Sunday, December 18, 2005

Attention DCCC: A Potential Goldmine of House Pickups In One State!! I am a bit new to DKOS, but I am also a longtime political junkie. This puts me in pretty good company around here, where political junkies are in ample supply. I have been projecting elections since my sophomore year at UCLA (1992--where I picked Clinton to win and hit 49 of 51 states--I blew NC for Clinton, and gave MT to Bush). In 1998, I won a CNN-sponsored contest for election predictions by successfully predicting the Senate would stay status quo (I also missed the House totals by one seat). Now that I have laid out a bit of my history and resume as an uber-political geek in good standing, I want to tell you where I think a potential landslide of House pickups can be found. Six races that I have labelled "races to watch"...and they are all within about 300 miles of each other, in the same state. AND THE WINNER IS...... Upstate New York. As of today, I project the final margins in six different New York districts to be at 10 points or less. They are: NEW YORK 19--Where longtime incumbent Sue Kelly goes from a biennial asswhipping of a novelty candidate to facing a raft of well-organized and (in some cases) well-funded opposition. There are several viable candidates here, from former Republican and attorney Judy Aydelott (who actually led Kelly in 3rd quarter fundraising) to former rock musician John Hall to former Rangel staffer Darren Rigger. NEW YORK 20--Where we find John Sweeney, one of the more partisan and aggressive members of the northeastern Republican delegation. We find him facing his first serious opposition in several cycles in the form of attorney Kirsten Gillibrand, who has already raised more in her bid to unseat Sweeney than his last couple of opponents. NEW YORK 24--Here lies an intriguing one...Sherry Bohelert, a longtime member of the Republican "moderate" coalition, is facing a potential two-pronged attack. On the right, he is looking at a primary challenge. Of course, this is old hat for Boehlert, who has narrowly dispatched conservative David Walrath twice in 2002 and 2004. However, the danger for Boehlert this time is when he panders to conservatives to stave off a right-wing challenger, he then must potentially face a top-tier Democratic challenger in the form of Oneida County DA Michael Arcuri. If Arcuri jumps in (and it sure sounds like it according to recent media articles) this race moves very close to the top of the target list. NEW YORK 25--Here is one that, for me, is a BIG sleeper race. James Walsh is a pretty conservative GOPer in a district that both Gore and Kerry carried. My sleeper pick here is former Hill staffer Dan Maffei. I am going to be quite interested in his FEC report. If he has the resources, I like his chances. Walsh is a guy whose campaign skills might have atrophied somewhat--he has not had a real close race for a decade now. NEW YORK 26--Perhaps one of the biggest 04 surprises was GOP leadership figure Tom Reynolds only getting 56% of the vote in his re-election bid against businessman and trade activist Jack Davis. This despite the fact that Davis got no official Democratic help (a fact which rankled him, according to the Almanac of American Politics). He apparently is back for Round 2, in a much better climate for Democrats than faced him a year ago. NEW YORK 29--Randy Kuhl scored a surprisingly wide victory in 2004 over Samara Barend, as the revelations about Kuhl's divorce apparently were overshadowed by the controversy involving WHERE the leak came from. This time around, he faces a "fighting Dem", Eric Massa, who has already received quite a bit of ink on this site. This could be close. What makes this region potentially fertile ground is how well the Democrats did in this region. When we all did our electoral post-mortem last month, I remember quite a few posts from the upstate New York Kossacks, who gave us a number of encouraging reports. Hopefully, the DCCC sees the potential of making the Northeast in 2006 what the South was for the GOP in 1994--a beachhead in the battle to reclaim the House.


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