Last week, Politico revealed a report from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee detailing $28 million worth of television buys in districts with embattled incumbents. Here is a breakdown of those races:
AL-2 – Bobby Bright: Rep. Robert “Bobby” Bright (D) won this seat in 2008 with 50.2 percent of the vote. Prior to his ’08 victory, the seat was occupied by Rep. Terry Everett (R). He has raised significantly more money than his opponent, city council member Martha Roby. More than 60 percent of his district voted for McCain. Bright’s “no” vote on healthcare reform legislation may not be enough to save him in this historically conservative district.
AZ-1 – Ann Kirkpatrick: With the GOP primary not yet complete, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) does not have a single opponent. Competitive races in this district are usually decided by conservative democrats. Her votes with the Democratic leadership on this year’s signature legislative initiatives, like healthcare reform, may hurt her. Arizona’s 1st sent Rep. Rick Renzi (R) to Congress from 2003 to 2009. Her troubles have been known for some time, but the DCCC evidently believes she can be saved.
AZ-5 – Harry Mitchell: Another fairly conservative district until 2006, Arizona’s 5th district sent former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R) to Congress from 2003 to 2007. Hayworth is running to the right of John McCain in this year’s Arizona Senate primary. Rep. Harry Mitchell (D) has a lead in money raised, but he faces challenges from two well-funded Republicans, including popular former Maricopa County treasurer David Schweikert (R).
AZ-8 – Gabrielle Giffords: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) has held this seat since she was elected in 2006. She is another Arizona democrat in a difficult position, having to balance her party affiliation against the Obama Administration’s public rebuke of Arizona’s relatively popular immigration law. She has amassed more than two million dollars, more than all five of his potential Republican opponents combined. The fact that the DCCC has decided to commit to ad buys in this district is telling. Her most likely opponent, state Sen. Jonathan Paton (R), released a poll in mid-July that showed him ahead of Giffords by one point.
CA-11 – Jerry McNerney: Rep. Jerry McNerney (R) took this seat from former Rep. Richard Pombo (R) in 2006. This district is a San Francisco suburb and encompasses part of Napa Valley’s wine country. Cook’s PVI puts this district at a +1 advantage for Republicans. While Obama carried it with 53.7 percent of the vote, California’s 11th also voted for Bush twice. McNerney has over $1 million more in raised money than his challenger, David Harmer (R). The Central Valley Callout blog released a poll on July 1 that showed McNerney with a 1.8 percent lead over Harmer.
CO-4 – Betsy Markey: Another district that Democrats picked up in the 2008 anti-GOP wave, with Rep. Betsy Markey (D) unseating Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R). Her district is weakly conservative; McCain won it in 2008 with less than 50 percent of the vote. She faces a tough fight against Cory Gardner (R), the Colorado Assembly’s photogenic minority whip.
FL-2 – Allen Boyd: Rep. Allen Boyd (D) represents a Florida district that includes most of Tallahassee and the vast majority of the Florida Panhandle. This district votes conservative nationally, but is deeply democratic on the local level. He has served the district in the House of Representatives since 1997. However, he voted for the unpopular healthcare reform legislation and has been hit hard by the even more unpopular oil spill and subsequent drilling moratorium. His GOP opponents will seek to link him to Obama. The DCCC evidently believes that some ad buys will counter that challenge.
FL-24 – Suzanne Kosmas: Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D) represents a district that includes Titusville and Winter Park. This district sent Tom Feeney (R) to Congress until Kosmas won the seat in 2008. This district was once so conservative that Feeney ran unopposed in 2004. Kosmas has a significant advantage in funds over her most likely opponents, local businessman Craig Miller (R) and Verizon executive Karen Diebel (R). Kosmas initially voted “no” on healthcare reform, but a March campaign by Florida Congresswoman and head of the Democrats’ congressional incumbent retention effort Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) convinced her to change her vote in the reconciliation proceedings that paved the way for healthcare reform to become law.
