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Thursday, April 13, 2006

More Pessimism

Posted by on April 13 at 10:38 AM

Yesterday I posted about pessimism over at DailyKos concerning the Democrats’ chances of taking over the House this November.

This morning the Washington Post also strikes a pessimistic tone:

An 18-month recruitment drive by the Democrats has produced nearly a dozen strong candidates with the potential for unseating House Republicans, but probably not enough to take back control of the House absent a massive anti-incumbent wave this fall, according to House political experts.

As I read this story, I wondered whether eastside Democrat Darcy Burner, who’s challenging Republican Congressman Dave Reichert in the 8th District, made the Post’s list of “strong candidates.” She didn’t, although it’s not clear whether she’s seen as one of those who could “ride a wave” of anti-Republican sentiment into office.

“If this election comes down to the individual, race-by-race, case-by-case campaigns, like we’ve seen for the last four cycles, the Democrats don’t have enough top-tier candidates to win 15 seats,” Amy Walters, a House political analyst at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, said, referring to a net gain. “But they do have enough second- and third-tier candidates who can ride a wave.

Political analysts divide the Democratic field into three tiers: the top-ranked challengers who pose a real threat to Republican incumbents, a second level of challengers who have a chance because of the Republicans’ problems nationally and their own competence on the stump, and a third tier of aspirants who have proved to be inept campaigners but who are running in swing districts that are susceptible to change.

There are a good number of Slog readers with strong opinions about Burner. Where do you guys rank Burner on this scale?

UPDATE: Whoops, should have read more closely. The Note points out this handy graphic, in which the Post ranks Burner in the third tier, which is defined as “races in swing districts where Democrats should have recruited stronger candidates.” Ouch.


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And since "former Microsoft Executive" is inaccurate as a job descriptor, they should have called her "First year law student" Darcy Burner.


They probably could have recruited somebody stronger (Ross Hunter comes readily to mind), though that is not to say Burner is DOA.

they just want you to panic.

meanwhile, in the real world, despite their attempts to make the media think Dems will lose, the reality is the GOP itself is figuring it will lose both the House and Senate.

Every once in awhile, I get a call from someone on the Hotline, National Journal, etc...asking me to comment on various races.

Those comments usually get printed verbatim as "what's going on in Washington State".

A bunch of DC insiders making calls here and then making assumptions based on a three minute conversation should not be used as a guage for whether the race is competitive.

I have watched Congressional races in Washington for the last twenty five years and Darcy is one of the strongest candidates I have seen.

She is working incredibly hard and doing all the right things (as witnessed by her amazing quarter of fundraising). If we can't win with Darcy in the 8th, I can't imagine how Democrats take back congress...

Maybe she'd be considered a stronger candidate if she was putting forward bold ideas on issues and policy instead of this being just about funraising and a win for one of the two parties.

But who really wants to hear "bold ideas on issues and policy"? If she wins, she's not going to get to bring any bold anythings to the table for a long time. She'll be a freshman, a foot soldier, a back bencher; and that's a fine, honorable thing to be.

Frankly, voting "no" on all Bush-related proposals is plenty bold enough for me. Because, you know, while you're waiting for your "bold ideas" messiah, the country's being driven off a cliff.

I agree with John Wyble's comment - most of the WashPost people are too lazy to even be up on the races here in WA, CA, OR, and MT - a lot of us diss their cluelessness constantly on the WashPost blogs, so I wouldn't worry about anything.

The only reason they even listed the WA-8 race is two of us flamed them so badly for not listing anything in our entire state.

I wish our candidates for Congress could travel around their districts talking about their big, bold ideas for the country, but unfortunately that's not how politics works.

Darcy will need about $2 million to be truly competitive with Reichert, and much of her ability to raise that money will depend on whether big donors in and out of Washington state think she's viable. And those folks usually determine viability by how well a candidate can raise money on her own in these early stages.

She had a GREAT 1st quarter, and I expect that she'll need to focus on fundraising heavily this quarter too, but I don't doubt that by late summer and fall – when those critical swing voters start paying attention – she'll be out there offering a clear and convincing contrast between her vision for America and Reichert’s right-wing voting record.

As James Carville said in 1992, it's all about "change versus more of the same."

So... um... WAPO said so... so it must be true?

Ross Hunter could have had the nomination, and he chose not to run. But the only thing he would have brought to the table was some name recognition and a couple of campaigns under his belt. Darcy Burner is smarter, harder working, and a better match for the entire district.

Hell... if Darcy is typical of the Dems third-tier candidates, then we're going to kick ass in November.

Darcy Burner is smarter, harder working, and a better match for the entire district.

Wait... Goldy, how do you know this is true? Please elaborate.

The reason Burner isn't considered a great candidate is because she has no previous experience winning elections. This is the single greatest predictor of whether a congressional candidate can win (although obviously it's not a simple prerequisite - every 2 years someone wins a seat without any previous experience).

If you look at the first tier, all of the candidates hold office right now, with the exception of Lois Murphy and Diane Farrell, who were both in extremely close elections for the same seats last cycle.

The second tier candidates are mostly ones with previous electoral experience that are running in somewhat tougher districts.

I agree, the ideal candidate would have been Ross Hunter... he was looking into it, but for whatever reason he didn't run.

Goldy is guessing.

He is star struck. Bruner bought him dinner and flirted.

Richert voted to throw illegals in jail.......the new wave of populist activism plus Bush negatives will defeat him.

The opponent could have been any one of six or seven names. Darcy girl wins -- If righties let the elections happen.

Bruner is going to 2 points.

And look at the freaking chart. She's still listed as a "former Microsoft Executive" despite the controversy. You'd think she'd have the brains to dispel the controversy and get the media in sync on an appropriate label. But no, Reps will ride her into the ground on this. This shows a severe lack of PR coordination. Amature. She's got very little chance. I agree with Jaws. Goldy appears to be quite star struck. But realism has never been our strong suit.

Look now

Look now

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Best in the best

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