Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Republicans and 2010

It has been a busy few days for me, so I haven't been blogging. But, Upper Midwestern weather is going to stop me from traveling this weekend, so I should have some chance to catch up.

As the parties gear up for the 2010 mid-term elections, the Republicans got mixed news, this week.

Current polls predict that the Republicans will make gains next year. It's possible (though I wouldn't say probable) that the G.O.P. can retake control of the House of Representatives. They will be helped, to the extent that: 1) they have incumbents (other than those tainted by scandal) on the ballot, or 2) when there is no Republican incumbent, they can recruit a proven vote-getter to seek their nomination.

The best-case scenario is for a congressman to switch from the Democratic to the Republican Party. Not only is there an additional Republican incumbent, but there is one fewer on the other side of the aisle. The defection of Representative Parker Griffith of Alabama puts such a double-whammy on the Democrats.

Griffith is a freshman congressman. His district has consistently elected Democrats to Congress, but recently has tended to vote Republican in presidential elections. Griffith has opposed Democratic positions on stimulus spending, environmental issues, and the health care bill.

A few Democratic congressmen in similar situations have recently announced that they will not run for reelection next year. Their districts will constitute the Republicans' prime targets.

On the other hand, Republican hopes in New York have taken a hit, due to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's decision not to seek statewide office in 2010. Even though he has never won an election outside of New York City, and failed to get out of the starting gate in a presidential run last year, he is a "big name" who might have helped Republicans take a Senate seat or the governorship away from the Democrats.

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