortunately we have a well financed challenger in former Harry Reid aide Tessa Hafen (and either her father or her uncle is a Henderson city councilman). Currently Tessa (http://www.tessahafen.com/ ) is fundraising well and making up for the advantage Porter has her at in cash on hand. However, Porter has turned back strong challengers before and we will be nominally at a disadvantage in the district just based on its tendency and Porter's incumbency.
New Hampshire 2
Incumbent: Charlie Bass ($ 453,449 cash on hand)
Democratic Challenger: attorney and '04 nominee Paul Hodges ($ 442,888 cash on hand)
Hodges ran in 2004 and received about 39% of the vote after a late start and low fundraising. Now, however, he appears to be running a better campaign with better fundraising and was close in a recently released poll (I believe it was internal so it may not be as reliable). This district is the more Democratic of New Hampshire's two districts and the state as a whole voted for John Kerry in 2004 and elected a Democratic Governor in '04 (said Governor being the very popular John Lynch). Hodges website is http://www.hodesforcongress.com/. Also of note is that Bass appears to have drawn a primary opponent in Berlin, NH Mayor Bob Danderson and that could give him trouble.
New York 19
Republican Incumbent: Sue Kelley ($ 1,207,757 cash on hand)
Democratic Challenger: one of:
Attorney Judy Aydelott ($ 152,061 cash on hand)
School Principal Ben Shuldiner ($ 92,370 cash on hand)
Musician/ex-Ulster County Commissioner John Hall ($ 245,954 cash on hand)
Political fundraiser Darren Rigger ($ 10,563 cash on hand)
New York 19 is made up of portions of New York that are just North of New York City containing Orange & Putnam counties as well as the portion of Dutchess county that is not in NY 20 (about which more in a minute) it may also contain portions of Westchester and Rockland counties but I couldn't tell from the map (http://en.wikipedia.org/... ). Sue Kelley is a fairly powerful member of the House of Representatives (recently ranked among the 100 most powerful, and is considered second only to Tom Reynolds among NY Republicans) and is also a member of the 1994 Republican class (and thus is a Contract with America signer). Interestingly 55% of Kelley's funding comes from PACs, which probably doesn't say a whole lot about her "people support". The Democrats have not yet had their primary but all three candidates running against her are solid with the favorite of progressives probably being Ben Shuldiner (http://www.ben2006.com/ ) but musician (Orleans band co-founder, "Still the One")/activist/former Ulster County legislator John Hall (http://www.johnhallforcongress.com/ )is also a good choice and the leader in cash on hand while attorney/ex-Republican Judy Aydelotte (http://www.judy4congress.com/ ) is also a sound choice and the overall fundraising leader (Rigger simply isn't raising the cash to compete). Any of the three major Democrats seem capable of beating Kelley though the district itself isn't necessarily the greatest as none of the counties voted for Kerry in '04.
New York 20
Republican Incumbent: John E. Sweeney ($ 795,179 cash on hand)
Democratic Challenger: attorney Kirsten Gillibrand ($ 586,689 cash on hand)
New York 20 is a central New York district made up of Delaware, Greene, Washington, Renesselaer, Columbia, and parts of Warren, Dutchess, and Otsego counties. While gerrymandered this does have a number of counties that are relatively close and attorney Kirsten Gillibrand (http://www.gillibrand2006.com/ ) does have the funding to compete in this district. Sweeney was one of the hatchet men who was sent to disrupt the Florida recount in 2000 (earning him the name "Congressman Kick-Ass" from President Bush) and defeating him will only be a good thing. The negative is that a recent poll showed Gillibrand with only 34% or so of the vote, which is not good at this point in the election cycle.
New York 24 (open)
Republican Candidate: State Senator Randy Meier ($ 571,324 cash on hand)
Democratic Candidate: Oneida County District Attorney Mike Arcuri ($ 380,521 cash on hand)
During the first part of the Competitive Congressional Seats write-up someone made a very strong argument that this seat was more competitive than Arizona 8. The district is one of the larger New York Congressional districts in terms of its physical size (extending from Utica out through Seneca County and down through Otsego County) and almost every where in New York either voted for Kerry or only narrowly went for Bush (Oneida County went for Kerry by over 11,000 votes but the other counties were all fairly closely divided with Bush winning Seneca and Otsego counties). Fundraising is fairly close with Arcuri (http://www.arcuriforcongress.com/ ) having enough cash to compete, especially since this district seems to be outside of the expensive NYC media market. It appears at a glance that this district is as winnable or more so than Arizona 8 but it does face a handicap in that no one is talking about it, which is darned odd for an open seat.
