Looking at November in January

The Republicans are hopeful that they will take over the House and the Senate.  When it is the 5th of January, anything is possible, but there are some signs that it might not be easy – especially in the House.

Writing in today’s Washington Post, Chris Cillizza writes about Republican House retirements.

While the recent political chatter in Washington has focused on Democrats retiring from Congress, Republicans are leaving the House in greater numbers, a trend that could blunt the party’s momentum heading into the November midterm elections.

Rep. Henry E. Brown Jr. (S.C.) on Monday became the 14th Republican to announce that he will not run for reelection this year. Ten Democrats have said the same, including an attention-grabbing four in the past two months from swing and Republican-leaning districts.

A broad look at those seats suggests more parity, in terms of the two parties’ opportunities and vulnerabilities, than conventional wisdom would suggest.

There are also potential money problems for Republicans.  Politico reported the other day

The National Republican Congressional Committee, the key cog in helping to finance GOP campaigns, has banked less than a third as much money as its Democratic counterpart and is ending the year with barely enough money to fully finance a single House race — no less the dozens that will be in play come 2010.

 A big part of the problem, according to Republican strategists, is that GOP members themselves — the ones who stand the most to gain from large-scale House gains — haven’t chipped in accordingly, despite evidence of solid opportunities in at least 40 districts next year and with as many as 80 seats in play, according to the Cook Political Report’s estimates.

The fundraising disparity between the two committees is striking: The DCCC outraised the NRCC this year by more than $18 million, according to FEC figures at the end of November. The NRCC has only $4.3 million left in its campaign account — with more than $2 million in debt — leaving it with just a pittance to fund the dozens of races it hopes to aggressively contest.

The DCCC, meanwhile, is sitting on a $15.3 million nest egg (with $2.6 million owed), steadily expanding its cash-on-hand advantage over Republicans throughout the year.

It is always possible that more Democrats will retire (Senator Dorgan – D  N.D. just announced he was not going to seek reelection for example) and change the equation again, right now it does not look as if the Republicans can retake the House.  Lose some seats, yes, but not enough to lose the majority.  It is also possible that the Republicans will start coughing up more money.  January is very early.

But there is a Senatorial election here is Massachusetts in two weeks.  While one poll shows Republican Scott Brown within single digits, it is curious that he is getting no financial support from national Republicans.  Is this a concession to Martha Coakely?  If you think about it the Rasmussen Poll could help Martha by making her supporter nervous enough to work hard to get out the vote. 

I think Massachusetts is safe for the Democrats, but the rest of the Senate is unclear.

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