One of our unswervingly conservative advocates has posited that the reason why Republicans lost control of both branches of Congress during the 2006 elections was not “just because conservatives were fed up with RINO’s and stayed home (and they were and that was a part of it). Democrats won in 2006 because they ran ‘conservative’ Democrats who were more to the right on some issues than some of the candidates in the Republican Party. This was a clever scheme by the Democrat leadership, and it worked!”
Quite apart from the vagueness of the “some of the — some of the” hedge, this assertion didn’t quite ring true to me, even if it seem to be a repetition of a standard claim of Rush Limbaugh -a normally unimpeachable source of information.
So I examined the results of the 2006 HOUSE races that involved open- or incumbent-Republican seats that the party candidate lost, and examined both republican and democrat candidate to see if the theory held. This is what I found:
Arizona 5th – J. D. Hayworth, a 12 year incumbent, was one of the most conservative members of the Congress (ACU 97.6%), and lost to Harry Mitchell, a 16 year mayor Tempe and state senator. Mitchell was a moderate with a big green streak. I don’t see any “some of – some of” saving El Rushbo in this one.
Dems 1, Repubs 0 — El Rushbo 0
Arizona 8th – an open seat vacated by Jim Kolbe, where Randy Graf (Kolbe’s 2004 primary challenger) emerged from a 15-candidate Republican primary with the toughest immigration stance in the race. He lost to Gabrielle Gifford, the youngest woman ever to serve in the state senate, who ran to the left of Graf as a left-centrist with a tough anti-war stance and a moderate immigration stance. Where’s the summa – summa in this one?
Dems 2 Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 0
California 11th – Richard Pombo, a 14 year incumbent cattle rancher ( ACU 95.8%), lost to Jerry McNerny in a close race that hinged on the war and corruption in Washington. The summa the parts is less that the hole.
Colorado 7th – another open seat after Bob Beauprez (ACU 96%), who only won re-election in 2004 by 121 votes, vacated the seat to run for Governor. Democrat arch-liberal State Senator Ed Perlmutter defeated staunch conservative State Education Chairman Rick O’Donnell handily. Summa sad.
Dems 3 – Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 0
Connecticut 2nd – Incumbent moderate Robert Simmons (ACU 53.3%, still the most conservative of the entire state delegation), was narrowly defeated in a rematch by state representative and attorney Joe Courtney, an arch-liberal who was endorsed by practically every labor union in the state. Summora libtard cake.
Dems 4 – Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 0
Connecticut 5th – Incumbent moderate Nancy Johnson lost to state senator Chris Murphy after Murphy tied her to Bush and the Iraq war. Murphy’s first term has been marked by his calling the U. S. Senate “a threat to democracy.” Summa cum lordie!
Dems 5 – Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 0
Florida 16th – an open seat resulting from the resignation of national disgrace Mark Foley. Despite not even being on the ballot, Republican state representative Joe Negron managed to lose (with Foley’s votes) by less than 2%. The victor, Tim Mahoney, was a businessman with no political track record – but he was a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, so in fairness, let’s give El Rushbo a win here. Summa benefitadadout.
Dems 5 – Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 1
Florida 22nd – 26 year incumbent Clay Shaw lost to state senator Ron Klein by a narrow margin. Shaw was a moderate-conservative (ACU 81.4%) running against a Jewish moderate in a heavily Jewish district. The race focused on social security and the war. Summa Shiva!
Dems 6 – Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 1
Indiana 2nd – 4 year incumbent Chris (“Count”) Chocula, a Warren Buffet millionaire who didn’t even live in the congressional district, had a 96% ACU rating, losing by over 16,000 votes to lawyer Joe Donnelly, a pro-life, pro-gun, anti-amnesty conservative Dem. His record is no more conservative than Chocula’s. Suma-draw.
