House update: 2 more special elections, new polls, and the latest recruitment news

  • Special elections: IN-07 and LA-06
We have been facing a seemingly never-ending series of special election over the past few months. And here are two more coming up. First, Indiana's 7th district, that opened up last month after Rep. Carson passed away. Last week-end, both parties selected their candidates for the March special election but only the party's leadership participate in the choice, as the selection was not opened to a primary process. The GOP is fielding its strongest competitor, state Rep. Jon Elrod who was already eying a run before the seat opened up. Democrats chose the grandson of the former representative, Andre Carson. Many are criticizing that choice as the weakest choice the Democrats could have made.

And indeed it looks like Democrats will have a fight in their hands in a blue district that Bush lost decisively. But Dems unexpectedly lost Indianapolis in November, suggesting that the GOP has an opening in this region. And a poll that was released a few days ago has Carson barely edging Elrod 41% to 38%. Caveat: The poll was conducted for one of Carson's rivals in the Democratic selection process. But considering that the GOP has been excited about Elrod for a long time now, expect a big fight in this district come March.

Second we have LA-06, where Rep. Richard Baker is resigning from his House seat 22 years after entering Congress in order to... join the private sector. In other words, he is following in Trent Lott's footsteps. This is a district that is clearly Republican and that Bush won with 59%, but Democrats believe they have a chance. This is the opposite scenario as IN-07, as Dems already had a candidate eying the seat before it opened up: state Rep. Don Cazayoux, a conservative Democrat who is being touted as a very strong recruit who could take the district from Republican hands. And however competitive Cazayoux actually manages to make the seat, expect the DCCC to dump a big sum of money in a replay of OH-06.

  • NC-08: Hayes in trouble in North Carolina
Rep. Hayes barely survived his 2006 re-election bid in a shocking shocking by democrat Larry Kissell who only lost by 329 votes. The DCCC had not committed to the seat at all, believing it had better chances elsewhere and it got criticized for failing to push Kissell through the finish line. This time, the DCCC is looking closely at the race and will likely help Kissell but Rep. Hayes has a big advantage over 2006: he knows what is coming and is preparing himself (and raising money) accordingly.

Yet, a new poll has Hayes trailing 49% to 47%, which is obviously a very week showing for an incumbent. The poll was conducted by Greenberg Research, one of the most reputable Democratic firms, for the CAP Action Fund and the SEIU union. So it is an internal poll of sorts but it still paints a dire picture for Hayes.

  • KY-03: Is Northup coming back?
Good news for Republicans in KY-03, one of their (slightly) surprising losses in 2006. Rep. Anne Northup, who had survived a countless number of challenges over the years, is now nearing a decision on whether to run again, something she was not planning to do a few months ago. Freshman Democrat Rep. Yarmuth was hoping to face an easy road to re-election, especially given that the district leans Democratic at the presidential level. But there is no doubt that (relatively moderate) Northup could give him the most dangerous re-election fights he would likely face for a while.

Take two factors into account however: Northup lost a very hard-fought GOP primary for governor last year against incumbent Ernie Fletcher, so that has got to do something to her appeal here in the district, and second, a poll commissioned by the NRSC has Yarmuth ahead 49% to 47%. That means that this race will be very hard-fought, but Northup probably has as good if not better name ID than Yarmuth so that factor that usually bodes well for challengers will not play to her favor.

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  • Northup would have a very tough time coming back as shown by the poll. Using partisan adjustments, Yarmuth is actually probably ahead 53%-43% and we don't use the challenger rule since Northup was the incumbent as recently as 2006. Also, this is a district where coattails will help Yarmuth enormously.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 17 January, 2008 11:42  

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