Rothenberg upgrades Wetterling’s chances slightly, Dems overall chances significantly

August 28th, 2006 – 11:38 PM by Eric Black

The issue of the Rothenberg Political Report that will be mailed to premium subscribers today (Tuesday) will nudge the Bachmann-Wetterling race slightly closer to a toss-up, and it will for the first time project enough Dem pick-ups to give them control of the House next year.

Stu Rothenberg is a veteran Washington insider, political handicapper, frequent TV pundit. Like several other such services, he rates the competitiveness of every House and Senate race in the nation.

Through May, he had listed the race for the open (Mark Kennedy) seat in the Minnesota Sixth District as “Leans Republican.” Unlike most of the others who attempt this exercise, Rothenberg has a category between “leans” toward one part or the other and “pure toss-up.”

This in-between category is called “Toss-up/Tilt.” And that is where the new issue rates the Bachmann-Wetterling race, specifically “Toss-up/Tilt Republican.”

That means Rothenberg and his helpful and able Political Editor Nathan Gonzales perceive a slight advantage for Bachmann, but obviously, slighter than they perceived before, and no longer enough to characterize as a “lean.”

Here’s Rothenberg’s comment on the WetterBach race:

“Wetterling, who drew 46% against incumbent Kennedy (in ’04) initially announced that she couldn’t win this district and therefore would run statewide. But she changed her mind, and Democrats are very optimistic about her chances. The Republican nominee is Bachmann, a personable, high profile conservative who has proven her campaign skills by defeating two incumbents.

“The district is quite Republican (Pres. Bush won it with 57% in 2004), but Wetterling appears to lead in early polling, in part because of her better name recognition. Bachmann has a chance of overtaking her by painting her as too left for district voters, but even GOP operatives are worried about Bachmann’s strongly indeological reputation and her combative quality.

“The question here is which candidate becomes the main issue in the race, Wetterling or Bachmann. A very competitive race that Republicans can’t afford to lose if they have any chance of holding the House.

The much more consequential thing about the new Rothenberg ratings, if they turn out to be correct, is that he now projects an overall Democratic pickup of 15-20 seats in the House. Fifteen is the minimum the Dems need to take control.

In May, the last time Rothenberg rated all the House races, he projected a Dem. pickup of 8-12, which would mean that Repubs keep control.

29 Responses to "Rothenberg upgrades Wetterling’s chances slightly, Dems overall chances significantly"

eric zaetsch says:

August 29th, 2006 at 8:57 am

Tossup/tilt sounds as if Rothenberg sees tossup now, with a potential to tilt if some substantial GOP breakthrough occurs. Or if Bachmann TV advertisements can sell her successfully, like Budweiser or a Jeep. Otherwise a toss-up down to the wire. Is that about it?

Then: Which candidate will be the issue?

And then, “even GOP operatives are worried about Bachmann’s strongly indeological reputation.” Isn’t that a euphemism?

Tie all the cans on her tail that belong there – don’t let the leopard change her spots – who she was is who she is and who she will be — however you word the cliche – the woman is an extremist and like the sports page musing about Terrel Owens being trouble wherever he goes, Bachmann will be Bachmann.

Genteel people are a bit restrained in saying that Bachmann was too extreme to have gotten the caucus nod, but the caucus was not packed with genteel people. Genteel people in the GOP might hint that in retrospect a different candidate would have been preferable, but they are stuck with Bachmann and some have shown party loyalty.

I’m not that genteel and I am not GOP so I speak bluntly – she is a threat to lessen national and worldwide respect for the State of Minnesota, if sent to DC to do as she’s done here. She will lessen respect for us even among GOP moderates. She will promote the extremism that yields short-term GOP vote margins but threatens long-term to tear the party apart.

