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       67
TX-17 Edwards    67
OK-02 Boren       66
TN-04 Davis        64

AL-02 Bright       63
ID-01 Minnick     62
MS-01 Childers    62

TN-06 Gordon      62
AL-05 Griffith       61
LA-03 Melancon   61
MO-04 Skelton    61
AR-01 Berry        59
VA-09 Boucher    59
AR-04 Ross          58

MD-01 Kratovil     58
UT-02 Matheson   57
WV-01 Mollohan   57

GA-08 Marshall     56
TN-08 Tanner       56
WV-03 Rahall       56
KY-06 Chandler     55

PA-04 Altmire       55
AR-02 Snyder       54
AZ-01 Kirkpatrick  54
FL-02 Boyd           54
PA-10 Carney        54
ND-AL Pomeroy     53
SC-05 Spratt         53

AZ-05 Mitchell       52
AZ-08 Giffords       52

NC-07 McIntyre     52
NC-11 Shuler         52
OH-18 Space          52

FL-24 Kosmas        51
IN-08 Ellsworth     51
NY-13 McMahon     51
NY-29 Massa          51

PA-17 Holden         51
VA-05 Perriello       51
CO-03 Salazar        50
CO-04 Markey        50
IN-09 Hill               50
MN-07 Peterson     50
NM-02 Teague       50
OH-06 Wilson         50
OH-16 Boccieri       50
PA-12 Murtha        50

Allen 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.