Monday, April 10, 2006

No Virginia House Incumbent Seats in Play?!?

The Stakeholder has a post that refers readers to a Roll Call story about Democratic chances to knock out a few incumbents and pick up the House in the fall.

Alas, it's subscription restricted, but LexisNexis allowed Howling Latina to read the article and quote.

The gist of the article chronicles Washington's worst kept secret. Republicans are going down in November; but unfortunately they do not mention any Virginia congressional races in play.

For more than a year now, House Democrats have insisted that they want to widen the political playing field by recruiting strong candidates in districts they often have ignored. Now, with about 40 percent of state filing deadlines having already passed, it's time to ask: How have the Democrats done?

The short answer is that Democrats definitely have added new districts into the mix. They are competing seriously in places that they haven't for years. But Democratic recruiting is also falling short in some districts they've repeatedly targeted, and most of the competitive districts this time - not counting open seats - have been targeted time and again.

Here's a list of the vulnerable Republican House members: Rep. Gerald Solomon of New York; Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania; Rep. Deborah Pryce of Ohio; one of my favorite races, Rep. J.D. Hayworth of Arizona and immigration infamy; Rep. Nancy Johnson of Connecticut.

Rep. Thelma Drake of Virginia along with disgraced Rep. Reps. Bob Ney of Ohio received honorable mentions by virtue of having Democratic challengers.

Initially three Democrats were vying for the right to challenge first-term Congresswoman Drake, including "David Ashe, 36, a major in the Marine Corps Reserve who was the deputy legal counsel to a three-star general in Iraq." Voters in the 2nd District are heavily military but Drake defeated him the last time around by 10 points.

The man recruited by Gov. Mark Warner and Rep. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is Phil Kellam, Virginia Beach's commissioner of the revenue since first elected to office in 1997. The Richmond Times recently referred to Kellam as "a member of the city's most prominent political family." Gotta admit, his looks are tailored-made for camera lenses.

One tidbit of information that should gladden the spirit of Virginia Democrats; the list of top-tiered Democratic challengers in 2006 include many who ran in 2004 as distinct underdogs.

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