Battlegrounds: US House of Representatives


Both the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee are starting to engage in classic pack hunting behavior. They are already engaging in the act of separating the potentially weak and seemingly vulnerable from the pack on the opposite side of the aisle and looking to install one of their own in the seat in 2010.

In such districts, the 2010 midterms are already underway.

The Democrats are going after vulnerable Republicans who failed to support a supplemental bill to fund military activities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Republicans objected to some of the riders, but during the Bush years, many of the same Republicans did the exact same thing to Democrats – loaded up a was funding bill with items unpalatable to Democratic tastes, then targeted them for failure to support the troops.

The Republicans think that a number of Democrats in either their freshman or sophomore term in office are vulnerable. Well, to be honest, both parties always think freshmen in particular are vulnerable, particularly if the took the seat from the rival party.

But these particular Democrats are in the crosshairs because they supported a controversial energy bill that Republicans feel won’t fly in certain swing districts, particularly if voters see their energy expenditures rising as a result of the bill, which seeks to address global warming concerns.

Then there is a third category or House district – one in which the current seat holder is looking for a promotion. CQ Politics notes several districts where the incumbent has an eye on a higher (or at least different) office. In many cases, the abandoned seat is in a safe district and not likely to change hands, but whenever two candidates face off in an incumbent-free contest, the wild card variables increase exponentially and DCCC and NRCC are more likely to invest in the race.

Here is a list of incumbents and districts that may be hot spots in 2010:

Arthur Davis (D-AL-7): Will or may run for governor
Dan Lungren (R-CA-3): Already targeted by DCCC
Ken Calvert (R-CA-44): Already targeted by DCCC
Betsy Markey (D-CO-4): Already targeted by NRCC
Alan Grayson (D-FL-8): Already targeted by NRCC
Kendrick B. Meek (D-FL-17): Will or may run for Senate
Adam H. Putnam (R-FL-12): Will or may run for other office
Nathan Deal (R-GA-9): Will or may run for governor
Neil Abercrombie (D-HI-1): Will or may run for governor
Jerry Moran (R-KS-1): Will or may run for Senate
Todd Tiahrt (R-KS-4): Will or may run for Senate
Peter Hoekstra (R-MI-2): Will or may run for governor
Roy Blunt (R-MO-7): Will or may run for Senate
Lee Terry (R-NE-2): Already targeted by DCCC
Paul W. Hodes (D-NH-2): Will or may run for Senate
Harry Teague (D-NM-2): Already targeted by NRCC
John Boccieri (D-OH-16): Already targeted by NRCC
Zack Space (D-OH-18): Already targeted by NRCC
Mary Fallin (R-OK-5): Will or may run for governor
Jim Gerlach (R-PA-6): Already targeted by DCCC
Joe Sestak (D-PA-7): Will or may run for Senate
Charlie Dent (R-PA-15): Already targeted by DCCC
Joe Wilson (R-SC-2): Already targeted by DCCC
J. Gresham Barrett (R-SC-3): Will or may run for governor
Zach Wamp (R-TN-3): Will or may run for governor
Mike McCaul (R-TX-10): Already targeted by DCCC
Tom Perriello (D-VA-5): Already targeted by NRCC

RBR/TVBR observation: Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to be ready and willing to put your local audience, full of eligible voters, at the disposal not only of the candidates listed here, but their opponents as well.

Dollars in the cash register look exactly the same, whether they came from the wallet of a Republican, a Democrat, a Green, an Independent, a Whig, a Tory, or whatever.

Not only will you be broadcasting in the public interest by making sure all viewpoints have an equal opportunity to be heard, you will also be enriching your own bank account to the maximum degree possible.

The bottom line is to know your audience, and let the political operatives know who you reach as well. The ideal way to capture a big share of the political pie is to have strong news and information programming, but even if you don’t, you can snag bagfuls of cash by providing access to an otherwise difficult to reach demographic.

In short, no matter what kind of television or radio station you are running, be aware of what’s going on politically in your district and don’t be afraid to go for the gold.