Monday, December 14, 2009

Democratic Retirements

There are, by my count, 13 Congressional districts outside of Arizona represented by a Democrat that voted for John McCain and where McCain did better in 2008 than George W. Bush did in 2004. In other words these are the districts that went in the wrong direction for Democrats even in a Democratic year and thus might really be hard to handle in what's looking like a not so Democratic year.

Probably not coincidentally 3 of the Democrats who have decided not to run for reelection so far came from those districts- Charlie Melancon in Louisiana and Bart Gordon and John Tanner in Tennessee.

It seems likely those folks saw the writing on the wall both from those hard election results and from their internal polling. We did a poll last month in the district of a 4th member of that group- Vic Snyder in Arkansas- and found him more or less tied with a bunch of guys who had no name recognition. I would not be surprised if it's a similar situation for some of the other folks on this list which includes:

-Jason Altmire and John Murtha of Pennsylvania
-Marion Berry and Mike Ross of Arkansas
-Nick Rahall of West Virginia
-Dan Boren of Oklahoma
-Lincoln Davis of Tennessee
-Allen Boyd of Florida
-Parker Griffith of Alabama

I'm pretty sure we'll go in and do a poll of either Rahall's district or Alan Mollohan's in West Virginia sometime next month to see what's going on there, and we may get around to looking at another of the Arkansas districts sometime soon as well. These may be hard holds for the Democrats even if the incumbents run again. If not prospects for holding them are really poor.


Dale Sheldon-Hess said...

Murtha could call his constituents a bunch of racist rednecks and STILL get re-elected.

In fact, he did (even if he later apologized.)

Anonymous said...

Polling in AR-1 (Marion Berry) would be very eye opening, in my opinion. I think your polling would be very interesting to see how a Blue Dog is faring in a R+8 district...

Anonymous said...

What did the '08 turnout look like in these districts vs. bluer ones? Higher or lower? Without that data I'm not sure you say they had Obama coattails and call it a Democratic year.

Also, a lot of this is speculation without testing the brand of the incumbent vs the national brand. Guys like Tanner and Melancon and Gordon don't build up solid margins in these districts over a decade or two without heavy constituent work and keeping a close ear to home. Not every district looks like San Francisco, CA or Alexandria, VA.

No doubt the GOP fever in these areas has a greater impact since they are not traditional Democratic strongholds, but I don't know how you get a strong majority in the House and Senate without folks who appeal to the middle and disaffected Rs.

Dave said...

The district of Bobby Bright (AL-02) would be on this list as well, no?

I agree with Anon that it "would be very interesting to see how a Blue Dog is faring in a R+8 district".

But why not poll Alabama? You've got two Blue Dogs there to choose from (in even redder districs), plus a really interesting governor's race on both sides.

Or do one of the just-opened seats like KS-03 or one of the Tennessee ones...

Anonymous said...

Zero chance Dan Boren loses. Guy has almost 2 million cash on hand and has won with margins in excess of 70% of the vote. Ross should be a in good shape too. Vic Snyder isn't raising any money which is pretty dumb. The Blue Dogs that are in trouble include.

Kratovil in MD
Minnick in ID
Nye in VA
Zack Space in OH

Mary Jo Kilroy in OH
Betsy Markey in CO
Harry Teague in NM

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