House 2008

From 2006-2008, DCCC spent $14,421,187 on Democrats who will vote "no"

by: Chris Bowers

Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 15:03

It turns out that the biggest support of Democrats who will vote "no" on health reform is not the health insurance industry, but the Democratic Party itself.  Just take a look through the independent expenditure archive at Swing State Project, and compare them to David Dayen's latest whip count.

From 2006-2008, the DCCC made $14,421,187 in independent expenditures on behalf of elven members of the House of Representatives who are currently either "hard no" votes, or confirmed Stupak bloc, on the health reform bill.  Those eleven members of Congress are Adler (NJ-03), Arcuri (NY-24), Bright (AL-02), Childers (MS-01), Donnelly (IN-02), Driehaus (OH-01), Griffith (AL-05), Kissell (NC-08), Kratovil (MD-01), Minnick (ID-01), and Shuler (NC-11).

Additionally, the DCCC spent $21,328,946 on eleven members who are currently undecided: Altmire (PA-04), Carney (PA-10), Dahlkemper (PA-03), Ellsworth (IN-08), Kosmas (FL-24),  Hill (IN-09), Kanjorksi (PA-11), Mitchell (AZ-05), Perriello (VA-05), Space (OH-18) and Teague (NM-02).

The DCCC also spent a pile of money on the special elections featuring Travis Childers,  Bill Foster, Scott Murphy and Bill Owens in 2008-2009, although I could not find exact figures on how much they spent.  A safe assumption is that another $10,000,000 was spent in those campaigns, upping the overall total to around $45,000,000 on Democrats who are opposed, or undecided, on the health reform bill.

Furthermore, the DCCC spent $6,703,898 on just Dahlkemper, Donnelly, Driehaus and Ellsworth, all of whom are either Stupak bloc or "Stupak curious."

And to top it off, the DCCC is still actively raising money for nine "no" votes, (Adler, Arcuri, Bright, Childers, Driehuas, Kratovil, McMahon, Minnick, and Nye) along with a slew of undecideds (Carney, Dahlkemper, Foster, Hill, Kosmas, Mitchell, Scott Murphy, Owens, Perriello, Space and Teague).

The DCCC is the easily the largest source of funds for the Democrats who are holding up the health reform bill.  And, they show no signs of turning off the spigot for 2010.

There is a lot of buzz in the blogosphere about how Progressives in Congress are bad negotiators.  I'd have to say that serving as the Democratic Party serving as the primary source of funding source for the opposition to its legislative agenda takes bad negotiation up a couple orders of magnitude.

Oh yeah--and two committee chairs, Peterson and Skelton, oppose the health reform bill, too.  Sweet.

Update: Perriello is now a "yes" vote. So, the "undecided" numbers go down by $720,548.

Discuss :: (18 Comments)

GOP Makes Gains, But Not Ahead

by: Chris Bowers

Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 15:05

There are currently two competing, and demonstrably false, claims about the 2010 midterm elections:
  1. The Republican claim that they would win the House if the election were held today is not true.

  2. The counter-claim, or at least implied counter-claim, by some pro-Democratic bloggers that Republicans have made no gains is also not true.
The truth is, instead, in the middle. Republicans have made gains, but Democrats still lead.

This can be easily demonstrated through a look at congressional generic ballot polling over the last four months of both 2005 and 2007, as well as a look at polling over the last two months of 2009 (that is, August 15th forward).  Using archived data from Polling Report (for 2006), Real Clear Politics (for 2008), and a combination of and Polling Report for 2010 ( for most polls, but Polling report for Daily Kos, CBS, and NBC polls), we can quickly see that Republicans are in a better position than they were in either 2006 or 2008, but that they are still clearly behind Democrats:

Democratic Lead, Generic Congressional Ballot, Autumn 2009, 2007 and 2005
Methodology 2010 2008 2006
All Polls 3.8 11.2 9.3
1 Poll per Pollster 5.3 10.6 9.9
All Polls, no Rasmussen 6.0 10.0 9.3
1 Poll per pollster, No Rasmussen 6.0 9.5 9.9

  1. "All Polls" means every poll from every pollster, including multiple polls from pollsters with multiple polls.
  2. "1 Poll per Pollster" means the most recent poll from every pollster that conducted one in the given time frame
  3. the next two lines simply repeat #1 and #2, eliminating all Rasmussen polls
According to every measurement, even when Rasmussen polls are removed from the equation, Republicans are in a better position than they were in either the autumn of 2005 or the autumn of 2007. Even when it comes to the minimum gain of 3.5% gain for Republicans--represented in the fourth metric--there is still a greater than 90% chance that it is a real gain and not a statistical fluke.

