Thirteen House races that could surprise everyone

posted at 2:55 pm on August 23, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

With Republican fortunes on the rise in House races across the nation, the media has focused on high-profile contests where Democratic incumbents find themselves in serious trouble.  Jim Geraghty takes the opposite tack, highlighting a baker’s dozen of races few are watching at all because of perceived invincibility of incumbent Democrats.  If these seats start flipping on November 2nd, we know that Democrats are having a very, very bad night:

By some counts, the GOP has a shot at 103 currently Democratic seats in the U.S. House of Representatives this year.

You have probably marveled at Florida GOP House candidate Allen West’s speeches on YouTube. You’ve been amused to learn about the offbeat biography of Sean Duffy — MTV reality-show star, world-champion lumberjack, and a successful district attorney. You’ve chuckled at the thought of Jon Runyan plowing through New Jersey Democrat John Adler the way he used to plow through defensive lineman. And when North Carolina’s Bob Etheridge attacked that kid who asked him whether he supports the Obama agenda, you probably noticed how Renee Ellmers answers questions in a pleasant, informative, and non-strangulating manner.

But with so many promising Republican challengers this year, a bunch of potential upsets are flying well under the radar. And with the political environment going from bad to worse for Democrats, it is increasingly likely the night of November 2 will include some winners that almost no one saw coming. If you’re searching for some of these long shots who are looking shorter these days, here is a dirty baker’s dozen of GOP challengers to keep an eye on. They’re underfunded, unrecognized, rarely mentioned, and given no chance . . . and they may just win anyway.

There are lots of interesting nuggets in this overview, so be sure to read it all.  For instance, the vice-chair of the DCCC, Bruce Braley (IA-01), only got six contributors from inside his district in the past quarter, and narrowly got outraised by GOP challenger Benjamin Lange.  A win in that race would send a shock wave through Democratic leadership in the House.

My favorite, though, comes closer to home:

11. Theresa Collett vs. Betty McCollum, Minnesota’s 4th District.

Reasons the challenger should have no chance: This is a D+13 district; McCollum won it in 2008 by 37 percentage points.

Reasons the challenger has a chance: Upon winning the primary, Collett, a University of St. Thomas law professor,challenged McCollum to four debates. She’s still waiting for a reply. On the stump, Collett makes her points in a crisp, clear, direct style. Outgoing governor Tim Pawlenty is giving Collett some help. Collett is severely underfunded, but McCollum has only $160,634 in cash on hand as of July 21, which is fairly low for an incumbent.

I’ve interviewed Teresa a number of times, mainly because she’s a great guest; she’s sharp, knowledgeable, and thoughtful.  If McCollum takes Teresa up on her debate challenge, she’s going to get dismantled.  McCollum appears to have slept through this campaign so far, just the way her Budget Committee has slept through its obligations to present a budget for FY2011.  The district is D+13, as Jim notes, but it encompasses plenty of first-ring St. Paul suburb neighborhoods that won’t necessarily rubber-stamp McCollum in this year.

Keep this link handy as a scorecard.  If the GOP takes a few of these races, I’d expect the night to be a huge triumph for the GOP.


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Never underestimate the ability of the RNC to fumble on the one.

Limerick on August 23, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Send the money to Collett instead of having it filtered through the rnc.

Kissmygrits on August 23, 2010 at 3:03 PM

Don’t forget to vote early…

… and often.

Oh, wait!

Seven Percent Solution on August 23, 2010 at 3:05 PM

I don’t know if they are sleepwalking through their campaigns or if the Democrats are gobsmacked and stumbling, zombie-like, through their districts where PO’d constituents are ready to swing rhetorical tire irons at their heads.

Extrafishy on August 23, 2010 at 3:07 PM

October Surp……er,November Surprise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on August 23, 2010 at 3:08 PM

9. Ilario Pantano vs. Mike McIntrye, North Carolina’s 7th District.

That’s my man…we have some great fun(d) raisers planned in the coming weeks.
He kicked *ss on the debate, and this is a strong, supportive military loving American, who stands up and says, “even the military budget needs to be looked at, there is waste everywhere the government is involved”.

right2bright on August 23, 2010 at 3:13 PM

If any sane blue dogs survive the November bloodbath don’t be surprised to see a bunch of them switch parties.

