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Part I: Weak Elephants
Part II: New Elephants
Part III: Elephants on the Run
Part IV: Sleeping With the Elephants

This diary looks at swing districts that Democrats frequently pass on because the Republican incumbent is "not like the others."  That kind of sentimentality should be over.  Every single Republican voted for anti-marriage court stripping legislation.  "But, but, Chris Shays and Nancy Johnson didn't, and I think some others . . . " Yes, they did.  They voted to put people like Delay and Hastert in charge, and they'll keep doing it as long as they keep going back.  Moreover, as demonstrated by the Progressive Punch ranking system, the most progressive Republican still votes more conservatively than the most conservative Democrat in the House.  One argument sometimes raised to excuse voting for these individuals is that "we need to have somebody rational to deal with on the other side."  Hooey.  The fewer people the Republicans have to trot out to camouflage their ugliness, the better.
It's time to take as many of these people down as we can.

Fortunately, many of these individuals are also among the most vulnerable Republicans, for a few reasons.

  1.  Republicans don't generally vote against their party because they are principled people of conscience.  They do it because they'd get their livers handed to them in a sack on election day if they consistently voted against the preferences of their constituents.  A few token "maverick" votes here and there and a lot of constituent service goes a long way.  However, this means that there are many things about Republican policy in general that their constituents just don't like.
  2.  Republican leadership HATES the Arlen Specters of the world.  Showing his true cowardly colors, Specter is now tacking right as fast as he can in response to a primary challenge from Toomey (and, probably, an awareness that if his party has to make tough choices in October, he's not currently one of the people who will get scarce resources).  It's much harder to do that in a Congressional district, which has its own unique demographics, preferences, etc.
  3.  They're losing the fire in their bellies.  It's not fun anymore being the party in power when your leader is a corrupt, sociopathic dolt and there's no one with whom you can commiserate.  Put them out of their misery.

Nearly 50 Democratic representatives have Progressive Punch ratings higher than 90.  All 206 Democrats have ratings at least as high as 46.  All Republicans, have ratings less than 31, and 176 of them have ratings in single digits.
The districts with the 15 most "liberal" Republicans follow:

CT-04
207   30.94  Shays, Christopher    R  CT
His opponent is Diane Farrell

NY-24
208   30.46  Boehlert, Sherwood    R  NY
Sherry Boehlert is opposed by Jeff Miller

IA-02
209   27.93  Leach, James A.    R  IA  
His opponent is Dave Franker

CT-05
210   26.83  Johnson, Nancy L.    R  CT  
Her opponent is Rob Marconi

TX-14
211   24.59  Paul, Ron    R  TX  
Ron Paul is unopposed this cycle.

NY-29
212   23.36  Houghton, Amo    R  NY  
Houghton is retiring.  Samara Barend is the likely Democratic candidate.

NJ-04
213   21.94  Smith, Christopher H.    R  NJ  
Smith is opposed by Amy Vasquez

DE-At Large
214   21.46  Castle, Michael N.    R  DE  
Castle faces a last minute filer, Paul Donnelly.

MN-03
215   20.00  Ramstad, Jim    R  MN
Ramstad's opponent is Deborah Watts

MD-01
216   19.65  Gilchrest, Wayne T.    R  MD  
Gilchrest's opponent is Kostas Alexakis

PA-08
217   18.95  Greenwood, James C.    R  PA  
Greenwood out.  Put Ginny Schrader in.

NY-19
218   18.75  Kelly, Sue W.    R  NY  
Kelly is opposed by Janine Selendy

NJ-02
219   18.47  LoBiondo, Frank A.    R  NJ
LoBiondo faces scattered opposition.  Democratic candidate Tim Robb has no web site.

CT-02
220   18.23  Simmons, Rob    R  CT  
Simmons' opponent is Jim Sullivan.

MI-03
221   17.56  Ehlers, Vernon J.    R  MI  
Ehlers' opponent is Pete Hickey.

Not surprisingly, there is overlap with the districts mentioned in Part IV: Sleeping with the Elephants, which voted for Al Gore in 2000.

Originally posted to DelRPCV on Sun Jul 25, 2004 at 12:00 AM PDT.

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