The Republicans’ efforts in the House have been pretty amazing this year. They’ve put up good fights against all the Democrats they could plausibly hope to oust: almost all of those who won in 2006 and 2008, almost all of the Blue Dogs, almost all of the how-does-he-win-that-seat stalwarts (John Spratt, Chet Edwards, Gene Taylor, Ike Skelton), almost all of those vying for open seats, and even a few solid incumbents such as Phil Hare, John Hall, Bob Etheridge, and Jim Oberstar.
You can see my predictions here. In the House, the projection is for the GOP to gain 70 seats: The GOP will win 76 House districts currently held by Democrats, and the Democrats will win 6 House seats currently held by Republicans, including a few surprises. Republican takeovers are in red; Democratic takeovers are in dark blue.
I can hear it now: “Jim’s been gargling with Maker’s Mark again.” But I actually played it fairly safe on this list. I predicted no GOP takeovers in states where the early voting looks pretty “meh,” such as West Virginia or Iowa. (Thanks to Scott Elliott at www.electionprojection.com
and Rare Jazz Congress
for compiling the tables.)
Here are some notes on the numbers:
Arizona: Perhaps someone will argue that my prediction that the Republicans will win almost every competitive House race in the Grand Canyon State is too optimistic, but its voters watched Democratic lawmakers stand and applaud the president of Mexico as he denounced the state in the U.S. House of Representatives. Arizonans can’t send a message to Washington by reelecting Democrats, and I think they know that.
Also, for a variety of reasons, Ben Quayle seems like the wrong candidate to run in this cycle — too young, too associated with past Washington Republicans, too few serious accomplishments in the district.
Arkansas: The number of Arkansas Democrats continues to dwindle.
California: I’m probably a little optimistic here, considering that the statewide races have turned gloomy for Republicans and the marijuana initiative should bring out young voters. But I suspect that the high unemployment and miserable housing-bubble fallout means Californians will want to take out their frustration on some incumbents, and so a few Democratic lawmakers (in not terribly Democratic districts) make likely targets.
Colorado: There are a lot of states where the electorate can be persuaded to vote for Democrats but cannot be persuaded to vote for liberals, and Colorado seems like one of those.
Connecticut: I’ve been wary about GOP chances in Connecticut for a while, but it sounds like here, as in many places, the Democrats elected in 2006 and 2008 as moderates are now seen as too liberal for their districts, even if those districts do lean Democrat.
Florida: If early voting is any indicator, Florida Democrats are about to get massacred. Notice my caution in predicting a Democratic takeover in FL-25.
Georgia: I wouldn’t be stunned to see John Barrow go down in GA-12, either.
Hawaii: Perhaps I’m a wee bit optimistic to predict Djou’s reelection, but it’s not like any polls have put Hanabusa up by a wide margin.
Idaho: Raul Labrador should win, considering how heavily Republican the district is, but Minnick hasn’t given him many votes to run against.
Illinois: It’s looking like a big rebound year for a once-dormant Illinois Republican party. Remember who was predicting Phil Hare’s defeat back in May.