JammieWearingFool on August 23, 2010 at 3:16 PM

but at least from what we saw in MN with Stuart Smalley….what is the point of winning, when the election just gets stolen in a recount????

search4truth on August 23, 2010 at 3:16 PM

Oh my gosh if McCollum goes down.

OH MY GOSH!

gophergirl on August 23, 2010 at 3:17 PM

If any sane blue dogs survive the November bloodbath don’t be surprised to see a bunch of them switch parties.

JammieWearingFool on August 23, 2010

Considering that “blue dog” is a myth, that would be surprising.

Extrafishy on August 23, 2010 at 3:18 PM

The expendables?

Every one of us is expendable.

amerpundit on August 23, 2010 at 3:21 PM

but at least from what we saw in MN with Stuart Smalley….what is the point of winning, when the election just gets stolen in a recount????

search4truth on August 23, 2010 at 3:16 PM

If it ain’t close, they can’t cheat.

The last minute recount shenanigans won’t matter if their is no recount because the lib lost by 5-10 points, or more.

That is why everyone needs to turn out and vote, no matter what.
Make their cheating irrelevant with a tsunami.

Brian1972 on August 23, 2010 at 3:22 PM

When you disagree with over 60% (on average) of the country on every single issue, your chances as a viable political party are on the wane.

Obama is probably the worst thing that has ever happened to Democrats.

Mord on August 23, 2010 at 3:22 PM

Oh, Hot Airheads will love this. From a Slate (Washington Post in Not Too Good a Disguise) article on justifying the unjustifiable (the mega mosque), by William Saletan:

Kristol never explains. Like his colleagues, he simply embraces the no-mosque position as a “sensible and healthy reaction.”

With the exception of Palin, these are not stupid people.
They’re searching our sensitivity for an underlying rationale that justifies the exclusion of mosques from the vicinity of Ground Zero. And they aren’t finding one.

The Mega Independent on August 23, 2010 at 3:22 PM

Just remember, the election ain’t over until the Democrats get all the dead to cast their vote…

Wyznowski on August 23, 2010 at 3:22 PM

Never underestimate the ability of the RNC to fumble on the one.

Limerick on August 23, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Just like Adrian Peterson in the 2009 NFC Championship game!

dczombie on August 23, 2010 at 3:23 PM

Do you all not understand that we have three major national fundraising organizations. RNC, NRSC, and NRCC. The NRCC headed by Cong Pete Sessions (R-TX) is doing an outstanding job of being on the offensive against the Democrats. If you haven’t heard of the Young Guns program of the NRCC, you need to check it out. The GOP has some of the best candidates ever.

People say RNC but their main purpose is funding the State Victory funds in the mid-term and frankly States can raise a lot of their own money. RNC cannot get involved in state races unlike the other two.

There is also the Republican Governor’s Association who is helping with Governor’s races around the Country and they are setting on a ton of money. If you want to donate, please donate direct to the candidate because they know where they need the money. If you are rich and want to donate more then go to the NRCC or NRSC or RGA.

PhiKapMom on August 23, 2010 at 3:25 PM

Oh, and did I ever mention..

SETUP!

ClassicCon on August 23, 2010 at 3:25 PM

With the exception of Palin, these are not stupid people. They’re searching our sensitivity for an underlying rationale that justifies the exclusion of mosques from the vicinity of Ground Zero. And they aren’t finding one.

The Mega Independent on August 23, 2010 at 3:22 PM

Yes, %65-70 are finding one, you’re just too stupid to see it yourself, since you are searching for a justification to insult the entire country with a victory monument on the site of the worst attack this country has ever endured.

Brian1972 on August 23, 2010 at 3:26 PM

Never underestimate the ability of the RNC to fumble on the one.

