Here's why: Recruitment of heavyweight Democratic challengers to take on GOP incumbents, already lousy before September 11, has since become a "disaster," says Russ Hemenway, veteran director of the National Committee for an Effective Congress (NCEC).
"No one wants to run unless they're going to be in the majority," he
reports-and that won't happen.
Only two Republican senators were rated seriously vulnerable by NCEC before the hijackings.But after September 11, Oregon's popular Democratic governor, John Kitzhaber, decided not to make his
expected Senate run, leaving incumbent Gordon Smith nearly certain of victory against the admirable but lackluster likely opponent, Rep.
Things are even worse on the House side, Hemenway
says, where redistricting means that "hardly a single Republican House incumbent will be defeated."At the same time, Democrats will sustain major losses from gerrymandering.In Texas, a Democratic judge just upheld a redistricting plan that will cost the Democrats at least seven seats, according to NCEC (but Texas Democrats fear the losses could rise to nine, including senior party figures like Rep.Martin Frost.)