The extent of Democratic losses in next year’s midterm elections will rest, in part, on the ability of Democrats elected in conservative or Republican districts over the past two cycles to survive aggressive GOP attempts to defeat them.
But not all of those 11 look equally vulnerable. Six of those successful Democrats won handily in 2008 (with at least 59 percent of the vote) — Reps. Charlie Melancon (La.), Ike Skelton (Mo.), Gene Taylor (Miss.), Dan Boren (Okla.), Lincoln Davis (Tenn.) and Bart Gordon (Tenn.) — and their electoral histories suggest that nothing short of a tsunami could seriously threaten them. Indeed, three of them (Skelton, Taylor and Gordon) proved their mettle more than a decade ago by surviving in 1994.
Obviously, retirements in any of the six districts would be disastrous for Democrats, which is why a possible Melancon Senate run is so disturbing to the party’s House strategists.
Purely from a statistical point of view, the most vulnerable House Democrats are the four who won election last cycle with less than 55 percent of the vote in districts where McCain scored comfortable wins. That includes Reps. Bobby Bright (Ala.), Parker Griffith (Ala.), Walt Minnick (Idaho) and Travis Childers (Miss.), plus Rep. Frank Kratovil in Maryland’s 1st district. Kratovil won with just 49 percent of the vote while McCain was carrying the district with 58 percent.