The United States Elections/Political Party Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by liberalmaverick, Mar 6, 2006.

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  1. liberalmaverick Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 3

    On November 7 2006, there will be elections held on all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, 33 seats in the U.S. Senate, 36 governorships, and countless seats on the state and local levels. This thread is hereby established to host and facilitate meaningful, civilized and intelligent conversation on these races.

    This thread, which exists with the permission of Mr44, is the operational and spiritual successor to Obi-Wan McCartney?s [link=]2004 U.S. elections countdown thread[/link] and salutes Obi-Wan McCartney and TripleB for their devotion to the elections countdown tradition.

    As of this writing, there are 246 days remaining to Election Day 2006. This countdown will (hopefully) be updated on a periodic basis.

    The following is taken from the [link=]2004 countdown thread[/link], with some modifications.

    During the course of any discussion, the following terms may be used in descriptions of political campaigns:

    LOCK ? A Lock means that the incumbent and/or challenger, short of some sort of biblical disaster, is virtually assured of re-election to the point that it will be a no-contest, slam dunk affair.

    Favored ? A Favored rating means the candidate seems to have certain things in their factor and is in all likely hood heading to victory, but is by no means assured of it. Bad missteps or clever maneuvers from the opponent may upset the balance, but for this person to lose would be an upset at the time of this writing.

    Toss-Up ? Depending on what candidate(s) enter the race, a FAVORED or LOCK can become a TOSS-UP, if the conditions are right. This really is just what it means, that it could go either way at the time of this writing, and will remain very competitive regardless of what either side does (barring some major gaffe).

    Vulnerable ? Candidates (usually this term refers to incumbents) who are vulnerable are candidates, for example, who have been caught up in a major scandal, or who are running in states which in all likelihood won't elect that person. A candidate has to be in major trouble to be VULNERABLE.

    OPEN ? If a candidate has chosen not to run for re-election, or is being term-limited out (i.e. in many gubernatorial races), then the seat is OPEN, with no incumbent holding the seat.



    All 435 seats of the House are up for election. As of this writing, there are 23 Open seats ? 14 Republican, 8 Democratic, and 1 independent. They are listed below, with the retiring incumbent listed in parentheses.

    AZ-1 (James T. Kolbe (R))
    CO-5 (Joel M. Hefley (R))
    CO-7 (Robert L. Beauprez (R))
    FL-9 (Michael Bilirakis (R))
    FL-11 (James Davis (D))
    FL-13 (Katherine Harris (R))
    HI-2 (Edward E. Case (D))
    ID-1 (Clement L. ?Butch? Otter (R))
    IL-6 (Henry J. Hyde (R))
    IA-1 (James A. Nussle (R))
    MD-3 (Benjamin L. Cardin (D))
    MN-6 (Mark Kennedy (R))
    NE-3 (Thomas W. Osborne (R))
    NV-2 (James A. Gibbons (R))
    NJ-13 (Robert Menéndez (D); his seat will actually be vacant until a successor is sworn in the 110th Congress in January 2007)
    NY-11 (Major R.O. Owens (D))
    OH-4 (Michael G. Oxley (R))
    OH-6 (Ted Strickland (D))
    OH-13 (Sherrod Brown (D))
    OK-5 (Ernest J. Istook, Jr. (R))
    TN-9 (Harold E. Ford, Jr. (D))
    VT-AL (Bernard Sanders (I))
    WI-8 (Mark A. Green (R))

    There are a number of notable or competitive races, most of which are not one of the Open seats, for the U.S. House in 2006.

    Also, it should be noted that CA-50 (which is vacant following the resignation of Randall H. ?Duke? Cunningham (R)) is scheduled to have a special election for its U.S. House seat on April 11 2006. The victor of that race will face reelection on November 7 2006.


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  2. liberalmaverick Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 3
    So I?ve finished my analyses on the U.S. Senate and U.S. House races and I?ve concluded that, yes, it is very much possible for the Democratic Party to win control of both houses this fall.

    My reasoning is based not on the brain-dead rhetoric and prognostications that seem to animate most partisans these days, but on an actual look at the actual races.

