A Conservative (but not that kind) Prediction of the Republican Pickup in the U.S. House in 2010: Part 1

Charlie Cook: “There is a wave out there, and for Democrats, the House is, at best, teetering on the edge.”  “To be sure, things could change …. Still, the potential is here for a result that is proportional to some of the bigger postwar midterm wave elections.  These kinds of waves are often ragged; almost always some candidates who looked dead somehow survive and others who were deemed safe get sucked down in the undertow.  That’s the nature of these beasts.  But the recent numbers confirm that trends first spotted late last summer have fully developed into at least a Category 3 or 4 hurricane.”

I can’t say this surprises me.   In the following table, I will give you my most conservative, baseline prediction for the Republican pick up in the U.S. House, as well as the reasoning behind it.  The table is pretty self-explanatory – the state (but only those states with competitive House races), whether that state will have GOP coattails from statewide races, the districts targeted in that state, my conservative prediction, and the net GOP gain/loss from the state.  Note that the predictions I make here are not necessarily what I actually think will happen in 2010.  I am actually much more optimistic.  This table simply represents only those predictions that I think – based on my knowledge of politics and the district – that are safe bets to happen in November, assuming that there is a slight Republican wave.  In other words, this prediction is my floor for the GOP’s gains in November. 

Let me know what you think.




GOP Targets

Conservative Prediction

GOP Gain


Modest.  Senior Republican Senator Shelby will coast to a new term, and the winner of the Republican gubernatorial should win solidly over big liberal Ron Sparks.

AL 2 & AL 5

Freshman Bob Bright is doing everything right: voting against the Democrats on the big issues, raising money, and working his district hard.  His opponent, Martha Robey has done a poor job raising money and was forced into a primary runoff with a little known opponent.  In any conservative evaluation, Bright would have to be considered a likely candidate to squeak to re-election.  However, the open seat of Dem turned Republican Griffith should stay with the GOP.  The GOP almost won this seat two years ago in terrible circumstances; they also almost beat an entrenched incumbent in 1994.  Thus, GOPer Mo Brooks, who beat Griffith in the primary, should have little problem dispatching his no name Democrat opponent in this environment.



Big.  Appointed Republican Gov. Brewer jumped on the anti-illegal immigrant bandwagon, which should propel her into the Governor’s mansion by a solid margin.  Also, after dispatching a primary challenger, Sen. John McCain will cruise to another term.

AZ 1, AZ 5, & AZ 8

With the primary not until August 24, there are multiple GOPers running in competitive primaries for the right to oppose incumbent Democrats Kirkpatrick, Mitchell, and Giffords.  Thus, it is hard to prognosticate, but it seems safe to conservatively guesstimate that the Republicans will pick up at least one of these seats.     



Mixed.  Dem Gov. Beebe should win solidly, but Republican Rep. Boozeman will win even bigger in the Senate race. 

AR 1 & AR 2

On a federal level, AR is looking like a disaster area for the Democrats.  Republican Tim Griffin released a poll showing him up big in the open AR 2; another internal Republican poll has Rick Crawford involved in a tossup in AR 1.  A conservative guess is that Griffin will win but Crawford will come just short.  Had the GOP produced a stronger candidate in AR 4 they might have had a chance there too. 



None.  Both the Governor’s race and Senate race should be close.

CA 3, CA 11, CA 45 & CA 47

Both Dems and GOPers claim multiple seats are at stake in the largest state of the nation.  The Dems point to the numerous districts held by Republicans that Obama carried; the Republicans point to the drought endangered Dem incumbents, McNerney’s formerly Republican district, and Assemblyman Van Tran’s high profile challenge to Democrat Rep. Loretta Sanchez.  The conservative assumption, however, is that no turnovers will occur.  



None.  Both the Governor’s race and Senate race should be close, with the GOPers narrowly favored.

