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| |-+  Congressional Elections (Moderator: Joe Republic)
| | |-+  Remembering the 1982 Congressional elections
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Author Topic: Remembering the 1982 Congressional elections  (Read 527 times)
Mr.Phips
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« on: September 24, 2012, 07:09:18 am »
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People often forget how close Republicans appeared to be to taking full control of Congress in 1982 for the first time since 1954.  Republicans had just picked up 34 House seats and 12 Senate seats, gaining a Senate majority for the first time in 26 years. 

The Republicans needed 25 seats to take the Housoe and the plan was to pick up about 15 seats and then get 10 Boll Weevil Democrats to switch parties. 

DCCC Chairman Tony Coehlo of California had other plans.  He went around and sounded the alarm early, trying to get Business PAC's to give to Democrats instead of Republicans.  He said something along the lines of "Once Republicans take the House, its game over.  They will use the power of incumbency to gain a huge monetary advantage and entrench themselves.  We will never be able to pick ourselves back up".  How right he was.  If only Obama, Axelrod and Tim Kaine realized this in 2009. 


As the deep double dip recession struck in fall 1981 and lingered throughout 1982, Democratic fortunes improved.  Even by October 1982, it still looked like Democrats would be lucky to net a half dozen House seats and break even in the Senate.  The only big redistricting win Democrats had was in California, where they drew out four Republican incumbents and created two new Democratic seats.  Elsewhere it was hard to find Democratic targets as Democrats didnt really do that good of a job recruiting that year. 

Most observers were quite surprised when they gained 27 seats.  They were able to stave off what was Coelho's big and correct fear for another 12 years. 

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freepcrusher
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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2012, 10:42:24 pm »
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if anything the democrats should have gained MORE seats in 1982 to get to the 290 they had in 75-78. You have to remember that unemployment was eleven percent by election time. That, plus, democrats controlled redistricting in most states.
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Mr.Phips
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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2012, 11:24:18 pm »
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if anything the democrats should have gained MORE seats in 1982 to get to the 290 they had in 75-78. You have to remember that unemployment was eleven percent by election time. That, plus, democrats controlled redistricting in most states.

The only two significant states Democrats controlled redistricting in were New Jersey and California.  They controlled most of the south except Virginia, but they were already so dominant there that it didnt matter.   Everything else was pretty much split, while Republicans controlled Pennsylvania and Indiana. 

There was no way Democrats were getting to 290 seats again.  Redistricting had actually helped some Republican incumbents who could have lost and to get to 290, Democrats needed to win some what were then overwhelmingly Republican suburban districts that they were only competitive in in 1974 because of Watergate.

I could have seen them getting possibly to the mid to high 270's as there were seats like AL-02, IN-03, MO-07, PA-21, OR-05, OH-12, CT-05, ME-01, and VA-08 that Republicans barely took over or held onto. 
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J. J.
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« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2012, 01:19:00 am »
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People often forget how close Republicans appeared to be to taking full control of Congress in 1982 for the first time since 1954. 


Huh?  I was there and, well, no.
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J. J.

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The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us." - P. J. O'Rourke

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(Zulu for, "You snooze, you lose.")
Mr.Phips
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« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2012, 02:01:29 am »
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People often forget how close Republicans appeared to be to taking full control of Congress in 1982 for the first time since 1954. 


Huh?  I was there and, well, no.

For much of 1981 this seemed like a very real possibility. 
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J. J.
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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2012, 04:17:37 pm »
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People often forget how close Republicans appeared to be to taking full control of Congress in 1982 for the first time since 1954. 


Huh?  I was there and, well, no.

For much of 1981 this seemed like a very real possibility. 

1982, we were worried about major losses.  I was there and was a delegate to a congressional nominating convention.
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J. J.

"Actually, .. now that you mention it...." 
- Londo Molari

"Every government are parliaments of whores.
The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us." - P. J. O'Rourke

"Wa sala, wa lala."

(Zulu for, "You snooze, you lose.")
MATTROSE94
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« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2012, 04:49:46 pm »
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That would have been very interesting if that happened, as Bob Michel would have become Speaker and Trent Lott would have become House Majority Leader. If the Republicans won control of the House in 1982, how many years do you think they would they have held onto control of it?
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Mr.Phips
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« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2012, 11:15:10 pm »
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People often forget how close Republicans appeared to be to taking full control of Congress in 1982 for the first time since 1954. 


Huh?  I was there and, well, no.

For much of 1981 this seemed like a very real possibility. 

1982, we were worried about major losses.  I was there and was a delegate to a congressional nominating convention.

By spring 1982 it looked like major losses could happen in the House based on the generic ballot(Dems led by like 20 points), but the thought was always that Democrats just didnt have the candidates in most races.  Most of the Dems that did defeat incumbents won in upsets.  Marci Kaptor, Frank McCloskey, Norm Sisisky, and many others who won were not considered tier one candidates. 
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