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| | |-+  Year in Review: U.S House races part 1
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Question: What was the greatest House surprise of 2006?
Reps. Jim Gerlach, Chris Shays, Deborah Pryce, Heather Wilson and Tom Reynolds winning?   -8 (20%)
Carol Shea-Porter, Dave Loebsack, John Hall, Nancy Boyda or Jerry McNerney winning?   -32 (80%)
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Total Voters: 40

Author Topic: Year in Review: U.S House races part 1  (Read 1648 times)
MarkWarner08
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« on: December 17, 2006, 06:41:01 pm »
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This time two years ago, Jim Gerlach and Chris Shays were the two most vulnerable Republican Congressman in America. They had just won reelection by 51-49 and 52-48, and each faced a reelection fight in a swing district that was trending Democratic. Despite millions spent in negative ads against them, they both prevailed in 2006 by the same margin they had in 2004.

 The same day Jim Gerlach was reelected, Reps. Melissa Hart, Curt Weldon, Mike Fitzpatrick and Don Sherwood were all defeated by Democratic opponents who were not seen as strong foes in early 2006. Chris Shays faced a similar situation on election night, as he watched Rep. Rob Simmons lose to a Democrat he’d beaten in 2002 and Rep. Nancy Johnson lose in an upset landslide to a young, largely unheralded Democratic State Senator.

It only deserves that a year that was compared to weather conditions be wrapped with a highlight show.  After so few close contests in 2004, 2006 was replete with close House contests from Wisconsin to Wyoming. Whether it was a Democratic hurricane, a tornado or a wave, we can all agree this tumultuous year was full of amusing, nasty and surprising turns and twists. From a protectionist uproar over selling ports to Dubai to a Washington sex  scandal involving a single Congressman from Florida who cared a little “too much” about his pages, 2006 had it all. 

Top 3 bellwethers of the cycle:

1.   OH-02: Democratic candidate and political neophyte Paul Hackett’s 48% showing in a 60%+ Bush district demonstrated the fallout from Bush’s Social Security privatization and it foreshadowed the growing discontent among moderate Republicans and independent voters.
2.    KY-03. NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds, himself embroiled in a tough reelection fight, pointed to GOP Rep. Anne Northup’s race as the key in determine which party would control Congress.  After Anne Northup lose by 3% to liberal publisher John Yarmuth, it was clear Democrats would be marking strong gains in the House.
3.   OH-01: Republican Rep. Steve Chabot’s 53%-47% win over well-funded Democratic Cincinnati Councilmen  John Cranely signaled that the “levies” of gerrymandering could protect a vulnerable congressman running in a harsh political climate. Chabot’s win signaled hope for fellow vulnerable Republican Congressman in heavily gerrymandered districts like Dave Reichert, Jon Porter, and Mike Ferguson

Funniest Name:
1.   The aptly named Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA)
2.   Gov. Tom Vilsack smiled when  Dave “I’m proof Iowa loves its “sacks” Loebsack  defeated 30-year Congressman Jim Leach (R)
3.    The lovable loser Charlie Brown (D-CA)

Most beneficial to both parties:
1.   CA-50: This race forced  the DCCC to  abandon its ineffective “culture of corruption” message in favor of sharper attacks on the President.  The NRCC was able to quell panic from its donor base – without this race, corporate America may have jumped ship with their contributions in June instead of October, which would have cost the NRCC millions in desperately needed funds.
2.   IN-08. DCCC: They were finally able to regain the “Bloody 8th” and they won it with a strong candidate who will be a perfect fit for this marginal district. NRCC: They no longer have to run TV ads in May to shore up the poor fundraising ability of Rep. John Hostetler.
3.   TX-22:  DCCC: They stole Ton Delay’s seat. ‘nuff said. NRCC: They’ll win this seat back in ‘0 8 and they’ll force the DCCC to spend several million to save this seat.

