After three wave elections, voters may decide to throw the bums out -- but keep the Republican majority
Arkansas Democrat Mike Ross survived the GOP wave in 2010. credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
In recent years, it hasn't been hard for House campaign committee officials to identify their list of most vulnerable members on the other side of the aisle. Going after Republicans representing Democratic-leaning suburbs has been a key element of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's strategy to win control of the House. Likewise, the National Republican Congressional Committee is accustomed to pursuing moderate Democrats with relish.
But this year, the game is different. After three consecutive wave elections, the House caucuses have become much more ideologically homogenous: There simply aren't many Democrats left representing the rural, conservative heartland or, conversely, many Republicans in the inner suburbs. Blue Dog Democrats are struggling to remain relevant, having lost more than half of their members to last year's midterms and others, such as Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.) to retirement.
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Only 13 Democrats represent districts that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) carried against President Obama. And even after last year's landslide, just 13 Republicans represent districts that Democrats carried in the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections. Many of those 26 members are battle-tested, having survived the 2006 and 2010 elections that wiped out their respective party's control of the chamber.