Projections for special elections next month in Hawaii and Pennsylvania have caused alarm among Democratic officials, who said they feared dual defeats would play into the thinking that the Democratic Party is consigned to huge losses in the fall, Politico reported Tuesday.
In Hawaii, party leaders said they were worried the two top Democrats will split the vote, allowing a Republican to take a seat with a plurality in the state's all-party special election.
A Republican snatching a Democratic seat would lead to "all the talking heads on Fox News saying, 'A blow to President Obama in his home state,' and you'll have (House Minority Leader) John Boehner saying, 'The people have spoken again,'" said Kam Kuwata, a Democratic strategist.
Also worrisome for Democratic strategists is the special election in the Pennsylvania district represented for 36 years by John Murtha until his death in February. The Democratic candidate, a former Murtha district director, is vulnerable to the "political insider" label at a time when that moniker is a detriment.
"It's a tough district. The fact that Murtha got elected so many times covered up the fact that this is a tough seat," said a Democratic strategist familiar with the Pennsylvania race.
The two districts have been democrat for years and years and years. Both of them went for Clinton twice, Gore, and Kerry as well, although McCain took Murtha's district very narrowly. That is the only John Kerry district in the nation which voted for McCain.
The first district is Hawaii District 1 (HI-01). It went 70% for Obama (birth state until proven to me otherwise - burden of proof is on the birthers) and 53% for Kerry. Neil Abercrombie has held this district for most of the last 24 years (Pai Saiki defeated a dem who defeated Abercrombie in a primary and held the seat for four years from 86-90) and has resigned in order to run for Governor. The special election is like a primary election of winner take all, no runoff, except it is all parties. Ed Case, a former congresscritter in the 2nd district, is running in the first (both cover parts of Honolulu). So is Colleen Hanabusa, a labor lawyer. Both of them are democrats. One republican is running, Charles Djou, a Honolulu city councilman.. In 94 and 96, this district was close.We could steal one here. May 22, 2010 is this election.
The other district is John Murtha, the defamer who doesn't know what innocent till proven guilty means. He's dead, and this seat is open.
John Murtha always had relatively easy runs for the same reason Robert Byrd always wins in West Virginia. He's a pork king. Republicans had control of redistricting (and the plan backfired, like the dems redistricting in Georgia) in Pennsylvania. They went after a few democrats, but they protected Murtha. Johnstown is Democrat. The rest of the area there is Republican, so they connected the area with democrat Pittsburgh suburbs and other steel areas on the West Virginia border that also lean democrat. The result is a swing district, but one historically democrat, and would vote for Murtha who is pro-gun and pro-life. The GOP went after Murtha in 06 and 08, and his margins dropped, but still was 61% (don't nationalize small town districts) and 58% (Murtha's mouth cost some votes, but he still brought home the bacon).
May 18th, 2010 is this special election. The dems nominated an insider, Mark Critz, who was an aide to Murtha and will probably be a similar congressman. The GOP nominated Tim Burns, a businessman who would be welcome change to the Pork Kings in Congress.
Throw out the rules in special elections. Anything can happen, and it's time to build on the momentum of Brown's win.