March 22, 2005


House 2006: Looking For A Few Good Races (Charlie Cook, March 22, 2005, National Journal)

A very early preview of 2006 House races shows slim pickings for both sides. With just a handful of retirements -- and few competitive open seats on the horizon -- both sides are scrambling to find serious challengers to a dwindling field of vulnerable incumbents. With the caveat that unpredictable events could always impact the 2006 landscape, Republicans do not appear to be in danger of losing their majority.

At this point, Democrats actually have more seats in jeopardy than Republicans have. Currently, there are four Democratic seats in the toss-up category: John Salazar in Colo.-03, Melissa Bean in Ill.-08, Charlie Melancon in La.-03 and Chet Edwards in Texas-17. And if the Republican-drawn map in Georgia passes Justice Department muster, Democrat Jim Marshall in Ga.-03 will find himself in a very competitive race.

Republicans, on the other hand, have just one toss-up seat: Iowa-01, where Rep. Jim Nussle is retiring to run for governor. But if Colorado's 7th District Rep. Bob Beauprez (R) decides to run for governor -- something that looks like a very real possibility -- his suburban Denver district, which is the most evenly divided in the state, would also be a true toss-up.

Beyond this group of seven seats, there are few other districts that look vulnerable.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 22, 2005 7:35 AM

Bean and Melancon were flukes who got in because of their opponents' obvious weaknesses. It is hard to get elected when you are obviously a senile, falling-down drunk or if you are an intellectual lightweight with the charisma of a dishrag.

Posted by: bart at March 22, 2005 11:20 AM

Rick Larsen, an uber-lightweight of the 2nd District in Washington State, is going to have a tough challenger in 2006. We've got a few military bases to protect out there, and a 3rd term Democrat just isn't going to hack it.

As it becomes clear that the Republicans are the governing party, lots more of these sorts of races are going to pop up--nominally Dem areas that decide that they need someone with some actual power representing them.

Posted by: Timothy at March 22, 2005 2:31 PM

How dependent is the area on the military? One would have thought that Boeing's imminent departure would have caused second thoughts about the King County Bolshevik Project, but it obviously hasn't.

Posted by: bart at March 22, 2005 5:03 PM

Not super-dependent, per se, but it has driven a lot of growth & revitalization of urban areas.
The 2nd district doesn't include Seattle, and Boeing hasn't left it, only the coprorate Seattle offices. The 787 is still going to be build within the 2nd district (well, right on the border between the 2nd and 1st--I'm not sure which side is which), as the 747s & 777s will be for the forseeable future.

Posted by: Timothy at March 23, 2005 1:31 PM
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