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Here is audio of Third District Congressman John Yarmuth talking with reporters about the goals of the lame duck Congress and his thoughts on his third term. Highlights include a discussion of whether Yarmuth’s decision to campaign on the Democratic Party’s legislative successes was the right strategy. He says it is, because he won. But WHAS’s Joe Arnold says some Democrats are upset about it.


To better predict how congress might look after the midterm elections, Politico has broken down close House contests into three categories. Every seat listed is held by a Democrat, and the categories comprise 75 seats Republicans could win.

The first group includes the most imperiled Democratic seats — these are the “must-wins” — without which the GOP has no shot at House control. It’s a roster filled with freshmen who benefited from Barack Obama’s coattails, the most vulnerable veterans and Republican-friendly open seats where the retirement of a Democratic incumbent has created a prime pick-up opportunity. If Republicans can’t win most of these seats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will take the gavel again for the 112th Congress.

The second group of seats could be labeled the “majority makers”—a class of races that are within GOP reach, but will require defeating well-prepared Democratic incumbents or winning on highly competitive terrain. If the GOP is winning most of these races on election night, a Republican majority will be close at hand. If not, Democrats still have a chance of waking up Nov. 3 with a slim margin in the House.

The third group could be described as the “landslide” class. For the most part, these districts are a tough climb for GOP candidates, either because of the strength of the Democratic incumbent or the partisan tilt of the seat. If the Democrats in this category start to fall on election night, a wave election is unfolding.

Kentucky’s 6th District–represented by Ben Chandler–is in the third group, meaning a Chandler loss could signal a near-collapse for Democrats elsewhere:

Chandler has had no problems holding this Republican-oriented, Lexington-based district but his cap and trade vote is already causing him problems in a coal-producing state.

The commonwealth’s other Democratically-controlled District, the 3rd–represented by John Yarmuth–is among 13 additional races listed as “on the bubble.” A recent Survey USA poll showed Yarmuth in a tighter than expected race against newcomer Todd Lally.

Politico’s new way of organizing races may make sense on the surface, but I suspect Ken Silverstein of Harper’s might take issue with such a broad analysis. In August, he wrote this as pundits tried to make sense of recent primaries, and fit the results into an “anti-insurgent” narrative:

America is a big place. Winning or losing state and local races depends on different issues in different places; there may not be a One-Size-Fits-All explanation for results around the country.

That’s not to say, however, that an electoral sweep–or lack thereof–in November would be a matter of coincidence.

We reported last week that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is planning to spend about $1.3 million in Kentucky, where Democrat Jack Conway is facing Republican Rand Paul. What we missed was that the DSCC has about as much cash on hand as its GOP counterpart:

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee took in $4.4 million and spent $3.5 million July, leaving it with $22.5 million cash on hand. In the same period, the Republican National Senatorial Committee raised $4.2 million and spent $2.6 million, giving it $21.2 million in the bank.

Also, Chris Cillizza cited a recent CN2 Senate poll showing Conway and Paul tied (see the first link in this post for more on that), and has now put Kentucky’s race on his list of contests where a party switch is possible.

Ophthalmologist Rand Paul (R) has hit into a few potholes, including recently disrespecting the “Fancy Farm” event that is sacred in Kentucky politics. But next to Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle‘s struggles, Paul’s political sins seem relatively minor. Look for Democrats to press Paul on whether supports the federal legislative largesse that is the lifeblood of economically distressed areas in eastern Kentucky. (Legendary columnist Al Cross laid out Paul’s problems in that region expertly.) If Paul plays it smart and keeps his sometimes-unusual ideology in check, this should be a hold for the GOP in such a conservative state. (Previous ranking: N/A)

The chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party released a statement regarding Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo‘s campaign debt…which was accumulated during his bid for the Democratic nomination to the Senate. The debt has been at the center of conversations about Mongiardo’s endorsement of his party’s nominee, Attorney General Jack Conway.

The statement consists mostly of what’s expected, given that party unity has been questioned in the absence of Mongiardo’s endorsement. Here’s an excerpt:

I and other leaders in the party will be assisting Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo with his primary campaign debt. I am confident that all Democrats will come together this fall in support of the entire Democratic ticket.

