Yesterday I wrote a post that reported and commented on the 1st quarter fund-raising in Tennessee congressional races, specifically TN-06 and TN-08. TN-01, TN-02, TN-03 and TN-07 are currently held by Republicans and there is effectively zero chance of a Democrat winning any of them. I predict TN-06 and TN-08 will be won by Republicans. TN-09 will stay safely Democrat. Just as an aside, incumbent Democrat Steve Cohen has raised $429,885 in individual contributions in 1Q-2010. Democrat challenger Willie Herenton raised $3,400. Cohen has outraised Herenton 100 to 1. Oh, and Cohen has over $1 million on hand. Herenton reported $5,400 in the bank.
Which leaves TN-04 and TN-05. TN-04 has been a Democrat seat for the overwhelming majority of the last 100 years. Van Hilleary won the seat in the 1994 Gingrich revolution. Lincoln Davis won it back for the Democrats in 2002 when Van ran for Governor (and lost to Phil Bredesen). Although the district previously elected Al Gore and Jim Cooper (before he left to run for Senate against Fred Thompson), it has trended more conservative and Republican and has been a competitive seat. In 2010, it’s going to be hard to defend. The first fund-raising reports certainly seem to indicate that this will be a horse-race. Here are the totals for individual contributions (not including PAC money or loans from candidates to their own campaigns):
Either Desjarlais or Bailey looks poised to provide a strong challenge to Davis. If 2010 is like 1994, then Davis is in trouble.
TN-05 has been, after TN-09, the safest Democrat seat in the state. In 2008, Cooper raised $338k in individual contributions. His Republican challenger, Gerard Donovan, raised $8,610. In 2006, Cooper raised $471k – the records for his Republican challenger, Kovach aren’t available online. In 2004, Cooper raised $459k. Back in 2002, Republican Bob Duvall raised barely $10k to Cooper’s $864k. Of course 2002 was the first year Cooper was elected and he had first had to win a contested Democratic primary. None of Cooper’s Republican opponents have presented much of a challenge to him. But the financial records show that the amount he has raised in individual contributions has trended down since 2002. Things look a bit different in 2010. For one thing, there are 11 candidates (8 Republicans, 2 Independents, and 1 Libertarian) who have filed to run against Cooper. The large number of candidates filing is a strong indication that something is up. And one of the Republicans (Jeff Hartline) has already raised more money for the race than all four of Cooper’s previous opponents combined (admittedly not that high a hurdle, but still significant). Here are the numbers:
Could Hartline beat Cooper? In a normal election year, the answer would be no. But 2010 is shaping up to be anything but a normal election year. Hartline looks to be the favorite to win the Republican nomination. If he is able to continue to raise money and can get his message out, Cooper could be vulnerable. Hartline appears to be a more effective speaker and campaigner than any of Cooper’s previous challengers.
If the 2010 tsunami is as big as some think it might be, then there is the distinct possibility that Tennessee might end up with eight Republicans and one Democrat in its congressional delegation. That result would have been unthinkable two years ago. It remains a long shot. But it has already gone from an impossibility to a possibility.
For those who have no idea who Jeff Hartline is, take about 4 minutes and watch this video:
and imagine going from this map: