Let me start by getting the Senate out of the way. Until just a few days ago I didn't think the Democrats could pull off a victory in the upper chamber. Now I think they can — thanks in great part to the extraordinary efforts at self destruction by George Felix "Macacawitz" Allen — and without having to depend of the reactionary gentleman from Memphis, Harold Ford. The races in question:
- Arizona- Kyl (R), though this one is narrowing and could be the big shocker of Tuesday
- Connecticut- Lamont (D)
- Maryland- Cardin (D)
- Michigan- Stabenow (D)
- Minnesota- Klobuchar (D) in a blowout
- Missouri- McCaskill (D) in a squeaker
- Montana- Tester (D)
- New Jersey- Menendez (D)
- Ohio- Brown (D)
- Pennsylvania- Casey (D)
- Rhode Island- Whitehouse (D)– even Chafee knows it's the right thing to do
- Tennessee- Corker (R)
- Virginia- Webb (D)
This gives the Democrats a 51-49 lead in the Senate. Will anyone from Pennsylvania or Maine switch parties? Doubtful, but not impossible.
The House is more complicated cause there's so dern many of 'em — and every single one of them is facing the electorate. Most of the districts have been so totally gerrymandered — by the political machines of incumbents from both parties — that it is next to impossible to have many shifts — unless there's a huge tsunami of discontent. And that is what I see on the horizen. Clearly.
A few months ago, the rearview mirror prognosticators were claiming only 20 seats were in play…tops. Now even these guys are agreeing that there are between 80 and 90 Republican seats worth contesting.
If only we had had a visionary steering the DCCC instead of the worst kind of sleazy hack– although I have to hand it to Rahm on Foley! No wonder he fought so hard to get the anti-war progressive Dave Lutrin out of the race and his own sockpuppet — and a Republican one at that — into the race as a so-called Democrat.
For the last year, I dozed off almost every night not by counting sheep but by going through every congressional district in the country and counting which Republicans would be defeated. ALL YEAR. I'm ready to share my conclusions with you.
But first a bizarre tangent. I saw Running With Scissors last weekend. It was depressing, really depressing. But that doesn't matter. If you saw it or read the book you might catch on to the story I'm about to tell.
4 weeks ago I had a mighty vision. I haven't used any hallucinogens since New Years Eve, 1968. This was the most powerful vision I've had since then. It shook me and I've been unable to even talk about it to anyone, let alone write about it. But the vision was clear: our country is rising up on Tuesday and rescuing itself from the maw of the fascist beast. Ah…I feel better.
Let's start with New England: Democrats will capture the last 3 remaining Republican seats in Connecticut and fake moderate/rubber stampers Chris Shays, Nancy Johnson and Rob Simmons will be looking for work on a very crowded K Street. New Hampshire might be a little tougher but I see Charlie Bass being beaten by Paul Hodes. NH-01 is shrouded in secrecy — totally local and grassroots and on no one's radar. I honestly don't know if Carol Shea-Porter can beat Jeb Bradley — not because of their respective qualities and not because the district isn't Democratic enough — it is trending blue — but because it's so shrouded in mystery. We'll have to wait and see. Remember, no one thought she had any chance in the primary either.
Now let's turn to the Middle Atlantic States — a huge harvesting ground for Democrats and a graveyard for the Republican Party in the northeast — and for any claims it will be able to make in the future about "big tents," "moderates" or being a national party.
New York State looks incredible. The mood in New York in vehemently anti-Bush, anti-rubber stamp. The landslides building for Hillary Clinton and Eliot Spitzer can only help. Republicans probably losing their seats include Sue Kelly, John Sweeney and Randy Kuhl, with excellent shots for the political demise of Tom Reynolds and Jim Walsh and an outside chance of Peter King biting the dust as well. Mike Arcuri looks like a winner — despite a million dollar GOP smear campaign — to take the open Republican seat in Syracuse.
Pennsylvania looks almost as promising. Say good bye to Jim Gerlach, Curt Weldon, Michael Fitzpatrick and Don "The Choker" Sherwood. Add to that possibilities, albeit remote, of the end of rubber stamp kooks Melissa Hart and Phil English.
In New Jersey had Emanuel as DCCC head actually done a good job recruiting — instead of just telling the gullible media he was doing a good job — Democrats would have a chance to pick up a few seats. There's an outside chance that Linda Stender could knock off Republicrook Mike Ferguson, but I'm not optmistic. No House seats are changing in Maryland, Delaware (blame Rahm) or West Virginia.
Now, the Old Confederacy, the GOP heartland. The only shot the Republicans have to pick up a Democratic-held seat anywhere is here. I'll get to that in a moment.
First blue-trending Virginia– filled with crooked and unattractive Republicans — should be a happy hunting ground. It isn't. Al Weed hasn't made any discernable progress against soon-to-be-indicted Virgil Goode, Jr. There's a chance Kellam will beat Drake and less of a chance that Wolf will go down, but I'm not counting on either.
