Party switchers on November 8?
I'm picking up on some murmerings from Capitol Hill sources that the Post-Nov. 8 wheeling and dealing has already begun. Intense speculation as to who might be a likely Party Switcher is occuring in some chambers and back-rooms on The Hill.
Target Number One? Congressman Gene Taylor of MS. Taylor, according to Pundit and Fox News Contributor Michael Barone, has said that he would "abstain" instead of voting for a Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Barone is now predicting a net 2 seat loss for the GOP in the House. In such a scenario, just 1 single Party switcher and an abstainer could keep control for the GOP.
Who could that Party Switcher be?
Nick Lampson of Texas perhaps??
Lampson is running in a 61% Republican District, TX CD-22 (south Houston, Sugarland, NASA-area). Current polls have Lampson at 34%, Libertarian Bob Smither at 25% and Republican write-in Shelly Sekula-Gibbs at 11%. There are rumors of a late game pull-out by Sekula-Gibbs, and backing of Smither to save the seat from the Dems. (Smither has pledged to vote for a Republican for Speaker if elected). However, if that doesn't materialize this heavily Republican District will go to the Democrat on Nov. 7.
Lampson is a smart guy. He will quickly realize that he'll be the Number One target in the entire Nation for a GOP pick-up in 2008. Further, Lampson likes to fashion himself as a "Moderate" Democrat. Even more, Texas has a tradition of Dem to Republican Party switchers like Greg Laughlin CD-14.
If Lampson were to switch to the GOP, and Taylor were to abstain, with a net 2 seat loss, the Republicans could still keep control of the House.
And that's not even considering other Moderate Dems who could also be targetted.
Or, another more likely scenario, Gene Taylor or another Southern Dem could emerge as a "compromise choice" for Speaker and shared control.
One things for sure. It's very unlikely that we'll know which Party actually controls the lower Chamber for days, possibly weeks after the election on Nov. 7.
Note - Eric Dondero is a former 6-year Congressional Staffer from Texas.