While the Democrats’ ’06 & ’08 classes – most of whom were elected in swing seats that voted for either George W. Bush in 2004 or John McCain in 2008 or both — will likely be decimated tonight, what makes this election more of a tsunami is the endangered Old Bulls. Remember, in 2006 networks weren’t calling the House flipping till much later — closer to 11pm. Rick Boucher, who has served Virginia’s Ninth Congressional District for 27 years, lost his reelection bid tonight. As did House Budget Chairman John Spratt, a South Carolina Democrat and Stanford Bishop who has represented Georgia’s Second District for 17 years. Though, Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who loaned his campaign $200,000 in the final weeks, is projected to win 61% of the vote with 64% of precincts reporting.
Threee other Democratic chairmen – who as a group have spent an average of 27 years in the House – are fighting for their lives tonight: Transportation Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar of Minnesota; Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall of West Virginia; and Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton of Missouri. Other long-time Democratic incumbents who are vulnerable: Chet Edwards, who represents western Texas, including Crawford where George W. Bush has his ranch; and Rep. Solomon Ortiz who has represented Texas’s 27th District for 27 years.
Rahall won but Edwards has lost and Skelton and Spratt are down. And, amazingly, John Dingell, the longest serving member ever in the House, is behind in Michigan.
Dingell seems to have pulled ahead. Skelton and Spratt have lost.