One more GOP-held House seat opens up

Republicans were hit with a second House retirement in as many days today, when Florida Rep. Dave Weldon announced he would not seek re-election next week, making FL-15 the 21st open seat Republicans will have to defend.

This district leans Republican. Bush won with 57% in 2004 but Weldon was only re-elected with 56% against an underfunded opponent. This is the type of district that is not automatically competitive but can become so if a party commits to it and finds a candidate that fits the demographics well. And given the DCCC's financial advantage, you can be sure they will force the GOP to play defense in places like this. Democrats picked up several districts that had a similar GOP tilt back in 2006.

A few Republicans are already positioning themselves to run for the seat, including a couple of state Senators. Democrats, meanwhile, are trying to pressure Brevard County Commissioner Nancy Higgs to jump in; they had been courting her already before Weldon's surpirse announcement. Also, keep in mind that Florida has late congressional primaries (end of August) and a relatively late filing date (in May), so it may take a while for the race to shap up. So we probably won't know for a while if FL-15 will join NY-25 as one of the Democrats' top priorities.

Meanwhile, there is potentially more troubling news looming for the GOP, as Rep. Kuhl from NY-29 (another New York Republican who barely survived in 2006) declared today that he had not decided whether he would seek re-election.

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  • I'm still wondering if this is the beginning of a second wave of retirements.

    By Anonymous C.S.Strowbridge, At 25 January, 2008 20:30  

  • This district is winnable for Democrats under a certain set of circumstances, like when they won it in 1978, 1990, and nearly won it as an open seat in heavily Republican 1994. First, Democrats must run a fiscally Conservative, pro-defense, but also pro-choice Democrat, much like Bill Nelson. Second, Republicans have to nominate a strongly anti-abortion canidate, who alienates many of the libertarian leaning Space Coast voters. If both of these things happen and it is a neutral or slightly Dem leaning year, Democrats have a good shot at picking it up.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 25 January, 2008 21:48  

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