The Moderate Washingtonian

Outlook on politics and elections in the state of Washington from an overall centrist viewpoint. My views tend to be libertarian in nature, but at the same time are largely nonpartisan.

03 November 2006

Federal election predictions

In the first part of annual prediction posting this November, I will be predicting outcomes of our federal elections, both the Senate race and all nine Congressional districts. In the coming days, I will post the final spreadsheet updates for state House and Senate elections, coupled with specific predictions about the top 10 Senate seats and the top 20 House seats most likely to change party. But for now, the federal races:

US Senate
Ever since before the campaign season kicked off, I haven't strayed far from my initial judgment that Senator Cantwell would win reelection by a modest margin. The initial thought stemmed from that she's been the more moderate and, I would argue, more effective of our Senate duo and she hadn't really given voters any reason to vote her out. While Republicans were falling to their knees in prayer that then-recent loser but popular candidate Dino Rossi would challenge her, I didn't think he could win (because one can avoid unpopular social stances far more easily in a state office race than federal). I think that Mike McGavick was a good candidate for the Republican Party, as well. Not one that impressed me enough to vote for, but given the year and Cantwell's inoffensiveness I don't think he was a bad candidate. I'm hoping that Bruce Guthrie's mainstream exposure will result in achieving the 5% threshold for major party status, but think he will fall slightly short of that, unfortunately.

Maria Cantwell [D] 50%
Mike McGavick [R] 44%
Bruce Guthrie [L] 4%
Aaron Dixon [G] 1.5%
Robin Adair [I] 0.5%

District 1
Inslee by now is a safe bet year in and year out, even though he's probably more liberal than his district's mainstream. Considering that Ishmael is not even from the first district and the year, Inslee should be able to expect a slight increase from his 2004 reelection numbers, stellar as they were.

Jay Inslee [D] 65%
Larry Ishmael [R] 35%

District 2
Larsen's large spread against Suzanne Sinclair was a bit of a surprise in 2004, and I expect him to win by a smaller amount this year mostly due to having a more credible challenger. Doug Roulstone is the type of Republican I think could win the 2nd district were this an open seat, but against an incumbent in what is expected to be a strong Democratic year, even a candidate as solid as he is will struggle.

Rick Larsen [D] 59%
Doug Roulstone [R] 41%

District 3
Now, as mystified as I always am about how someone as liberal as Brian Baird gets reelected in the third Congressional district, he really has no chance of losing it anytime in the near future. I think this district stands a very good chance of electing a Republican when it opens up, but Baird is far too popular to have it picked off, today or tomorrow.

Brian Baird [D] 64%
Michael Messmore [R] 36%

District 4
While Doc Hastings may well deserve to lose reelection due to his toothless tenure as House Ethics Chair, he faces what I believe is a weaker challenger than in 2004 in Richard Wright. Wright came in last in the Democratic primary in 2004 to Sandy Matheson and Craig Mason and while I suspect he'll finish slightly better than Matheson's 37% I think it will be a direct result of the year more than an improvement in opponent strength.

Doc Hastings [R] 59%
Richard Wright [D] 41%

District 5
I hope I'm wrong here. I've been naught but impressed with Peter Goldmark as a candidate since he entered the race, and in my opinion he is easily the most impressive state Congressional challenger this cycle. However, as conservative as she is (she makes George Nethercutt look centrist), she's a very tough opponent who I fear will occupy the seat for the long term. She polled in the low-50s in the only nonpartisan poll I've seen this year, but after polling in the low-50s against Don Barbieri she won 60-40. If Democrats are to beat her, they have to do it now. Goldmark could be the right candidate at the right time, but I'm not sure it will be enough. If nothing else, Goldmark could keep his Spokane apartment and run for mayor next year. Last I heard, Dennis Hession hasn't been overly popular since replacing Jim West.

Cathy McMorris [R] 53%
Peter Goldmark [D] 47%

District 6
Norm Dicks is an institution, pure and simple. His ~69% in 2004 was his highest percentage of votes in almost two decades, and against the same right-wing opponent, I think he breaks 70%.

Norm Dicks [D] 71%
Doug Cloud [R] 29%

District 7
Unlike most other districts where the Democratic candidate can expect a modest bump due to the cycle, Jim McDermott is so well-known and polarizing that I think if anything he will lose some votes to liberal-leaning Independent candidate Linnea Noreen. Being that Steve Beren is yet another right-wing Republican like Carol Cassady, I can't see him getting more than 20%.

Jim McDermott [D] 75%
Steve Beren [R] 16%
Linnea Noreen [I] 9%

District 8
Much has been said about this race, both by myself and others. I'm sticking with my prediction that Reichert will buck the national trend, though I think if the Democrats would have been able to pursuade Ross Hunter in late 2005 then Reichert would be going down. The most useful ammo against Burner is the experience question, otherwise she too may have had the advantage. Much like the 5th district, this might be the Democrats' best shot to knock off the incumbent, but I don't think they will give up on Reichert like they did against Jennifer Dunn.

Dave Reichert [R] 52%
Darcy Burner [D] 48%

District 9
Like most of our districts, the ninth is a potentially-competitive district in an open seat, but also like our other districts they tend to get rather safe after a couple terms for the incumbent. Adam Smith is a moderate, mainstream Democrat who can have this seat as long as he wants. What I wonder is why he doesn't get more press or touted for higher office even though he's more electable statewide than arguably any other Democratic member of the delegation. This year's opponent is, like Doug Roulstone in the second district, a sorta-moderate Republican who might have an outside chance in a different year, but certainly not this one and certainly not against Adam Smith.

Adam Smith [D] 63%
Steven Cofchin [R] 37%


At 2:06 PM, Anonymous Dave Gibney said...

I think you're wrong on the 8th CD and I hope you're wrong on the 5th. :)
I know it's a long shot, but I'd really like to wake up to a recount for Richard Wright/Dick Hasting.

At 1:17 AM, Blogger TMW said...

I'm pretty confident on the 8th result. Of all pollsters, I believe most in SurveyUSA and would be surprised to see Burner win as they have been tracking Reichert in the low-50s in all their polls. As for the 5th, being a native Spokanite I'm pretty skeptical of the ability for an incumbent Republican to lose, but I have a lot of faith in Goldmark as a candidate. That is the one race I would not at all mind being incorrect about.


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