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Race by Race US House Analysis – Part 4 of 8

August 11, 2010
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As we head to the Mid West (at least the Mid West according to me – and where the number of seats is roughly even with the other 7 areas), the Republicans are in striking distance of a majority in the House.  They have averaged 10 pick ups per region in our analysis.  The Mid West for our purposes takes us down the Mississippi and into the plains, and is composed of Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.

Beginning this election season, the Democrats carry a 28 to 27 advantage in the aforementioned states combined.  The area is in general conservative with few big urban areas to go liberal.  But as far as representation, things don’t always work that way.

The Mid West!

Mid West

Incumbent = (I)           Democrats listed on the left             Republicans on the right

Illinois   12-7 Dem                                                               +3 GOP

1         Bobby Rush (I)                                                    Ray Wardingly

-         This Chicago district will reelect Bobby Rush.  RUSH – D Hold

2          Jesse Jackson (I)                                              Isaac Hayes

-         This race might be competitive if the GOP nominee was Chef from South Park.  But sadly he passed away in 2008 and we are left with a different Isaac Hayes as the nominee.  JACKSON – D Hold

3          Daniel Lipinski (I)                                           Michael Bendas

-         Lipinski is the only Illinois Democrat to vote against Obama care.  LIPINSKI – D Hold

4         Luis Gutierrez (I)                                              Israel Vasquez

-         Gutierrez has never won less than 75% in an election for this seat.  Vasquez is apotential self funder.  He’ll have to self fund a whole lot for this to be competitive.  GUTIERREZ – D Hold

5        Mike Quigley (I)                                                  David Ratowitz

-         This is Rahm “Dead Fish” Emanuel’s old seat.  QUIGLEY – D Hold

6        Ben Lowe                                                                   Peter Roskam (I)

-         Henry Hyde held this seat for many years and Roskam votes the same way.  ROSKAM – R Hold

7          Danny Davis (I)                                                 Mark Weiman

-         President Obama won 88% in this downtown Chicago district.  DAVIS – D Hold

8          Melissa Bean (I)                                                Joe Walsh

-         Like Illinois 2, this race might be more competitive if the GOP nominee was Joe Walsh from the Eagles.  However, Tea Party Joe Walsh has little cash on hand in this GOP targeted district and the publicity that candidate Walsh is getting over the use of the Eagles’ Walsh song parody of “Walk Away” probably won’t pull him across the finish line.  A probable blown opportunity for the GOP.  BEAN – D Hold

9         Jan Schakowsky (I)                                          Joel Pollak

-         Joel Pollak would be a good candidate somewhere else, but Schakowsky will have little trouble dispatching him.  SCHAKOWSKY – D Hold

10        Dan Seals                                                                Bob Dold

-         Moderate Republican Mark Kirk is running for the Senate and as a result, this becomes one of the few vulnerable GOP seats in the country.   Dold is in the same mold as Mark Kirk and Dan Seals is on his third try for this seat.  I never feel good about repeat candidates so no charms here.  DOLD – R Hold

11       Debbie Halvorson (I)                                       Adam Kinzinger

-         Halvorson is seen as one of the more endangered Democrats in the country and the polling seems to agree.  Most polls are showing Halvorson down double digits and that is not a good place for an incumbent.  KINZINGER – R Takeover

12          Jerry Costello (I)                                            Teri Newman

-         Jerry Costello has had it easy the last few cycles and it looks that way this year also.  There are some rumblings that this race could be a sleeper, but I’m not so sure.  Need more evidence of that first.  COSTELLO – D Hold

13          Scott Harper                                                        Judy Biggert (I)

-         Harper is back for a rematch in the 13th after holding Biggert to a 10 point win – her lowest margin.  That was 2008 with Illinois Senator Obama on the ticket in a landslide Democrat year.  Mr. Harper won’t get near 10% of the mark this time.  BIGGERT – R Hold

14          Bill Foster (I)                                                  Randy Hultgren

-         This is one of those extremely close races that is very difficult to figure.  It was held by Republicans for 70 years, most recently Speaker Hastert.  Foster won it 4 years ago, but in a GOP area with a Representative who voted for Obama care and stimulus, I think this goes Republican again.  HULTGREN – R Takeover