Dems 7 – Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 1
Indiana 8th – Incumbent John Hostetler (ACU 89.4%) got smoked by challenger, county sheriff Brad Ellsworth who raised four times as much money and took advantage of Hostetler’s incomprehensible defense of his bizarre voting record. I’ll give this one to El Rushbo, but it almost wasn’t fair that the nitwit ever made it to congress in the first place. Suma Kinda Mizmach.
Dems 8 – Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 2
Indiana 9th – Another incumbent, Michael Sodrel (ACU 90%), strongly pro-life and pro-gun, lost his first re-election race to Baron Hill, the 6 yr. incumbent Sodrel beat in 2004 (their 3rd match-up). The margin was over 10,000 (4%). Another very conservative district, but nothing about Hill out-rights Sodrel. Sum Persona Problema.
Dems 9 – Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 2
Iowa 1st – An open seat due to Jim Nussle’s run for Governor. Mike Whalen, a businessman with no prior political experience, lost to Bruce Braley, head of the Iowa Trial Lawyers Association. Whalen matched Braley on immigration and increasing the minimum wage, and fumbled a position on ethanol, suicide in that area. An ideological draw, with Braley spending a ton of money. Sum ethanola ignora.
Dems 10 – Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 2 ½
Kansas 2nd – 10 yr. incumbent national track star Jim Ryun (ACU 97.7%) lost his rematch to Karen Boyda in a narrow race in which Boyda opposed a border fence, supported amnesty and participated in anti-war protests. No contest here. Summa antibusha mania.
Dems 10 – Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 2 ½
Kentucky 2nd – 10 yr. incumbent Anne Northrup (ACU 85.6%) lost to John Yarmuth by less than 6,000 votes. Yarmuth, a former Republican who opposed the war and the Bush tax cuts and supported national universal health care. Summora antibusha mania.
Dems 11 – Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 2 ½
Minnesota 1st – 12 yr. incumbent Gil Gutknecht (ACU 94.1%) lost handily to teacher Timothy Walz in a race that focused on anti-Bush sentiment, the war and corruption. Evenmora antibusha mania.
Dems 12 – Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 2 ½
New Hampshire 2nd – Moderate incumbent Charlie Bass (ACU 70%) was beat handily by Paul Hodes in a rematch. As moderate as Bass was, nobody sane would argue that Hodes competed with him for the right of center. He was anti-war, anti-Patriot Act, pro-choice and pro-universal health. Derangement syndroma maxima.
Dems 13 – Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 2 ½
New York 20th – 8 yr. incumbent John Sweeney (ACU 75%) lost to former Clinton administration counsel Kristen Gillibrand, a first-time candidate with huge NYC connections and a ton of money. Sweeney began the race with a 14 point lead, but squandered it among some of the nastiest campaign charges and counter-charges of the election season. The race focused heavily on the war and corruption. Mudslinga minora.
Dems 14 – Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 2 ½
New York 24th – a solidly republican area, formerly represented by Sherwood Boehlert (ACU 40.1%) until redistricted, always represented by moderate republicans. Race featured heavy dem spending and nasty attacks – Dem former D.A. Michael Arcuri supported raising minimum wage, troop pullout and universal health care and won handily. Outfoxa Republaminora.
Dems 15 – Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 2 ½
North Carolina 11th – 16 yr incumbent Charles Taylor (ACU 92.1%) lost handily to former NFL quarterback Heath Shuler. The district had see-sawed back and forth during the 80’s until the dems gerrymandered it D, but Taylor held on nevertheless. Taylor had corruption problems galore (loan scandals at his bank, financial ties to Russia, contributions from Abrahamoff) and blocked federal funding for a Flight 93 memorial. Shuler was no liberal, but he did support universal health care and timetables for withdrawal. Lossajocka.
Dems 16 – Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 2 ½
Ohio 6th – open seat in a district held by Dem Tod Strickland (ACU 10%) for a decade. State Senator Charles Wilson won with 62% over Charles Blasdel, an investment advisor with no political experience. Rookalossa.
