A Thumbnail Guide To Some Top Republican Targets In 2010

The motion of the ocean aside, here's a quick guide to some Democratic House members that Republicans believe are genuinely vulnerable in a year when President Obama isn't on the ballot. (Note: isn't it interesting how this formulation admits that, were Obama to be on the ballot, some of these folks wouldn't be as vulnerable?) Even though the NRCC hasn't recruited challengers in all of these districts, they've begun to target the incumbents in radio ads and through auto-dial calls in an effort to both test how vulnerable these Democrats are and begin to soften them up if they aren't. There are potentially vulnerable Dems not on this list, but I'm sticking to the races where the GOP has spent the most money (on TV, on polling, on recruitment) so far.

Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24) -- Voted no on health care (she was leaning towards voting "yes"), yes for the stimulus package, voted yes on cap-and-trade (though it shouldn't matter much in her district, which spans suburban Orlando and Brevard County).  She has two declared GOP challengers so far, but has managed to outraise both of them.  Her perch on the House Financial Services Committee helps her bring $$ to the district.

Alan Grayson (FL-08) -- He represents Orlando, and he's a target because of his outspokesness on health care and other issues. He's also independently wealthy, and has so far scared away Republican challengers. His Netroots popularity means a steady source of support and money should he scare one in to the race.

Eric Massa (NY-29) -- Won by two points in a district where McCain won by 10; GOPers are counting on new conservative energy upstate; voted against health care and cap-and-trade but for the stimulus. Massa's victory in '08 is generally attributed as much to his opponents' baggage, which means he is uniquely preyable if GOPers can find a good recruit, like they might have in Monroe County exec. Maggie Brooks, who is moderate, or Assemblyman Brian Korb. Redistricting concerns may determine which GOPer runs. The jobs picture will determine who wins.  Other New Yorkers targets for the NRCC: Scott Murphy (won a special election by a tiny margin;  voted against health care, but the GOP needs a good recruit) Mike McMahon (voted for cap-and-trade; McCain won his district by a few points), Mike Arcuri (a sophomore, he voted for health reform and won in '08 by only 10k votes)

Tom Perriello (VA-05) --  Voted for the health care bill and the stimulus package, for cap-and-trade; won his district by a fraction of a point, thanks to Obama Surge turnout in Charlottesville.  His votes make him vulnerable, but Democrats, impressed by his loyalty, are going to do everything they can to help him.

Glenn Nye (VA-02) -- Voted against health care and cap-and-trade, he flipped the seat blue in 2008 thanks to help from Obama Surge voters.  His conservative coastal district went heavily for Republicans in the 2009 off-year elections, which is one of the reasons why Nye has played his cards so carefully.  Nye also faces guff from liberal Democrats, who don't like his ideological apostasy.

Larry Kissel (NC-08) -- Obama won the seat by a safe margin, and Kissel won by 11 points, and Republicans didn't get the former occupant of the seat, ex-Rep. Robin Hayes, to run again, but they've got their sights on Kissel nonetheless. Kissel voted NO on health care and cap-and-trade.

Mark Schauer (MI-07) -- Bad news for frosh Schauer:  the Democrat running in a special election in his own state senate district lost badly. Schauer defeated ex-Rep. Tim Walberg by a few points in '08, and Walberg wants a re-match.  Michigan has one of the toughest environments for Dems of all the big states.

Betsy Markey (CO-04) -- An Obama Surge candidate who bested liberal bugbear Marilyn Musgrave  in '08, McCain nonetheless won her district by a point. Markey voted against health care reform, which could dampen her base, and she has already attracted a Republican considered to be a top quality candidate: State Rep. Cory Gardner.

Harry Teague (NM-02) -- He flipped a GOP district by 12 points; McCain took the presidential. He voted against health care but for cap-and-trade -- and that's become a big issue. Environmentalists will spend time and money to save his seat.  Ex-Rep. Steve Pearce is gunning for the re-match and has raised more money to date.  -- He bit the bullet and is supporting health care reform, which has lead Republicans. The Fix's Chris Cillizza calls Snyder's "yes" vote one of the toughest anyone in Congress had to make, which means that Democrats will go out of their way to help him. His likely GOP opponent is a familiar name to DC insiders: ex-U.S. Attorney and Bush-Cheney stalwart Timothy Griffin.

Frank Kratovil (MD-01)  He won his seat by a threadbare margin - McCain won here by 19 points. His 2008 challenger, State Sen. Andy Harris, has spent the past eight months preparing for a rematch.  Harris is a conservative favorite: he beat long-time iconoclast Wayne Gilchrist is the '08 GOP primary.  The district encompasses Maryland's Eastern shore, and Kratovil benefited from larger than usual African American turnout in 2010 and Harris was hurt by dampened enthusiasm among Republicans.   Note: Harris might face a primary challenge, which could complicate things for the GOP. Correction: I initially wrote that Kratovil voted against cap-and-trade. Not true. He voted for it. I relied on a newspaper's outdated list.

Collin Peterson (MN-07)  -- On the face of it, Collin Peterson doesn't have to be afraid of his district, having lambasted his opponent by 45 points in a district where John McCain only won by 3 points. He's the chair of the House Ag Committee and has fashioned himself a bit of a policy entrepreneur to boot, which means he's a powerful ally for interests in his district to have, and Republicans have been unable to recruit a top quality challenger.  Heath Shuler (D-NC) - the chairman of the NRCC's recruiting division, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, admits that the former Redskins QB is "not the easiest one to beat."  But that hasn't stopped the NRCC from trying - there are at least three GOPers who have expressed an interest in trying to bring back this Henderson County-based district to the Republicans.

Vic Snyder (AR-02)