Congressional news: Speculating about Tom Davis, and polls of Senate races

Now that OH-05 has been resolved and that the GOP is celebrating, the political world can turn its attention back to other congressional races.

Starting with Virginia's 11th district. The last we heard from Tom Davis, his wife was crushed in her re-election campaign to the Virginia House of Delegates, losing by a large margin in a blue-trending area. But is Davis himself running for re-election?

He had been preparing for years to run for Senate, and his time appeared to have come when John Warner retired. But Davis ended up withdrawing from the race when former Governor Jim Gilmore made clear he would challenge Davis and the state committee decided to choose its nominee via a convention not a primary. Since then, there has been a ton of speculation as to whether Davis will be running for re-election in the House after all -- but nothing definte.

And now comes news that Tom Davis held a major political fundraiser tonight, which would indicate that he is running again. He already has $1 million in the bank as of the end of the third quarter -- and why would he be raising more money if he did not intend to run next year? That would actually be quite surprising at this point, as most rumors have had Davis leaning towards retirement, especially after his wife's loss.

On the other hand, Davis is still refusing to say whether he will run again, and mid-December is not a time representatives still hesitate if they are sure they are running. VA-11 is blue-trending territory in Northern Virginia, and it will be pretty much impossible for Republicans to keep if Davis bows out. Even if he runs again, it will probably be a tight race. You can be sure the NRCC is trying to convince Davis to stay in.

We also got two Senate polls this evening, though I'm not sure how much stock to put in either:

  • A poll from Colorado was reported tonight on Colorado Confidential, and it says Mark Udall is up 2% on Bob Shaffer. The poll was conducted by Research for Change, Inc.
What is strange to me about the poll is not the result -- it is very much what we have seen in every Colorado poll, and the race is definitely a toss-up, contrary to most people's expectations -- but the way the group that conducted it is spinning the results, as the internals reported insist on Udall's strength among his base and his appeal to moderates and Republicans, as well as on Shaffer's weakness among his base. Reading the description, one could believe that Udall was found to lead by 10%! In any case, the bottom line is that Colorado is tight.

The second poll comes to us from Idaho, and was conducted in mid-November for state Rep. Nicole LeFavour, a Democrat who was considering entering the race and decided not to shortly after. Some of the results were just leaked, and they are slightly encouraging for Democrats:

  • In a generic ballot test, a "Democratic candidate" beats a "Republican candidate" 42% to 36%.
  • In the name ballot, Lt. Gov. Jim Risch defeats Democrat LaRocco 48% to 34%.
No one expects Idaho at the top of Democratic opportunities, and at this point I think Republicans are pretty safe -- the seat is ranked pretty far down in my latest Senate Rankings. But with numbers like this LaRocco can certainly hope to keep things competitive: Risch, who is much better known, is under 50% -- and the very red state is clearly not very happy with the GOP right now. Remember that Governor Otter barely won the open governshorship last year, showing that Republicans can't take things for granted.

While Risch is heavily favored, Democrats can at least hope to force the RSCC to defend the state and spend valuable resources here. Expanding the map has always been the name of the game for the DSCC.

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  • "No one expects Idaho at the top of Democratic opportunities, and at this point I think Republicans are pretty safe"

    But it's one more place where Republicans will have to spend money, money they don't have.

    By Anonymous C.S.Strowbridge, At 13 December, 2007 14:14  

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