The Corner

Bush’s Coattails

I got an email from Robert Moran, vice president of Republican consulting firm Fabrizio, McLaughlin and Associates:

“Good piece.

“My only disagreement with it is that I think Dean could cost the Democrats

seats in the House – even in a tight race.

“What few realize is how much the House battleground leans our way after

re-districting.

“There are a number of Democratic House members in strong Bush or lean Bush

seats. There are something like 28 Democrat House seats that were won by

Bush with 51% of the vote or more.

“A Dean debacle would almost certainly sink folks like Jim Matheson (UT-2),

Earl Pomeroy (ND-AL), Rodney Alexander (LA-5), Baron Hill (IN-9), John

Spratt (SC-5), Rick Boucher (VA-9), Dennis Moore (KS-3), Jim Marshall (GA-3)

and a raft of redistricted Texas Democrats.

“To make matters worse for these Dem incumbents, they reside in deeply red

states that simply will not see much, if any, Democratic advertising or

turnout operations at the Presidential level. They may have a double

problem – a loser at the top of the ticket pulling them down and a solid,

pro-Bush turnout.

“In fact, throw in the money disparities between the two parties in the House

and a likely Texas redistricting victory, and House Republicans could have a

very, very good night, even if Dean keeps it close.

“If I were the Bush team, I would hit Dean hard on TV in these districts,

even though the states are a lock in the electoral college.”

The scenario Moran lays out could happen, but it would depend on Republicans’ recruitment of strong candidates. Also, I’m sure Moran would want Bush to follow his advice only if he’s very comfortable that he’ll win his own race. And remember that the Bush team was saying it was three-five points ahead right before the 2000 election.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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