She is anti-education as we know it, anti-choice, a homophobe, and a businessperson who does not provide her help medical coverage while saying a privitized medical care system is an ideal. She wants to privitize Social Security. Her tax proposals are voodoo economics – proposing universal tax cuts that do not fit her spending pronouncements, meaning higher deficits than the record ones now. She wants to eliminate estate taxes to benefit the 1-2% of the wealthiest families out of love or respect for a nation having a wealth-aristocracy perpetuated into the foreseeable future. And she wants a nasty cram-down of her religion for everyone, a theocratic state and the Establishment Clause ignored.

The biggest Rothenberg error, use of the word “personable” in describing Michele Bachmann.

Tell that to the clinic employee or campaign staffer needing an appendectomy as Michele Bachmann did. Sorry Charlie, but the woman sure is personable, isn’t she. Doesn’t that make the belly hurt a bit less? What other skeletons are there to be rattled that she did not disclose during GOP caucus vetting? Any other surprises?

Michele Bachmann, during her appendectomy travails had access to health care via State Senate medical coverage, did she not? But, hey, isn’t that socialized medicine? Hasn’t she been on a real high horse about that evil? No worry to Bachmann – our State providing available coverage was HER socialized beneficiary status; and that’s special. Why, exactly?

Taxpayers pay more tax, so that State employees have benefits – and isn’t that exactly what she’s preaching against?

Phoenix Woman says:

August 29th, 2006 at 10:22 am

I would be pleasantly surprised if we do much better than how we did in 1998. Then again, the Democrats are finally in position to ditch the boat anchors that have been keeping them from adopting positions on Iraq that are actually held by most Americans.

Phoenix Woman says:

August 29th, 2006 at 10:24 am

Oh, and I apologize for the off-topicness, but on Katrina’s first anniversary it’s time to re-debunk some nasty myths again:

Right-wingers like to push the idea that Bush needed an engraved invitation before moving to save New Orleans. But setting aside the fact that both Blanco and Nagin were screaming for help well before Katrina made land fall, the National Response Plan explicitly gives the Federal government the authority to act without waiting for state or local OK. (

More Katrina myths are debunked here: 2005/ 09/ 13/ katrina-myths-debunked/

And Michael Brown has now come forth to explain how he took the fall for Bush’s refusal to help New Orleans: show/ 55052.php/ Brown-says-White-House-wanted-him-to-lie

BvW » Blog Archive » Rothenberg on US House ratings says:

August 29th, 2006 at 10:25 am

[...] e now is that the Democrats will pick up 15-20 seats. At his Big Question blog, Eric Black has an excerpt from the subscription-only analysis. Wetterling, who drew 46% [...]

REB says:

August 29th, 2006 at 10:59 am

The polls are changing==== Do you suppose some of the middle class GOP’ers have figured out that there is nothing in that party for them unless you are super rich.

It just takes awhile sometimes====

bsimon says:

August 29th, 2006 at 11:27 am

REB, no, I don’t think that the middle class has yet caught on. One has to wonder though, if the Sept and Oct housing market continues to be stagnant, if people will start to wonder how ‘great’ this economy really is. In a Polinaut post yesterday at MPR, the author writes about his election analysis based on yard signs. I can’t help but wonder if the yard signs people notice will say ‘For Sale’ rather than ‘Vote XYZ.’

Eric Zaetsch says:

August 29th, 2006 at 2:25 pm

Star Trib itself, on the economy:

Wages lag inflation. Everybody gets a cut in real pay. And you thought you were the only one feeling pinched and lied to?

PW – I lived in New Orleans 1954, and returned briefly 1996 to bury my mother’s ashes in the family funeral plot. All crypts and graves elevated above ground level, because of the high water table – there was an Easy Rider scene. I remember the combination of heat and humidity. I can only imagine the anguish of the cleanup, the water damage and mold. Now with summer heat and humidity. It must be demoralizing. The media reports suicide up and strains on mental health services. It saddened me when it happened and it is sad it continues.

And the storm season is back. Is Mississippi, with a well-connected GOP governor who is a former National GOP party head getting the lion’s share of aid? Is there a lion’s share? Does that term even apply? I expect nobody is getting enough help and the relocation effort of individuals is more a factor than is reported.

Is there any reader who relocated here due to Katrina?

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