Other veterans defeated Tuesday were Reps. Chet Edwards (Texas), Allen Boyd (Fla.) and Jim Marshall (Ga.). More junior Blue Dog lawmakers lost as well, including Reps. Frank Kratovil (Md.), Bobby Bright (Ala.), Travis Childers (Miss.) and Walt Minnick (Idaho).
Democrats also lost a handful of open seats that aren’t likely to be competitive anytime soon. That list includes a pair of open seats in both Tennessee and Arkansas, an open seat in southern Indiana and an open seat in Louisiana that the party didn’t even try to hold.
Bernie Pinsonat, an independent pollster with Southern Media & Opinion Research, said one reason why it will be particularly hard for Democrats to win back many of those districts is because the national party has lost touch with a large part of America.
“Most of the things that Democrats are pushing nationally are truly disliked by Southern voters,” he said. “We don’t like big government. We don’t like taxes. Unions don’t have a foothold of any consequences. ... The national Democratic Party is winning on the coast with those messages, but in the heartland — and especially in the South — their constituencies and the people that they kowtow to are not popular.”
The rise of the tea party this cycle certainly embodied that sentiment and provided an outlet for voter anger.
Pinsonat painted a bleak picture for what that means for Democrats in the cycles to come.
“I don’t have anything to throw out as even a bone to give them hope,” he said. “I don’t have anything in my polls that says, ‘If you do this, you’ll do better.’”
But Democratic pollster John Anzalone said Wednesday that the only real conclusion one could take from the 2010 cycle is that the Congressional battleground could continue to be large, and either party could take advantage of it in a given election.
“I think we’re now in a period of politics where over 100 seats are swing or targetable, and those don’t go away just because the Republicans won one year and the Democrats won the previous cycle,” he said.
Anzalone dismissed talk that there are certain seats Democrats have lost forever.
“Voters are fickle mistresses, and they have a more difficult appetite to satiate than it was 10 and 20 years ago,” he said. “Do I think that we’re going to have a wholesale resurgence two years from now in the Deep South? No. Do I think these seats are lost forever? No. As long as we have good candidates and a decent breeze at our back ... we’re going to see some of these seats in play.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.