News from the Votemaster
The Washington Post reported some interesting news on the 2008 House races today. With the Republicans needing to pick up 16 seats to retake the House, their job just got a bit harder at both the micro and macro levels. At the micro level, two key Republican congressmen, Rick Renzi ( AZ-01 ) and John Doolittle ( CA-04 ) have just given up seats on powerful House committees as a direct consequence of FBI investigations of their and their wives business dealings. Renzi left the Select Committee on Intelligence and Doolittle gave up his hugely coveted seat on the Committee for Distributing Pork (informally known as the Appropriations Committee). Most congressmen would sooner give up their right arm than that seat. Both are also on the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington's list of the 20 most corrupt members of Congress. Doolittle has especially large problems because he has admitted taking money from a defense contractor closely tied to former Rep. Duke Cunningham, who is currently in prison for taking bribes.
Doolittle's 2006 opponent, retired Air Force Col. Charles Brown, is already actively raising money for a rematch in 2008. Renzi doesn't have any announced opponents yet, but it is a safe bet that Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), chairman of the DCCC, has suddenly discovered that he needs a dose of that wonderful Arizona sunshine, and will be out there interviewing folks who want to go up against Renzi. Van Hollen is no doubt aware that the Democrats picked up two House seats in Arizona in 2006 (Harry Mitchell in AZ-05 and Gabrielle Giffords in AZ-08) and surely sees the embattled Renzi, who won by just 3%, as a good target.
At the macro level, having Republican congressmen in the news because the FBI is looking at possible corruption reminds the voters (who have notoriously short memories) of why they booted the Republicans out of office in 2006. Even if the FBI ultimately clears Renzi and Doolittle of all charges, there is no magic button they can push to reset the voters' memories of them to the state they were in before the investigations began.
The Democrats have their own corrupt congressman, too, William Jefferson (D-LA), but Jefferson is in such a heavily Democratic district that short of an actual conviction, he is unlikely to lose in 2008.
Up until now I have regarded the House race in FL-13 as still undecided. While court battles are still in progress, de facto, Vern Buchanan (R) is in the House and Christine Jennings (D) is not, so let's call FL-13 for the GOP until further notice.
This page is the prototype for 2008. The data and map will refer to previous elections until serious polls begin in 2008. The blog will be updated when there is interesting news about the 2008 races.Preview of the 2008 races: President Senate House
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This map shows the current Senate. Put your mouse on a state for more information.
This map shows the current House. Put your mouse on a state for more information.
-- The Votemaster