IA-3 – Leonard Boswell : Serving as Iowa’s Representative from the 3rd District since 1997,Rep. Leonard Boswell (D) represents a relatively liberal segment of Iowa, including the Des Moines metropolitan area. His challenger, state Sen. Brad Zaun (R), has released internal polls that show him leading Boswell by as much as 9points. Zaun has raised just over $100,000 versus Boswell’s $733,000. The trouble Boswell is facing is similar to that of many Midwestern Democrats who have to run against their records this cycle. Over the weekend, former president Bill Clinton was in Iowa to campaign for Boswell. No doubt, Boswell hopes Clinton can effect an uptick in his ailing poll numbers.
IL-11 – Debbie Halvorson: Rep. Debbie Halverson (D) unseated Rep. Gerald C. ‘Jerry’ Weller (R) in 2008. Her district voted for Bush twice, but Obama carried Illinois’ 11th with 53.3 percent of the vote. Her opponent, Adam Kinzinger (R), an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran and Air National Guard reservist, has raised almost $500,000 to Halverson’s $1.4 million. This relatively conservative district will make for a tough fight for Halverson. While no polls have been released since March, one taken after her “yes” vote on healthcare reform legislation put Kinzinger up by 6 points.
IL-14– William Foster: Rep. William Foster (D) won this seat in a March 2008 special election to replace outgoing GOP Majority Leader Dennis Hastert (R), defeating interim Rep. Jim Oberweis (R). While Foster is flush with more than $1.5 million in the bank, he faces an uphill battle in a relatively conservative district that voted for Bush twice. His opponent, state Sen. Randy Hultgren (R), will look to exploit Foster’s rank and file voting record with Democratic leadership. A Hultgren camp internal poll released in May showed him leading Foster by a single point.
IN-2 – Joe Donnelly: Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) took this seat from Rep. Chris Chocola (R) in 2006. While Obama won this district with 54 percent of the vote, Bush won this district twice with similar margins. His opponent, Jackie Walorski (R), is a member of the Indiana House of Repetitive and a former local TV reporter. Donnelly has raised less than $1 million, which is a danger sign.
IN-9 – Barron Hill: Rep. Barron Hill (D) has been representing the 9th district since 2006. He took the seat in 2006 from Rep. Mike Sordel (R). His district is marginally conservative and voted for McCain with just over 50 percent. His opponent, Todd Young, is a former Marine and a deputy prosecutor in the district. He faces an $800,000 deficit in funds against Hill, but a June poll has Young leading Hill 41 to 36 percent.
KS-3 – Open: Kansas 3rd is one of two open district where the DCCC has bought television time. Stephene Moore (D) is trying to take the seat her retiring husband, Rep. Dennis Moore (D), has held since 1999. Her most likely opponent is Kansas state Representative Kevin W. Yoder (R). He has a significant money advantage over Mrs. Moore, but Democrats feel that this is a district they can retain.
MI-7 – Mark Schauer: Rep. Mark Schauer (D) won this district’s seat in 2008. He defeated one-term representative Tim Walberg (R), who was widely expected to win in 2008. Walberg took the seat from the independent-voting Republican Rep. Joe Schwarz (R) in the 2006 primary. Walberg is running again in this district, but he has a monetary disadvantage against his primary opponent Brian John Rooney (R). Walberg has been leaking internal polls since January that that show him with a 9-point lead against Schauer. Schauer has more than $1.6 million on hand, but despite spending more than $32,000 on polls, none have been publically released. That is a big red flag for Schauer’s campaign.
MO-4 – Ike Skelton: Ike Skelton, senior member of the House and the representative from Missouri’s 4th district since 1977, is facing a real battle this cycle. This district has long voted Republican nationally and Democratic locally; McCain won this Missouri’s 4th with 60 percent of the vote. Recently, however, the dynamics in the Show-Me State have been changing. Obama is down to 41 percent popularity in Missouri, and Skelton skipped a Kansas City fundraiser with the President earlier in July. He is being given some breathing space due to the tough primary fight being waged between his two most likely opponents, former state representative Vicky Hartzler (R) and state Sen. Bill Stouffer (R).
Coming in Part 2:
MS1: Travis Childers; NC: Larry Kissell; ND: Earl Pomeroy; NM: Harry Teague; NV: Dina Titus; NY23: Bill Owens; NY: Michael Arcuri; OH: Betty Sutton; OH: John Boccieri; OH: Mary Jo Kilroy; OH: Steve Driehaus; OH: Zack Space.
Noah Rothman is the online editor at C&E. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org