|1. Franken/Coleman. No other new member of Congress next year would get more attention than Franken, and there would be no more powerful symbol of how much politics is changing than an openly progressive basher of the right-wing beating a mealymouthed so-called moderate and party-changer who actually votes with the hard-line Republicans on everything that matters. Plus Minnesota is an important swing state Presidentially, so Franken doing well would help Obama win here.
2. Burner/Reichert. An up-from-the-grassroots progressive, linked closely to the netroots movement, taking out a staunch conservative in a classic swing district? Nothing would be sweeter, or a better symbol of progressive resurgence. Of all the House races, this also goes to the top of the list because of Darcy's authorship of the Responsible Plan to End the War. We need to win this one.
3. Lunsford/McConnell. I know, I know, Lunsford's not our kind of Democrat. Howie Klein is going to be really mad at me for putting him on the list. But there is just nothing like taking out the other side's leader for shaking a party to its core. In all the carnage of 1994 and 2004, nothing freaked out Democrats more than losing Foley and Daschle. And McConnell is a particularly effective leader for them. Even if Lunsford turns out to be a Lieberman, it would still be worth it to take down McConnell.
4./5. (tie) Allen/Collins and Merkley/Smith. In my mind, these races are very similar: really solid progressives in leaning blue states with a slightly uphill chance to take out a pretend moderate Republicans. If the Democratic tide is rising, I think we can win both of these.
6. Begich/Stevens. Taking out "Mr. The Internet is a Series of Tubes," Taking out "Mr. Bridge to Nowhere," Taking out perhaps the single biggest example of Republican corruption now that DeLay is gone...It would be one of the biggest and best stories of the year.
7. Feder/Wolf. This one may surprise you, because VA-10 is a very tough district, and Judy- while being a remarkable candidate and raising a ton of money- is a ways from the top of the DCCC targeting. VA is a really important state in Presidential politics, though, and winning upsets in the DC market gets lots of national media attention and shakes people up (see Donna Edwards). But I mostly have her on this list because of Judy's savvy knowledge and passion on health care- if she is in the Congress, it improves our odds dramatically of getting a good universal health reform bill passed. Given her knowledge, skill, and connections, she would be one of the highest impact freshman members of Congress of all time.
8. Kilroy/Stivers. Ohio is the most important Presidential state in the country, and Obama needs to win the Columbus region big in order to win it. The other big reason to include this one is that it would be another GOP Congressional leader's district we'd be taking, adding to the DeLay and Hastert seats we already won (and hopefully will win again). If we end this cycle having picked up three of the top four old Republican leaders' districts from a couple of years, that will be a huge story symbolizing true sea change.
9. Slattery/Roberts. Beating the top Republican on Intelligence, the guy who has stood in the way on so many moments of accountability on intelligence issues would be a huge blow to the Republican security apparatus. And since it's Kansas, between Obama's roots and the inevitable What's the Matter with Kansas conversations this would provoke related to Thomas Frank's book, the symbolism would be huge.
10. Kleeb/Johanns. I made my case earlier as to why I think this is a winnable race. In fact, I think it's a better shot for us, a better shot at a 60th seat, than NC or TX, which are far more expensive states to get our message out in.
I have set up an ActBlue page where you can go and support any of all of these candidates, so if I've convinced you, give it a go. Helping them now will really make an impact to show their strength when the June 30 FEC filings are made public.