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Dangerous Dozen: Unsafe House Incumbents

Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo
With his redrawn North Carolina district encompassing more GOP territory, Rep. Larry Kissell is in danger of losing his seat in 2012.

Robert Dold (R-Ill.). The freshman Dold’s district is even less Republican than Schilling’s, but he probably has a slightly better chance of surviving than his GOP colleague. Dold won his current seat even though McCain drew just 38 percent there in 2008. McCain drew only 36 percent in the redrawn district, so Dold will have to overcome a strong Democratic wave at the top of the ticket. Still, this is an upscale district with a considerable Jewish population, and the president won’t be as strong here as he was three years ago. Dold could also benefit from the fact that Democrats haven’t recruited a proven vote-getter against him.

Timothy Johnson (R-Ill.). Johnson’s new district went 44 percent for McCain and 52 percent for George W. Bush in 2004, making it marginal at best. State Sen. Jay Hoffman (D) immediately announced his candidacy, though he now has the option of running in retiring Democratic Rep. Jerry Costello’s slightly more Democratic 12th district. No matter what Hoffman decides, Johnson is likely to have a tough fight.

Charles Bass (R-N.H.). Bass, a veteran lawmaker, regained the seat in 2010 that he had lost in 2008, and he faces a fierce rematch against Ann McLane Kuster (D), whom he narrowly beat during last year’s huge Republican wave. He represents the more Democratic of the state’s two districts — a district that Obama carried with 56 percent last time.

Judy Biggert (R-Ill.). Biggert, 74, was expected to retire rather than face an uphill climb in the president’s state. But the seven-term moderate apparently is so upset at the Legislature’s new map that she is planning on running again. The new 11th district gave McCain only 37 percent of the vote, but George W. Bush drew more than 49 percent when he ran for re-election in 2004. Former Rep. Bill Foster will be the Democratic nominee, and he has assets (personal wealth) and liabilities (a voting record).

Heath Shuler (D-N.C.). Shuler, a moderate Democrat, has always walked something of a fine line in this schizophrenic district. The Democratic vote is centered in Asheville, a city that one GOP consultant calls “the Berkeley of the East,” but most of the district’s general election voters are moderate to conservative. Shuler’s new district loses many Asheville voters, transforming it from a 52 percent McCain district to more than a 58 percent McCain district. He’s received the votes of Republicans before, but he’ll need even more of them now.

Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.). The moderate McIntyre’s problems are almost identical to Shuler’s. He won in 2010 in a district that gave McCain 52 percent of the vote two years earlier, while his new district gave McCain 57 percent. With Obama less popular this time, McIntyre faces a tough climb.

Dan Lungren (R-Calif.). Another election means another problem for Lungren, who somehow wins despite his reluctance to raise money. He will be running in a 46 percent McCain district this time, compared with the 48 percent McCain district he ran in last time, but he also will draw the same opponent, Ami Bera. Bera, a doctor who raises money nationally from Indian-Americans, ran a competitive race in a terrible year for a Democrat, so he hopes the better environment will help him close the 7-point gap he had in 2010.

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