North Carolina will see the long overdue political demise of Charlie Taylor — even though that nitwit Shuler botched their "debate" yesterday — and possibly of Robin Hayes. It's a see-saw battle between Hayes and Kissell — a race the DCCC ignored until the last minute. My gut tells me Kissell will win it by a nose; has has momentum. No signs of life in South Carolina. Georgia may be the only state to lose a Democratic incumbent, if you want to define Republican-supporting John Barrow a Democrat. I thought for a moment Lynn Westmoreland might be vulnerable but I'm afraid nothing much has developed there.
Florida is a happier hunting ground…in a way. Three Rahm characters stand good shots at replacing Republicans Shaw, Foley and Harris. Klein, the one running against Shaw, is an actual Democrat, albeit a business-oriented one. Unfortunately it looks like Bilirakis' learning disabled son has been able to pass himself off to low information voters as his retiring dad and he will take the seat. No congressional races of note in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana or Arkansas and other than a probable (and phyrric) victory for Lampson in DeLay's old seat, I don't think anything will pan out in Texas; even Bonilla looks pretty safe.
The border states look a lot more interesting. The only race worth noting in Tennessee is that the Democrats will get a progressive in the Memphis seat being abandoned by reactionary Harold Ford. Kentucky has 3 races of note. If Yarmuth, a progressive, beats Northup, which looks likely, that will be a great victory. Davis may lose his seat to a conservative Democrat and Lewis could lose his seat to the equally abominable Weaver. Nothing going on in Missouri.
The Midwest could be rich for Democratic aspirations. In Ohio look for defeats for Mean Jean Schmidt, Deborah Pryce, Joy Padgett (Ney's old seat) and Steve Chabot. There is still an off-chance that Tiberi will go down too, but it isn't likely.
Indiana will be an early indicator of what will happen throughout the night because their polls close early, they don't have Daylight Savings Time and the Democrats have put up great fight. If there are 3 wins — the end of Hostettler, Chocola and Sodrel — it means the Democrats are likely to take at least 30 seats nationally. If Souder also loses, it means between 40 and 50 seats for the Democrats. If Pence goes down, that is an indication Bush will be impeached by spring (not convicted by the Senate, just impeached in a Democratic House with a Democratic super-majority of over 60.
Michigan has a couple of long shots that show possible losses for Knollenberg and McCotter and maybe Mike Rogers. In Illinois there seems to be a chance that Kirk will lose his seat and private polling shows Hastert vulnerable to Laesch. Shimkus seems to be walking away from his part in the Foley cover-up unscathed. In Iowa I'd bet on Braley winning the open seat Republican seat in the first CD and there's an outside chace that Leach will lose his seat too. Surprisingly Nebraska could give the Democrats two seats, with Maxine Moul beating Fortenberry and Scott Kleeb taking the open 3rd CD against a Club For Growth nutcase. The upper Midwest looks like the end of the road for John Gard in Wisconsin and for Michele Bachmann and possibly Gutknecht and Kline in Minnesota. There are no signs of life in either Dakota.
I did a Rocky Mountain region story yesterday at DWT and I'm predicting losses for Beauprez and Musgrave in Colorado (with possible losses for Lamson and Tancredo in Colorado to boot), plus the end of Barbara Cubin in Wyoming and for Sali in Idaho's open first. Porter could lose in Nevada. Wilson is toast in New Mexico as are Graf and Hayworth in Arizona; too close to call for Renzi in AZ.
That brings us to the West Coast. Too close to call for Reichart/Burner in Washington and it looks like McMorris is dodging the bullet there. I think the Feds will be removing Don Young in Alaska, not the voters. There's nothing in Hawaii.
And we close with California. There has been not one poll in CA-25, the race between Buck McKeon and Blue America candidate Robert Rodriguez. Whether Robert wins or not, he will shock the political establishment by polling far beyind what anyone expects. The most likely victory in California will be McNerney's over Dirty Dick Pombo. It is also possible to see Doolittle, Bilbray and Bono lose their seats.
Let's call that a net gain of 40 seats for the Democrats with a potential upside of another 10 or so.
Before I finished writing this piece, I did another story that I urge you to read. Most of it is a letter to our community from Tom Mathieson, the campaign manager for Carol Voisin's heroic campaign in Oregon's sprawling second congressional district. It sums up what we've tried to accomplish with our Blue America campaign and why your generous contributions and efforts have been so worthwhile.
[CHS notes: I have said this before, but I want to say it again here — Howie deserves a huge amount of thanks for the tremendous work he has put into Blue America. And all of you deserve an equal amount of applause for your donations, your discussions with our candidates, and all of your support through GOTV efforts and cheering each other on during this campaign season. Thank you, for everything.]