Re-election campaigns are much tighter now for 32 House Democrats than they were last fall, when the chamber passed its healthcare reform bill.
That’s the assessment of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, according to The Hill news service. And it means, of course, that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have a more difficult time garnering the 218 votes needed to pass healthcare reform.
A vote is expected within a week. Of the 32 Democrats identified in the report, 25 voted for the healthcare bill Nov. 7.
Seventeen of the 32 appeared to be a safe bet in November but now face competitive contests, the Cook Report says. And the other 15 Democrats face tighter races than the report estimated previously.
With the latest Gallup Poll showing that 48 percent of Americans oppose President Obama’s healthcare plan, it will be difficult for Democrats facing precarious races to support the bill.
Among the 32 is Rep. Alan Mollohan of West Virginia, who voted yes in November.
At that time, he was considered a heavy favorite to win his seat but now is in a tossup race. Mollohan hasn’t revealed his voting stance on the latest reform plan.
Four Democrats who voted yes last year and whose races have moved from lean-Democratic to tossup are Baron Hill of Indiana, Mark Schauer of Michigan, Dina Titus of Nevada, and Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire.
Only three Democrats who were in competitive races in the fall have seen an improvement in their campaign chances, the report says. Those are Bobby Bright of Alabama, Larry Kissell of North Carolina, and Peter DeFazio of Oregon.
Not surprisingly, Bright and Kissell strongly oppose the Democrats’ healthcare reform plan and voted against the bill last year.
More than 71 Democrats are publicly undecided, according to The Hill. And more than 50 percent of them face competitive reelection races.
Political consultant and Newsmax columnist Dick Morris says Democratic victory on healthcare reform would cost Obama his reelection and leave Congress in Republican hands for the next 10 years.
That’s because the state legislatures elected this year will determine the shape of congressional districts to be created in line with the 2010 census.
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