At the same time, in every measurement, Democrats still hold a significant advantage well beyond the normal margin of error for polling averages of this sort. Even when all polls from every polling firm are included in the average--a method that currently shows Democrats only ahead by 3.8%--there is still a greater than 90% chance that Democrats would win the national House popular vote if the election were held today.

The data used in these calculations can be viewed here: comparing generic congressional ballot polls, one year out, 2010, 2008 and 2006. Simple polling averages were used. However, as I will argue in a few days, if enough polls are used in the averages, such simple means can actually produce 20-30% most accurate results than other poll-based forecasting / snapshot methods.

The bottom line is that it is very, very likely that Republicans are in a better position now than there were in 2006 and 2008, and that it is equally likely they are still losing. This may not be a breakthrough conclusion, as most political observers  probably intuitively sense this to be state of the current political environment. Still, I find that providing numbers to ground such discussions is always a useful exercise.

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Netroots Funding New Democrats, But Not Blue Dogs

by: Chris Bowers

Wed Apr 01, 2009 at 19:04

Yesterday I argued that the netroots were funneling millions to the Blue Dogs every cycle, and needed to completely turn off the spigot. Today, I spent some time trying to figure out just how much money the netroots were donating to the Blue Dogs every cycle. As it turns out, the totals are not very high.

First, 9.15% of all donations to the 35 House Democrats who were first elected in 2008, and who are still in Congress, came from Act Blue. For eighteen of those House newbies, Act Blue was the top donor overall. For another eight, Act Blue was the second largest donor. Overall, the totals are $5,820,075 was raised for these 35 Democratic Representatives on Act Blue, out of a total $63,583,306 in donations from a source other than self-financing.

Among the six Blue Dogs first elected in 2008 and still in Congress (Bright, Childers, Griffith, Kratovil, Minnick, Nye), $188,374 of the $9,422,494 they raised from a source other than self-financing came from Act Blue. Overall, this represents only 2.0% of their total fundraising.

Among the seven Progressives first elected in 2008 and still in Congress (Carson, Edwards, Fudge, Grayson, Lujan, Pingree, Richardson), $1,348,659 of the $8,800,177 they raised from a source other than self-financing came from Act Blue. Overall, this represents 15.33% of their overall fundraising. This is a far higher percentage than Blue Dog Act Blue fundraising, even if it is heavily concentrated in Pingree and Edwards.

There are at least 15 freshmen members of the New Democrat coalition. However, the only name I can confirm at this time is Andre Carson, who is also a member of the Progressive caucus. Removing both the Blue Dogs and the Progressives from the overall list, but keeping Carson, the remaining Democrats raised $4,374,144 of their $47,012,948 non-self financing from Act Blue. It is likely that this 9.30% is close to the overall percentage of New Democrat freshmen money raised on Act Blue, given that more than half of the 23 freshmen included in these totals are now in the New Democratic caucus.

So, this analysis suggests that the netroots aren't really funding the Blue Dogs much at all, but are instead pumping millions of dollars into New Democrat coffers (they use the term New Democrat, not New Democratic). While the netroots are a higher percentage of Progressive fundraising, overall we give more money to New Democrats.

This situation is not ideal, but it is better than funneling millions into Blue Dog coffers. Although I don't have updated numbers, previous analysis has suggested that the New Democrats are almost precisely equidistant from the Blue Dogs and Progressives in terms of voting patterns, and very slightly to the right of the Democratic caucus overall. Given the disproportionate Act Blue donations to Progressive frosh compared to Blue Dogs frosh, overall this probably means that netroots money is being spent on keeping the ideological balance of the caucus roughly at the status quo. As such, it is not the disastrous situation I made it out to be yesterday, but it is still something that must be improved upon in 2010. Our money needs to be going to push the caucus to the left, not keep it where it currently is.

(Notes: Numbers taken from Open Secrets. Freshman fundraising totals can be seen here. ActBlue contribution totals can be seen here. Candidate self-financing not included in overall contribution totals. Current server troubles have prevented me from uploading the chart I made with all these numbers.)