Dems 17 – Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 2 ½
Ohio 18th – another open seat due to Bob Ney’s (ACU 85%) withdrawal (due to scandal) won by Dem attorney Zachary Space, 2 to 1 over Ney’s hand-picked successor, state senator Joy Padgett, who had filed for bankruptcy and defaulted on an SBA loan. Needless to say, corruption (and Padgett’s woes) was a focus. Sleezalossa.
Dems 18 – Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 2 ½
Pennsylvania 4th – 6 yr incumbent Melissa Hart (ACU 89.7%) lost a narrow race to Jason Altmire in a swing district in which ideology played little part. Hart had played a significant role in the election of John Boehner as majority leader. She was part of the “Republican meltdown” in PA led by Santorum. Blockalossa.
Dems 19 – Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 2 ½
Pennslyvania 7th – Another (20 yr) incumbent Curt Weldon (ACU 69.9%) bites the dust, 44-56, to retired Navy admiral (and former Clinton defense policy director) Joe Sestak. Weldon and his daughter were in sketchy trouble about some Russian business deals, with the FBI carting boxes away from her apartment three weeks before the election, and Weldon made some stupid comments about Sestak not having his daughter’s cancer treated in a PA hospital. Weldon’s district went for Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004. Despite his military background, Sestak was anti-war, pro-choice, pro-universal health, pro-stem cell research. Commilossa.
Dems 20 – Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 2 ½
Pennsylvania 8th – ANOTHER (one-term) incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick (ACU 53%) lost in a nail-biter (less than 2,000 votes) to Patrick Murphy, a Bosnia/Iraq veteran and West Point teacher and lawyer. Murphy is a Blue Dog member, and since Fitzpatrick was so weak, we’ll give Rush another win. Medalossa.
Dems 21 – Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 3 ½
Pennsylvania 10th – ANOTHER (8 yr) incumbent, car dealer Don Sherwood (ACU 86.1%) goes down to Navy Reservist and veteran Christopher Carney. A solid Republican district (Bush 60%). Sherwood had messy personal affairs spill into the news (a 5 yr affair, a domestic assault charge) and won his primary with only 56% against an unknown. Carney led from primary day onward. But, since Carney was pro-guns, anti-amnesty, secure borders (even if he was pro-universal health and anti-SS privatization), we’ll give Rush another bone. Sexalossa.
Dems 22- Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 4 ½
By the way – WHAT IS IT WITH THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA?? THAT RICK SANTORUM SURE DOES HAVE TREACHEROUS COATTAILS!!!
Texas 22nd – This was Tom Delay’s district, in which he waited until after he had narrowly won the primary before announcing his withdrawal, preventing another name from appearing on the ballot. With Delay’s withdrawal, chaos ensued, but Shelley Sekula-Gibbs emerged on the ballot for the general election, and narrowly lost to Nick Lampson. Had it not been for Delay’s problems, this seat would have remained republican. Abramoffalossa.
Dems 23 – Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 4 ½
Wisconsin 8th – the Repub seat was left open when Mark Green (88.5%) left to run for Governor (he lost). Physician Steve Kagen defeated House Speaker John Gard in a close race. Gard clearly ran to the right of Kagen (a moderate at best) – but Wisconsin is a notoriously fickle venue for ideology politics anyway. Ficklossa.
Dems 24 – Repubs 0 – El Rushbo 4 ½
There you have it. There were twenty-four House races in 2006 in which Republicans lost either incumbent seats or open seats – and at best, only 5 of them involved a Republicans losing to a competitively conservative Dem opponent.
Overwhelmingly, it is apparent that there was a groundswell of antipathy toward Republicans – especially incumbents – who supported the war and were pummeled by the anti-corruption sentiment caused by the Foley-Cunningham-Delay MSM tidal wave. I have been unable to find any reliable empirical information to support the idea that conservatives “stayed home” in any of these districts, whether because of the local candidate’s ideology or other general anti-Bush malaise.
I welcome factual information that would shed light on that.
Senate race examination may ensue.[all of the information here was taken from CNN final election reports, local candidate websites, local news reports or congressional sources. There were entirely too many links to include in sourcing this.]