Limerick on August 23, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Just fumble? You’re giving the RNC waaaay too much credit.

Laura in Maryland on August 23, 2010 at 3:26 PM

It’s a good thing Polosi doesn’t care about the underlings in her party. They were just there to get her and Obama’s agenda through. She didn’t care about the little congressmen. If these little congressmen and women lose in November, all the better. They can then vote for any damn thing they want with impunity. Which may have been the plan all along.

Tommy_G on August 23, 2010 at 3:26 PM

Just remember, the election ain’t over until the Democrats get all the dead to cast their vote… heads to check their trunks for “ballots”.

Wyznowski on August 23, 2010 at 3:22 PM

FIFY

Laura in Maryland on August 23, 2010 at 3:28 PM

Bring on the HUMPBOT!

Laura in Maryland on August 23, 2010 at 3:31 PM

I Want Your Money

movie trailer

set for release 15 OCT

anyone seen or heard of this before?

ted c on August 23, 2010 at 3:31 PM

Never underestimate the ability of the RNC to fumble on the one.

Limerick on August 23, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Just fumble? You’re giving the RNC waaaay too much credit.

Laura in Maryland on August 23, 2010 at 3:26 PM

Laura in Maryland:Ugh,Limerick is ummm,dead on,when the
whole political plan is going tickety-boo
what could go wrong,sumpin bad happens!

But,I’m thinking good thoughts till after
V-Day in November!!:)

canopfor on August 23, 2010 at 3:33 PM

I Want Your Money

movie trailer

set for release 15 OCT

anyone seen or heard of this before?

ted c on August 23, 2010 at 3:31 PM

ted c: No I have not,and its a winner,nice Intel Grab!:)

canopfor on August 23, 2010 at 3:37 PM

But,I’m thinking good thoughts till after
V-Day in November!!:)

canopfor on August 23, 2010 at 3:33 PM

I love the smell of November in the morning! You’re right of course.

You may be my 3rd favorite Canadian, but Limerick is my second favorite limerick (the first is about an Engineer Named Paul).

Laura in Maryland on August 23, 2010 at 3:38 PM

anyone seen or heard of this before?

ted c on August 23, 2010 at 3:31 PM

I have now, thanks to you.

Laura in Maryland on August 23, 2010 at 3:38 PM

You can add the MA-10 to the list of shockahs.

Rep. Delahunt has oh-so-conveniently decided it is time to retire, rather than try to explain his decision not to try Amy Bishop for killing her brother lo those many years before she decided to “correct” her colleagues.

The MA-10 leans blue, the least blue of the Massachusetts districts, and has had one of the few Republicans in the Massachusetts House representing part of it. That gentleman is running in the primary against former State Treasurer Joe Malone.

I think that a Republican is going to take the seat this time around.

How can it be possible for the Democrats to loose both Teddy Kennedy’s Senate seat and the House seat representing his home town fall into “enemy hands” so soon after his death?

turfmann on August 23, 2010 at 3:43 PM

If any sane blue dogs survive the November bloodbath don’t be surprised to see a bunch of them switch parties.

JammieWearingFool on August 23, 2010 at 3:16 PM

JammieWearingFool:That’ll mean,another book,my Great Grand
Judist Purge List,second,to my Great Grand
RINO Purge List!!!

Looks like I’m gonna have to cut down more
tree’s for paper!!(snark):)

canopfor on August 23, 2010 at 3:45 PM

The NRCC headed by Cong Pete Sessions (R-TX) is doing an outstanding job of being on the offensive against the Democrats. If you haven’t heard of the Young Guns program of the NRCC, you need to check it out. The GOP has some of the best candidates ever.
PhiKapMom on August 23, 2010 at 3:25 PM

What does a candidate have to do to get this exalted recognition? It’s obvious they haven’t looked at Morgan Philpot (UT-2) or listened to him address an audience. Could it be they’re writing off this district because they figure Matheson is unbeatable? If Matheson is so strong why did the White House go to Sen. Hatch (R) to get a replacement for the US Attorney in Salt Lake?