At a time when various 527s are preparing to run ads in the Kentucky Senate race, the Democratic National Committee has come out swinging. A new video from the DNC hits Republican Candidate Rand Paul, along with Representatives Joe Barton, Michelle Bachman and Eric Cantor, on their comments about the gulf oil spill and the BP escrow account.

Mayoral candidate forums have been a bit crowded lately, but the Louisville Forum will attempt to alleviate that next month with a Republican candidate debate.

Hal Heiner, Jonathan Robertson and Chris Theineman will debate for the Forum on March 10th. The Forum is planning a debate with the Democratic candidates in April.

Democratic mayoral candidate Shannon White opened her campaign headquarters today. Here’s a preview from the campaign press release sent this morning:

Carletta Kilgore, a highly successful previous Dress for Success client, will introduce Shannon White and officially open our doors at St. Matthews Station.

It’s located at Breckenridge and Shelbyville Road, right next to Molly Malone’s.

White founded the local chapter of Dress for Success.

From the AP:

The only Democrat seeking to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Senator Evan Bayh has missed out on qualifying for Indiana’s May primary ballot.

State Democratic chairman Dan Parker says Bloomington Cafe Owner Tamyra D’ippolito failed to submit the needed 500 signatures in the 7th Congressional District.

That means the State Democratic Party’s 32-member central committee will choose the party’s Senate nominee for the November election.

In Indiana, candidates for U.S. Senate must submit 500 certified signatures in each of the state’s nine congressional districts to qualify for the primary ballot.

Parker says the central committee won’t call a meeting until there’s a consensus for the party’s eventual choice.

So far, three candidates for mayor have accepted Michelle Jones‘ challenge to write short essays on one thing they love about Louisville for Consuming Louisville.

Independent Jackie Green loves Louisville’s overall conservatism, but hopes for positive change:

She stands back, evaluates, weighs and then, if the concept merits, she embraces. If the concept under evaluation falls short of the measure, she continues to hold off. That conservative nature has served Louisville well. It has helped her avoid a lot of silliness and foolishness of the twentieth century. But more importantly, it has kept her from many of the serious mistakes that other cities have suffered.

Democrat Greg Fischer loves how close everything is:

Whether I’m desirous of a chicken salad sandwich from Expressions of You at 18th and Muhammad Ali, feel like taking in a movie at the De Lux 16 in Okolona (the most comfortable seats in town!) or taking out a canoe on Floyd’s Fork, I can be doing what I want to do in twenty minutes.

Democrat Jim King loves just about everything the city has to offer:

I love Louisville for having such a great art scene and the largest annual art show in the Midwest at St. James court. I love Louisville where each year, thousands enjoy the largest fireworks show sparkling over our warm, spring skies. I love Louisville for showcasing the fastest two minutes in sports, the Kentucky Derby. I love Louisville for being home. I love Louisville, where I am proud to run for Mayor.

One more post is coming tomorrow. We’ll link to it here.

Today’s Courier editorial urges Metro Councilman and Democratic candidate for mayor Jim King to drop out of the race. The piece argues that King does not have the temperament or judgement to be mayor:

He should abandon his candidacy for the Democratic nomination, in order to allow for the focus to return to vital issues facing the metro area.

The paper also criticizes King’s plan to revamp the police force, and concludes:

The community needs to move on from discussions that center on Mr. King. It needs to hear from plausible candidates about their vision for Louisville, their assessment of the city’s strengths and problems, their views of the area’s economic direction, and their ideas for where the city and the office of mayor go after the long tenure of Jerry Abramson.

Mr. King’s serial errors are a constant distraction from such debate. Louisville deserves better. Mr. King can help put an important decision back on track by stepping aside.

This is a bold statement from the C-J. But if the community does indeed move on from discussions about King…what will we talk about? King gets so much attention because he’s the only candidate doing much campaigning right now. The other candidates have had discussions, sure. But aside from Tyler Allen‘s bloggers’ breakfasts and the occasional statement from other camps, it seems like the race is fairly quiet. I’m sure this will pick up, but until there’s something else to talk about, how could mayoral conversations not center on King?

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