Republican challengers are suddenly threatening once-safe Democrats in New England and the Northwest, expanding the terrain for potential GOP gains and raising the party's hopes for a significant victory in next month's elections.Uh, Petey? Your problem isn't boredom or lack of interest. It's the current occupant of the White House, along with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Supreme arrogance and contempt for the people are more a problem than ennui.
Republican advances in traditionally Democratic states, including Connecticut, Oregon and Washington, may not translate into a wave of GOP victories. But they have rattled local campaigns and forced the Democrats to shift attention and money to races they didn't expect to be defending.
Rising sentiment against the party in power has washed ashore even in coastal Oregon, where Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio won his 10th re-election two years ago with 82% of the vote.
"I am having the same problem that Democrats are having across the country, which is ennui," he said, noting that his opponent's yard signs "are thick" across much of the district. Mr. DeFazio said he is facing the fight of his political life.
House Republican leaders in recent weeks have tamped down expectations, noting that Democrats still have significant financial resources and could prove resilient down the stretch. There is plenty of time for voter sentiment to shift, with three weeks before Election Day.Not in my house.
The expanded battlefield map, however, has prompted a shift in tone. Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, vice chairman of the National Republican Campaign Committee, bluntly predicted his party is heading toward a big win. "The Democrats are standing on a beach with the water going out and there is a tsunami coming their way," he said.
Some Democrats are signaling the potential for a rout, particularly in the House. A new survey by Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg gives Republicans a six-point edge, 49% to 43%, when likely voters are asked which party they support in House races. That's a margin pollsters generally believe foreshadows large gains. "If the election were held today, it would produce a very unhappy night" for the Democrats, he said.