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Delaware | Maryland | New Jersey

New York | Pennsylvania | West Virginia


Filing deadline: July 25
Primary: Sept. 9


Incumbent: Joseph Biden (D)
6th term (58 percent)
Outlook: Safe Democratic

Delaware’s late July filing deadline and early September primary give Biden the ability to run for Senate and president simultaneously because the presidential nomination will be decided long before either of those dates.

Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who is considered one of the chamber’s most respected voices on foreign policy, is a long shot for his party’s White House nomination, and so Delaware’s longest-serving Senator likely will be back in the Senate in the 111th Congress for his seventh term.

No challenger has filed to run against Biden — so unless he abruptly decides to retire, the seat will remain safely in the Democratic column.


Incumbent: Mike Castle (R)
8th term (57 percent)
Outlook: Safe Republican

Castle is a highly respected moderate whose popularity in Delaware stems from his days in the governor’s mansion. Health problems slowed his re-election bid slightly in his 2006 contest, but after recovering from two small strokes he suffered in September of that year he cruised to an 18-point victory in November.

Several Democratic names that have been floated to challenge Castle, but none has much of a chance, even though Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) won the state in the 2004 presidential race by 7 points.

Although the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee made some noise about recruiting a potential challenger at the beginning of the cycle, Castle, who is the longest-serving House member in state history, appears likely to again extend that record. The only factors that could change are another health-related problem or if Sen. Joseph Biden (D) won his long-shot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination or if he did not seek re-election to the Senate for another reason. Castle likely would then run for Senate and give Democrats a fighting chance of capturing his House seat.


Filing deadline: Dec. 3, 2007
Primary: Feb. 12


1st district
Incumbent: Wayne Gilchrest (R)
9th term (69 percent)
Outlook: Safe Republican

Gilchrest, an outspoken moderate who has become increasingly critical of President Bush’s Iraq War policies, is most vulnerable to a primary challenge from the right, and several conservatives already have filed to run against the Congressman.

Gilchrest, a modest man who fits his Eastern Shore-based district well, has beaten off conservative challengers in the past, but state Sen. Andy Harris (R) probably is his most formidable foe yet. A physician and Naval Reserve officer who outraised Gilchrest in the third quarter of the year, Harris has drawn almost even with the Congressman in cash-on-hand totals.

Harris has been endorsed by the potent Club for Growth, which should guarantee him a steady flow of campaign cash. Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) also is supporting Harris, as are most of the GOP state Senators whose districts overlap with Gilchrest’s.

New to the race is Robert Joseph Banks (R), a businessman and former appointee of Ehrlich’s to the state Department of Transportation and Baltimore’s Orphans Court. Joe Arminio (R), the co-founder of the advocacy group the National Coalition for Defense, also has filed for the race.

On the Democratic side, Queen Anne County States Attorney Frank Kratovil is the leading candidate. Although Kratovil is the most substantial Democrat to seek the seat in a long time, Republicans are almost certain to win next year, regardless of whether Gilchrest or Harris is the nominee.

4th district
Incumbent: Albert Wynn (D)
8th term (81 percent)
Outlook: Safe Democratic

Another tough primary battle already is under way in Washington, D.C., suburbs, where lawyer and community activist Donna Edwards (D) is once again taking on Wynn.

After barely beating Edwards in last year’s primary, Wynn has done his best to tout his liberal credentials this Congress and reconnect with his base in the district. Considered a kingmaker in Prince George’s County, Wynn also has reached out for support to political leaders in the portion of his district that lies in Montgomery County, which Edwards won by a 3-1 margin in the previous cycle. He has a real campaign operation going this cycle after years of gliding to re-election.

Edwards, who entered the 2006 race in June of that year, has gotten an earlier start on her campaign this cycle and she has picked up where she left off in 2006, hammering Wynn’s record and claiming that the Congressman has only turned more liberal because of his near-death experience at her hands in the previous cycle.