15          David Gill                                                             Tim Johnson (I)

-         Johnson is a moderate in a long time GOP district.  There is no reason that he loses this race.  JOHNSON – R Hold

16          George Gaulrapp                                                Don Manzullo(I)

-         The conservative Manzullo should win easily in this Republican district.  MANZULLO – R Hold

17          Phil Hare (I)                                                    Bobby Schilling

-         At first, this race was an easy hold for Hare who ran unopposed in 2008.  Then came the town hall meeting where Hare was asked about the constitutionality of Obama Care and responded “I don’t worry about the constitution on this to be honest.”  Since then it’s a race and polling shows Hare down by 13% or up by 7%.  That’s a plus 6% for the challenger.  Cash on Hand is close enough between the 2 candidates.  SCHILLING – R Takeover

18          Deirdre Hirner                                                    Aaron Schock (I)

-         Schock is the youngest member of Congress and a fiscal conservative with a large cash advantage in this race.  SCHOCK – R Hold

19          Tim Bagwell                                                        John Shimkus (I)

-         In a rematch of 2004 which Bagwell lost big, Shimkus could win bigger.  SHIMKUS – R Hold

Iowa   3-2 Dem                                                                     +1 GOP

1         Bruce Braley (I)                                                Ben Lange

-         Lange is getting his name and message out there, but will it be enough in this Democratic leaning district.  BRALEY – D Hold

2         David Loebsack (I)                                          Mariannette Miller-Meeks

-         This rematch is likely to end with the same results as 2008, a Loebsack win.  However, Loebsack underperformed compared to the President in this district, and there is some thought that this could be one of those upset, spoiler races.  Just not sure the wave is big enough yet.  LOEBSACK – D Hold

3         Leonard Boswell (I)                                       Brad Zaun

-         Boswell has been in office since 1996 and has a habit of winning by small margins.  Boswell is reportedly not in great health and recent internal polls show Zaun with a solid lead.  ZAUN – R Takeover

4         Bill Maske                                                               Tom Latham (I)

-         Latham has a huge cash advantage and should be safe this election cycle.  LATHAM – R Hold

5        Matt Campbell                                                        Steve King (I)

-         This is a rather conservative district.  Steve King should have no problems in this election.  KING – R Hold

Kansas   1-3 GOP                                                               +1 GOP

1         Alan Jilka                                                               Tim Huelskamp

-         Club For Growth candidate Tim Huelskamp is the overwhelming favorite to take the seat that Jerry Moran left to run for Senate.  HUELSKAMP – R Hold

2         Cheryl Hudspeth                                                  Lynn Jenkins (I)

-         Lynn Jenkins should have a much easier time as an incumbent than she did as a challenger.  JENKINS – R Hold

3         Stephene Ann Moore                                           Kevin Yoder

-         Dennis Moore announced his retirement so the Democrats were left with the next best qualified candidate – his wife Stephene.  Kevin Yoder won a crowded primary and is likely to win this for the GOP.  YODER – R Takeover

4        Raj Goyle                                                                Mike Pompeo

-         Goyle is the better funded candidate in this potentially competitive district to replace conservative Todd Tiahrt.  But this is Kansas 2010, so, Pompeo should win.  POMPEO – R Hold

Minnesota   5-3 Dem                                                           No Change                        

1         Tim Walz (I)                                                    Randy Demmer

-         Minnesota’s 1st district is pretty competitive, but Walz won his 2nd term by 30 points in 2008.  It won’t be that easy this time against Demmer who seems to be a good candidate.  This could move into a competitive range, but for now, not so much.  WALZ – D Hold

2          Shelley Madore                                                   John Kline (I)

-         Kline has won all 3 of his House races solidly.  Madore probably won’t do as well as some other challengers.  KLINE – R Hold

3          Jim Meffert                                                          Erik Paulsen (I)

-         Freshman Rep. Paulsen has proven to be a dynamic fundraiser and should be able to win this competitive district handily.   PAULSEN – R Hold