    For the House, Democrats require a net pickup of fifteen seats to take control (this is assuming that retiring Vermont independent Rep. Bernard Sanders (I), who currently caucuses with the Democrats, is considered a ?Democrat? for the purposes of this analysis, and is replaced by Peter Welch (D), which is very much likely, and as such the seat remains in Democratic hands and does not contribute to a net loss or gain). Here are nineteen Republican districts that I think could switch to a Democrat, with the district?s current incumbent and status noted:

    CO-7 (Robert L. Beauprez) (OPEN)
    CT-2 (Robert R. Simmons)
    CT-4 (Christopher H. Shays)
    FL-22 (E. Clay Shaw, Jr.)
    IA-1 (James A. Nussle) (OPEN)
    IN-8 (John N. Hostettler)
    IN-9 (Michael E. Sodrel)
    KY-4 (Geoff Davis)
    MN-2 (John P. Kline)
    MN-6 (Mark Kennedy)
    NC-8 (Robert ?Robin? Hayes)
    NC-11 (Charles H. Taylor)
    NM-1 (Heather A. Wilson)
    PA-6 (Jim Gerlach)
    PA-7 (Curt Weldon)
    PA-8 (Michael G. Fitzpatrick)
    PA-15 (Charles W. Dent)
    TX-22 (Thomas D. DeLay)
    WA-8 (David G. Reichert)

    I have identified just seven Democratic districts that could very potentially switch to a Republican, and they are:

    CO-3 (John T. Salazar)
    GA-3 (8 after recent redistricting) (James C. Marshall)
    GA-12 (John Barrow)
    IL-8 (Melissa L. Bean)
    LA-3 (Charles J. Melancon)
    OH-6 (Ted Strickland) (OPEN)
    TX-17 (Thomas ?Chet? Edwards)

    In addition, I?m watching two Democratic districts where the incumbent Democrat may be unseated by a primary challenger. In LA-2, William J. Jefferson is ensnared in ethics troubles and is very likely to be replaced by another Democrat in the primary. In TX-28, it?s a battle between conservative incumbent and Republican ally Henry Cuellar (D) and the liberal he bested in 2004, former Rep. Ciro D. Rodriguez.

    I?d like to add that there are actually eighteen districts that were carried by both 2004 Democratic Presidential candidate John F. Kerry and a Republican House candidate. Those would be the Democrats? logical targets but only 11 of those 18 are on the Democratic target list above; the other races are either dead or only ?potentially? competitive. Likewise, there are forty-two districts that voted for 2004 Republican Presidential candidate George W. Bush and a Democratic House candidate, but only five of those appear on the Republican target list (the other two, GA-3 and GA-12, are vulnerable due to recent redistricting).

    As for the Senate, Democrats require six seats to take control (again, Vermont?s delegation has to be accounted for ? I?m assuming that for all intents and purposes of this analysis Sen. James M. Jeffords (I-Vt.) is replaced by the aforementioned Rep. Bernard Sanders (I) who will caucus with Senate Democrats; therefore, the current number of ?Democrats? is 45). I have found exactly six Republican seats with a good chance of going Democratic this fall:

    Missouri (James M. Talent)
    Montana (Conrad R. Burns)
    Ohio (R. Michael DeWine)
    Pennsylvania (Richard J. Santorum)
    Rhode Island (Lincoln D. Chafee)
    Tennessee (William H. Frist) (OPEN)

    Republicans have the best chance at scoring a pickup in three races in traditionally Democratic-leaning states:

    Maryland (Paul S. Sarbanes) (OPEN)
    Minnesota (Mark B. Dayton) (OPEN)
    New Jersey (Robert Menéndez)

    With all these Congressional races, there are other races on both sides that have the potential to become competitive, but until there is actually action in those races, or there is an indication (i.e. in the polls) that both sides have an even shot at winning, I will not consider them viable targets.

    I haven?t been following the gubernatorial races as muc
  3. Obi-Wan McCartney Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 1999
    star 5
    Wow, excellent analysis Liberalmav, I'm looking forward to checking out all your predictions on election day. Curiously, how did you go about determning which seats were winnable?
  4. liberalmaverick Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 3
    In the end, a lot of it was gut feeling, which is of course subjective; that's why I invite different views on the races. But I mostly follow the [link=][/link] blog closely; that site is a veritable radar screen for political junkies like myself. Politics1 largely guided my ID of the competitive races.

    Every competitive race had to have at least

    1. An incumbent who is vulnerable for whatever reason (geography/demographics, scandal, etc.) or in the case of open races demographics that were unfriendly to the party of the outgoing incumbent

    2. A strong challenger. A weak incumbent means nothing if the other party can't field a good candidate that has a chance of victory.

    Also, I didn't really make any predictions one way or the other, except for the N.Y. and Mass. guberatorial races (which I do firmly believe will go Democratic). I didn't mention this but I'll say it now: I also think that Santorum is almost guaranteed to lose his reelection to State Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr. (D) this fall. The other races I talked about are really Toss-Ups or slightly Favored races. But I am optimistic about our chances of winning at least a majority, if not most or even all, of the competitive races this fall.
  5. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Execellent thread- I think it even surpassed my expectations.