The 2008 primary race (the winner of which is all but assured of sweeping the general election) is proving to be even more bitter a second time around, and endorsements have become regularly fought over. Wynn’s office has raised conflicts of interest claims against some of Edwards’ supporters, and Edwards has said the Congressman continues to exaggerate his record on the environment and in other areas.

Wynn ended September with more than $400,000 in cash on hand, while Edwards had a little less than $116,000. In all likelihood she will have to pick up the pace on the fundraising front if she is to have any chance of finishing the job she started last time.

New Jersey

Filing deadline: April 7 for Democrats and Republicans, June 3 for Independents
Primary: June 3


Incumbent: Frank Lautenberg (D)
1st term (54 percent; previously served three terms)
Outlook: Safe Democratic

Republicans are once again wondering if they have a shot at knocking off Lautenberg in the Garden State and their hopes have been boosted by some recent polling that indicates, in part, that at 83 the Senator’s age is becoming more of a factor in the minds of New Jersey voters.

Lautenberg has yet to formally announce his candidacy, but he has said repeatedly that he intends to seek another term in 2008. The Senator could see a general election challenge from either real estate developer Anne Evans Estabrook (R) or state Assemblyman Joe Pennacchio (R).

Despite what early polling may indicate, any Republican would face an uphill battle against a well-known Democratic commodity like Lautenberg in the blue state of New Jersey.

Meanwhile, the 2008 fundraising battle between the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and and National Republican Senatorial Committee has not gone well for the GOP. That means the party committee will have little money to spare on a long-shot opportunity like New Jersey.


2nd district
Incumbent: Frank LoBiondo (R)
7th term (62 percent)
Outlook: Safe Republican

In a Democratic state like New Jersey and in a district that President Bush won by fewer than 2,500 votes in 2004, LoBiondo always has to be on guard.

The low-key Republican who is a fiscal conservative but moderate on labor issues and the environment has done well in past cycles, never winning an election with less than 60 percent of the vote. But this cycle, the Congressman knows he may be a Democratic target and isn’t resting on past winning percentages. As of his third-quarter Federal Election Commission filing, he led Garden State Republican Congressmen in cash on hand with about $1.5 million.

Democrats have high hopes of wooing state Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew into the race against LoBiondo. Van Drew is the Assembly’s Assistant Majority Leader, and his work as chairman of the Tourism and Gaming Committee is well-known in a the South Jersey 2nd district, which includes Cape May and Atlantic City. But Van Drew is running for state Senate this year and until he formally declares or a Democratic challenger steps forward to take on LoBiondo, the district has to be considered safe for Republicans.

3rd district
Incumbent: Jim Saxton (R)
13th term (58 percent)
Outlook: Leans Republican

Saxton and state Sen. John Adler (D) have squared off in a House race once before, back in 1990 when Adler was not yet a state Senator. This time around Adler is sure to do better than the 19-point loss he sustained 17 years ago, especially in a district that in the 2004 presidential election only narrowly went to President Bush.

But Saxton is a strong fundraiser, with around $1.4 million in cash on hand for his re-election campaign as of Sept. 30. He’s also the No. 2 Republican on the House Armed Services Committee and has been a champion for armed forces spending that has benefited military installations like Fort Dix and McGuire Air Force Base in his district.

Adler, the chairman of the state Senate Judiciary Committee in Trenton, is being touted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as one of its top recruits of the cycle. When he entered the race in late September he brought along almost $200,000 from the campaign committee he had set up in 2003 for a possible Senate run if Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) had decided not to seek re-election in 2008.

7th district
Incumbent: Mike Ferguson (R)
4th term (49 percent)
Outlook: Leans Republican

Most New Jersey political insiders consider Ferguson to be the most vulnerable Republican in the state delegation after he won his race against state Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D) in 2006 by fewer than 3,000 votes.

In that race, the Congressman spent about $3 million to win 49 percent of the vote, his lowest percentage of his four election victories. Stender spent more than $1.8 million.

