Here are my predictions for Western Democrats on Election Day:
A Senate pick up of four seats in the West
A House pick up of at least seven seats in the West
No net change for governors in the West
An Electoral College pick up of 19 electoral votes in the West over 2004
President Bush’s dismal poll numbers, the flagging economy, beset with rising energy prices in the midst of a housing crisis, and the huge number of Americans who say the country is on the wrong track, all mean that Democrats could expand on their 2006 gains in Congress. Here are some House districts in the West where the outcome is not a forgone conclusion:
My favorite contests are CA-4 and WY-AL where Charlie Brown and Gary Trauner, respectively, hope to swing their districts into the Democratic column. Such a swing would be a fitting end to the Bush presidency, whose actions were eerily predicted by a satirical piece seven years ago.
Outside magazine has a great profile on cousins Tom and Mark Udall. Go read it and learn more about one of the great Western Democratic families.
While you're at it, please give Tom and Mark Udall some of your spare change, to assist their campaigns to bring more and better Democrats to the Senate (and more and better Udalls).
Click here to contribute to Tom Udall's campaign to take back Pete Domenici's seat in New Mexico.
Click here to contribute to Mark Udall's campaign to turn Colorado bluer than it already is.
Heath Haussamen is reporting that New Mexico Congressman Tom Udall will run for the Senate seat being vacated by Pete Domenici.
Udall has called a number of Democratic Party insiders this week, including at least some county party chairs, to inform them of his decision, reliable sources confirmed. A Udall spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
Draft Udall should be gaining some steam right about now, in its efforts to draft New Mexico Congressman Tom Udall for the Senate seat being vacated by Pete Domenici.
A Research 2000 poll conducted for Daily Kos shows Udall performing the best among all Democrats not named Bill Richardson (who wasn't included in the poll).
Wilson (R) 45 Wilson (R) 44 Wilson (R) 38
Chavez (D) 42 Denish (D) 43 Udall (D) 55
Pearce (R) 40 Pearce (R) 39 Pearce (R) 37
Chavez (D) 39 Denish (D) 45 Udall (D) 54
It's poll numbers like this that have led declared candidate, Albuquerque's Democratic Mayor Martin Chavez to already go negative on Udall, before he's even a candidate. While Chavez is losing to both Republican candidates in the poll, Udall crushes them. While Congressman Udall is reconsidering running for the Senate, perhaps Martin Chavez has something entirely diferent to reconsider: whether its worth it to stay in the race if Tom Udall gets in.
Did I mention that Congressman Udall has some impressive progressive credentials?
Chris Dodd hails from the other end of the country (Connecticut), but he has taken a stand on telecom immunity and the constitution that shows real leadership. You may or may not agree with him (and I agree with him), but here at Western Democrat, we admire political courage and the willingness to take a stand on principle, especially a principle like defending the constitution and the rule of law.
Idaho Congressman Bill Sali (R-Intolerant) strikes again, showing just how ignorant he really is, taking issue with cultures that are not his own. Not that this is the first time or anything.
In an interview posted online this week by the Christian news outlet American Family News Network, Sali said: "We have not only a Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate, we have a Muslim member of the House of Representatives now, Keith Ellison from Minnesota. Those are changes — and they are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers. The principles that this country was built on, that have made it great over these centuries were Christian principles derived from Scriptures. You know, the Lord can cause the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike." [emphasis mine]
Looks like Bill Sali has taken a page out of his colleague Virgil Goode's playbook. I hope George Allen and Conrad Burns have trademarked their bigoted catchphrases because Bill Sali might just start using them.
Here's a little civics lesson for you Bill. Those "Christian principles derived from Scriptures" that you speak of, allow for the separation of church and state. It's called the first Amendment to the Constitution. And I thought memorized recitation of the U.S. Constitution was a litmus test for Republican Congressmen. So take your theocracy to some other country. And thanks for the imitation of Pat Robertson.
There is hope for Idaho, however. Larry Grant is running again, so go give Larry some love and let's retire ignorance from the U.S. House of Representatives.
Under my New York, New York post below, a reader asks what our Democratic pickup opportunities are in the West in the House and Senate in 2008.
The way I see it there are lots of opportunities in the House:
Ethical issues: Rick Renzi (AZ-01), John Doolittle (CA-04), Jerry Lewis (CA-41), Gary Miller (CA-42)
Possible retirements: AK-AL, CA-24, CA-25, CA-41, CA-52, MT-AL, WY-AL
Other close races from 2006: CO-04, ID-01, NM-01, NV-02, NV-03, WA-08
However, there are fewer good opportunities in the Senate. Beyond a very promising pick up opportunity in CO, possible retirements include AK, ID, and NM.
With falling presidential poll numbers and no end in sight to the war in Iraq, GOP will have its hands full defending seats all across the country. Overall, some of our best chances come in the Southwest (AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV) where the GOP has been driving away the Hispanic vote with mean-spirited rhetoric. Success in the West will also depend to some extent on the strength or weakness of the presidential ticket. Obama or Richardson would be better than Clinton in this regard.
Anyone want to add to this list?
Congressional Quarterly's Craig Crawford has a novel solution to the whole dust-up over whether Speaker Nancy Pelosi can have a bigger plane for her longer nonstop flights to San Francisco than did ex-Speaker Denny Hastert.
Convene Congress in Denver.
Yup, he really said that:
As population shifts further and further west, it does not seem fair for so many lawmakers to have such trouble getting back to their constituents. Why not a summer home for Congress in Denver? ...
The Constitution does not require Congress to meet in Washington. And wouldn’t it be nice to share those lobbyist expense accounts with restaurants in the heartland?
Hot damn. Who needs the DNC Convention when you can move Congress?
Swing State Project recently listed ten Democratic House Candidates who ran close, but unsuccessful, races in 2006, and should run again. These are good candidates who ran in tough districts and now have some name recognition for a second attempt. Of particular note is that half of these are in the West:
Charlie Brown CA-4
Larry Grant ID-1
Tessa Hafen NV-3
Darcy Burner WA-8
Gary Truaner WY-AL
The New York Times and CQ Politics recently reported a list of fifteen close 2006 House races. Again five, though not the same five, are in the West.
Combining the two lists already gives us seven House seats to watch in the West in 2008. Two of the seven are in blue states (CA, WA). Two are in the red states (ID, WY). Three are in red states considered to be trending purple (CO, NV, NM).
The focus in 2008 will be on the top of the ticket, but we are now seeing how important control of the House is. Continuing or expanding Democratic control of the House in 2008 may well depend on having a Presidential ticket that can run well in the West.
Leo Brown | January 6, 2007 | Comment on This Post (4 so far)