    This will definately make a good placeholder/examination thread for discussion, especially as the media begins to increase "buzz" coverage on this issue.
  6. Gonk Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    It surpassed your expectation in 5 posts?
  7. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    No, not the amount, I meant the quality of the analysis that went into the opening post.

  8. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 10
    Oh come on, you meant both.

    Great work liberalmaverick! :D

  9. liberalmaverick Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 3
    Thanks for the warm words guys.

    So....... about those races huh.....

    Actually, I just checked and there's a new Open seat. CA-22 will be open following the annoucement of retirement of Rep. Bill Thomas (R), who happens to be the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman. This seat is heavily Republican so I imagine it will stay GOP.

    There's also some good news for Republicans in the far Northeast and semi-Deep South. Republicans have closed the gap on Gov. John Baldacci (D-Maine) and are now leading him in the latest poll by one to two points, so he can be considered an endangered incumbent. In Tennessee, Republican Senate candidates are widening their lead over Democratic frontrunner Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN-9) to anywhere from four to nine points.

    Anyway, I'm requesting a moderator add CA-22 (incumbent: William M. Thomas (R)) to the Open House seats list in the opening post and change the appropriate numbers (23 Open seats to 24, 14 Republican to 15) at his convenience.

    EDIT: I might have to recant on that prediction about the Mass. Governor's seat going Democratic. In the latest polls Republican candidate Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey is either tied or within spitting range of either of the two Democratic candidates.
  10. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    I'm worried about Rendell getting unseated, myself.

    PA has trended blue since '92, but that could change with the election of a GOP-governor.


  11. Fluke_Groundrunner Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 1, 2001
    star 4
    I think that Ed Rendell's days are numbered as govenor of PA. He is going to get trounced in western Pennsylvania because Lynn Swan is the Republican nominee. There are two big problems for this. First, Lynn Swan is a Pittsburgh Steeler legend and a lot of people are going to vote for him just because of his status. Also, there are many people in western PA who believe that Rendel is going to make sure that a certain Casino plan is selected for the Pittsburgh area which eliminates a plan developed by the Pittsburgh Penguins and thus will force the team to leave the city.

    I'm not saying that Rendel has done any such thing, but perception is sometimes reality.
  12. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    Yeah, there is some bitterness here about the possibility of the Isle of Capri not getting a slots license (and hence, likely losing the Penguins).

    On the other hand, there is a very good chance of Santorum being unseated. He's flip-flopped on a number of positions this year, and it's coming back to haunt him. Further, Casey was leading him solidly in the last polls I saw.
  13. heels1785 JCC/PT/New Films Manager

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2003
    star 7
    Very good work, liberalmaverick, the amount of info and research you put in is very impressive.

    That being said, I can only halfway agree with your statement about the Dems winning Congress--I think it is very feasible, even likely, that they will re-take the House, where it isn't hard at all to make up seats. However, in the Senate, the feeling that I have gotten through listening to political commentators on Fox, MSNBC, and C-Span is that, in the case of the Senate, the American people are getting fed up with both parties, and thus the Democrats, personified by the always angry pack of Kennedy, Schumer, and Boxer may be able to close the gap, but probably won't be able to take complete control.

    I'm not happy to say it, but Washington may very well have a different face in 2006, given many of the mistakes made by the Bush Administration. That being said, as long as my governor (Mark Sanford) wins re-election, I'll be pleased.

    Great work again on the thread! :)
  14. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    Interesting analysis on Rendell.

    I think you may be right, but by Hoeffel dropping out of the race for Lieutenant Governor in favor of a Pittsburg-regional candidate, I think his loss is unlikely.

    Philadelphia (the city only) has enough votes to swing the state for him; he is also additionally very popular with moderate republicans in the suburbs of the city, especially in traditionally republican-leaning areas like Montgomery county (where I live).

    In the last election, 80% of registered republicans voted-for the first time in the counties' history-for John Kerry. A substantial number of those voters back Ed Rendell over Lynn Swan (although anything can happen at this point).

    Also, anti-Santorum/anti-Bush sentiment is running very high in the state at this time. While a gubernatorial election is certainly more contingent upon local issues, I believe that the national arena will play a significant role in this election, and that may hurt Lynn Swan simply by the virtue of carrying the mantra "conservative".

    As you said, perception is sometimes reality.


  15. Darth Mischievous Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 1999
    star 6
    V03, all politics is local. However, Swan may capture the black bloc vote just enough to send Rendell out of office.

    Either way, Santorum is out.

    BTW, good work on the thread libmav.


