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by Alisa


These are the races I think are the most important for winning in November. If I had $30, I'd get $10 each to McCaskill, Webb and Ford. How did I pick these candidates? They are the candidates that I think are the most likely to make a difference. The senate candidates are all from toss-up races (although Tennessee is a long-shot, but it is surprisingly competitive.) For the house, I generally looked for one of two things from competitive races. Either I wanted a competitive race in a seat where there is also a competitive senate race (I am assuming that GOTV work and a strong Dem presence helps both races.) Or I am looking for a race where the district went for Gore and Kerry in the past, while having a Republican congressional representative now. I excluded some races that met those criteria because they either had a huge disparity of money one way or the other, or something else seemed to make it less competitive.

(Note, I did not include a page for Shays' opponent, Diane Farrell, who really should have one, based on every criterion I've outlined. The reason is that Shays, in my opinion, has more integrity than 90% of the Republican house combined. Yes, we can't be sentimental, but with limited dollars, he isn't the person I'd target. Otherwise, I really did include people based nearly entirely on competitiveness.)

Image of Claire McCaskill

Claire McCaskill


Montana is very competitive right now, with McCaskill at a 50/49% lead in late August Poll. However, McCaskill has half as much money as the Republican.

Image of James Webb

James Webb


George Allen is self-destructing at an amazingly quick race, but he has raised almost 3 times as much money as Webb! Webb is pretty conservative (secretary of the Navy for Reagan), but he has a real shot at winning, and seems pretty well connected with what is really happening in Iraq (his son is currently serving in Iraq). He is kind of introverted, but I also think a good addition to the Democratic Party.

Image of Harold Ford, Jr.

Harold Ford, Jr.


Ford is a terrific candidate and the polls are within the margin of error. However, I think that racism is a real issue and some people may answer a poll one way and vote another. Additionally, The RNC is pouring tons of money into this race with some of the nastiest ads ever, so we really need to support his campaign!

Image of Ned Lamont

Ned Lamont


Every other candidate on this page is pivotal for taking control of the house or the senate. Whether we should spend precious resources on a race that won't tip control is a valid issue. However, we need to make sure that Democrats stand up for us (and the Constitution). If Lieberman wins, he tells every Democrat that s/he can ignore the base, the Constitution and the 'reality-based community' with impunity. Lamont is a strong, middle of the road candidate that will stand up for checks and balances and won't provide Bush's rush towards totalitarianism with cover!

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Darcy Burner


This district voted for Kerry and Gore. Republican incumbent, has raised more (about 50%), but quite competitive.

Image of Tammy Duckworth

Tammy Duckworth


Tammy has run out of money--this is an urgent race!

It breaks my general rule of thumb (Dem voting record or Dem swing senate race). However, Henry Hyde is retiring from a reliably conservative district (voted for Bush in both elections). Duckworth is an Iraq war veteran (who lost both her legs in Iraq) and has a real shot of winning this race.

Image of Linda Stender

Linda Stender


This was a long shot--probably the least competitive on the page, but it is now within reach! Linda is running a smart campaign (I've volunteered, so I can promise they know what they are doing--as least as far as I could tell--they were on the ball and used resources well), it is within the margin of error, and she is workign with Menendez for GOTV, so a dollar here helps both campaigns!

Image of Ed Perlmutter

Ed Perlmutter


This district voted for Kerry and Gore. It is an open seat--they've raised about the same amount of money, but Perlmutter has spent almost all of it, while the Republican has 5 times as much money left on-hand!

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Patricia Madrid


This district voted for Kerry and Gore. The Republican incumbent has raised 1 million more and has 800K more on hand.

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Baron Hill


Here's another that breaks my rule. However, Baron Hill was the Representative until 2004, when he lost. He is ahead in the polling data and has a great shot. (There was a great piece on him on the Jim Lehrer news hour last week.)

Image of Mary Jo Kilroy

Mary Jo Kilroy


This is a tossup race in Ohio. District more conservative (Bush in both), but includes Columbus and I think it is competitive.

Image of Lois Murphy

Lois Murphy


Suberb of Philly, voted for Kerry and Gore. Republican incumbent has raised a little more money, but not a lot and they are pretty even with cash on hand.

Image of Phil Kellam

Phil Kellam


VA is a swing for senate, which is why I'm including this district, which voted for Bush both times. However, the Republican incumbent is VERY conservative and Virginia seems to be changing a lot, with a very popular dem governor who just retired and a new dem governor. I think it is totally doable.

Image of Tim Mahoney

Tim Mahoney


Tom Foley's old district and his name is still on the ballot. Conservative district, but who really wants to vote for Tom Foley right now? So, this is competitive--he's only got 165,000 on hand right now so a little should go a long way as the new Republican will have to start from scratch.

Image of Ron Klein

Ron Klein


Miami suburb that voted for Kerry and Gore. The Republican incumbent is pretty conservative, and has over 1 million more than Klein.

Image of Joe Courtney

Joe Courtney


CT district voted for Kerry and Gore. Republican incumbent has slightly outraised and outspent Courtney, but quite competitive.

Image of Bob Menendez

Bob Menendez


OK--I really wish this one weren't on the list--NJ shouldn't be competitive, but Kean is incredibly popular in the state (despite blowing his credibility on the “Path to 9-11” nonsense). But it is competitive, and the RNC just did a huge, multi-million dollar buy in because they think it is competive. However, Menendez has a sizable cash advantage right now, so I'm not sure that more money will help much.

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