Stender is back for the 2008 cycle and is expected to get more financial support this time around from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is banking 10 times as much cash as its Republican counterpart. In 2006, the DCCC put a little more than $53,000 into the Ferguson/Stender race.

Republican operatives say Ferguson is only going to be stronger in 2008 after he was able to weather the storm of 2006. It was a cycle that GOP officials readily admit was the worst environment for Republicans in many years.

Ferguson began the 2006 race with a head start when Stender didn’t announce her intent to challenge him until after she won her state Assembly seat in November 2005. This time around, Stender is again running for her state legislative seat but signaled her intention to face Ferguson again back in the spring. In the third quarter of this year Stender raised almost as much money as Ferguson, $241,000 to the Congressman’s $244,000, but Ferguson still had more than a 3-1 lead in cash on hand.

10th district
Incumbent: Donald Payne (D)
10th term (Unopposed)
Safe Democratic

Newark Democrats don’t need to worry about losing the 10th district seat to a Republican, but Payne has at least some reason to be concerned about losing his Congressional seat to the city’s high-profile mayor, Cory Booker.

Not that Booker himself is running. But since winning his 2006 mayoral seat, the reform-minded Booker increasingly has been throwing his support to candidates in state and local races who are challenging candidates backed by Payne and the entrenched local Democratic machine. Earlier this year, Booker publicly declined to commit to supporting the Congressman for re-election in 2008.

While knocking off Payne in a primary would be a long shot, especially since no Democrat has stepped forward to challenge him yet, a number of Payne’s family members in political office have fallen victim to Booker-backed candidates in the past year.

In June, incumbent state Assemblyman Craig Stanley, who is Payne’s nephew, lost in the Democratic primary in a close race with Cleopatra Tucker, who was Booker’s pick for the seat. Meanwhile, in the race for New Jersey’s 29th district state Senate seat, Payne’s brother William — a state Assemblyman who after being passed over in the Democratic primary is running as an Independent — is facing an uphill battle against Teresa Ruiz, the Democratic nominee. Ruiz has the backing of Booker and a number of other Democratic leaders in Payne’s district.

One name that has been floated as a possible primary challenger to Payne is Elnardo Webster, a friend and former business partner of Booker’s who had a brief career in the National Football League.

New York

Filing deadline: July 10
Primary: Sept. 9


13th district
Incumbent: Vito Fossella (R)
6th term (57 percent)
Outlook: Likely Republican

Election after election, Democrats in New York and Washington, D.C., dream of knocking off Fossella, the lone Republican in the New York City Congressional delegation, but fail to find a top-notch contender.

This cycle may be different.

In New York City Councilman Domenic Recchia, Democrats believe they have found a challenger who fits the conservative, Staten Island-Brooklyn district well — politically, temperamentally and ethnically. Local Republicans are sufficiently worried that they already placed thousands of robocalls into the district accusing Recchia of not sufficiently criticizing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he appeared at the United Nations in October. They also circulated a report that Recchia had given Republicans political intelligence about Fossella’s challenger in 2004 — a charge that Recchia and his allies vehemently denied.

Because Recchia got into the race less than a month ago, it remains to be seen what kind of candidate he will be and how much money he will raise. But if his campaign starts to gel, you can be sure that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will be armed and ready with financial and tactical support.

Before he gets a one-on-one matchup with Fossella, Recchia must first dispatch lawyer Steve Harrison, the 2006 Democratic nominee who took 43 percent of the vote despite being outspent 12-1 by the incumbent.

19th district
Incumbent: John Hall (D)
1st term (51 percent)
Outlook: Leans Democratic

Hall seems like an accidental Congressman in certain ways. A 1970s pop star known best for penning hits like “Dance With Me” and “Still the One,” his ragtag campaign last year was fueled by grass-roots activists and fundraising events with celebrity friends like Bonnie Raitt and Pete Seeger. But he beat a highly touted attorney in the Democratic primary and then, aided by a Democratic tidal wave in the Empire State, he upset then-Rep. Sue Kelly (R).

