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Roll Call: 9 of 10 Vulnerable Reps are Democrats

By Dan Weil   |   Monday, 02 Nov 2009 10:41 AM

Roll Call news service has issued a list of the 10 House members whom it considers the most likely to lose their seats next year. Nine of the 10 are Democrats.

Roll Call points out that this number really isn’t surprising. In 2008 Democrats were able to gain seats in traditionally Republican areas, thanks largely to the strong unpopularity of President Bush and the strong popularity of president-to-be Obama.

But now Obama has lost some of his support, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi presents a juicy target for Republicans. In addition, the party in the White House generally loses congressional seats in mid-term elections.

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To be sure, the one Republican on the list, Anh “Joseph” Cao, La., may be the single-most vulnerable incumbent, Roll Call says.

He represents a majority-black Democratic New Orleans district. But in 2008, he had the benefit of running against incumbent William Jefferson, who was under indictment on federal corruption charges. (He was convicted after the election).

Here are the nine Democrats, listed alphabetically, as Roll Call didn’t rank them in order of vulnerability.

Bobby Bright, Ala.

His district voted for Republican presidential candidate John McCain by a huge margin, and Bright won his election by less than one percentage point.

Steve Driehaus, Ohio

Driehaus beat incumbent Republican Steve Chabot by tying him to Bush. But Chabot is back, with support from the national party.

Alan Grayson, Fla.

Grayson may be too liberal for his centrist district. He has attacked Republicans aggressively, saying their healthcare plan amounts to “don’t get sick,” and if you do, “die quickly.”

Mary Jo Kilroy, Ohio

Kilroy’s Columbus-area district is evenly divided between parties. And Republicans argue that her loyal Democratic voting record is out of touch with her constituents.

Frank Kratovil, Md.

Kratovil faces a likely rematch with state Sen. Andy Harris, whom he beat by less than 1 point. The district gave McCain a whopping victory margin of 18 points.

Betsy Markey, Col.

Markey’s 12-point victory last year appears unrealistic for this district, and Republicans see state House Minority Whip Cory Gardner as a formidable opponent.

Walt Minnick, Idaho

Minnick’s had the good fortune in 2008 to run against incumbent Bill Sali, whose strong conservatism and abrasiveness alienated voters. McCain dominated this district.

Tom Perriello, Va.

Perriello, a first-time candidate last year who founded a human rights group, seems out of synch with a district that covers mostly conservative territory: Southside.

Harry Teague, N.M.

Teague will have to face Republican former Rep. Steve Pearce, who left the seat in 2008 to run for the Senate. Republicans are fingering Teague as too beholden to Pelosi.

The vulnerability of these Democrats was confirmed by a recent Gallup poll showing that 40 percent of Americans consider themselves conservative, up from 37 percent a year ago.

“The question is whether increased conservatism, particularly among independents, will translate into heightened support for Republican candidates,” Gallup points out.

“Right now, it appears it may.”

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