Top 50 House Races For 2010; 46 Of Them Are Held By Democrats

On the face of it, the numbers are pretty breathtaking.

It is always an arbitrary exercise trying to boil down 435 House races to a Top 50 list, and of course not everyone will agree with it.  But in doing so this year, I came to an unmistakable conclusion:  the Democrats are in trouble.

Now, of course, I'm not the first to say that.  But of the 50 House races I have deemed to be the most significant, 46 of them are held by Democrats.  That doesn't bode especially well for their attempt to retain control of the House; a net loss of 39 seats and John Boehner (R) becomes the next speaker.

Judging by this list, that goal is certainly within reach.

Many of the Democrats on the list are ones who took GOP seats in 2006 and 2008.  The anti-Bush/anti-GOP trend of those cycles is now looking like an anti-Obama/anti-Democratic trend this year, and many of these seats are expected to switch.

Also vulnerable are those Democrats on the list who are in districts won by John McCain in 2008.  Chet Edwards, for example, represents a district in East Central Texas that went 67 percent for McCain.  In freshman Bobby Bright's seat in southeast Alabama, it was 63 percent for McCain.  In fact, of the 46 Democratic seats on this list, 26 were carried in 2008 by the Republican presidential candidate.  And it's fair to say that in many of these districts, Barack Obama's favorability is far worse than it was two years ago.

Of the four districts here currently held by Republicans, there are no surprises.  Mike Castle (Del.) and Mark Kirk (Ill.) are leaving to run for the Senate, and Democrats have good candidates in both districts.  Hawaii's Charles Djou won his seat because of Democratic disunity, and Joseph Cao owes his victory in Louisiana to the ethics woes of his predecessor, Bill Jefferson.

But here, Democrats are in trouble all over the map.  That's true even in New England, where with Chris Shays' (R-Conn.) defeat in 2008 there is not, for the first time in history, a single House Republican left.  This year, the GOP has a shot at reclaiming both seats in New Hampshire.

Having one party overwhelmingly at risk in House seats is not unusual; we saw it in 1994, when the GOP took control for the first time in 40 years, and again in 2006, when the Democrats made their comeback.

I know that limiting this list to a "top 50" is asking for trouble.  But it is not a final list, and it is certainly subject to revision as we get closer to November 2.

The seats are listed alphabetically, not in order of vulnerability.  Democratic candidates are listed first.  Incumbents are in CAPS.

Ala. 02 — BOBBY BRIGHT vs. Martha Roby.

Ariz. 01 — ANN KIRKPATRICK vs. Paul Gosar

Ariz. 05 — HARRY MITCHELL vs. David Schweikert

Ariz. 08 — GABRIELLE GIFFORDS vs. Jesse Kelly

Ark. 01 — open D (Marion Berry retiring); Chad Causey vs. Rick Crawford

Ark. 02 — open D (Vic Snyder retiring); Joyce Elliott vs. Tim Griffin

Colo. 04 — BETSY MARKEY vs. Cory Gardner

Del. AL — open R (Mike Castle for Senate); John Carney vs. 9/14 primary winner

Fla. 02 — ALLEN BOYD vs. Steve Southerland

Fla. 08 — ALAN GRAYSON vs. Dan Webster

Fla. 24 — SUZANNE KOSMAS vs. Sandy Adams

Haw. 01 — Colleen Hanabusa vs. CHARLES DJOU

Idaho 01 — WALT MINNICK vs. Raul Labrador

Ill. 10 — open R (Mark Kirk for Senate); Dan Seals vs. Robert Dold

Ill. 11 — DEBBIE HALVORSON vs. Adam Kinzinger

Ill. 14 — BILL FOSTER vs. Randy Hultgren

Ind. 08 — open D (Brad Ellsworth for Senate); Trent VanHaaften vs. Larry Bucshon

Ind. 09 — BARON HILL vs. Todd Young

Kans. 03 — open D (Dennis Moore retiring); Stephene Moore vs. Kevin Yoder

La. 02 — 8/28 primary winner vs. JOSEPH CAO

La. 03 — open D (Charlie Melancon for Senate); Ravi Sangisetty vs. 8/28 primary winner

Md. 01 — FRANK KRATOVIL vs. 9/14 primary winner

Mich. 01 — open D (Bart Stupak retiring); Gary McDowell vs. Dan Benishek

Mich. 07 — MARK SCHAUER vs. Tim Walberg

Miss. 01 — TRAVIS CHILDERS vs. Alan Nunnelee

Mo. 04 — IKE SKELTON vs. Vicky Hartzler

Nev. 03 — DINA TITUS vs. Joe Heck

N.H. 01 — CAROL SHEA-PORTER vs. 9/14 primary winner

N.H. 02 — open D (Paul Hodes for Senate); 9/14 primary for both parties

N.J. 03 — JOHN ADLER vs. Jon Runyan

N.M. 02 — HARRY TEAGUE vs. Steve Pearce

N.Y. 24 — MICHAEL ARCURI vs. 9/14 primary winner

N.Y. 29 — vacant D (Eric Massa resigned); Matthew Zeller vs. Tom Reed

N.C. 08 — LARRY KISSELL vs. Harold Johnson

N.D. AL — EARL POMEROY vs. Rick Berg

Ohio 01 — STEVE DRIEHAUS vs. Steve Chabot

Ohio 15 — MARY JO KILROY vs. Steve Stivers

Ohio 16 — JOHN BOCCIERI vs. Jim Renacci

Pa. 03 — KATHY DAHLKEMPER vs. Mike Kelly

Pa. 07 — open D (Joe Sestak for Senate); Bryan Lentz vs. Pat Meehan

Pa. 08 — PATRICK MURPHY vs. Mike Fitzpatrick

Pa. 10 — CHRIS CARNEY vs. Tom Marino

S.C. 05 — JOHN SPRATT vs. Mick Mulvaney

Tenn. 06 — open D (Bart Gordon retiring); Brett Carter vs. Diane Black

Tenn. 08 — open D (John Tanner retiring); Roy Herron vs. Steve Fincher

Texas 17 — CHET EDWARDS vs. Bill Flores

Va. 02 — GLENN NYE vs. Scott Rigell

Va. 05 — TOM PERRIELLO vs. Robert Hurt

Wash. 03 — open D (Brian Baird retiring); Denny Heck vs. Jaime Herrera

Wis. 07 — open D (Dave Obey retiring); Julie Lassa vs. 9/14 primary winner

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