4        Betty McCollum (I)                                         Teresa Collett

-         McCollum will hold this Democratic district easily.   MCCOLLUM – D Hold

5        Keith Ellison (I)                                               Joel Demos

-         Ellison is the only Muslim in Congress, and he will stay there for another term.  ELLISON – D Hold

6        Tarryl Clark                                                           Michelle Bachmann (I)

-         Michelle Bachmann is on every Democrat’s most hated list, maybe even higher up on that list than Sarah Palin.  She is an original Tea Partier and has thusly founded the Tea Party caucus in the US House.  Democrats want her gone, and they have chosen EMILY’S List backed candidate Tarryl Clark as the person to do it.  The most recent poll shows Bachmann up by 9%, but just shy of 50%.  She won her last race with only 46%, so she is used to the tight races and with her huge campaign account, she should win again this year.  BACHMANN – R Hold

7          Collin Peterson (I)                                        Lee Byberg

-         It is very hard to imagine Collin Peterson losing.  His vote for health care may hurt him a bit, but not enough.  PETERSON – D Hold

8          Jim Oberstar (I)                                             Chip Cravaack

-         Oberstar has been in Congress since 1974.  Generally, people who have been in that long either retire from office or die while serving.  OBERSTAR – D Hold

Missouri   4-5 GOP                                                             +2 GOP                        

1         William Lacy Clay (I)                                    Robyn Hamlin

-         Republicans have a challenger in St. Louis this time, but Clay will still win in a landslide.  CLAY – D Hold

2          Arthur Lieber                                                   William Todd Akin (I)

-         Akin can sleepwalk through his election in this safe GOP district.  AKIN – R Hold

3          Russ Carnahan (I)                                         Ed Martin

-         There are certain races where you just get a gut reaction based on circumstances.  This is one of those.  By all means, Carnahan should win somewhat easily.  His father was governor, mother was a senator, and his grandfather represented the same house district.  In presidential elections, Missouri usually supports the winner – voting like Ohio.  It’s usually close, but in a landslide environment like 2008, it should have moved stronger to the left.  It didn’t, and its 11 electoral votes went for John McCain.  Carnahan’s sister is also running for the Senate and can’t break 43%.  Additionally, Ed Martin has more cash on hand than the incumbent.  This is a sleeper race.  Carnahan gets upset.  MARTIN – R Takeover

4        Ike Skelton (I)                                                   Vicky Hartzler

-         Ike Skelton has been described as a Truman Democrat, strong on defense, socially conservative, fiscally populist (liberal).  He’s in his 70’s and has served for 34 years in the House.  But he’s drawn Hartzler as an opponent, and she is a great candidate for this rural area. This district is one of the more Republican districts in the United States, and without a strong top of the ticket, Skelton could be in trouble.  In fact, I think he is.  HARTZLER – R Takeover

5        Emanuel Cleaver (I)                                       Jacob Turk

-         Cleaver shouldn’t have much trouble holding this Kansas City based seat.  CLEAVER – D Hold

6        Clint Hylton                                                            Sam Graves (I)

-         Sam Graves faces a minor challenger and will hold this easily.  GRAVES – R Hold

7         Scott Eckersley                                                     Billy Long

-         The former House Minority Whip, Roy Blunt left this seat to run for the Senate.  Billy Long will have no trouble holding this conservative district for the GOP.  LONG – R Hold

8         Tommy Sowers                                                     Jo Anne Emerson (I)

-         According to his website, Democrat Tommy Sowers is running to the right of Jo Anne Emerson in the home territory of Rush Limbaugh.  At the same time his campaign has been taken under the wings of former Senator Bob Kerrey and General Wesley Clark.  His campaign has also raised a lot of liberal Hollywood money.  Liberal, conservative, does it matter?  This is a conservative district in a Republican year, Emerson should hold this seat.  I wonder who the Limbaugh family is voting for?  EMERSON – R Hold

