The Stupak Curse?

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As Adam notes, incumbents should take Rep. Allan Mollohan’s loss of his primary as a shot across the bow but there are 13 members it should terrify. Mollohan was one of the 14 Democrats who voted for Bart Stupak’s amendment in November and for health care reform on final passage. Republicans are targeting this group, accusing them of flip flopping on abortion; the GOP even has a website called Stupak’s Sellouts. Already Michigan’s Stupak has announced he’s retiring, as has Dave Obey, the powerful Appropriations Committee Chairman from Wisconsin. The National Republican Congressional Committee singled out Mollohan, the group’s first casualty at the polls, with an advertisement right after the vote. Mollohan, a 28-year House veteran, was defeated by a Democratic candidate who attacked from his right. State Senator Michael Oliverio, 46, received the endorsement of the National Right to Life Political Action Committee and benefitted from ads and voter outreach run by the Susan B. Anthony list, a pro-life group.

Of the remaining 12, six are in districts won by John McCain in 2008: Baron Hill (IN-09), Chris Carney (PA-10), Earl Pomeroy (ND-AL), John Salazar (CO-03), Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-03) and Tom Perriello (VA-05). Two of the remaining five are are also in trouble: Pennsylvania’s Paul Kanjorski is facing the primary battle of his life; Ron Klein is rated the most endangered South Florida Dem*; and Ohio’s Steve Dreihaus is in a race rated a “toss up” by the Cook Political Report. Only Texas’s Ciro Rodriguez, Indiana’s Joe Donnelly and Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa of California look likely to escape their health care votes unscathed. Note: Brad Ellsworth also falls in this group, though he’s not running for reelection as he’s running for Evan Bayh’s Senate seat in Indiana.

*Correction: The NRCC website was wrong: Ron Klein is pro-choice and never voted for the Stupak amendment. Apologies to Klein and to our readers, I should have double checked this and not relied on the GOP website.

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