A 2006 Election Update On The House

The Iowa-01 seat currently held by Jim Nussle keeps getting listed as one of most vulnerable seats for the GOP. That’s because the district leans a little bit to the left.

However, I’ve interviewed Mike Whalen, the Rightroots Endorsed GOP candidate in that district, and am privy to their internal polling numbers.

Although I am not allowed to talk about those poll numbers, I can tell you that Whalen is sharp, he has a fund raising and cash on hand advantage, and I found his poll numbers to be very encouraging. Although it’s still very early, I’d put his seat in the “leans Republican” category.

Will it stay that way? That remains to be seen, but if that district is one of the Dems’ top 5 pick-up opportunities, this isn’t going to be a great year for the Democrats.

PS: At the moment, despite all this talk about “Democratic waves,” there’s only one seat held by the GOP in the House that could fairly be said to be in the “Leaning Democrat” category. That’s Tom DeLay’s old seat, which the Dems are probably going to win through legal trickery. Because the Dems managed to keep the GOP candidate off the ballot, the Republicans are now tasked with trying to get a candidate named Shelley Sekula-Gibbs over the finish line in a write-in campaign against a Democratic challenger who has 2 million dollars in the bank because people thought he would be running against Tom DeLay. Nothing against Gibbs, who would make a fine candidate if she could get her name on the ballot, but Republicans should write that one off and put their resources into other races.

PS #2: Don’t get me wrong: there are maybe 20-25 Republican seats and 10-15 Democratic seats that could probably be considered “toss-ups” right now, but that’s a far cry from, “The Dems have got 15-25 seats in the bag!” To the contrary, they look more like they’re in the 5-10 seat gain range and unless something changes, they don’t appear to be on track to take back the House.

You can help Republican candidates like Mike Whalen by contributing to them through Rightroots.

Update #1: Things just got worse for Sekula-Gibbs:

In yet another surprise in the race for Congressional District 22, there will be two Republican write-in candidates running against Democrat Nick Lampson and Libertarian Bob Smither.

On Tuesday – the deadline for withdrawing or registering as a write-in – Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs traveled to Austin to file her papers, as expected.

But unexpectedly, by the end of the day former Republican congressional candidate and Houston businessman Don Richardson did not ask the Texas Secretary of State’s office to remove his name as a write-in candidate.

…Contacted at his home Tuesday night, Richardson said he is still in the race despite telling GOP officials and precinct chairs at an Aug. 17 gathering in Pearland that he would drop out.

At that meeting, some 83 precicnt chairs in CD-22 voted to support Sekula-Gibbs as an unofficial Republican write-in candidate, and party officials urged other GOP candidates – including Richardson and Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace – to withdraw from the race.

At the Pearland gathering, Texas GOP Chairman Tina Benkiser “got up and said the Republican National Committee would put up $4 million if and only if” there were a single write-in candidate in the race, Richardson said.

…“I said look, if you’ll put it in writing about the $4 million and refund my campaign expenses…I will withdraw,” Richardson said. “I haven’t heard from anybody. So my name is still on the ballot.”

This may be a blessing in disguise because Sekula-Gibbs would be a long shot without Richardson on the ballot and the idea of spending 4 million dollars of RNC money in an effort to keep that seat is absolutely insane. They could take that same money, split it up, and make a huge impact in a dozen other races with it. So, why toss all that money into a race where we will still probably lose because of a legal technicality, when we’d have a decent shot of picking the same seat back up in 2008 when we can get a candidate on the ballot?

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