Paul Burka gives an exhaustive rundown of the 89 contested House races that we will see this year. There's a boo-boo or two in there - as I noted in the comments, Democrat Kevin Murphy is running in HD29, and I have no idea where he got the name "Fred Roberts" for HD144 (the Democrat is Joel Redmond), but I didn't see that one till after I'd left my comment. All told, 39 Republicans and 32 Democrats (including open seats) have major-party opponents.
One general and two specific points to make:
The Republicans came out of filing deadline with an advantage. There are two main reasons for this. The Democrats' success since Craddick became speaker means that they have to defend a lot of seats in which they won close races. This is a problem, to be sure, but it is a problem that any political party would be happy to have. Republicans are contesting every seat that the Democrats have picked up in those years: the Talmadge Heflin, Jack Stick, and Ken Mercer seats in 2004; and the Todd Baxter, Terry Keel, Bill Keffer, Toby Goodman, Gene Seaman, and Martha Wong seats in 2006.
What's more, the Republicans recruited some very strong candidates in key races: Todd Hunter against Juan Garcia and Donna Keel against Valinda Bolton, to name a couple. Craddick nemeses Pat Haggerty and Charlie Geren have difficult Republican primary races. Many of the races are hard to evaluate, because the chances of success depend upon how much money Republican candidates will have available for candidates like Raul Torres, who is running against Solomon Ortiz. We'll know more after the January 15 reports come in.
The problem for Democrats is that they have already picked most of the low-hanging Republican fruit. A few Rs are vulnerable if the national mood is good for Democrats -- Tony Goolsby, Linda Harper-Brown, Robert Talton, Bill Zedler, Tuffy Hamilton -- but many more Democrats have precarious holds on their seats.
This is not to say that I expect the Dems to run the table and not lose any seats as they did in 2006. There are some tough holds in there, and every extra seat the Dems win is one more place they'll have to play defense. All I can say is that the mood I feel, and that just about everyone on the Democratic side that I know of feels, is much brighter about the prospects for the House than what Burka portrays here. We optimists were right in 2006, when Burka thought Dems would do well to break even. We'll see if we're right again this year. EOW has more on this.
Dwayne Bohac (R) -- For some reason, Democrats think they can win this seat, even though Bohac polled 63% of the vote in 04 and 06. I don't get it. Virginia Stogner McDavid is the Democratic challenger.
Hubert Vo (D) -- HISD school board member Greg Myers is the Republican challenger. Vo won 54+% in 06, which is too close for comfort.
Finally, on a related note, State Rep. Lon Burnam has endorsed three challengers to Craddick Ds in the primaries: Brian Thompson (against Rep. Dawnna Dukes), Armando Walle (against Rep. Kevin Bailey), and Sandra Rodriguez (against Rep. Kino Flores). I'm glad to see that. Karen Brooks has more.Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 11, 2008 to Election 2008