It was about three months ago that I took my first whack at my biennial “Fearless Predictions” for this election.
In the original, I note my bona fides as a prognosticator: I got closer to nailing the 2004 presidential election than anyone I know; I was two days off on Saddam Hussein’s execution; while I had a number of flubs in 2006, I got the ones that mattered - Pawlenty by a hair, Bachmann by eight - in style.
This year? It’s gonna be a tough one - but maybe not that bad. Although the conventional wisdom says this is gonna be a rough year for Republicans - I previously predicted the Dems would suffer a moral defeat if they came out with any less than 350 seats in the House - there is evidence that Congressional Dems’ fecklessness on the war, the economy and, well, everything might be costing them.
Here in Minnesota, the DFL candidates have run ugly, nasty, amoral races that deserve to be turned out into the street; in a year like this, that’s unlikely.
So without further ado, let’s get down to it.:
US Senate: Norm Coleman endured a lefty/media (pardon the redundancy) smear campaign of biblical proportions. In a less-fraught year, I think it would have been an 8-10 point race; Franken doesn’t even have the DFL base behind him. I think Coleman will win by two or three.
First District: Tim Walz will win going away - but if Obama wins, and governs the way he’s promised, Walz is either going to have to manufacture a genuine centrist facade, or face a serious problem in 2010. The First District just isn’t that crazy.
Second District: I’ll hold to my July prediction almost verbatim: John Kline will beat Steve Sarvi by at least ten points. Maybe more.
Third District: I think Paulsen’s going to pull this one off, but it’ll be tight. Maybe two points. The DFL has run a snarlingly adolescent campaign in this district; I suspect they realize that talk that the Third Distict is “turning blue” was overstated. Again, if Obama wins and Paulson carries it off, Paulsen will take 2010 by at least 12 points against anyone the DFL throws against him - presuming he resists the urge to RINO out on us.
Fourth District: Ed Matthews is as solid a candidate as the GOP has thrown into this DFL near-sinecure, ever. He’s sharp. He’s articulate. He shredded Betty McCollum, perhaps the emptiest suit in our delegation, at their debate. Seriously - if it’d been a boxing match, the referee would have stopped it in two rounds. But it’s the Fourth, where the DFL could nominate a set of wind-up chattering teeth and count on 50% of the votes. So far. I think McCollum is going to carry this one off - but I think there are chinks forming in the DFL’s sense of invincibility in this district. We’ll be talking about that in the future on this blog. I hope Ed Matthews stays in politics; he can be a contender.
Fifth District: Like Matthews, Barb Davis-White is as credible a candidate as the GOP has fielded in this district in recent memory. A black conservative Christian, Davis-White should make some decent headway - and probably could have done better, had the GOP managed to get her funding within two orders of magnitude of that of the incompetent Keith Ellison. I suspect Ellison will win - but Barb Davis-White and people like her need to stay at this. If Obama wins the White House, 2010 is going to be another 1994 - and people like Davis-White and Matthews will benefit.
Sixth District: Michele Bachmann, the biggest lightning rod for the left’s mania and delusion anywhere in the Congress, has endured the nastiest assaults of any candidate I can think of. Everything Sarah Palin has faced in the past two months - the sclerotic selective sexism of the feminist movement, the misogyny of the left - Michele Bachmann has been dealing with for over a decade. The left just doesn’t like uppity women! I think Michele will tip Elwin “E-Tink” Tinklenburg - former useless head of MNDoT and shameless ghoul - by four.
Seventh District: Collin Peterson will win. Fifteen, twenty, thirty points? Let’s not kid ourselves.
Eighth District: Jim Oberstar will slouch onward, the Robert Byrd of the Northland, borne forth on a wave of entitlement swag and an avalanche of yummy pork. He will be America’s first undead congressman.
…well, no. I never thought I’d say this a week ago, but the presidential race is, again, too fluid. The momentum in this race has changed more than in a pee-wee hockey game. Maybe this weekend the picture will be clearer.
And maybe not…
Cross-posted at Shot in the Dark. Comments welcome.