Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Crowded Republican Fields

The GOP has an incredible number of candidates for Congress this year in North Carolina. In 2008 a total of 19 Republican candidates ran for the House. There are already 43 this year with another day of filing left to go.

Many of these folks have signed up to run because they're angry about wasteful government spending but in an ironic twist of fate the crowded candidate fields in several districts could necessitate expensive, but low turnout runoff elections all over the state in June.

Unless the Democratic Senate primary ends up in a runoff- and I don't think it will because I believe Elaine Marshall and Cal Cunningham will end up leaving the rest of the field in the dust, allowing one of them to get to 40%- there won't be a statewide election on June 22nd. But there will be in a number of counties, and that will likely be driven by how many of these Republican Congressional races fail to see a candidate get 40% in May.

There are already six Republican primaries with 4 candidates or more. There are 6 running in the 11th (Heath Shuler), 5 in the 8th (Larry Kissell), and 4 in the 1st (G.K. Butterfield), 4th (David Price), 6th (Howard Coble), and 13th (Brad Miller.) Those are the races most likely to end up in runoffs, but it's also possible in the districts where there are three Republican candidates so far which are the 2nd (Bob Etheridge), 7th (Mike McIntyre), and 10th (Patrick McHenry).

If I was a Republican trying to break out from the pack and get some attention in one of these races I would challenge all the other candidates not to request a runoff whatever the results of the May primary are. It would show a personal commitment to fiscal conservatism by avoiding the public cost of holding a low turnout runoff election.


Timothy said...

Wow, for once we agree on something...ha! Whomever wins the majority vote should be the winner with the caveat that any of the candidates can (and should) ask for a recount if it is razor close.

Tom Jensen said...

Guh! Toplines were right, crosstabs were wrong. Fixed now. Thanks for catching that.

Christian Liberty said...

Republicans can clearly tell that they are in a political bull market. So many Republicans are eager to run because the wind is clearly at their back. Republicans did not appear this strong in 1994 until July and did not appear this strong in 1980 until October. I dare say voters have never been so eager to vote against Democrats.

Charlie Cook says it is difficult to see any scenario in which the Democrats do not lose the house. Numerous Congressional Democrats have announced retirement rather than run in 2010 (whereas most Republican open seats are open because the incumbents are seeking higher office statewide).

Just to quantify where we are: Intrade puts the 50/50 at Republicans gaining 35 seats in the House and holding 48 seats in the Senate. The contracts for Republicans holding at least 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, and 51 senate seats have all seen appreciation recently. (and this is before the filing deadlines in most states. many strong candidates may be yet to announce.)

But even those numbers for the senate as a whole understate the danger for incumbent Democrats. When individual races are rated, Republicans are the favorites in 8 races: AR, CO, DE, IL, IN, NV, ND, PA. That's 49. In WI and CA, the Republican is given at least a 45% chance. In NY and WA, the Republican is given a 35% chance. 53 Republican seats in 2010 is not out of the question -- with further gains likely in 2012 and 2014.

In the house, Republicans may reasonably gain 63 seats.

Republicans also stand to gain 15-20 more house seats in 2012 just from the favorable demographic trends that are expected to be revealed in the next census.

The probability of victory for Republican candidates is high and so is the probability that Republicans will have a majority, likely in both houses. There is still work to be done, but this is a truly prosperous time to be advocating for liberty.

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