Feb. 14, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Race Fundamentals Are Telling for Vulnerables

Adams ended the primary with little money in the bank, but after the National Republican Congressional Committee completes its media buy of about 2,000 gross ratings points, the election in this district will primarily be about the economy, jobs, bigger government and spending as well as President Barack Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

And because of that, Kosmas, who supported the stimulus bill, health care reform and cap-and-trade in a district that McCain carried and Bush carried twice, is almost certainly going to slip back in the polls.

Most Democratic incumbents who are going to lose in November will get at least 45 percent of the vote. Many will get much more, losing by only 2 or 3 points. That’s what happens in elections. The Democratic base in most competitive districts is at least in the low to mid-40s.

Given that, it isn’t surprising Democratic Members are even or slightly ahead at this point in some races. They aren’t going to get much of the undecided vote, so they need to be up near the 50 percent mark on Election Day to win.

So Markey’s and Kosmas’ polls are, in a sense, beside the point. Yes, Markey may get 38 percent of the vote and Kosmas 45 percent. So what?

Of course, there are plenty of other Democratic incumbents who are more or less in the same boat as Markey and Kosmas: Reps. Baron Hill (Ind.), Frank Kratovil (Md.), Chet Edwards (Texas), Mary Jo Kilroy (Ohio), Steve Driehaus (Ohio), Paul Kanjorski (Pa.), Harry Teague (N.M.) and Ann Kirkpatrick (Ariz.) are among them.

Ask a Teague supporter about November, and he will tell you that Democrats probably will lose the House, but Teague will survive. To Kratovil admirers, Democrats are going to get slaughtered, but Kratovil will win. And for Hill, Edwards and Kanjorski supporters, those veterans always find a way to win, even when the rest of their party is in trouble. Why should 2010 be any different?

But 2010 isn’t 2008 or 2006 or even 2004. Democratic candidates need to go into the elections at or above the 50 percent mark in most districts. “Surging” to 45 percent of the vote simply isn’t enough.

I certainly don’t expect Markey and Kosmas simply to throw in the towel and spend the last month of their re-election campaigns traveling throughout Europe. They still have time to make their cases about why they should be re-elected. But that doesn’t change the political reality of their situations.

Stuart Rothenberg is editor of the Rothenberg Political Report.

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