SaintGeorgeGentile on August 23, 2010 at 3:49 PM

canopfor on August 23, 2010 at 3:33 PM
========================================
I love the smell of November in the morning! You’re right of course.

You may be my 3rd favorite Canadian, but Limerick is my second favorite limerick (the first is about an Engineer Named Paul).

Laura in Maryland on August 23, 2010 at 3:38 PM

Laura in Maryland: Yes,I agree,but I only have one Limerick,
Limerick,who is home on the free range,
and speaking of morning!!:)
=======================================================

Apocalypse Now – smell of napalm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPXVGQnJm0w
=========================================

BLU-96 Fuel-Air Explosive Bomb

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i20zvZ-3MMw&feature=related

canopfor on August 23, 2010 at 3:52 PM

Good to see Ed Martin on there. HotAirheads should love him, he’s energetic and outspoken and generally entertaining while remaining a mostly mainstream conservative. Russ Carnahan is easily the most corrupt member of the Carnahan family and voters are a little disgusted to see him and his sister Robin strutting around like they own the place. Missouri is not big on pretension.

alwaysfiredup on August 23, 2010 at 3:57 PM

You can add the MA-10 to the list of shockahs.

Rep. Delahunt has oh-so-conveniently decided it is time to retire, rather than try to explain his decision not to try Amy Bishop for killing her brother lo those many years before she decided to “correct” her colleagues.

turfmann on August 23, 2010 at 3:43 PM

turfmann: Calling for any American to be a target of AQ,
what a Jack*ss!!

canopfor on August 23, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Hope some more people look into the VA-09 race as well. Rick Boucher, a 28 year incumbent lap dog of Pelosi’s finally has a good chance of being kicked off her lap and taken to the pound.

He says he’s a conservative Dem, but he’s voted with Obama 97% of the time. And just to add, not only does he and his supporters claim that he didn’t vote for Deem and Pass, but that the bill never even came up to be voted on…

The Republican candidate, Morgan Griffith, is actually a pretty good conservative, and he’s chomping at the bit to debate with Boucher. This Dem has to go, and this is the year to do it.

roopster217 on August 23, 2010 at 4:01 PM

canopfor on August 23, 2010 at 3:52 PM

Just beautiful!

Laura in Maryland on August 23, 2010 at 4:04 PM

He says he’s a conservative Dem, but

thats like hot ice cream, or something.

BobMbx on August 23, 2010 at 4:06 PM

You will know how big the bloodbath is pretty early on Election Night. The polls close in the Eastern time zone of Kentucky at 6:00 p.m. If Ben Chandler is losing it is going to be a big, big night. If his race is even close it’s gonna be a pretty darn good one.

He’ll never switch to the GOP if he wins, because his Grandaddy was a famous Democratic Governor. But he sure won;t cast any more votes for ObamaCare.

rockmom on August 23, 2010 at 4:09 PM

need a pep up and a laugh? Check out Dave In Texas’ new post over at AoS.

ted c on August 23, 2010 at 4:10 PM

Comments like this show why we can’t count on the official leaders of Republican Party for a victory in November:

“We repeatedly hear and see objective data that Democratic voters are not enthusiastic about turning out (this year),” said California GOP chairman Ron Nehring. “The Democrats are going to have to spend a lot of money turning voters out that we don’t have to spend because we know from research that our voters are fired up.”
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/ap/politics/2010/Aug/22/calif__gop_hopes_statewide_slate_lifts_others__too.html

The 2010 elections are too important! We can’t take anything for granted. We need to be working hard now in order to earn our Victory parties in November.

We need to be fighting hard in each of our communities so we can win as many races as possible at the Federal, state and local levels.

In addition to Senators and Representatives, we are going to need conservative leaders as Governors, State Legislators, State Secretaries of State, State Attorney Generals, City Council Members, School Board Members etc. if we are going to defeat the rush to socialism.

wren on August 23, 2010 at 4:11 PM

How cool that Sean Duffy is running for Congress in Wisconsin! He and his wife Rachel Campos were unapologetic conservatives during their MTV days. Rachel appeared on the San Francisco season of Real World, during which she was filmed meeting her hero, Jack Kemp.

