• The Fix forays into the prognostication arena with the 50 House seats most likely to changes hands in November.
• At-risk Democrats are increasingly reluctant to advertise their public appearances:
This dynamic illustrates the clear enthusiasm gap between Republicans and Democrats, with public polls and anecdotal evidence showing the GOP is fired up for the midterm election and Democratic voters are not.
“Everyone’s nightmare is you have an event and there are more of the other people there than yout people,” said the chief of staff to one politically vulnerable House Democrat.
Catch them if you can.
• Illinois: After an influx of e-mail requests for data, the folks at We Ask America polled the Congressional race in Illinois’ bizarrely shaped 17th district, where incumbent Democrat and former union boss Phil Hare faces Republican Bobby Schilling, a pizzeria owner. The poll found Schilling with a 41-38 percent edge against Hare, with Green Party candidate Roger Davis receiving a not insignificant 4 percent. IL-17 is blue collar, but by no means reliably blue. It has a Cook Partisan Voting Index of only D+3, and George W. Bush nearly carried it in 2004. But Hare’s voting does not reflect the purple nature of his district:
In Congress, Hare has been a reliable Democratic vote. According to an analysis by Congressional Quarterly, he supported President Obama’s position on 96 percent of key votes last year. He voted with a majority of his party on 99 percent of key votes. He supported major Democratic legislative priorities, including the “cap and trade” energy bill, the economic stimulus package, Wall Street reform, and both the House and Senate versions of health care reform.
Needless to say, this has many district voters seeing red. Meanwhile, Schilling, despite lagging behind in fundraising, is hoping that slow and steady wins this race.
• Massachusetts: It’s only appropriate that the Tea Party movement should be flourishing in the Bay State:
While still priding itself on decentralization and a nonpolitical mission, the Tea Party is flexing its muscle in the Massachusetts congressional primaries with:
– Voter guides. The Greater Boston Tea Party sent questionnaires to each candidate and used the answers to create guides for Tea Party members.
– Debates. Tea Party groups in central and western Massachusetts held three candidate forums last week, including one yesterday in Leicester.
– Campaign pledges. All five GOP candidates for the 3rd District seat held by Democrat James McGovern signed a pledge to support six core Tea Party principles, including national sovereignty and smaller government.
– Boots on the ground. Tea Party members are volunteering in large numbers. “A lot of our supporters who come in and do work for us are members of the Tea Party,” said Sean Bielat, a Republican taking aim at Barney Frank’s 4th District seat.
• New York: Michael Bloomberg is giving embattled Rep. Charles Rangel some last minute assistance before this week’s Democratic primary, in the form of a robo-call recorded, one presumes, without a hint of irony. Still, hard to imagine how the mayor kept a straight face throughout:
“Tough times require tough leadership, and that is what Charlie Rangel has provided for us, and will continue to provide for us going forward,” Bloomberg says in the robo-calls expected to flood phone lines in Rangel’s district on Sunday.
The mayor calls the 80-year-old Harlem Democrat the “go-to guy in Washington.” He credits Rangel with “bringing $300 million in stimulus funds to protect the jobs of New Yorkers,” “insuring affordable housing for working families” and “working to expand health coverage for all Americans.”
The calls, which were recorded this week, will come 48 hours before Rangel faces a five-way fight in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. A House ethics panel is due next week to start trial proceedings on 13 alleged violations.
Hey, at least Bloomberg is consistent in his support for unpopular causes.