U.S. House Updates
December 15, 2008 —
At least a year will probably have to pass before the 2010 political climate begins to develop, so speculation about Republican or Democratic gains are obviously imprecise. We do know a few things, however. First, it is usually -- not always, but usually -- the case that the out-of-power gains seats at the first mid-term election of a new president. We also know that freshmen members of the US House are at the most vulnerable point in their careers; they haven’t had time to develop a record of service that identifies them in the voters’ minds as public officials, rather than mere candidates. And third, we know when a member of congress is re-elected with 55% or less of the vote, he or she is likely to face a tougher challenge in the next election.
The first two factors suggest that Republicans are likely to have more opportunities to make congressional gains in the South next year. Not only will the new president be a Democrat, but eight of Dixie’s Democratic US Representatives are freshmen, to five Republicans.
The third factor -- winning by 55% or less -- cuts both ways. Ten Southern Democratic members of Congress won their seats with 55% of the vote or less. But eight Dixie Republicans also garnered 55% or less.
The biggest factor in 2010 will be the record of the Obama Administration. If he is successful in putting the nation’s economy on sounder footing, and if his foreign policy and defense initiatives aren’t followed by one or more terrorist attacks in this country, then Democrats are likely to run well in the South’s congressional elections, either gaining a few seats or holding their losses to a minimum.
If, on the other hand, the economy is still a mess, or if Obama’s policies -- such as tax increases -- prove unpopular, or if the terrorists are perceived as gaining under the new administration, then the GOP is in a good position to make substantial US House gains.
Below are separate lists of Southern Democratic and Republican US House members who are potentially vulnerable next year, along with their tenure in office and their share of the vote in 2008.
Alabama 2 (Dothan, etc.) Freshman Bobby Bright (D) 50.3%
Alabama 5 (Huntsville, etc.) Freshman Parker Griffith (D) 52%
Florida 8 (Orlando, etc.) Freshman Alan Grayson (D) 52%
Florida 22 (Ft. Lauderdale, etc.) Two-term Ron Klein (D) 55%
Florida 24 (Orlando, etc.) Freshman Suzanne Kosmas (D) 57%
Mississippi 1 (Tupelo, etc.) Two-term Travis Childers (D) 54%
North Carolina 8 (Concord, etc.) Freshman Larry Kissell (D) 55%
Texas 17 (Waco, etc.) Freshman Glenn Nye (D) 52%
Virginia 5 (Charlottesville, etc.) Freshman Tom Perriello* (D) 50.01%
Virginia 11 (Northern Virginia) Freshman Gerald Connolly (D) 53%
* Incumbent Virgil Goode (R) has requested a recount.
Alabama 3 (Anniston, etc.) Four-term Mike Rogers (R) 53%
Florida 15 (Space Coast, etc.) Freshman Bill Posey (R) 53%
Florida 16 (West Palm Beach, etc.) Freshman Tom Rooney (R) 60%
Florida 25 (Metropolitan Miami, etc.) Four-term Mario Diaz-Balart (R) 53%
Kentucky 2 (Bowling Green, etc.) Freshman Brett Guthrie (R) 53%
Louisiana 2 (New Orleans, etc.) Freshman Anh “Joseph” Gao (R) 50%
Louisiana 4 (Shreveport, etc.) Freshman John Fleming (R) 48%
Louisiana 6 (Baton Rouge, etc.) Freshman Bill Cassidy (R) 48%
South Carolina 2 (Lexington, etc.) Four-term Joe Wilson (R) 54%
Texas 10 (Austin, etc.) Three-term Michael McCaul (R) 54%
Texas 22 (Sugar Land, etc. Freshman Pete Olson (R) 52%