The Potential Shockers

Which 2010 campaigns are long-shot upset possibilities? Does polling indicate that there are candidates in position to score such victories? The answer to the second question is clearly yes, as there are at least 10 Republican challengers in normally Democratic districts who surveys indicate are potential surprise winners.

Perhaps the most shocking race now in this category is the Arizona campaign (AZ-7) of Rep. Raul Grijalva (D) and GOP physicist Ruth McClung. Though possessing little in the way of financial resources, McClung has managed to whittle Grijalva’s normally substantial advantage into the low single-digits. If this trend progresses, and Arizona continues to languish in political turmoil over immigration and government spending while outside groups help neutralize Grijalva’s resource advantage, then the AZ-7 campaign could become the defining upset of what might become a Republican sweep.

Retired Army Col. Allen West (R) held freshman Rep. Ron Klein (D) to a 10-point win in Florida in 2008, the big year for Democrats, as you might recall. West has raised more than $2 million for the re-match, and polling indicates the current contest (FL-22) is too close to call.

Keith Fimian

Republican challenger Keith Fimian is returning for a re-match against freshman Rep. Gerry Connolly (D) with a better campaign and in a much better year for the GOP. Polling suggests a slight Fimian lead, as the Republican tries to build upon the party’s momentum from Gov. Bob McDonnell’s major 2009 victory. This is a classic liberal vs. conservative campaign in a district with a high concentration of government employees; hence a Fimian victory, though possible, would still rank as a major upset.

GOP businessman Bobby Schilling is proving to be a formidable contender against two-term Rep. Phil Hare in a race that has emerged as a top-tier challenger race in Illinois (IL-7). The margin between the candidates has been two points or less for weeks now, so this is a legitimate chance for a Republican victory. Hare has not approached 50% in any poll since the early summer.

This is just a handful of nearly a dozen races that I detail in my daily newsletter, the PRIsm Political Update. For all the details, insights, to sign up for my daily email updates, or to sign up to track specific issues or industries, please email me

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