Despite his celebrity, Hall by most accounts has been a studious and hardworking Member of Congress, with a zeal for policy debates and constituent services. But will that be enough to earn him a second term?

Republicans have recruited a very formidable challenger into the race: Andrew Saul, the CEO of a women’s apparel company who serves as vice chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York and also is active in many civic causes and cultural groups. Through Sept. 30, Saul, who lives in ritzy Katonah at the southern end of the Hudson Valley district, had banked $452,000 — without putting any of his considerable wealth into the race.

But Hall, who spent more than $1.6 million on his 2006 race — $900,000 less than the incumbent he defeated — had $800,000 in the bank as of Sept. 30.

The 19th has leaned Republican in recent presidential elections but is definitely trending Democratic, and if 2008 shapes up to be another Democratic year, Hall will benefit. It should be a close race to the end, though.

20th district
Incumbent: Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
1st term (53 percent)
Outlook: Leans Democratic

In one of the nastiest campaigns of the 2006 cycle, Gillibrand ousted flawed four-term Rep. John Sweeney (R), despite the Republican bent of the upstate district.

Many Republicans believe that with a less-scarred candidate, the district will revert to form, and Gillibrand’s Congressional career will be short-lived. But they may not be able to get rid of her so easily.

Gillibrand has proved to be the most effective fundraiser of the House freshman class, banking more than $1.6 million through Sept. 30, and has been an energetic presence throughout her vast district.

Republican hopes of taking her down rest with Sandy Treadwell, a one-time New York secretary of state and former state GOP chairman who is personally wealthy. Treadwell is genial and well-connected, but many conservatives are suspicious of him, and critics have already labeled him a “Rockefeller Republican” — with all the connotations that carries.

Treadwell banked an impressive $637,000, but his presence as the favorite of national Republicans hasn’t stopped three other candidates from seeking the GOP nomination: Army veteran Michael Rocque, who is touting his conservative credentials, Richard Wager, an aide to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I), and retired police officer John Wallace.

Watch to see what the small but influential New York Conservative Party does in this race: If it offers Treadwell its ballot line, he’ll be that much more formidable in November. If the Conservatives nominate a different candidate, Gillibrand’s path to re-election will be clearer.

21st district
Open seat: Mike McNulty (D) is retiring
Outlook: Safe Democratic

Despite ongoing health problems associated with post-polio syndrome (he was stricken with polio when he was 2), McNulty’s Oct. 29 announcement that he was retiring took his Congressional colleagues and Albany-area political leaders by surprise. McNulty was the scion of a well-known political family who easily won re-election cycle after cycle.

Although the Albany Democratic organization is one of the strongest in the Empire State, it is not likely to anoint a successor the way it did when McNulty was first elected in 1988. But because the vacancy is so new, the race to replace the Congressman — and all of the action is expected to be on the Democratic side — is just beginning to form.

The leading potential candidates include Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings; Schenectady Mayor Brian Stratton, the son of McNulty’s predecessor; state Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari; and state Sen. Neil Breslin. Breslin, like McNulty and Stratton, comes from a prominent local political family and is close to Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D), which could be significant in a Democratic primary.

Also mentioned as potential candidates: Tracey Brooks, an aide to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D); Albany Common Council President Shawn Morris; Schenectady Legislature Chairwoman Susan Savage; Albany County District Attorney David Soares; and former state Assemblyman Paul Tonko.

If McNulty tries to influence the process, he might urge supporters to embrace his sister, Green Island Mayor Ellen McNulty-Ryan, or the top staffer in his district office, Charles Diamond, who is a councilman in the city of Watervliet.

Republicans are not expected to play in a district that preferred Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to President Bush by 12 points in 2004.

25th district
Incumbent: Jim Walsh (R)
10th term (51 percent)
Outlook: Leans Republican

Walsh, a popular moderate, had his toughest race ever in 2006 against former Congressional aide Dan Maffei (D). Maffei is back for another round, and the race should be every bit as close this cycle.

