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CQ on CD10

Congressional Quarterly takes a look at what I hope will become a high-profile race in CD10.

Texas Republican Mike McCaul was a beneficiary of a mid-decade redistricting plan — spearheaded by Tom DeLay, the Texan who then was House majority leader — that left the GOP with six more House seats after the 2004 election than they had after 2002.

The 10th Congressional District, where McCaul ran, seemed so Republican (its voters would give President Bush 61 percent in 2004), that McCaul won that year without Democratic opposition, pulling down 79 percent to defeat a Libertarian and a write-in candidate.

But McCaul did draw a Democratic foe in 2006, and it made a difference. His challenger, former NASA employee Ted Ankrum, was not well-known in the 10th — which spans 150 miles from eastern Austin to western suburbs of Houston — and spent less than $65,000 to the incumbent’s $1.1 million. Yet the outcome was a fairly modest 55 percent to 40 percent victory for McCaul.

While this doesn’t suggest a major Democratic tide in the district, the 2006 result has opened the eyes of some of that party’s strategists, who are mulling whether they could put the seat into more serious play in 2008.

Hallelujah. As you know, I’ve been banging this drum for awhile. Hell, I thought CD10 was ripe enough for 2006, had there been the resources to fight for it properly. Better late than never, as long as nobody weasels out now.

There’s a lot more there on the two announced Democratic hopefuls, Dan Grant and Larry Joe Doherty, which is worth reading. Nate is also on this. What really matters to me in all this is making sure that CD10 – and frankly, some other seats – are seen as viable and worth pursuing even if they’re not sure things. Going on the offensive and expanding the field of play has its own value whether it results in a pickup or not. Here, I think the pickup chances are sufficient to warrant interest on their own. I just don’t think the accounting should end there.

UPDATE: James L notes that Dan Grant is doing pretty well on ActBlue.

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