Terrie on August 23, 2010 at 4:11 PM

The biggest surprise I am praying for is that Nanzi Pelosi goes down and loses in her district. I know it is not realistic, hence the prayers..:)

txmomof6 on August 23, 2010 at 4:12 PM

Not on this list is Rep. Frank Pallone (D NJ-6) vs Anna Little, but this race is a real sleeper.

Chris Christie beat John Corzine for NJ Governor in the NJ-6 Congressional District by 15.5% just last November. This district has been going for Pallone since time immemorial, but suddenly the Republican throws up gaudy numbers like that? Something is going on…

Anna Little is the real deal. She’s a successful Mayor and former County Freeholder who has legitimate Tea Party cred and has never lost an election. This district is not on anybody’s radar because Barack Obama took it in 2008. But Christie took it by a lot more one year later, and Pallone is tied at the hip to Obamacare. This one could be an out-of-left-field shocker.

On Election Day, when they call NJ-6 for Little, you’ll know it is going to be a good, good night…

Haiku Guy on August 23, 2010 at 4:20 PM

You can add the MA-10 to the list of shockahs.
turfmann on August 23, 2010 at 3:43 PM

That is great news Turfman!

Here is a chart that shows how well Scott Brown did in MA-10 to support your point.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/graphics/01_21_10_districts/

We will all be looking for lots of good news from Massachusetts in November!

wren on August 23, 2010 at 4:23 PM

9. Ilario Pantano vs. Mike McIntrye, North Carolina’s 7th District.

Ilario Pantano…I LOVE that guy, and his book, Warlord: No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy.

Here’s what Michelle wrote about him!

RushBaby on August 23, 2010 at 4:24 PM

How can it be possible for the Democrats to loose both Teddy Kennedy’s Senate seat and the House seat representing his home town fall into “enemy hands” so soon after his death?

turfmann on August 23, 2010 at 3:43 PM

let’s drive off that bridge when we get to it…!

/obligatory

ted c on August 23, 2010 at 4:30 PM

The biggest surprise I am praying for is that Nanzi Pelosi goes down and loses in her district. I know it is not realistic, hence the prayers..:)

txmomof6 on August 23, 2010 at 4:12 PM

Be careful what you pray for txmomof6.

Alas, due to some unfortunate decisions in the Primary election, you are probably not going to be happy with any of the alternatives to Nanzi in her district.

In 2010 it is best to focus on taking away her leadership position by winning House races in other districts.

wren on August 23, 2010 at 5:14 PM

Personally, I like #13. Take away the PACs and Dan Kapanke has actually outraised Ron Kind this election cycle. Of course, the PACs kicked in $663,000 to Kind to overwhelm Kapanke’s $581,000 total, and Kind was sitting on $1.3 million in cash at the end of June compared to Kapanke’s $342,000.

There is another advantage for Kapanke – he owns the Northwoods League La Crosse Loggers.

steveegg on August 23, 2010 at 5:34 PM

I think NC-13 will be a true shocker.

SouthernGent on August 23, 2010 at 5:49 PM

Don’t forget to vote early…

… and often.

Oh, wait!

Seven Percent Solution on August 23, 2010 at 3:05 PM

HaHa…I can.
I live in Illinois…it’s legal there. ;)

tencole on August 23, 2010 at 5:51 PM

Teresa Collett is a tremendous candidate. Betty McCollum, not so much. Betty ran away from the guy who ran against her in 2008 (Ed Matthews), except for one debate and she was absolutely crushed in that. No one saw it, though.

If McCollum shares a stage with Collett and anyone reports on it, ol’ Betty could be in trouble.

Mr. D on August 23, 2010 at 6:30 PM

McCollum appears to have slept through this campaign so far…

Martha Coakley redux….

YehuditTX on August 23, 2010 at 6:41 PM

canopfor on August 23, 2010 at 3:52 PM
Just beautiful!

