Potential for Democratic pickups under new maps
by Brian Leubitz
With only a longshot of a federal court challenge remaining, it looks like the new Congressional maps will go into effect for the June “primary” election. And with that, there is the possibility of a few seats changing hands in the House. Currently, we have 19 Republicans and 34 Democrats, but if Nancy Pelosi is to retake the gavel, she’ll likely need to pick up a few next year.
In Larry Sabato’s 2012 House ratings (h/t Bee), which are something of an institution among the many prognosticators in the business these days, he thinks there is at least one “likely” pickup for Democrats.
Who’s that, you ask? Well that would be one Jerry Lewis, the self-dealing walking corruption scandal. I mean, any Republican has to know it is bad when Andrew Breitbart’s website sends a letter to Speaker Boehner against you. He’s avoided a couple vigorous challenges in the last few go-rounds. However, his district has changed since 2010. He now is in a district that went for Obama by 7 points and could end up getting even a smidge crazier if a few incumbents end up jumping around. At this point, Russ Warner and Renea Wickman are the two Democrats campaigning.
But, there is one other large factor out there that Tony Quinn brings up today at Fox and Hounds:
December’s Field Poll on the 2012 presidential contest, which shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney by 10 points and Newt Gingrich by 20 points, also gives us a few clues about the outcome of next year’s congressional races. The survey suggests that if Romney heads the GOP ticket, Republicans might do all right in the congressional contests; if Gingrich heads the ticket, they could take a bath.
That is because federal races have now become nationalized, and California voters may be less likely to split their tickets between president and congress than they were in the past. California had very few hotly contested congressional races under the gerrymandered plan in effect for the past decade. The 11th Congressional District that covered parts of the East Bay and San Joaquin County was the only one to change hands; Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney won it by ousting a Republican incumbent in 2006.
A Gingrich nomination could result in another Obama blowout similar to 2008 numbers. With these new maps, that could very easily end up with another seat or two in the Democratic column. And with the very real possibility of control of the House being determined by a few seats on either side, it could make a very big difference across the country.
So, you know, Go Newt!?!?