CO 3, CO 4 & CO 7

CO 4 Democrat Betsy Markey is dead meat after voting for the health care boondoggle.  Dems Sanchez and Perlmutter still have to be considered the slim favorites in any conservative estimate.



None.  The open Governor’s race will likely be close.  The open Senate seat is more solidly Democrat, although you can never totally rule out the chances of a multimillionaire. 

CT 4 & CT 5

Democrat Himes has raised a ton of money to defend the seat he won in 2008.  The Republicans have a good candidate to oppose him, but I haven’t yet seen any indication that Himes will be beaten in a district that Obama carried with 60%.  Democrat Murphy is also favored at this point.



None.  Republican Rep. Castle will easily win the open Senate seat, but his popularity is largely personal.

DE At- Large

Democrat former Lt. Gov. John Carney starts off with a big edge over either Republican candidate, although both GOPers will have the resources to make it a race.  However, in a state where Obama won over 60%, and considering Carney’s prior statewide victories, Carney seems the solid favorite for this open seat.



None.  Both the open Senate and Governors races are not fully formed, and likely to be close.

FL 2, FL 8, FL 22, FL 24 & FL 25

Apparently, Dem Alan Grayson is not aware that making an a#s of himself regularly on national television is not a good way to win re-election to a public office.  He won’t, regardless of who his challenger is.  Democrats Boyd and Kosmas are also in big trouble.  Only Democrat Klein has the edge in the competitive Dem held seats.  The open Republican seat of Mario Diaz Balart would be competitive in a more normal year, but this year is likely to stay with the Republicans.  Overall, a conservative guess is that the GOP will win Grayson’s seat and at least one other seat.



Modest.  Republican Senator Isakson will coast to a new term, and the winner of the Republican gubernatorial should win solidly over former Governor Barnes.  (What are the Dems thinking with this retread?)

GA 8 & GA 12

Two Dem seats are always competitive, and the Republican opposing Democrat Jim Marshall has made some waves with his fundraising prowess.  However, considering this is a baseline prediction, both Marshall and Democrat John Barrow should be considered the favorites here.



None.  Senator Inouye will win big, and if the GOP gubernatorial candidate is able to win an upset, it will only be a narrow victory.

HI 1

Incumbent Republican Charles Djou is an excellent candidate, but he still only captured 40% in a divided special election.  This race illustrates the difference between my baseline prediction and what I personally would predict if money were on the line – no way can Djou be the baseline choice, but I would still put money on him to win in an upset. 



Modest.  Republican Senator Crapo will win huge, although Republican Governor Otter may have some problems.

ID 1

Like Bobby Bright, Democrat Walt Minnick is doing everything right to win re-election.  But this isn’t Alabama; Idaho is even more Republican.  In this environment, as long as state Rep. Labrador can avoid major political gaffes/ foolishness of the like that afflicted former Congressman Sali, the Republican will win. 



Modest.  The GOP should pick up both the open Senate and Governor’s offices, although neither by big margins. 

IL 10, IL 11, IL 14 & IL 17

The perfect storm of corruption and incompetence is hitting Illinois.  Incumbent Freshmen Dems Halvorson and Foster both represent traditionally Republican districts and are facing strong opponents who seem to be competitive in the internal polls that have been released.  In Kirk’s district, Seals is trying for the third time to pick up this seat for the Democrats.   Democrat Phil Hare has shown some weakness too, but is still favored.  A safe bet would be that the GOP wins one of the first three races; my guess would be that Adam Kinzinger is the most likely victor. 



Modest.  The GOP is lucky this is a Republican wave year– former Senator Coats will win back his seat in a solid but not overwhelming victory.

IN 2, IN 8, & IN 9

If you want to get an early flavor of how the night is going for the GOP, look to Indiana, where on a great night they could totally reverse the results of 2006 and pick up three seats.  If this happens, than the GOP will almost certainly pick up the House.  However, my conservative guess is a two seat pickup where they grab the open IN 8 and oust the foolishly imperious (“this is my town hall”) Baron Hill.