  16. Fire_Ice_Death Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    liberalmaverick, have you heard of [link=]Allan Lichtman[/link] before? He gave me a friend invite on myspace and I laughed it off and added him any way, but he seems like a nice fellow.
  17. Katana_Geldar Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    Hey fire, long time no see.

    I'm putting in my two cents worth to say that I hope the democrats pull through after the mess Bush and his lot have appeared to have made. Why that guy got re-elected after lying about Iraq I have no idea.

    I know I'm an Aussie, but this affects us in a way as well.
  18. liberalmaverick Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 3
    Thanks to everyone for the kind words. :)

    Fire_Ice_Death: Yeah, I heard of Allan Lichtman, and I would definitely vote for him if I lived in Maryland. He more-or-less aligns with me on the issues and political philosophy, and I appreciate that he, unlike most candidates, actually lays out a core political philosophy that he follows. And his website is very well-designed and a lot more substantive than most of the ones I've looked at.

    Unfortunately, he appears to have no shot at the Senate seat he's running for; the Democratic nomination will most likely go to Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, who is also a good Democrat. Then Cardin will duke it out with Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele in what's shaping up to be a very competitive race that will probably be won by Cardin in the end.

    FID any insight from your perspective as a Marylander, on the Senate race as well as the gubernatorial one? Maryland seems to be a mostly Democratic state but apparently that hasn't really fazed Md. Republicans.

    heels1785: I never said that taking back either house of Congress will be easy. In fact, it will be very, very hard, and I wouldn't be surprised (though I will be disappointed) if it doesn't happen. However, I did say that it can be done, and by that I mean that the seats are there.

    I don't see why there should be any difference between the House and the Senate in terms of people's attitudes towards the races for the respective chambers. If you're going to talk about the "always angry pack of Kennedy, Schumer, and Boxer" then you can just as very well talk about the "always angry pack" of Pelosi, Hoyer and Conyers. And of course there are Republican angries too (Frist, DeLay, Santorum, etc.). I think in the end the leadership teams of either party on Capitol Hill will have little impact on the outcome of the elections, aside from any actual campaigning they'll do for individual candidates.

    I also think that it'd actually be easier to win Senate seats than House seats. We seem to have a better grip and better candidates in the Senate races compared to the House ones, and a lot of the House races are hard to win because the districts have been gerrymandered to death.
  19. Darth Mischievous Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 1999
    star 6
    Bush had better hope and pray that the Dems don't control both houses of Congress after this year.

    If the election were held today, that would be a distinct possiblity. However, there is still over 6 months to go before the election, and that is an eternity in politics.

    In retrospect, it would have probably been much better for the Republican Party if Bush would have lost in 2004. Kerry would have probably come off just as bad with this Iraq situation and with Katrina, and the GOP could have capitalized on that.

    Of course, the economy would be trumped up more by the press if Kerry were in office at this time.
  20. Kimball_Kinnison Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Don't be so sure about the likely end of the race. The Maryland Democrats have made quite a few blunders in attacking Steele, and in doing so have alienated quite a few blacks in the process. (Here's a hint: calling him "Simple Sambo" or similar racial terms is a really bad idea.)

    A lot depends on how stupid the Democrats (and their supporters) are between now and November. Right now, it's Steele's race.

    Kimball Kinnison
  21. heels1785 JCC/PT/New Films Manager

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2003
    star 7
    It's rather simple. There are 100 Senators, and four hundred something Reps. The Senators are much more well known, and Ted Kennedy is known for being a viper, as is Boxer. Sure, I can't stand Santorum, but don't mention Frist in the same breath as him. Santorum is in his own world in terms of looniness. When it comes down to it, the people are sick of the angry "we have no plan but to hold up Bush" mentality that undoubtably exists, and I think the Dems will be very lucky to gain ground in 2006 without any kind of defined agenda.
  22. Jediflyer Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2001
    star 5
    These are Congressional elections in 2006 and thus don't need much of an agenda.

    2008, on the other hand, is where it will be key for the Democrats to settle on a streamlined message.

  23. heels1785 JCC/PT/New Films Manager

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2003
    star 7
    Yes, but they need something. They also are fragmented by moderate liberals and those whose blood boils when they encounter a Congressman who doesn't vehemently rant and rave against the War on Terror any time they open their mouth, and I think this will hurt them.
  24. Fire_Ice_Death Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7

    I'm seriously considering it. What does an intern do specifically? I
  25. Fingorfin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2001
    star 4
    A campaign intern does anything that needs to be done. Delivering stuff, working the phone banks, walking precincts, answering phones, attending debates and other functions. If they find you reliable, they'll probably start to give you more responsibilties. It's a great time.
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