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Dold, Bost on “most vulnerable” list

Friday, May 1, 2015

* From Politico’s “Campaign Pro”

… Democrats won over 1.4 million more votes for Congress than Republicans in 2012, yet Republicans comfortably kept control of the House. And that’s why even a decisive Democratic victory at the national level in 2016 is unlikely to produce a change in which party controls the chamber.

Predictably, the races at the top of our list tend to be the most volatile districts. Seven of the top 10 flipped last cycle, including seats represented by freshman Republican Reps. Rod Blum and Cresent Hardy, and Democratic Reps. Brad Ashford and Gwen Graham — all of whom hold seats that voted for the other party’s candidate for president in 2012. In two of the remaining three top-10 districts, vulnerable incumbents aren’t running again.

Here’s Campaign Pro’s top 30 House races of 2016, ranked in order of likelihood of a party switch: […]

3. Illinois-10 (R — Dold): This seat in Chicago’s northern suburbs is the most Democratic district in the country represented by a Republican. GOP Rep. Bob Dold won the seat in 2010 after Mark Kirk chose to run for the Senate, but lost it to Democrat Brad Schneider two years later. Last fall, Dold won the rematch with 51 percent of the vote. He’s likely to face tougher odds in a presidential year — Obama won 58 percent of the vote in the district in 2012, and Schneider’s already announced that he’s running again. But Dold has a moderate voting record, and he raised an impressive $605,000 in the first quarter. Schneider first faces Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering in the primary. […]

14. Illinois-12 (R — Bost): GOP Rep. Mike Bost beat Democratic Rep. Bill Enyart by a solid margin last November, winning 52 percent of the vote in this southern Illinois district. Enyart doesn’t seem to be running again — he terminated his campaign committee last month — and Bost pulled in a respectable $418,000 in the first quarter. But the district went for Obama by a thin margin in 2012, and the right Democrat might be able to defeat Bost in a presidential year.

I don’t totally disagree with the Dold ranking. That district flips with the top of the ticket, but Dold might be able to hold on. If a Democrat does win it next year and Hillary wins the presidency, the district could flip back GOP again in 2018. A Republican president, however, could transform the district into a somewhat safer Dem seat.

But the Illinois Dems put Bost at the top of their target list after he won his first Illinois House race in a Democratic district during a big Republican year. Bost held onto that seat for 20 more years. He cannot be underestimated.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      

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