New York 29 (first term)
Republican Incumbent: Randy Kuhl ($ 582,442 cash on hand)
Democratic Challenger: retired Navy officer Eric Massa ($ 263,390 cash on hand)
This Western New York district (made up of the areas around Corning, Elmira, Olean, and Brighton in a relatively large district) is decently conservative but Massa (http://www.massaforcongress.com/ ) is a great candidate who has fundraised well enough to be competitive (and has lately made up a little of Kuhl's cash on hand lead). For comparison purposes, Randy Kuhl is the "Shotgun Congressman" who pointed a shotgun at his spouse. New York may be poised for a wave as the have a number of Republican congressional districts vulnerable (3, 19, 20, 24, 29) and the Democrats seem to be about to score large victories in the Senate and Governor races.
North Carolina 11
Republican Incumbent: Charles Taylor ($ 237,924 cash on hand)
Democratic Challenger: realtor and former professional football quarterback Heath Shuler ($ 668,746 cash on hand)
This district is made up of the western edge of North Carolina in a multi-county district (http://nationalatlas.gov/... )and includes Buncombe, McDowell, Haywood, Macon, Clay, Transylvania, and Polk (including the city of Asheville). This district is probably the most likely to switch in North Carolina which is further enhanced by having a solid, well funded challenger in area businessman and former professional football quarterback Heath Shuler (http://www.heathshuler.com/ ). In addition Taylor does have scandals some older and known (Blue Ridge Savings & Loan) as well as more recent Jack Abramoff connections and so he should be vulnerable. Taylor also failed to register a vote on CAFTA after stating opposition to the measure, supposedly due to trying to vote with a deactivated vote card (I have no way to confirm this). While Shuler currently has a cash on hand advantage Taylor is wealthy and will likely (since he's done so in the past) contribute large amounts of his own money to make up any difference.
Republican Incumbent: Steve Chabot ($ 1,381,770 cash on hand)
Democratic Challenger: Cincinnati City Councilman John Cranley ($ 775,757 cash on hand)
This district is made up of half of Hamilton County and about 33% of Butler County so it is Republican but not super Republican (Hamilton County was close and I believe this section is the more Democratic half, while Butler County is heavily Republican). Cincinnati City Councilman John Cranley (http://www.johncranley.com/ )gave Steve Cabot a good race in 2000 prior to his service in Cincinnati city government, and has since gone on to be elected to two terms on the Cincinnati City Council. Currently internal polling is showing Cranley edging ahead of Chabot but this will be far from over since Butler County is to Ohio what Orange County used to be to California. Further, if the struggling GOP Governor Nominee Ken Blackwell has GOTV support anywhere in Ohio it'll be in Hamilton and Butler Counties so this will be a long, hard struggle until November.
Republican Incumbent: Pat Tiberi ($ 1,726,991 cash on hand)
Democratic Challenger: former congressman and real estate investor Bob Shamansky ($ 262,131 cash on hand)
This district, made up of several suburbs of Columbus (http://en.wikipedia.org/... ), became competitive with the decision of former Congressman Bob Shamansky (http://www.shamanskyforcongress.com/...) who is the only man to ever win this district. Shamansky, who served as Congressman from 1980-82 (the only Democrat to win the district since 1937), is a highly qualified candidate as he is an attorney and was involved in counter intelligence in the Korean Ware in addition to his term in Congress. Tiberi, while usually winning with safe margins, certainly doesn't have the profile that the district's former Representative John Kasich had and is thus vulnerable, especially since Shamansky does have the ability to self fund.
Republican Incumbent: Deborah Pryce ($ 1,818,555 cash on hand)
Democratic Challenger: Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy ($ 775,469 cash on hand)
This is probably the likeliest Republican held seat in Ohio to switch (Jean Schmidt can at least hope for voters in the 2nd to follow there tendency to vote Repub) as Kilroy is a strong well-funded candidate and the district itself voted for Kerry. Toss in Pryce's campaign doing foolish things such as running television ads that spelled her name wrong and you have a good probably of a pick-up. This district is by no means guaranteed but Kilroy (http://www.kilroyforcongress.com/ ) continues to make headway and will benefit from the strength of Ted Strickland in the Governor's race and the growing strength of Sherrod Brown for Senate (which is less of a slam dunk but Brown is increasingly making headway).
