Boswell still not among most vulnerable House incumbents

Seven-term Representative Leonard Boswell is the 64th most vulnerable Democrat in the House of Representatives, according to new analysis by Crisitunity at Swing State Project. Crisitunity’s “vulnerability index” takes into account both the partisan voting index of each member’s district (based on presidential election results) and the House incumbent’s performance in the previous election.

Republicans are optimistic about their chances against Boswell in Iowa’s third Congressional district. I’ve talked to a few nervous Democrats too. Boswell performed better than John Kerry in 2004, but he underperformed the top of the ticket in 2006, the last midterm election. Even against a no-name challenger in 2008, Boswell performed only about as well as Barack Obama in the third district.

I still think Boswell is in a relatively strong position going into this campaign. He has brought a lot of money to the district (the stimulus bill helped, of course). The crowded GOP primary will raise the name recognition of the eventual winner, but the campaign could turn nasty, raising their nominee’s negatives. The Republican candidates will spend down their campaign accounts before June while Boswell continues to raise money.

I don’t see the National Republican Congressional Committee stepping in with a lot of help during the general election campaign. The NRCC still has much less cash on hand than the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. House Republicans have dozens of more appealing targets than IA-03, and Boswell is in the DCCC’s Frontline program, ensuring that they will spend money on his behalf if he seems to be in trouble.

In my opinion, the biggest risk for Boswell is a total collapse in Democratic turnout. He hasn’t inspired enthusiastic support from the Democratic base, and if the economy doesn’t improve, this could be a very tough year for us to get our voters out. On the other hand, Democratic party registration in Polk County has grown substantially, and I think the party’s GOTV here is stronger than in some other parts of Iowa.

A second danger factor for Boswell is that corporations will be able to spend unlimited amounts of money to elect Republicans. Then again, corporate-funded political action committees were running ads against his votes on the climate change bill and health care reform long before the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens United case.

What do you think, Bleeding Heartland readers? Can Boswell survive a Republican wave, if it comes to that?

  • Yes

    This Democrat will have his wallet open after the GOP primary to help Leonard out with a small donation after the dust settles and we find out which Republican he faces.  There are also a couple of other Blue Dogs in the House who I plan on giving money to.  There could be a U.S. Senate Race that sparks my interest.

    Not to get too far off topic, but the way a certain camp in the Ohio Senate race is treating another camp is absolutely disgusting.  This is the second U.S. Senate race in Ohio where Schumer, Durbin, DSCC, etc. have been meddling for no reason in Ohio.  

    • agreed

      with very rare exceptions, party committees should not get involved in contested primaries.

      We are going to lose at least three and maybe four Senate seats just from Democratic political incompetence. The economy is bad enough–we don’t need to create any more problems for ourselves.

  • Blue Dog?

    Despite some recent improvements I’d be more supportive if Leonard stopped self-identifying as a Blue Dog. Till then I still want a primary challenge or retirement. But what do I know, I’m in Loebsack’s district.

    • LOL j

      I’m in Loebsack’s district too.  If you go back and look at some of my comments on here you will see that I am no fan of Dave and wish we still had Jim Leach.  I also wish Leonard would have voted no on cap and trade and health care “reform”, but I don’t want to open that can of worms again.  

      The only Democrat in the House who I consider to be an awful Democrat is Dan Boren.  Some of my previous comments may enlighten you on my philosophy.  

      For the record though I despise Ed Fallon for running a primary against Leonard and think Ed is flat wrong about “corporate welfare” like the Iowa Power Fund which without it, we would have to enact more right wing policies by cutting taxes or making it harder to unionize in order to create jobs.  

      • I don't think Ed Fallon attacked the Power Fund

        He did criticize the Iowa Values Fund, and I agree that taxpayers didn’t get our money’s worth from that. He also voted to create Vision Iowa but later criticized some of the projects that were funded with that money.

        I have heard that the I-JOBS process for considering and approving grants is far more professional than what happened with Vision Iowa.

        • You are correct about the Power Fund

          I think the heart of the matter is that Ed and I come at these matters from a different perspective.  Maybe in many ways Ed Fallon is a better free market advocate than I am, but I tend to believe that incentive programs like these are necessary to try to distinguish Iowa when we can from the other dogs in the hunt when it comes to jobs.

          It is the same reason why I can’t even think about supporting Mr. Narcisse  (sp?)in any bid that he is currently considering. Narcisse makes great points about our budgeting process and our educational system  I like casinos, live in a county with the highest unemployment that needs the prison (Keokuk right next door to Fort Madison) and I think we need incentive programs that Fallon and Narcisse criticize to bring jobs here because the people who are in charge are not doing enough to develop what natural resources we have in Lee County.  

          I’ve met Ed Fallon before and he has a right to his views, but I would have registered Independent if he would have won the primary against Leonard.  Had Fallon won the Gubernatorial Primary in 2006 I would have just written in Patty Judge or someone.  

          • reasonable minds can differ

            as my dad used to say. Patty Judge is the only reason I didn’t vote straight D in 2002 (I voted for Green Party candidate Brian Depew for secretary of agriculture).

            Although I’m not a fan of Leonard Boswell, I have voted for him in every general election since Polk County became part of IA-03. I stopped giving him money a few years back, but I don’t disagree with him enough to vote third party or write in a name.  

    • no fan of Blue Dogs

      but Boswell hasn’t been in the group of Blue Dogs voting the wrong way on stuff in this Congress. I don’t support a primary challenger this year–Boswell’s voting record since 2008 doesn’t warrant it. Not that my support did Ed Fallon any good anyway!

  • It will probably only matter for 2 years

    If the GOP wins IA-3, they’ll have a seat for two years, before the winner loses in a primary to Latham.

    If Boswell wins in IA-3, he’ll serve for 2 more years, and then retire, old and happy, forgoing a challenge to the (most likely) stronger Latham.

    Of course, this is assuming the district lines merge most of IA 3 and 4.

    I still doubt that Steve King and Tom Latham will be forced to face each other in 2012.  IA-5 is just so huge…I can’t see it getting that much bigger.

    We’ll see.  My bet is on “irrelevant by 2012.”

  • I'm reserving comment

    on Lenny baby.

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