The Campaign Spot

Ranking Those 99 House Races by Degree of Difficulty for GOP Challengers

Here are my 99 races, grouped into five levels of difficulty. I’ve used three different measurements – the Department of Homeland Security’s old color-code alert system, a comparable degree of difficulty to beating NFL teams, and a quick assessment.

BLUE/AS HARD AS BEATING THE ST. LOUIS RAMS/CHALLENGERS CAN THINK ABOUT OFFICE DRAPES:

Paul Hodes’s open seat in New Hampshire, Eric Massa’s open seat in New York, John Tanner’s open seat in Tennessee, Bart Gordon’s open seat in Tennessee, Marion Berry’s open seat in Arkansas, Vic Snyder’s open seat in Arkansas, Charlie Melancon’s open seat in Louisiana, Betsy Markey in Colorado, Suzanne Kosmas in Florida, Phil Hare in Illinois, Frank Kratovil in Maryland, Carol Shea-Porter in New Hampshire, Earl Pomeroy in North Dakota. (13)

GREEN/AS HARD AS BEATING THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS/SHOULD BE GOP WINS:

Dennis Moore’s open seat in Kansas, Bobby Bright in Alabama, Dave Obey’s open seat in Wisconsin, Ann Kirkpatrick in Arizona, John Salazar in Colorado, Allen Boyd in Florida, Alan Grayson in Florida, Walt Minnick in Idaho, Debbie Halvorson in Illinois, Baron Hill in Indiana, Joe Donnelly in Indiana, Travis Childers in Mississippi, Dina Titus in Nevada, Harry Teague in New Mexico, John Boccieri in Ohio, Zach Space in Ohio, Charlie Wilson in Ohio, Mary Jo Kilroy in Ohio, Steve Driehaus in Ohio, Paul Kanjorski in Pennsylvania, Kathy Dahlkemper in Pennsylvania, John Spratt in South Carolina, Glenn Nye in Virginia, Rick Boucher in Virginia, Tom Perriello in Virginia, Allan Mollohan in West Virginia. (26)

YELLOW/AS HARD AS BEATING THE CAROLINA PANTHERS/PROBABLY CLOSE TO 50/50 RIGHT NOW:

The special election for John Murtha’s district in Pennsylvania, the special election for Neil Abercrombie’s seat in Hawaii, Brad Ellsworth’s open seat in Indiana, Joe Sestak’s open seat in Pennsylvania, Gabby Giffords in Arizona, Harry Mitchell in Arizona, Ron Klein in Florida, John Barrow in Georgia, Jim Marshall in Georgia, Bill Foster in Illinois, Ben Chandler in Kentucky, Mark Schauer in Michigan, Gary Peters in Michigan, Ike Skelton in Missouri, Shelley Berkeley in Nevada, John Adler in New Jersey, Martin Heinrich in New Mexico, Michael Arcuri in New York, John Hall in New York, Bill Owens in New York, Tim Bishop in New York, Larry Kissell in North Carolina, Mike McIntyre in North Carolina, Heath Shuler in North Carolina, Betty Sutton in Ohio, Jason Altmire in Pennsylvania, Chris Carney in Pennsylvania, Patrick Murphy in Pennsylvania, Tim Holden in Pennsylvania, Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin in South Dakota, Lincoln Davis in Tennessee, Nick Rahall in West Virginia, Steve Kagen in Wisconsin. (33)

ORANGE/AS HARD AS BEATING THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES/AT THIS POINT, COULD USE SOME LUCK:

Bill Delahunt’s open seat in Massachusetts, Brian Baird’s open seat in Washington, Bart Stupak’s open seat in Michigan, Mike Ross in Arkansas, Loretta Sanchez in California, Jerry McNerney in California, Bob Filner in California, Ed Perlmutter in Colorado, Jim Himes in Connecticut, Chris Murphy in Connecticut, Melissa Bean in Illinois, Leonard Boswell in Iowa, Dave Loebsack in Iowa, Gene Taylor in Mississippi, Rush Holt in New Jersey, Mike McMahon in New York, Kurt Schrader in Oregon, Chet Edwards in Texas, Ciro Rodriguez in Texas, Jim Matheson in Utah, Gerry Connolly in Virginia. (21)

RED/AS HARD AS BEATING THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS/NEED A WAVE AND SOME LUCK:

Patrick Kennedy’s open seat in Rhode Island, Stephen Lynch in Massachusetts, Frank Pallone in New Jersey, Dan Maffei in New York, Dan Boren in Oklahoma, David Wu in Oregon. (6)

Obviously, someone will quibble about the rankings, and argue that this race could be up a notch or down a notch. This is my gut assessment based on what we know at this moment; there’s still six months of changing events and campaigning to go. Inevitably, every GOP challenger in a blue-level race will insist they’re not thinking about office drapes yet; every one in an orange or red race will argue they’re closer to victory than the above grouping would suggest.

And yes, Redskins fans, all NFL team assessments are based on last year’s editions.

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