Incumbent: Melissa Hart ($ 849,805 cash on hand)
Democratic Challenger: former hospital administrator/lobbyist Jason Altmire ($ 135,942 cash on hand)
This is a competitive district encompassing Pittsburgh suburbs and some outlying areas (http://nationalatlas.gov/... ) basically being Lawrence, Beaver, and Westmoreland counties with portions of Butler and Mercer counties. This district is somewhat competitive having been held by Ron Klink prior to his run against Santorum in 2000 (and by Democratic Joseph Kolter prior to him). Which is good as Hart is a real piece of work being one of the biggest critics of stem cell research (she has tried to use fraudulent science incorrectly to label stem cell research "a myth") and I've heard of questionable statements by her towards African American Congresswoman Julia Carson (D-IN) but I can't find any confirmation on it. Fortunately former hospital administrator Jason Altmire (http://www.jasonaltmire.com/ ) seems to be a good candidate who is getting solid fundraising. Interestingly, in Altmire's case, he defeated manufacturing company owner Georgia Berner in the primary despite getting outspent by a good margin which may be a good indicator of his appeal to people.
Virginia 2 (first term)
Republican Incumbent: Thelma Drake ($ 708,487 cash on hand)
Democratic Challenger: Virginia Beach Revenue Commissioner Phil Kellam ($ 517,210 cash on hand)
This is geographically a small district made up of the Virginia Beach area and the peninsula that extends from Maryland. If memory serves this area was also won by Tim Kaine in the '05 Virginia governor's race and thus should be competitive. To make matters even better Virginia Beach Revenue Commissioner Phil Kellam (http://www.philkellam.com/... )is holding his own in fundraising and has name recognition from his local municipal elected positions. This election is rated as a toss-up by Larry Sabato and only as Republican-leaning by CQPolitics.
Incumbent: Frank Wolfe ($ 636,089 cash on hand)
Democratic Challenger: Georgetown Public Policy Institute Dean and ex-congressional Aide Judy Feder ($ 461,247 cash on hand)
Going into this cycle Frank Wolfe was generally considered safe and this race wasn't remotely on the radar screen in terms of pick-up opportunities. Then a funny thing happened: Judy Feder ( http://www.judyfeder.org/ ) had incredible fundraising for a "non-targeted" race having raised a total of $ 609,000 total so far (with the cash on hand figures being available above). Given that this race wasn't really on the radar screen Feder's fundraising total is enough to make this a solid second tier pick-up opportunity.
Wisconsin 8 (open)
Republican Candidate: One of:
State House Speaker John Gard ($657,425cash on hand)
State Representative Terri McCormick ($ 1,165 cash on hand)
Democratic Candidate: One of:
Physician Dr. Steven Kagen ($ 317,888 cash on hand)
Ex-Brown County Executive/former DePere Mayor Nancy Nusbaum ($ 102,111 cash on hand)
Business consultant Jamie Wall ($ 76,803 cash on hand)
This Republican-leaning Northeastern Wisconsin district is centered around Green Bay (http://nationalatlas.gov/... ) and is an open seat as incumbent Representative Mark Green is running for Governor. A recent poll showed the Democrats as being competitive in a generic ballot which is good as the likely Republican nominee (Gard) is very conservative. The Democratic candidates are wealthy doctor Steven Kagen (http://www.stevekagen.org/ ), ex-Brown County Executive/ex-Republican Nancy Nusbaum (http://www.nancy2006.com/ ), and business consultant Jaime Wall (http://www.wallforcongress.com/ ). The negative is that the competitive primary has drained the coffers of all three Democratic candidates and Republicans have apparently already started running negative ads against Kagen. One interesting thing is that all three candidates have received contributions from labor unions (Kagen from the United Steel Workers, Wall from the Plumbers & Pipefitters, Sheet Metal Workers, and Iron Workers while Nusbaum has received money from AFSCME and IBEW). The Democrats have a chance as the district is Republican leaning but not that Republican leaning.