Monday, May 17, 2010

Watch the Pennsylvania 12th

Tim Burns has an even chance of winning the Congressional seat long held by John Murtha, who died earlier this year. Murtha was Congress's king-of-pork and had served as the Congressman in this district for more than two decades. It is 60 percent Democratic by party registration, but the district went for Gore in 2000 and Bush in in 2004 (which is interesting in of itself).

This is a must win for Democrats. Losing here would suggest as much as a 100 seat swing in the House of Representatives towards the Republicans in November. Both the Republican and Democratic candidates are running away from Obama and the health care debacle. (That seems to be true most places).

This is Pennsylvania's Scott Brown moment. I forecast that Burns will win and win handily. Why? For one thing, the district is the largest coal mining district in Pennsylvania and the Obama is coal-unfriendly, to put it mildly. For another, this district has gun toting, abortion-hating, Reagan democrats. I suspect they've seen and heard enough of Obama and are ready to go in another direction.

The other races, regardless of who wins, won't tell us much. Paul, Sestak, and Lincoln should win their races, but Lincoln may be forced into an embarassing and brutal runoff before she can reclaim the Democratic nomination for Senator in Arkansas. On Saturday, watch for Hawaii to elect a Republican, Charles Djou, their new Congressman in a bizarre three way race. It's hard to imagine Djou surviving his re-election in November, when it's just one Republican against one Democrat, in such a heavily Democratic district, but who knows.

Rand Paul, in Kentucky, is by far the most interesting candidate in Tuesday's elections. He should win the Kentucky Republican nomination easily over party favorite, Tray Grayson. Polls show, contracy to Democratic chatter, that he will win the general election easily as well. Mitch McConnell, the Senior Senator from Kentucky endorsed Grayson to his chagrin. A new Paul in Congress would be a welcome addition. His father, represents a middle class Congressional district just outside of Houston, Texas. Congressman Paul and his son are thoughtful libertarians and not afraid to tell it like it is.

The only race that could upset the landscape is if the Republicans win the 12th District Congressional seat in Pennsylvania. That would forecast a tsunami this November, sweeping the Obama supporters from control of the House and possibly the Senate as well.

Thanks you, Mr. President.