Laura in Maryland on August 23, 2010 at 4:04 PM

Laura in Maryland:)

canopfor on August 23, 2010 at 6:43 PM

How can it be possible for the Democrats to loose both Teddy Kennedy’s Senate seat and the House seat representing his home town fall into “enemy hands” so soon after his death?

turfmann on August 23, 2010 at 3:43 PM

In death, Teddy had his dreams come true.

Slowburn on August 23, 2010 at 7:43 PM

Ilario Pantano is of the NRCC’s Young Guns, though I’m not entirely clear on how that has helped him. He’s been raising funds on his own for half a year. He’s out-raised the incumbent 2-1 in the first and second quarters. What does the guy have to do to raise some REAL dough from around the country? The 14 year incumbent has a $1 million war chest and we’ve got 70 days left.

Can Pantano get some love from HotAir with a little more coverage of his hard fought campaign? He’s out there kickin’ incumbent tail and you guys haven’t really noticed (AP and EM). That seat has been Democrat for 140 and now it’s a toss up – that’s pretty f’n miraculous!

Redhead Infidel on August 24, 2010 at 9:35 AM

For those of us here in New Jersey, it is particularly heartening to see number three on Jim’s list:

3. Scott Sipprelle vs. Rush Holt, New Jersey’s 12th District.

Reasons the challenger should have no chance: Holt, elected in 1998, won 62 percent of the vote in 2008 and usually performs around that level.

Reasons the challenger has a chance: For some reason, the DNC felt the need to run ads defending Holt’s vote for the health-care bill. Sipprelle — a Princeton-based venture capitalist — had $490,000 in cash on hand as of June 30 and has committed to match at least the first $1 million in donations to his campaign. New Jersey was a reliably Democratic state until Chris Christie’s win last year; now Obama’s approval rating is even with his disapproval rating — 47–47 in Quinnipiac — and Holt remains one of the most liberal members of Congress. Christie won four of the five counties whose parts make up Holt’s district.

Incidentally, the link to Scott’s website on Jim’s post is broken, but it is linked correctly, above.

If I had a “tiny bit” of contention with Jim’s assessment, it would be with the following:

” . . . — and Holt remains one of the most liberal members of Congress.”

There, Jim! fify

And, if anyone has any additional doubts about that, check this out!

Politickernj has become a heavily democrat-leaning website (which you can probably tell from the majority of the comments). But even they recognize the story legitimacy in Scott’s comments. The site is owned by the son of the infamous “Mr. Moneybags,” Charles Kushner, Jim McGreevey’s biggest fan. He was the guy who finally went to jail for campaign contribution violations, and setting up his brother in law in a prostitution sting aimed at retaliating against his own sister for cooperation with the Feds!

It is true that only three Members of Congress attended the President’s now-infamous Friday the 13th endorsement of the “Mosque-O” project, which Obama promptly had to run away from within hours. As a result, it now it looks like we’re going to have to endure yet another preachy speech! Sometimes, Democrats just can’t shut up when they are losing.

The other two Members of Congress who were attendees at that Ramadan dinner at the White House were André Carson (D. IN-07) and John Conyers (D. MI-14). Understandably, Mr. Carson is himself a Muslim, and Mr. Conyers represents a large Muslim constituency in his district.

But for Rush Holt to attend sent a very bad message. Estimates are that well over 700 of the victims of 9/11 were residents of New Jersey. Sitting their smiling and clapping, while the President falsely tries to frame the planned erection of a 13-floor Mosque and cultural center in the shadow of 9/11, as a testament to our religious tolerance is a sharp stick in the eye to all but the most insensitive among us.

Holt, of course, refuses to talk about it now. “Mum’s the word!”

And understandably so!

Trochilus on August 24, 2010 at 9:52 AM

Haiku Guy on August 23, 2010 at 4:20 PM

Absolutely! What a beautiful thing that would be.

how many votes
of Pallone’s dislodged?
turning to Little

Trochilus on August 24, 2010 at 11:32 AM