(What say you RMG. Agree, disagree? Why? – promoted by EaBo Clipper)
I thought I would try and make a short list of the 10 House seats (in honor of the year ’10) that I felt Republicans would have the best chance at taking in the 2010 upcoming elections.
We see this done with the US House and US Senate all the time, so why not for Massachusetts? I assembled a little background for each, and hope to hear your suggestions for others! (Because we all know, we are going to need quite a few if we ever will have another Republican Majority in the Legislature)
THE LIST IS BELOW THE FOLD
10. Third Middlesex’s Kate Hogan
While hailing from an ordinarly Democratic district, one that gave McCain just 39% of the vote, Hogan managed to only garner 47.6% in a hugely Democratic year. Should Sonny Parente try his luck again at this seat, Parente could steal this seat from the Democrats with the crossover vote from ordinarly Republican Bolton, a town that gave Independent David Goulding 31%, and 7 votes shy of a victory in 2008. This and an anti-Patrick year in 2010 could be the Republican’s way to victory.
9. Third Barnstable’s Matthew Patrick
After picking up this seat in 2000 after the 1 Term Republican State Rep. Nancy J. Caffyn retired to battle cancer, Rep. Patrick has served an undistinguised tenture in the State House. More troubling for Patrick is that in 2008, 45% of Voters opted not to vote for Patrick, including nearly 8700 votes for Falmouth-known Independent Carey Murphy. Add this to Patrick’s recent proposed 1% Income Tax Hike, and a conservative district composed of North Falmouth, South Bourne, and parts of Mashpee and Barnstable. Patrick presents a great pick-up oppurtunity for Seat hungry Republicans.
8. Seventh Plymouth’s Allen McCarthy
While McCarthy was unopposed in 2008 after winning the seat in a close election in 2006, Republican John McCain managed to win the Abington-Whitman-East Bridgewater seat with nearly 50% of the vote. This makes the 7th Plymouth one of a select few in Massachusetts to do so. Combine this with McCarthy’s difficult election in 2006 (another record breaking year for Democrats), the State Representative seat that once elected Michael Sullivan could return a Republican to the State House.
7. Second Hampden’s Brian Ashe
While taking in difficult territory in Springfield and Monson, this district had since at least 1973 elected exclusively Republicans to Beacon Hill. In 2008, with the retirement of long time Rep. Mary Rogeness, a Democrat, Brian Ashe from Longmeadow was elected over his fellow Board of Selectman member Bill Scibelli in a tight election. While Ashe may be in a strong position to win re-election coming from the district’s largest and politically neutral town of Longmeadow, a Republican with the appeal of Iris Holland and Mary Rogeness before them, could easily return this traditionally Republican seat to the GOP.
6. Twelfth Plymouth’s Thomas Calter
In the Patrick landslide of 2006, Thomas O’Brien managed to hand his seat over to Thomas Calter ensuring continued Democratic control over this Central Plymouth country district that once elected Republican Robert Kraus to Boston. However, this effort was only after beating back a last minute campaign by Republican Olly deMacedo, a relative of the neighboring district’s Republican Representitive Viriato deMacedo in a close 51-49% victory. While the GOP left this district uncontested in 2008, John McCain managed to win this district narrowly across the six small towns it takes in. This should send a signal to State Republicans that this district is definetly vulnerable for a pickup.
5. Second Middlesex’s James Arciero
Somewhat to the suprise of many hopeful Republicans, this suburban district Southwest of Lowell again elected a Democrat as it voted to replace long time Rep. Geoffrey Hall. The GOP had recruited a strong candidate in Paul Avella of Littleton, who managed to decisively win his hometown. However, Westford and parts of Chelmsford went for the Lowell connected Arciero in great enough numbers to push the Former Senate Aide to Beacon Hill himself. This district has long been on the to-do-list for Republicans, and in 2010 this will be no exeption as Republicans will look to fix what might be another example of Obama’s coattails at work in a district that decisively voted for the Illinois Senator.
4. Third Hampden’s Rosemary Sandlin
In a suprise to many, Rep. Sandlin managed to only recieve 52% of the vote against little known Independent Nicholas Boldyga in 2008. While suprising in the context, Sandlin only recieved 50% of votes cast in 2006, when she was first elected to the seat to replace Southwick Democrat Daniel Keenan. This is probably an indication that her district hasn’t quite yet acknowledged her election, and may leave her very vulnerable to a strong GOP challenge in 2010. While her district takes in Democratic leaning Agawam, its composition includes small Republican strongholds like Granville, Southwick and Russell that consistently give very high % for Republican candidates. This is surely an oppurtunity that Republicans will not want to ignore.
3. Fourth Middlesex’s Danielle Gregoire
While Republicans have made great strides in picking up positions in Marlborough City politics, it looks as if voters in Marlborough weren’t quite ready to send their local GOP officials to Beacon Hill in 2008. Republicans managed to over-recruit for the seat and nominated City Council President Arthur Vigeant for the open seat left by Stephen LeDuc. While Vigeant outraised, outworked, and outshined Gregoire in the debates, she managed to pull out a tight victory on election night likely due to the candidacy of Conservative Independent Joseph Valianti, and a strong performance by Obama in the city. Should one of Marlborough’s high ranking Republicans again try for the seat, pencil in Republicans for high odds that this seat could flip Blue to Red.
2. Eight Worcester’s Paul Kujawski
Yup, Kujo managed to win again in 2008. Despite his colorful record and Conservative district, long time State Representative Paul Kujawski of Webster managed to beat Uxbridge Republican and Selectman Kevin Kuros by 7%. However, this strong GOP showing in the otherwise bleak 2008 election cycle for Republican has obviously highlighted a potential challenge for the GOP in 2010 when prospects look brighter than they have been since 2002 for State Republicans. Many Democrats and Republicans will be hopeful that this district will finally “relieve” itself of Kujo in 2010.
1. Eight Middlesex’s Carolyn Dykema
This shouldn’t come as a suprise to anyone. Dykema is on borrowed time on Beacon Hill. While she defeated the highly qualified and articulate Dan Haley by 1000 votes on election day, nearly 1400 voters failed to choose a candidate in the Open Seat race to replace Paul Loscocco, who suprisingly retired after just 4 terms on the Hill. This strongly Republican district had long been targeted by the GOP, when from 1987-2000, the district elected liberal Democrat Barbara Gardner to Boston. Loscocco managed to finally capture the seat in 2000, but with the 2008 election of Dykema, its in the hands of yet another liberal Democrat. Look for the Toll Loving State Rep, in a Tolled-Out District to pay her dues at the ballot box in 2010.