Comeback candidates

"Comeback candidates" Continued...

Issue: "Save the unions," Oct. 24, 2009

Hopeful conservatives are even starting to whisper the date 1993. Then, one year after the nation sent Bill Clinton to the White House, Republicans won governors' races in both New Jersey and Virginia. The next year came the historic Republican revolution when Republicans won 54 seats in the House and eight Senate seats to take over the majority, the first time they led the House in over 40 years.

Newt Gingrich, the architect behind the 1994 takeover who became Speaker of the House in 1995, predicts that "if the economy stays as bad as it, and unemployment maintains its numbers or drops, odds are good that (House Minority Leader John) Boehner is the next Speaker of the House."

While that may be premature, nonpartisan political pundits like Jennifer Duffy with the Cook Political Report are predicting Democratic losses in 2010: "In the House, the average midterm shift is 16 seats. We're probably talking more than that."

This year should have meant two home games for Democrats in New Jersey and Virginia. Indeed, both states would have been Democratic slam-dunks a year ago. But Nov. 3 can be a long time coming: McDonnell has begun to pull way in Virginia but Corzine, the Democratic incumbent in New Jersey, rose to a statistical dead heat with Christie after launching a fall flurry of attack ads worth $20 million. Once voters in Virginia and New Jersey cast their ballots, Republicans have 365 days to wait and see which direction the electorate is moving.

-with reporting by Jacob Parrish

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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