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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

GOP Expands Target List For 2010 Elections

Aaron Blake, writing for The Hill, mentions something I have often said since the Democrats took the Senate, House and presidency.

The Democrats will finally be held accountable for their actions, their spending, their bad ideas and their partisanship, without being able to make excuses about how the Republicans "control" the House, Senate or the White House.

This has brought districts and states into play for the GOP and candidates are starting to see this and are willing to go up against the weakened Democratic candidates in those areas.

“They did a wonderful job of going out and finding candidates to run against our candidates that matched the district, and that’s what we’re doing,” said Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), fresh off a recruiting trip to four states with lead National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) recruiter Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

The hope is that an environment shift can deliver them extra seats. And candidates are starting to join the cause.

West Virginia state Sen. Clark Barnes became the latest over the weekend when he signed up to run against Mollohan (D-W.Va.). Former U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin jumped into the race against Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Ark.) a week ago. And, in between, Missouri state Sen. Bill Stouffer became the second formidable candidate to run against Skelton (D-Mo.).

The magnitude of the change in the environment is most apparent in Stouffer, who just four years ago sponsored a bill to name a bridge after the incumbent he is now challenging.

“My beef is with the leadership of Congress, and the only way the 4th district can have their say about the leadership is to change their congressman,” Stouffer said. “This has a whole lot more to do with the congressional leadership than it does with Ike Skelton.”

This kind of logic is behind much of the GOP hopes in these types of districts. They say Democrats in conservative districts now have to answer for a party with total power in Washington, and they’re having to take tougher votes than at any point since the early 1990s.

Other districts on the GOP road map are seats held by "Reps. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.), Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), Allen Boyd (D-Fla.), Ben Chandler (D-Ky.), Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.), Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), John Tanner (D-Tenn.), Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and David Obey (D-Wis.)."

With handicappers predicting double digit losses for the House in 2010, the Republicans are striking while the iron is hot and have feet on the ground already, preparing to battle for districts that McCain took in 2008.

The straw that breaks the camels back may just be Obama's signature piece, Obamacare aka healthcare reform, with the 64 percent of the public saying their representative's vote on Obamacare will be a "major" factor" in their vote in the next congressional election.

Opponents of reform have the edge in intensity here. Among Americans who want their member of Congress to vote against healthcare reform, 82% say the issue will be a major factor in their vote in next year's elections. Among those wanting their member to vote for reform, 62% say the issue will be a major factor for them.

The harder Democratic leadership pushes for moderates to take a stand, the faster the GOP will know which candidates allowed themselves to be dragged over the cliff with Pelosi and crew and the more names will be added to the GOP road map of weakened Democratic office holders.