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Two looks at 2012 battleground congressional races and neither mentions Washington state

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on Nov. 22, 2011 at 8:28 am with No Comments »
November 22, 2011 8:28 am

First comes National Journal’s The Hotline and its assessment of the 20 U.S. Senate races to watch next year focusing on those most likely to change political hands.

Washington isn’t among the 20. That is the matchup between incumbent U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and an as-yet-undetermined Republican rival. The most-prominent name – and it isn’t all that prominent especially on the west side of the state – is first-term state Sen. Michael Baumgartner of Spokane.

Of the 20 races it does highlight, Hotline draws this conclusion: “The bottom line: It’s a target-rich environment for the GOP, but unlike in 2010, Democrats have opportunities to make life very uncomfortable for at least a few Republicans.”

Next comes this from the Washington Post which looks at the 10 states that will determine control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Washington must surely be in this mix with a new 10th seat that is sure to be a swing district. And Jay Inslee’s run for governor leaves his 1st District seat open and it has been won by both Democrats and Republicans in last two decades.

“A combination of an unpopular Congress, a volatile electorate, and changes resulting from redistricting mean there could be dozens of competitive races in just a handful of states,” the Post’s Aaron Blake writes.

But Washington isn’t one of them. Instead Blake thinks the true battlegrounds will be – in order from least important to most important – New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, New York, Illinois, California and Florida. Yes, that is 11 states but Blake gives his 9th-place to both Ohio and Pennsylvania.

So we have no presidential primary in Washington next year due to a cost-saving budget cut. Instead we have a diffused caucus system in which Republicans and Democrats won’t even be meeting on the same day. And at least on the national stage, not one of our congressional races is getting much attention.

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