Worst campaign ad by a member of Congress:
1.   Rep. Nancy Johnson’s “Keep on Walking” ad. This ad attempted to portray State Sen. Chris Murphy (D) as weak on crime. The message may have been formulaic, but the way it was presented wasn’t. The ad showed a Murphy lookalike entering the house of a drug dealer who greets the politician by thanking him for “weakening penalties for drug dealers,” and then after patting the Democrat on the shoulder, the dealer yells out “Junior, Murphy’s here.” This factually inaccurate ad bordered on satire and surely didn’t help Johnson’s losing campaign.
2.   Rep. Henry Bonilla’s “Terror ad.” In a desperate attempt to save his career, Republican Rep. Henry Bonilla ran a spurious ad accusing Democrat Ciro Rodriguez of seeking amnesty for  a terrorist. The ad which featured a terrorist mastermind wearing a red and white hat, was mocked by the media for its absurdity.  Ciro’s 54-46 win proves South Texans aren’t afraid of a terrorist dressed like Santa Claus.
3.    Rep. John Sweeney’s “War profiteer” ad. This advertisement used investment data from Democratic lawyer Kirsten Gillibrand’s personal income filings to  try to paint her a a war profiteer.  The ad claimed that Gillibrand’s  was profiting from the deaths of American soldiers because of her financial  interests n several defense contracting  companies. The premise was so  nasty that actor David Strathairnassumed his role as Edward Murrow in “Good Night, and Good Luck” in a TV ad to admonish the Congressman.

Honorable mention: The Don Sherwood “ I didn’t choke my mistress ad.”


Best campaign ad by a member of Congress:

1.   Rep. Heather Wilson’s “Silence” ad: With every single poll showing her trialing and the DCCC closing in for the kill, Wilson was left in a do or die situation with only one ray of hope, a single televised debate with her opponent. The Rhode Scholar methodically prepared for her debate with her less oratorical gifted foe. Towards the end of the debate Patricia Madrid, the Democratic opponent, was holding Wilson to a draw.  The moment that changed this race was over ten seconds long, those seconds described the time it took for Madrid to respond to a question on taxes. Wilson’s team immediately cut an ad using the gaffe and then held onto the killer ad until the last week of the campaign. Wilson deployed the remaining funds of her $4.5 million war-chest to blanket the airwaves with the ads; it worked. Despite an unpopular President, unpopular Congress, unpopular war and a popular Democratic Governor leading the ticket, Wilson squeaked out a 50-50 win.
2.   Dave Reichert’s “Job interview” ad:  After weeks of being pummeled by DCCC contributions tying him to President Bush, Reichert’s found himself trailing in his internal polls and nearly out of money. Reichert’s last ad sought to capitalize on his sole strength and his opponent’s largest weakness.  The Congressman ran an ad featuring a lookalike of his young opponent Darcy Burner who was applying for a job. The interview quizzed Burner for past experience and after showing the Democrats lack of past experience, the as closed with Reichert smiling to the camera and saying experience matters to voters.  This ad may have clinched Reichert 51%-49% victory.
3.    Jim Gerlach  entire TV ad campaign. Gerlach’s fantastic campaign team succeeded in branding Lois Murphy as a “lobbyist-plagiarizer” who was na extremist on abortion. Gerlach’s ads in Berks County highlights Murphy’s support for tax hikes and sent Murphy’s negatives throw the roof.  Gerlach didn’t win; his opponent lost.
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MarkWarner08
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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2006, 07:08:57 pm »
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What election result surprised you the most? I know I was baffled by the TX-23 and KS-02 results.
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2006, 07:29:42 pm »
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All the ones you mentioned are good choices but one that stands out for me is OH-15.  If you had said a month before the election that Brown would win by more than 10, Strickland by more than 20, the Democrats would pick up 30 seats nationwide, and Pryce would be accused of negligence (for lack of a better way of putting it) in the Mark Foley scandal, but Pryce still wins, it would've seemed ridiculous.