Discuss :: (13 Comments)

House Popular Vote, Fundraising Totals

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 13:37

The Green Papers has the final popular vote and fundraising totals for all 2008 U.S. House general election campaigns. The numbers are illuminating for at least two reasons (more in the extended entry):
There's More... :: (10 Comments, 620 words in story)

Still Counting and Recounting, December 15th

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 13:43

The 2008 elections are still not quite over. Here is the latest news on where things stand in the federal elections (Senate, President and House):

The current partisan balance of the Senate for the 111th Congress is 55 Democrats, 41 Republicans, 2 Independents (both of whom caucus with Democrats) and 2 undecided (Illinois, where there might be a special election and there might not be one, and Minnesota, currently undergoing a recount). Remarkably, in the Minnesota campaign, Democrat Al Franken is now likely to win. The Minnesota Secretary of State currently puts Coleman's margin at 188 votes, while the Star-Tribune puts it at 192 votes. Starting tomorrow, the state canvassing board will look at the 1,640 remaining challenged ballots. An AP analysis shows that when those challenges are resolved, Franken is likely to gain between 200-350 votes on Coleman, thus handing him victory (more in the extended entry):

There's More... :: (17 Comments, 752 words in story)

Still Counting, Recounting, and Runoffs, Part 3

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 21:00

Part three of my continuing series on the five congressional campaigns with undecided outcomes--Georgia Senate, Minnesota Senate, California 4th, Louisiana 4th, and Ohio 15th--can be found in the extended entry. There are important updates on all five campaigns.
There's More... :: (2 Comments, 804 words in story)

Still Counting, Recounting, and Runoffs, Part Two

by: Chris Bowers

Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 19:00

Here is the current balance of power in Congress:

56 Democrats
40 Republicans
2 Independents
2 Undecided

257 Democrats
175 Republicans
3 Undecided

These numbers are a little bit different than the ones you might be seeing at most election results sites. The reason is that I am allocating the Alaska Senate race, Louisiana's 2nd congressional district, and Virginia's 5th congressional district all to Democrats. I don't consider the ongoing counting or runoffs in those districts to have any realistic chance to change the outcome.

The two remaining Senate seats in my chart are Georgia (December 2nd run-off) and Minnesota (recount starts next week). The three remaining House seats are the California 4th (still counting 35,000 provisional and absentee ballots), the Louisiana 4th (December 6th run-off) and the Ohio 15th (still counting 27,000 provisional ballots, pending lawsuit) I discuss the current state of each of those campaigns in the extended entry.

There's More... :: (6 Comments, 912 words in story)

Still Counting, Recounting and Runoff Compendium

by: Chris Bowers

Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 16:30

( - promoted by Chris Bowers)

With the Alaska Senate campaign turning heavily in favor of Democrat Mark Begich, in the extended entry I provide a run-down of the five closest campaigns that have still not been called, who is likely to win each campaign, and what it means for the overall balance of power. All of that, plus election forecasting notes can be found in the extended entry.
There's More... :: (20 Comments, 906 words in story)

Better Democrats Outperform Blue Dogs

by: Chris Bowers

Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 18:30

Ed Kilgore writes that the candidates on the Better Democrats page actually outperformed the Blue Dogs this cycle:

According to Chris Bowers of OpenLeft, five members of ActBlue's BetterDemocrats list of reliably progressive House candidates were among those who won Republican seats last night: Alan Grayson of FL, Eric Massa of NY, Joshua Segall of AL, Tom Perriello of VA, and Gary Peters of MI. Two others, Darcy Burner of WA and Charlie Brown of CA, are in very close races that haven't yet been decided.

Meanwhile, according to an email from Blue Dog Coalition communications director Kristen Hawn, they're claiming Bobby Bright of AL and Walt Minnick of ID, who won Republican seats, plus Frank Kradovil of MD, who's in an undecided race. But of the four incumbent Democrats who lost, two (Nick Lampson of TX and Tim Mahoney of FL) were officially Blue Dogs, while the other two (Nancy Boyda of KS and Don Cazayoux of LA) were closely aligned with the Blue Dogs.

Now, turns out I was wrong, and Segall lost. Also, Charlie Brown wasn't on our list of candidates. Still, that makes four House victories, with Burner's campaign still pending. That tops the Blue Dog's performance, as they actually netted zero seats in Congress.

