Polling guru Nate Silver used his highly sophisticated model to predict that the GOP could pick up anywhere from 23 to 81 seats. They need to pick up 39 in order to grab a 218-vote House majority. We boiled it down to the 9 that you should keep an eye on:
- Indiana's 2nd District: Rep. Joe Donnelly has been distancing himself from the White House and Pelosi. The tactic seems to be working in his conservative district; he's leading in the polls against Republican Jackie Walorski. If things turn, watch out: It's going to be a long night for the Dems.
- Virginia's 5th District: Conversely, Rep. Tom Perriello has been unwavering in his defense of health reform, etc ... Obama has plugged him several times in recent days, but his purple district is leaning toward Republican John Hurt.
- North Dakota (at large): Democrat Earl Pomeroy has nine terms under his belt, but his conservative state may be favoring Republican Rick Berg.
- Louisiana's 2nd District: Joseph Cao cruised to victory in 2008 thanks, in part, to the $90,000 found in incumbent William Jefferson's freezer. This year, running against Democrat Cedric Richmond, he's among the most vulnerable House Republicans.
- New York's 19th District: New York is a blue state, right? Maybe not. The GOP may reclaim its seat in this suburban district: It's extremely neck-and-neck between two-term Democrat John Hall and Republican Nan Hayworth.
- Texas' 17th District: Ten-term Democrat Chet Edwards has a long voting record as a centrist, but has been steadily backing away from his party, refusing to back Nancy Pelosi if he beats challenger Bill Flores and the Dems hold the House; the polls are leaning Republican.
- Colorado's 3rd District: Democrat John Salazar (brother of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar) beat Republican opponent and Sarah Palin-endorsee Scott Tipton by 25% in 2006; this time around, it's looking like a toss-up.
- Florida's 8th District: He labeled his opponent “Taliban Dan” and called Republicans “the enemy of America”: Freshman Alan Grayson is trailing Republican Daniel Webster in the polls.
- North Carolina's District 11: Former NFL quarterback/conservative Democrat Heath Shuler took his traditionally red district in 2006 ... but now he's backing away from his party, too, saying he would challenge Pelosi for the Speaker's gavel. He's favored, but if he loses to Jeff Miller, it's a sign that even conservative Dems can't shake Obama and Pelosi.
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