The Syracuse-based district is just one of eight in the country that voted for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) over President Bush in 2004 but is held by a Republican Member, so Walsh has his work cut out for him. He knows it, too, and has been working hard to reconnect with constituents — and is trying to distance himself from President Bush and conservative House Republican leaders in ways that he couldn’t when the GOP held the majority.

Maffei, a former TV reporter who worked for the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D) and for the House Ways and Means Committee, barely stopped campaigning after narrowly falling short last November, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee plans to make this race a priority.

Through Sept. 30, Walsh had $456,000 in campaign cash and Maffei had $314,000.

Once again, Walsh and his connection to national Republicans should be the central issue. If he is able to convince voters that he isn’t marching in lock step with the national GOP and brings things to the table that his challenger can’t, he’ll squeak through again. If he isn’t, say hello to Congressman Maffei.

26th district
Incumbent: Tom Reynolds (R)
5th term (52 percent)
Outlook: Likely Republican

One month before Election Day last year, Reynolds, one of the savviest politicians on Capitol Hill and in New York, looked like a goner.

It seemed like an ignoble fall: A top Republican House leader, who some colleagues felt was in line to become Speaker, Reynolds was ensnared in the page scandal that had engulfed former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.). Polls in The Buffalo News showed him trailing his wealthy — if eccentric — Democratic challenger, factory owner Jack Davis.

But Reynolds quickly regained his footing — a disastrous October snowstorm, which enabled him to tout his contacts and his ability to bring home federal aid, helped. So did the fact that Davis was an unscripted and unpredictable candidate whose anger on trade and immigration issues, while genuine, seemed too hot for the political arena.

This time, Reynolds will face a different kind of challenger entirely.

Jon Powers, a 29-year-old Iraq War veteran, is the likely Democratic nominee. Powers is a newcomer to electoral politics, but he is a seasoned activist. After serving in the Army, he started an acclaimed nonprofit group to help Iraqi children and toured the country with an anti-war veterans group, introducing screenings of a documentary on the Iraq War.

It could be a classic confrontation between an able, seasoned pol and an attractive newcomer. But Republicans will try to portray Powers as captive to the Democratic left and out of touch with a Buffalo/ Rochester-area district that gave President Bush 55 percent of the vote in 2004.

Reynolds, however, cannot be happy about the fact that his victory margin has shrunk from 74 percent in 2002 to 56 percent in 2004 to 52 percent last year. He is well-stocked for battle, however, with $716,000 in cash on hand through September compared with $182,000 for Powers.

29th district
Incumbent: Randy Kuhl (R)
2nd term (51 percent)
Outlook: Leans Republican

In the Empire State district where President Bush had his best showing in 2004, Kuhl probably should not have to sweat re-election, but he does. Despite being a state legislator in the area for 24 years before entering Congress in 2005, Kuhl hasn’t engendered a lot of enthusiasm or loyalty among the voters.

Part of the explanation may have something to do with the controversy surrounding his first campaign, when sealed records of his nasty divorce were improperly made public by Democratic operatives. The faltering economy in New York’s Southern Tier and the faltering national and New York GOP haven’t helped.

But Democrats also have worked the district relentlessly in the past few years, and Kuhl’s energetic 2006 challenger, retired Navy officer Eric Massa (D), is trying again.

Massa was a very raw candidate when he started: his fundraising was sluggish at first, and national Democratic leaders worked behind the scenes to lure a wealthier, more polished candidate into the race. But the recruiting drive failed, and Massa got his act together. He now commands a loyal band of followers, and his fundraising is on a par with Kuhl’s. Through Sept. 30, the challenger had $216,000 on hand to the incumbent’s $206,000.

With 2008 shaping up to be another good year for Democrats in New York, Massa could prevail this time. But Kuhl starts out with the advantages of incumbency and an edge in Republican voter enrollment.