Further, according to an email I received earlier today, the Progressive Caucus projects eleven new members:

U.S. Representatives Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey,  Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), anticipate  adding up to 11 new CPC Members  in the 111th Congress.  This  could increase the size of the CPC to at least 84 Members, making it  by far the largest and most diverse sub-group among all Democrats in  the new 111th Congress -- an increase of up to 27 new House Members since Lee and Woolsey became CPC leaders.

Also, if Burner wins, all six of the original signers of the Responsible Plan to End the War In Iraq will be in Congress next year. Alan Grayson, the twelfth endorser, will join them.

With the Blue Dogs staying even while Better Democrats, the Progressive Caucus, and Responsible Plan candidates all gaining, it sure seems to me like we made not only more Democrats yesterday, but better ones too.

Discuss :: (22 Comments)

Recounting Where Things Stand

by: Chris Bowers

Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 13:35

In the extended entry, I take a quick look at where the campaigns for President, Senate and House currently stand. Lots of counting, and recounting, to be done.

More in the extended entry.

There's More... :: (44 Comments, 384 words in story)

House Results Thread (Updated)

by: Chris Bowers

Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 02:04

Democrats 257, Republicans 175, Undecided 3

Democratic Wins: AL-02, AL-05, AZ-01, AZ-05, CO-04, CT-04, FL-08, FL-24, GA-08, ID-01 (Minnick wins), IL-11, MD-01 (barely), MI-07, MI-09, NC-08, NH-01, NJ-03 (Adler late victory surge), NM-01, NM-02, NV-03, NY-13, NY-25, NY-29 (Massa wins), OH-01, OH-16, PA-03, PA-11, PA-12, VA-02, VA-05 (Perriello wins a squeaker!), VA-11

Tight (Within 5%): CA-04 (Brown down 451 votes with 100% reporting--no word on provisionals/absentees), WA-08 (Burner down 900 votes with 41% reporting)

Republican Wins: AK-AL, AL-03, AZ-03, CA-50, FL-13, FL-16, FL-18, FL-21, FL-25, IA-04, IL-10, IN-03, KS-02, KY-02, MN-02, MN-03, MN-06 (Bachman, blech), MO-09, NE-02, NJ-05, NJ-07, NV-02, NY-26, OH-02, OH-15, PA-15, SC-01, TX-07, TX-10, TX-22, VA-10, WY-01 (Trauner loses)

Districts yet to report: General election for LA-04 will occur in December

Note: If a race is not listed here, it is considered safe for the incumbent party. If any surprises occur, they will be added.

Discuss :: (22 Comments)

My Final Election Forecasts

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 22:30

This is it. My final forecasts for 2008:

Electoral Vote: Obama 338--200 McCain
National Popular Vote: Obama 53.1%--45.4% McCain

You can see my final percentage projections here. I decided to go with Obama in North Carolina even though the state was exactly tied. The reason is that most of Obama's vote is already in, while McCain still has to get his voters to the polls. That's enough of a tie-breaker for me. If a final North Carolina poll comes out showing McCain ahead by any margin at all, I reserve the right to change my forecast for the state (Update: ARG poll of the state shows Obama up 1% in NC. It functions as a tie-breaker. Update 2: Zogby final tracking poll moves 2 points to McCain, so that breaks the tie in the other direction). Oh--and the national popular vote is just a guess based on the national average. I'm only banking my methodology on the state results.


  • Democratic Pickups: Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon and Virginia.
  • Run-off in Georgia where we fight for the Employee Free Choice Act
  • Extremely narrow loss in Minnesota
  • If I have some free time tomorrow, I'll spruce up the final percentages, and post them here. More likely, I will finish them after the election, to test how well my methodology worked.
Best Guess: Democratic Pickup of 24 seats, for a total of D 260-175 R in the House.
Guess Range: 21-27
Read the entire final forecast here

Well, that was a fun year of forecasting elections. What have you got for your final numbers?

Discuss :: (37 Comments)

House Hopes, Fears And Forecasts--Your Call!

by: Paul Rosenberg

Sat Nov 01, 2008 at 19:00

It's your turn, folks.  We're almost done with this crazy, wonderful wild ride of an election cycle, and I want to invite everyone who's bold enough to step forward to share your hopes, fears and forecats of what's to come.  I'm starting this afternoon with the House, and will follow tomorrow with the Senate, and Monday with the big enchilada.  What I want to know is:

(1) What's your biggest hope for

(a) Electing someone to the House?  And why, of course, if you still have the strength to put that into words.