A somwhat overlooked one is CT-05-not sure why Shays survived, Simmons came extremely close, but Johnson got blasted by double digits.  She had more seniority (maybe this hurt her), more money, and was in a more GOP-friendly district than the others.
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2006, 08:29:42 pm »
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Those Democrats winning surprised me more than those Republicans holding on

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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2006, 10:42:58 pm »
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Incumbents holding on is never as big a surprise as upset unseatings, though I would have been pretty impressed if Joy Padgett had won. Shea-Porter and Loebsack were easily the biggest victories. There had been quite a bit of buzz about Boyda, and polls had shown her very close or even ahead, so KS-02 was not as big a surprise as NH-01 and IA-02. On a side note, New Hampshire really completely repudiated its historical status as a GOP stronghold this year, and I doubt it will even be close in the 2008 Presidential election.
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« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2006, 08:33:48 am »
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Mine was seeing Wilson and Reynolds re-elected. I knew that Chris was going to win.  The 4th in general is a big swing district, Kerry only won it by 4 points in 2004. At this point, this seat will remain republican until Chris decides to retire.
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Let me put this as clear as I can (saying this to myself, as well, so I can see it): I WILL get a job with CADD and I WILL keep the job.
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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2006, 10:37:38 am »
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At this point, this seat will remain republican until Chris decides to retire.

Don't be to sure on that.  Watch him be attacked on the right...
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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2006, 10:41:36 pm »
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I'm probably the only person who wasn't all that suprised to see Leach lose. Yes, he had been around forever and yes, Loebsack had barely any cash, but let's look at the other facts:

1-In 2002 Leach didn't win by much, and probably would've lost had he not have voted against the Iraq War Resolution. In 2004 he failed to crack 60% against an opponent even weaker than Loebsack in what was a very pro-incumbent year for all intents and purposes.

2-Most of his career Leach's district was based around the Davenport area. This is the only part of the state where a RINO like him is a rather good fit. The new district is based around Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and a lot of blue collar rural areas where no Republican is a good fit, even one as liberal as Leach.

3-Leach was one of the primary sponsors of that Internet gambling bill. Whatever his reasons were (still has me scratching my head, he had nothing to gain from it), it clearly wasn't popular in his district as almost no one but the religious right, the NFL and some casinos were big on it. Not a smart thing for a liberal Republican in a Democratic-leaning district to do. I bet he would've won had it not have been for that actually.

I also expected Reynolds to win (polls since Foley showed it tightening and Davis wasn't much of an opponent, ran more to spread a message than actually get elected), and kind of had a gut feeling Boyda would once polls showed it tightening.

Shea-Porter on the other hand was a huge suprise. So was Pryce hanging on. I had her in the same category as Weldon and Hostettler.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2006, 10:44:17 pm by Senator BRTD »Logged

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« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2006, 10:52:50 am »
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At this point, this seat will remain republican until Chris decides to retire.

Don't be to sure on that.  Watch him be attacked on the right...

I don't see that happening anytime soon. Republicans in the 4th know that if we were to run someone from the right of Chris, we would lose the seat. Plus, we like him. He has the support from moderate republicans, and conservative republicans here locally. 
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Let me put this as clear as I can (saying this to myself, as well, so I can see it): I WILL get a job with CADD and I WILL keep the job.
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« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2006, 11:09:16 am »
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At this point, this seat will remain republican until Chris decides to retire.

Don't be to sure on that.  Watch him be attacked on the right...

I don't see that happening anytime soon. Republicans in the 4th know that if we were to run someone from the right of Chris, we would lose the seat.
That didn't help Lincoln Chafee...
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Plus, we like him. He has the support from moderate republicans, and conservative republicans here locally. 
Ah, that's more like it. Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2006, 11:43:42 am »
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Quote
That didn't help Lincoln Chafee...

That's because he had the support from Club for Growth, and all of that crap. Can anyone think of anyone who lives in the 4th who might actually try and force Shays into a primary, other than Ann Coulter?

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Plus, we like him. He has the support from moderate republicans, and conservative republicans here locally. 
Quote
Ah, that's more like it. Smiley

He does, as well as the support of many independents and democrats.
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My parents are pretty good about smelling a rat. 
Let me put this as clear as I can (saying this to myself, as well, so I can see it): I WILL get a job with CADD and I WILL keep the job.
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« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2006, 01:33:34 pm »
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Shays is one of few Republicans I like.

He's truly a great man.  He loves talking to people, regardless of if there is an upcoming election or not. When he holds a fundraiser, he tries not to leave until he has thanked everyone personally.  I stayed with him on election night, and he didn't leave until atleast 3 in the morning.  His wife Betsi is a sweetheart too.

