Friday, May 05, 2006

Battleground Northeast

The New York Times did a good write up on the Democrats' efforts to win back the House by picking up seats in the Northeast:

In the battle for control of the House of Representatives, Democrats are concentrating their efforts on defeating a particularly resilient set of opponents, Northeast Republicans who have held their seats despite the region's tendency to vote Democratic.

Independent analysts say there are at least a dozen competitive races in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Connecticut, many involving districts where voters have supported Democrats for president in recent elections while electing Republicans to Congress.

Now, with many polls showing President Bush's support at its lowest level yet, Democrats in those districts are running heavily against the president, hoping to tie Republican incumbents to his agenda. The Democrats need to pick up 15 seats to take control of the House, where Republicans have had a majority since 1994. Party strategists believe that the Northeast, with the largest number of potentially competitive battles, could provide Democrats with the bulk of those seats.


The political climate in the Northeast is such that even Representative Thomas M. Reynolds, an influential western New York congressman who is the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, has to keep an eye on his own seat.


The Northeast has long had a relatively large number of swing districts where Republicans are often viewed as an endangered group. Many Republicans in the region have survived by embracing a more moderate brand of politics, disagreeing with the Southern Conservatives who dominate their national party on issues like abortion rights, gay rights, gun control and labor. But this year could be tougher for even Republican centrists in the Northeast, analysts say, because of the problems that have been plaguing the president and his party since last year.


The dozen Congressional Republicans that Democrats are focusing on include eight representatives from districts where President Bush lost in the presidential election of 2004. Perhaps more problematic for these Republicans is the fact that voters in their states seem to have greater misgivings about the direction of the nation under Mr. Bush than voters elsewhere.


Even Democrats concede that it is hard to imagine how their party could reduce a Republican majority without gains in Connecticut and New York, where Democrats are mounting competitive challenges against two prominent Republican incumbents, John E. Sweeney in the 20th District in the Albany region and James T. Walsh in the 25th District in the Syracuse region.

The NYT also has a graphic to go along with it which includes Jimbo's seat.

In 1994, a big part of the Republicans pick up came from the South, where the Democrats had lost touch with their constituents' views on the issues. The Northeast is shaping up that way for Republicans in 2006.


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