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Will the House Losses Be Bad or Horrendous?

Also in the same category, but with a slightly better chance of surviving, are Virginia’s Tom Perriello and Glenn Nye, Ohio’s Zack Space and John Boccieri, Arizona’s Harry Mitchell and Ann Kirkpatrick, Bobby Bright (Ala.), John Hall (N.Y.), Mark Schauer (Mich.), Patrick Murphy (Pa.) and Harry Teague (N.M.).

The Republican wave is reaching historic proportions if supposedly less vulnerable Democrats in the same category — including North Carolina’s Larry Kissell and Heath Shuler, Connecticut’s Christopher Murphy and Jim Himes, Gerry Connolly (Va.) and Walt Minnick (Idaho) — also fall on Election Day.

The second category includes veteran Democratic incumbents, some of them who have held seats for many years and have successfully personalized their districts. These incumbents are finding their longevity is a problem and their Democratic label a disaster.

Of that group, Reps. John Spratt (S.C.) Chet Edwards (Texas), Paul Kanjorski (Pa.), Ike Skelton (Mo.) and Earl Pomeroy (N.D.) are in the most trouble. In a massive wave, Reps. Bob Etheridge (N.C.), Rick Boucher (Va.), James Oberstar (Minn.), Solomon Ortiz (Texas), Jim Costa (Calif.), Sanford Bishop (Ga.), Gene Taylor (Miss.) and Mike McIntyre (N.C.) could also lose.

Democratic losses are likely to be particularly large in the South and the Midwest.

Significant losses in the Northeast — in both New England and upstate New York, and in traditionally Democratic districts, including by Reps. Russ Carnahan (Mo.), Ciro Rodriguez (Texas) and Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.), as well as by Ortiz and Oberstar — would suggest gains well over 50 seats.

Districts with large numbers of blue-collar, culturally conservative “Reagan Democrats” are worth watching. A number of the districts already mentioned — those of Dahlkemper, Oberstar and Carnahan — fit the bill, as do the districts of Reps. Mark Critz (Pa.) and John Yarmuth (Ky.) and retiring Reps. David Obey (Wis.) and Alan Mollohan (W.Va.).

The magnitude of the GOP victory could be evident relatively early in the evening. If Republicans defeat Democratic incumbents Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and/or Ben Chandler (Ky.), or if North Carolina Reps. McIntyre, Shuler and Etheridge fall, massive Democratic losses are likely.

On the other hand, if Reps. Baron Hill (Ind.) and Jim Marshall (Ga.) pull off upsets, or if either Virginia Democrats Nye or Perriello win, it could well be a sign that the GOP wave hasn’t materialized as expected.

Stuart Rothenberg is editor of the Rothenberg Political Report.

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