As the Republican Party begins to boil down its pick-up prospects for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, the congressional districts where Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) won the 2008 presidential race with 50 percent or greater is a place to start.Another criterion for targeting the best Republican opportunities is where the Democratic congressional candidate got less that 55 percent to win their 2008 election.The list below is of the 47 Democratic congressional districts where McCain won with 50 percent or greater. Of the 47 Democrats on this list 13 (28 percent) are freshmen and 11 (23 percent) have won two elections and are in their third term. The rest are firmly entrenched incumbents (23, or 49 percent) with three or more consecutive terms in Congress. This last group will be the hardest for Republicans to defeat in 2010. Winning any of these seats, especially the entrenched Democratic incumbents, will depend on candidate recruitment and fundraising–both by the candidates, the Republican National Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee. Needless to say, viable challenger candidates to the entrenched Democratic incumbents are unlikely.It is a reasonable assumption that of the list of 47 Democratic House Members only 24 present a potential challenge opportunity. Given that the GOP needs 39 seats to take control of the House it is unlikely that Minority Whip Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) expectation to win control will materialize.However, this August saw a great deal of grassroots displeasure over healthcare reform. This instructs the GOP that there is a wave to be caught and ridden onto the shores of the 2010 midterm election. The problem for the GOP is that the protest over healthcare reform cannot be controlled as it is largely organic, even though there have been Republican efforts to encourage the growth of the movement. By being organic it means that those unhappy with healthcare reform cannot necessarily be corralled to help the GOP pick up congressional seats. That said, if the energy of the healthcare reform protests carries into November 2010, many voters will cast ballots for Republican congressional challenger candidates in dissent of the Democratic majority in Washington, D.C. The list below is color coded to denote Freshman, 1+ Term and 3+ Term incumbents and includes McCain’s performance in 2008 in that congressional district. MS-04 Taylor 67TX-17 Edwards 67OK-02 Boren 66TN-04 Davis 64AL-02 Bright 63ID-01 Minnick 62MS-01 Childers 62TN-06 Gordon 62AL-05 Griffith 61LA-03 Melancon 61MO-04 Skelton 61AR-01 Berry 59VA-09 Boucher 59AR-04 Ross 58MD-01 Kratovil 58UT-02 Matheson 57WV-01 Mollohan 57GA-08 Marshall 56TN-08 Tanner 56WV-03 Rahall 56KY-06 Chandler 55PA-04 Altmire 55AR-02 Snyder 54AZ-01 Kirkpatrick 54FL-02 Boyd 54PA-10 Carney 54ND-AL Pomeroy 53SC-05 Spratt 53AZ-05 Mitchell 52AZ-08 Giffords 52NC-07 McIntyre 52NC-11 Shuler 52OH-18 Space 52FL-24 Kosmas 51IN-08 Ellsworth 51NY-13 McMahon 51NY-29 Massa 51PA-17 Holden 51VA-05 Perriello 51CO-03 Salazar 50CO-04 Markey 50IN-09 Hill 50MN-07 Peterson 50NM-02 Teague 50OH-06 Wilson 50OH-16 Boccieri 50PA-12 Murtha 50Allen Raymond is a former Republican campaign manager and consultant and author of “How To Rig An Election; Confessions of a Republican Operative.” Read more of his blog at www.redelephantgop.blogspot.com.
As the Republican Party begins to boil down its pick-up prospects for the U.