by Jim Nintzel
Congressional Quarterly has a round-up of early projections of congressional races in the Western United States.
If the Republicans next year are going to engineer a major reversal of the 30-seat national loss they suffered in the 2006 House campaign—a setback that cost them control of the chamber—it does not look like they can count on the Western states to make a major contribution to their cause.
The first ratings of the 2008 House contests by Congressional Quarterly’s CQPolitics.com find just four competitive races for Western seats currently held by Democrats, including three that appear highly competitive (all held by freshman incumbents who won to take over Republican seats in 2006).
Bad news for Republican Senate President Tim Bee, who hopes to unseat Democrat Gabrielle Giffords: Arizona's Eighth District is not among the competitive races. CQ's Marie Horrigan handicaps the race:
Giffords had received attention prior to her 2006 House race as a potential rising star in the state legislature, but she benefited significantly in 2006 from the nomination of Graf, an hard-liner on immigration issues who was disowned by the Republican Party establishment—including the outgoing 11-term incumbent, GOP moderate Jim Kolbe. Republicans hope state Senate President Tim Bee will present a more mainstream image for them in 2008, if he commits to running.