Friday, March 23, 2007

New Print Edition: California 11 & New York 29

The new March 23, 2007 print edition of the Rothenberg Political Report is on its way to subscribers. The print edition comes out every two weeks and the content is not available online. Subscribers get in-depth analysis of the most competitive races in the country, as well as quarterly House and Senate ratings, and coverage of the gubernatorial races nationwide. To subscribe, simply click on the Google Checkout button on the website or send in a check.

Here is a sampling of this week's print issue.

California 11: Life Without the Bogeyman
By Nathan L. Gonzales

For months, environmental groups poured their time, energy, and dollars into defeating Republican Cong. Richard Pombo. Now, Democrat Jerry McNerney holds the title of congressman in California's 11th District.

McNerney certainly wasn't the first choice of many Democrats early in last year's race. But he overcame skepticism about his chances and, in a bad Republican year, sufficiently and successfully portrayed Pombo as a tool of special interests, in part by tying him to infamous lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Now with Pombo out of the picture, it's unclear what role and how much attention outside groups will invest in the race. Republicans readily explain the 2006 loss as a referendum on Pombo, and they are confident that with a candidate like former state Assemblyman Dean Andal, they can pull the seat back into their column.

The primary is still a year away, but this should be a hot race in the Central Valley all the way through the general election. It will make district residents miss those Manteca Waterslides.

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New York 29: The Bitter Taste of a Narrow Loss

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." Democrat Eric Massa is one of growing number of candidates on both sides of the aisle aiming to overcome their losses last November with a successful run for Congress in 2008.

Amazingly, Republican Cong. Randy Kuhl actually increased his percentage from 2004, in the face of a terrible political environment for Republicans nationally and in the Empire State. But his 52%-48% victory over Massa in 2006 wasn't enough to scare off the Democrats, particularly in a state like New York, where Democrats seem to believe every seat belongs in their column.

There's no guarantee that Massa will be the nominee in 2008, but he's already announced and staking his claim to a rematch. Kuhl sits in the most Republican district in New York, but his own lack-luster fundraising, less than spectacular campaigns, and so-so polling numbers make him a target, at least for the near future.

Because national Democrats failed to invest any significant money into the 2006 race, the "what if" scenario continues to haunt them, making it more likely the district will see a greater Democratic commitment this cycle.

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