Four months ago, I said of House GOP prospects:
We are probably looking at another year of a net gain of 30 seats for Democrats, and perhaps more than that depending on how the public mood changes over the summer with gas prices continuing to rise.
In light of the financial crisis, McCain’s worsening numbers and intense anti-GOP sentiment, it seems that my guess of a 30-seat loss was probably far too conservative. We are now looking at losses in many districts that were once considered Republican-leaning or even safe. Losses are more likely to be in the neighborhood of 40-48 seats thanks in part to erosion of Republican support in such reliably safe seats as NM-02 and Michelle Bachmann’s self-immolation. Disaster scenarios might involve net losses of 70, but that is not all that likely.
Regardless, if Virgil Goode, the representative in my old stomping grounds of Prince Edward County in Virginia, is considered vulnerable, the GOP is in truly desperate straits. It’s strange to think that Goode only ten years ago starting making his journey from being a Democrat to independent to Republican, only to find himself on the verge of being thrown out for identifying with that party. If anything, from what I understand this new Politico story is understating the extent of Republican problems. This does not begin to address the difficulties that some ostensibly favored California and Arizona Republicans are facing. Lungren, once considered the rising star of the California GOP not that long ago, may not be re-elected in CA-03; Rohrabacher, a fixture of the California right, is also vulnerable in CA-46. Obviously, the possibility of Shadegg’s defeat in “reddest” Arizona is startling. Even the few pick-up opportunities in districts lost in ’06 because of scandal will barely offset the huge losses that are coming. The Senate elections are looking similarly bleak, but will probably result in no more than a net gain of eight seats in Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado, New Hampshire, Alaska, Oregon, Minnesota and North Carolina. My guess is that Wicker, Chambliss and McConnell squeak out victories despite their many difficulties, but not by much. The disaster scenario entails all eleven vulnerable seats flipping. This would mark something as close to total repudiation of a major party as any we have seen in two consecutive postwar election cycles.