GOP ‘Goner' List Warns of House Rout

An internal document circulating among House Republicans warns of an impending congressional bloodbath, listing 58 Republican-held House seats being at risk, and 11 already considered as good as gone. As many as 34 GOP-held seats are in serious jeopardy of swinging to Democrats, the assessment shows.

The state-of-the-race update, first reported on by U.S. News’ Paul Bedard, shows the GOP already writing off the seats of Reps. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.), John R. Kuhl (R-N.Y.), Don Young (R-Alaska) and Tim Walberg (R-Mich.). It also expects losses in the seats of retiring GOP Reps. Rick Renzi of Arizona, Jerry Weller of Illinois, Jim Saxton of New Jersey, Mike Ferguson of New Jersey, Vito Fossella of New York, James Walsh of New York and Tom Davis of Virginia.

Drafted by a Republican consultant, the document ranks seats on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most likely for a Democratic takeover. Eleven members received a 5, meaning the seat is gone unless “a significant turn of events” changes things in the final two weeks. An additional seven seats are ranked as a 4, in the leaning Democratic category, and 16 seats are in the tossup category.

One well-connected Republican operative told Politico that the list, if anything, understated the number of members needing a political lifeline. The operative also said the GOP is all but writing off the seats of Reps. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.), Joseph Knollenberg (R-Mich.), Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Phil English (R-Pa.), and the open New Mexico House seat of retiring Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.), who is running for the Senate.

Many of these potential pickups would strike at the heart of the Republican base. Pearce represents an oil-rich district that has been under Republican control since 1981. Musgrave and Bachmann are among Congress’ leading conservative voices, and both have won elections in the exurban areas that were until recently GOP strongholds.

With as many as 34 seats considered tossups or expected to flip, the National Republican Congressional Committee is being forced to make painful decisions about resource allocation.

Earlier this week, the NRCC pulled its advertising in Musgrave’s Colorado-based district and decided not to spend money it had previously reserved on Bachmann’s behalf in Minnesota, leaving them to fend for themselves in the campaign’s final week.

The operative added that the two New Jersey seats and Walberg’s Michigan seat may, however, be salvageable. The National Republican Congressional Committee has spent $1.1 million on behalf of Walberg, and about $630,000 in the two open-seat New Jersey districts.

In addition, the operative suggested that the seats of Reps. Bill Sali (R-Idaho), Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), Thelma Drake (R-Va.), Virgil H. Goode (R-Va.) and the open Kentucky seat of retiring Rep. Ron Lewis (R-Ky.) were in far more tenuous situation than the document shows.

National Republicans are confident in their prospects of taking back just one currently Democratic seat — the one held by scandal-plagued Florida Rep. Tim Mahoney. Reps. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.), Paul E. Kanjorski (D-Pa.), Christopher P. Carney (D-Pa.) and Nick Lampson (D-Texas) are in tossup races, according to the NRCC, and the committee also views the battle for retiring Democratic Rep. Bud Cramer's seat in Alabama as a tossup.

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