9         Christopher Dwyer (Libertarian)                       Blaine Luetkemeyer (I)

-         No Democratic opponent means easy GOP win.  LUETKEMEYER – R Hold

Nebraska          0-3 GOP                                                    No Change

1          Ivy Harper                                                            Jeff Fortenberry (I)

-         Fortenberry will win easily.  FORTENBERRY – R Hold

2          Tom White                                                            Lee Terry (I)

-         Nebraska’s 2nd is always somewhat competitive and in fact it was won by Obama in 2008.  But it sends Republicans to Congress normally and White, while well funded, has no top of ticket help against a GOP wave.  Terry will most likely get another term in this Omaha based district.  TERRY – R Hold

3          Rebekah Davis                                                      Adrian Smith (I)

-         “Somewhere in Time”, this seat may be challenged by the Dems, but for now, Adrian Smith should have some “Piece of Mind” that he is “Running Free” to his next term.  I wonder if Smith plays any Maiden at his campaign rallies?  Hopefully, he’ll be able to stop “The Evil That Men Do” while in the House.  SMITH – R Hold

North Dakota     1-0 Dem                                                       +1 GOP

A          Earl Pomeroy (I)                                            Rick Berg

-         With Pomeroy winning by larger margins, he seems to have felt free to vote proportionately more liberal culminating in his support for Obama care, which is why he will be unseated this year.  BERG – R Takeover

Oklahoma     1-4 GOP                                                       No Change

1         Angela O’Dell (Libertarian)                                  John Sullivan (I)

-         No Democrat gives Sullivan an easy victory.   SULLIVAN – R Hold

2         Dan Boren (I)                                                     Daniel Edmonds, Charles Thompson

-         Dan Boren is a Democrat in deep red land, and is therefore always on the watch list.  But he is very popular and his father was a Senator for many years and has been a vocal critic of the Democratic leadership.  The only polling I’ve seen for this race shows him ahead by 20+ points, but not quite at 50%, a potential problem for him.  The GOP will have to wait until the August 24th runoff election to determine their nominee.  As for now, there is little evidence that Boren is in jeopardy.   – D Hold

3         Frankie Lee Robbins                                             Frank Lucas (I)

-         This is a rematch of the last race that Lucas won by 45%.  It probably won’t be so close this time.  LUCAS – R Hold

4          N/A                                                                         Tom Cole (I)

-         Cole has no opponent, so he should win.  COLE – R Hold

5         Billy Coyle                                                               James Lankford

-         Mary Fallin is running for Governor and leaving this Oklahoma City based seat open.   The 5th happens to be one of the most Republican urban areas in the country and will not change those voting habits this time.  LANKFORD – R Hold

South Dakota     1-0 Dem                                                 +1 GOP

A          Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (I)                  Kristi Noem

-         It has always been wondered in political circles, “When do the Dakotas start sending Republicans to Congress?”  Like Rick Berg in North Dakota, Kristie Noem says that the time is now.  She has been holding consistent, if not overwhelming, leads and should win.  NOEM – R Takeover

The Mid West falls just short of the 10 seat average GOP pickup that we’ve shown in the first 3 segments.  But those 9 GOP gains push this region to a 36 to 19 seat advantage for the Republicans.  Again, the Democrats will not pick up any GOP seats and they are on defense in many previously safe areas.  The only seats that they really could contest are the Kirk open seat in Illinois and the Bachmann seat in Minnesota, but this is just not a year for Democrats.  Republicans need a net total of 39 takeovers to gain control of Congress and the gain of 9 in the Mid West plus the 10 in the South, 11 in the West, plus 9 more in the Mid Atlantic takes them to exactly 39 seats with 4 regions and roughly half the seats yet to go.  Speaker Boehner anyone?

Can the GOP maintain 10 seat gains per region and pick up 80?  Will Nancy Pelosi resign in shame and carry her giant gavel back through a crowd of mean and unruly Tea Partiers?  Will Charlie Rangel lose his seat to a Republican who seems more interested in selling his book than becoming a Congressman?  These are just a few of the questions to be answered.

The ugly gets uglier for the Democrats, so keep your eyes Wild and tune in next time to Part 5!

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