(b) Getting rid of someone in the House?  And, of course, why.

(2) What's your biggest fear of what we might not accomplish?  (Could be focused on one seat, one state, or the whole election.)

(3) What's your forecast of how well we'll do? (And, don't forget to double up by voting in the poll as well.)

For reference, the PDF of Chris's last forecast is  here, and the update diary summarizing changes is here.

I'm adding my own thoughts... in the comments, of course!

Discuss :: (33 Comments)

House Forecast, 10/30: Penultimate Update

by: Chris Bowers

Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 18:30

The new House Forecast is up. This will be my second-to-last House Forecast, with the final one coming on Monday. This week, I project a Democratic net gain of 19-26 seats, with my best guess at 23. This is down a bit from last week, when I forecasted a Democratic gain of 23-29 seats, with my best guess at 26. As with the Presidential and Senate campaigns, I am projecting a bit of movement back toward Republicans. Still, as with the Presidential and Senate campaigns, the overall picture is still excellent for Democrats. Here are the category changes:

Republican-held seats
  • FL-13 upgraded to "Lean Rep" from "Likely Rep"
  • FL-21 downgraded to "Lean Rep" from "Toss-up"
  • IA-04 upgraded to "Lean Rep" from "Likely Rep"
  • MD-01 downgraded to "Lean Rep" from "Toss-up"
  • MN-03 downgraded to "Toss-up" from "Lean Dem"
  • MO-06 downgraded to "Likely Rep" from "Lean Rep"
  • MO-09 downgraded to "Lean Rep" from "Toss-up"
  • NJ-05 upgraded to "Lean Rep" from "Likely Rep"
  • NM-02 downgraded to "Toss-up" from "Lean Dem"
  • NC-05 upgraded to "Likely Rep" from "Uncompetitive"
  • NC-10 upgraded to "Likely Rep" from "Uncompetitive"
  • PA-03 downgraded to "Toss-up" from "Lean Dem"
  • PA-15 downgraded to "Lean Rep" from "Toss-up"
  • SC-01 upgraded to "Lean Rep" from "Likely Rep"
  • SC-02 upgraded to "Likely Rep" from "Uncompetitive"
Democratic-held seats
  • KS-02 upgraded to "Lean Dem" from "Toss-up"
  • ME-01 downgraded to "Likely Dem" from "Uncompetitive"
  • PA-11 downgraded to "Lean Rep" from "Toss-up"
  • TX-22 downgraded to "Likely Rep" from "Toss-up"

Read the entire forecast here. No doubt, there will be many readers who consider my projection conservative. However, the local trend over the past few days does not feel strong for us, and so I have downgraded quite a few campaigns. The final projection comes out in four days.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Use It Or Lose It, Last Call

by: Chris Bowers

Tue Oct 28, 2008 at 00:30

It is Tuesday morning on the east coast.  Soon, it will be Tuesday in the entire country. Over the next day or two, all congressional campaigns will be making their final advertising purchases, if they have not done so already. So, not only will today be the final day of fundraising for candidates on Open Left, tonight is also the final night of Use It Or Lose It, 2008.

Today is probably the last useful day that a Democratic member of the House can send money to either the DCCC or directly to the campaign of Democratic challengers. So, tonight, leave a message at their campaign office asking them to do just that. Here is a list of good Democrats to call or email:

Democrats behind on their dues
Democrats facing token opposition

As I explained back on Saturday, it's better to leave a message than to call during the day. And here are some tips for making your calls or emails:

  • First, be polite, and thank the Democratic member of Congress for his or her work on behalf of Democrats so far in the campaign.
  • Second, stay positive, mention how we have dozens of great pickup opportunities, and how excited you are about that. It might help to mention a pickup opportunity in your state, which you can find here.
  • Third, be encouraging, not scolding, and say how great it would be if the member could chip in a bit more, and / or pay off outstanding DCCC dues.

Remember, this is the last day of the best campaign for House Democrats that we are going to see for quite a while. So, make a call, send an email, employ a carrier pigeon, whatever. Just contact a member of Congress near you on one of those two lists, and leave a message asking them to chip in a little more. Let's leave everything on the field / court / road in this election.

Discuss :: (8 Comments)
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