Friday, December 26, 2008

2006 to 2008, Part 1: the House races

With the year ending and year end reviews pilling up I figure it's time to look at the aftermath of this years house races and see how things look going forward.

The races in the eight Minnesota congressional districts from the last two years can be roughly divided into 4 categories;

1 - Incumbents holding steady or strengthening their position: congressional districts 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8 in 2008, congressional districts 2, 3, 4, 7 and 8 in 2006.

2 - Open seats - CD3 in 2008, CD5 and CD6 in 2006.

3 - That rare instance when an incumbent loses a reelection bid which happened in CD1 in 2006.

4 - Michelle Bachmann's district.

Leading up to November 4th there was some deal of expectation that one of Minnesota's traditionally red congressional districts, 3 or 6, would turn blue. In both instances the Republicans held their ground, but there is reason for optimism about our future chances.

First of all, every Democratic incumbent increased on their top line number from 2006 except for Betty McCollum, who declined from 70% to 69%. These are five safe seats for as long as the people sitting in them want to run. In CD2 Kline held steady at 57% which is essentially what he's done the last two years. This is also a safe seat, but the good news is that if and when Kline moves on the DFL should have a decent shot at it. If Sarvi, for example, had run against a generic Republican rather than a three-term incumbent, he could have made a race out of it.

CD3 was disappointing for a lot of DFL activists and that Media lost by a nearly double digit margin didn't help. Eric Paulson didn't hit 50%, he got 49%, but he was facing a well funded opponent and a third party candidate who took 10%. This is a Republican leaning district and although Paulson will likely face a strong challenge in 2010 unless he drinks the same bat-shit crazy juice as Bachmann, he should be favored to win reelection.

This brings us to CD6, home of Michelle Bachmann. There have been many electrons used trying to explain how it was that Michelle Bachmann won reelection even though she seemed to be trying to sabotage her own campaign. Look at the results as compared to 2006.

Bachmann(R-inc) 46%
Tinklenberg(D) 43%
Anderson (I) 10%

Bachmann(R) 50%
Wetterling(D) 42%
Binkowski (I) 7%

It was close in 2008 only because Bachmann made it close, but I think the right candidate could cause Bachmann trouble. She lost 4 points from 2006 to 2008 but the IP listed candidate picked up 3 points. Bachmann may have put the election into play, but Tinklenberg was unable convince a conservative district that he was an acceptable alternative. There were other factors that played a part, including the IP candidate getting 10%, when Tink had the IP endorsement and Tink leaving $500,000 in the bank, but this election was in play for one reason only, Michelle Bachman. For that reason I think this is the DFL's best shot at a pickup in the short term, but that may be a short lived gain.

Redistricting looms and Minnesota faces the likely lose of a house seat, who's seat specifically will be a very contentious issue when the map is redrawn after 2010, but CD6 looks like the easiest one to divide up seeing that it boarders all of the other CDs except CD1. Given that it might make more sense for the DFL to focus on CD3 again in 2010, rather than CD6.

No comments:

Post a Comment