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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, November 19, 2012

What Happened to the Orphans?

Previous posts discussed GOP efforts in "orphan states," where the absence of serious presidential campaign activity jeopardized the party's chances in House races.  At National Journal, Reid Wilson writes:
In a few cases, mostly in red states, that strategy worked. The orphan-state victory centers made more than 10 million voter contacts. Republicans protected vulnerable incumbents in several areas that tilted toward Democrats. Republicans won Democratic-held seats in Arkansas, Indiana, and Kentucky, all districts that featured Boehner-funded offices.

But even the speaker’s attention couldn’t save some members from a blue-state Democratic wave. Illinois was a bloodbath; Democrats ousted GOP Reps. Joe Walsh, Judy Biggert, Bobby Schilling, and Robert Dold. In New York, Reps. Nan Hayworth and Ann Marie Buerkle lost their jobs. So did Rep. Mary Bono Mack in California. Two other California Republicans, Reps. Brian Bilbray and Dan Lungren, trail their Democratic challengers but have yet to concede defeat. Boehner’s committees paid for 12 offices in California, 10 in New York, and six in Illinois.

“The ground game that we built, I still think, is an important part of the election and an important part of the process going forward,” Boehner said in a subsequent interview looking back at the election results. “But there are limits on what the ground game can produce, especially when you’re being swept away at the top of the ticket, as we saw in California and Illinois.”