 One fo the nicest democrats I ever met was Howard Dean. He came in back in '04 to give his support to Diane Farrell, and I got to speak with him. When I spoke to him, I was wishing it was him who got the nomination versus Kerry.

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My parents are pretty good about smelling a rat. 
Let me put this as clear as I can (saying this to myself, as well, so I can see it): I WILL get a job with CADD and I WILL keep the job.
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« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2006, 10:23:37 pm »
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Shays is just another war monger that needs to be replaced.
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« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2006, 12:11:24 am »
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I don't see that happening anytime soon. Republicans in the 4th know that if we were to run someone from the right of Chris, we would lose the seat. Plus, we like him. He has the support from moderate republicans, and conservative republicans here locally. 

If you go back pre-Iraq Shays was not popular with the Right in the party.  When Shays finally does more than throw out one liners on his changing understanding of the war you will see him lose that support of the Far-Right.  He doesn't need to lose a primary to cost him the election.  Combine weakening support on the right with a strong Dem Presidential candidate and a weak GOP candidate in '08 and you'll find a much closer race than in '06.

Quote
He's truly a great man.

Well great men don't support illegal and immoral wars of aggression.  Period.  That said he isn't nearly as bad of a person as most supporters of the illegal and immoral war of aggression that is Iraq.
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« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2006, 05:08:35 am »
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At this point, this seat will remain republican until Chris decides to retire.

Don't be to sure on that.  Watch him be attacked on the right...

I don't see that happening anytime soon. Republicans in the 4th know that if we were to run someone from the right of Chris, we would lose the seat. Plus, we like him. He has the support from moderate republicans, and conservative republicans here locally. 

I agree. No one to the right of Shays has a chance in CT, unless there was a national Republican trend like 1994 again.

I wanted Chris Shays to win this year, he was the only GOP House member I supported. I like him much more than Jodi Rell.
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« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2006, 08:39:21 am »
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^ Yah, I too liked Chris more than I did Jodi Rell.  I must admit, I was a bit surprised to see that she didn't have any coattails.  We lost two congressional seats, we lost seats in both the state House and Senate, and everyone else running state wide had bigger margins than they did 4 years ago.  I think that when she did campaign, she campaigned on her record, and didn't put enough into needing republican support in the General Assembly.
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My parents are pretty good about smelling a rat. 
Let me put this as clear as I can (saying this to myself, as well, so I can see it): I WILL get a job with CADD and I WILL keep the job.
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« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2006, 03:46:32 pm »
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Rell did have coattails. Her (and Lieberman) are why Shays won and why Simmons came so close. I still bet if Lieberman hadn't run again Shays would've lost and Courtney would've won by a sizable margin.
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« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2006, 03:50:17 pm »
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Rell did have coattails. Her (and Lieberman) are why Shays won and why Simmons came so close. I still bet if Lieberman hadn't run again Shays would've lost and Courtney would've won by a sizable margin.

No, I highly doubt that. Jodi Rell had no coattails. Look at her margins in Fairfield County, and look at the ones that Chris had. He did about the same.

 And the only thing that Joe did was bring out more democrats to vote for Ned.  If she had coattails, Chris would have won by a bigger margin, and we wouldn't have lost more seats, that now makes the General Assembly veto proof.
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My parents are pretty good about smelling a rat. 
Let me put this as clear as I can (saying this to myself, as well, so I can see it): I WILL get a job with CADD and I WILL keep the job.
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« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2006, 01:36:44 pm »
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I just found another 2006 parallel to 1994.

Here were the four of the Congressman targeted in 1994 by the NRCC and their respective winning percentages:

Bud Cramer: 50%
Colin Peterson: 51%
Bart Gordon: 51%
John Spratt: 52%

Here were the four of the Congressman targeted in 2006 by the DCCC and their respective winning percentages:

Heather Wilson: 50%
Jim Gerlach: 51%
Chris Shays: 51%
Dave Reichert: 51%


Can Wilson and crew copy the success of  Cramer, Peterson, Gordon and Spratt? All eight are in districts that are trending in the opposite direction of the incumbent party. Gerlach and Shays are similar to Spratt and Cramer, in that both sets of Congressman are in regions that are in the midst of a political realignment that will hurt them in the future.



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