Thursday, May 06, 2010
David Obey’s retirement announcement reshuffles the House deck for both parties. Democrats are scrambling to ensure other veteran Democrats do not follow suit, after thinking that the retirement tide had been stemmed. For Republicans the odds of a House majority do not look quite as long now that one of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s key allies has sidestepped a November reelection battle.
As for the WI-7 race, Republicans were always high on their candidate, Sean Duffy. Now they believe the former Real World star and current district attorney has at least an even-money chance to win the seat. The NRCC has already stressed their continuing support for the first-time congressional candidate, indicating that they are unlikely to try to recruit a new candidate over his head even with the stark change in circumstances. Duffy has already raised significant amounts of money and now he will not have to pit his war chest against Obey’s significant cache. Instead, Duffy will have the fundraising head start and an edge as the more seasoned congressional candidate, if only by a matter of months.
For Democrats, this race is certainly still winnable. In an election cycle where retirements have doomed Democratic chances at more than a few seats, this open seat should be friendlier territory. For every positive sign though, there is a cause for caution. Both Obama and Kerry won this northern Wisconsin district, although Kerry’s victory was by the slimmest of margins. Obey has not faced a close race in the past fifteen years, but much of that is no doubt due to his decades of incumbency, an advantage his replacement on the ballot will not have.
While it is debatable just how Blue this district is, it is undeniably a Blue of some hue. And the Democratic bench is deep here with thirteen Democratic state legislators representing various parts of the district. Until it is known which of them, if any, throw their hats into the ring, the Crystal Ball rates this race as Leans Democratic .
Isaac T. Woods is the House Race Editor for Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia.
See Other Political Commentary
See Other Commentaries By Isaac T. Wood
Views expressed in this column are those of the author, not those of Rasmussen Reports.
Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.
We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.
Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $3.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.
To learn more about our methodology, click here.