Saturday, March 27, 2010

U.S. House special elections provide clues to shape of November showdown

Excellent rundown on the midterm Congressional elections by the Los Angeles Times.

Edward Lynch, a Republican running for Congress in South Florida for a second time, says he can tell a marked difference between the mood of the electorate now and during his first campaign two years ago.

"This year, they gave me a standing ovation," Lynch said of a recent campaign event. "Last time, they spit on me."

He's a candidate in one of five special elections in the coming weeks to fill vacant House seats that could provide clues about just how ugly November could be for the Democratic Party. The GOP hopes that a disaffected public soured on the economy and the healthcare overhaul translates into large gains in this year's congressional races.

Democratic strategists are less worried about the April 13 election pitting Lynch against Democrat Ted Deutch in this heavily Democratic district than they are about coming face-offs in Hawaii, Pennsylvania and New York. All are shaping up to be close contests -- and a GOP victory in any would resonate both politically and symbolically. A seat in a fifth race in a conservative Georgia district is widely expected to remain in Republican hands.

The contests have "the potential to be the next turning point in this election cycle," said David Wasserman, who follows House races for the Cook Political Report. "If the Democrats hold onto all their seats, it will be difficult for Republicans to claim they can execute in these regions."

They can also serve as a windows into the way campaigns will frame issues in this fall's races, with Republicans hammering Democrats over the healthcare bill and spending, and Democrats casting Republicans as do-nothings who advocate the privatization of Medicare and Social Security.

Read full article here.

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