Filing deadline: Feb. 12
Primary: April 22


3rd district
Incumbent: Phil English (R)
7th term (54 percent)
Outlook: Likely Republican

English has escaped tough challenges in most of his elections, but the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is paying attention to his Erie-based district after he got only 54 percent of the vote in 2006. As Pennsylvania becomes a bluer shade of purple, a few Democrats already have announced their intentions to run for the seat.

Erie County Councilman Kyle Foust, attorney Tom Myers, church activist Mike Waltner and Lake Erie Arboretum Director Kathy Dahlkemper are battling it out for the Democratic nod. Although Foust was favored early on by national Democrats, both Waltner and Myers brought in more money than he did in the third quarter of the year. Waltner raised $56,000, while Foust raised $44,000 and Myers raised $53,000 including $15,000 of his own funds. None of these totals are much to brag about compared to challengers across the country or compared to English, who raised about $166,000 from July 1 to Sept. 30 and finished the period with $352,000 on hand. Dahlkemper just entered the race at the end of October.

4th district
Incumbent: Jason Altmire (D)
1st term (52 percent)
Outlook: Leans Democratic

Altmire surprised a lot of people last year — perhaps no one more than then-Rep. Melissa Hart (R) — with his win in this suburban Pittsburgh district.

The three-term former Congresswoman has opted to challenge Altmire in a rematch, though she must first get through a primary against former Allegheny County Councilman Ron Francis (R). The other potential marquee candidate, 2006 Republican gubernatorial nominee and former Pittsburgh Steeler Lynn Swann, deferred to Hart over the summer.

Most political observers don’t see Francis as a huge threat to Hart, who raised about $235,000 in the third reporting quarter. Francis raised only $48,000. Altmire was ahead of the pack by raising about $281,000 in the third quarter and banking $737,000, more than three times Hart’s on-hand total.

Hart is gearing up for a fight this time around, but Democrats are more than willing to invest in keeping this seat. In what many believe will be a close race once again, the result could have more to do with the top of the ticket in this presidential battleground state than Altmire or Hart. But if Hart can raise the money to compete and Congressional approval ratings continue to stay low, she might just be able to get her old job back.

6th district
Incumbent: Jim Gerlach (R)
3rd term (51 percent)
Outlook: Leans Republican

After several more prominent Democrats turned down the chance to take on Gerlach, the party may turn to Philadelphia Magazine Editor Larry Platt to take on the battle- tested Congressman.

Gerlach barely held onto his seat the past two cycles against attorney Lois Murphy (D), and in fact he has never won more than 51 percent in any of his three House elections. But national Democrats have had trouble finding a worthy challenger for Gerlach after former “West Wing” TV star Melissa Fitzgerald and others turned down the opportunity.

The district voted for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in the 2004 presidential election and is a ripe opportunity for Democrats if they can find a worthy challenger. But time and prominent names are running out.

If Democrats don’t find a strong recruit, this could possibly be the first easy election for Gerlach, who has raised $885,000 so far this cycle and had $400,000 in cash on hand at the end of the third quarter.

7th district
Incumbent: Joe Sestak (D)
1st term (56 percent)
Outlook: Likely Democratic

No Republican has filed yet to run against Sestak, whose third-quarter fundraising report showed he’s flush with cash after raising almost $1.4 million so far this year. Republicans are talking about a couple candidates, though Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood is the one most often mentioned, along with former State Department official Steve Elliott.

Sestak’s cash lead is going to be hard for any candidate to compete with, especially as more time and fundraising quarters pass. Unless Republicans can recruit a top-tier prospect or find a self-funding candidate before the year ends, Sestak likely will keep his seat in 2008.

8th district
Incumbent: Patrick Murphy (D)
1st term (50 percent)
Outlook: Likely Democratic

Though former Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R), who lost the seat last year, hasn’t ruled out running again, local Republicans say he’s not exactly making the moves to show he’s looking for rematch. Murphy surpassed seven figures in cash on hand after raising $232,000 in the third quarter of the year.

The often-mentioned potential Republican candidates include former Marine Col. Thomas Manion, whose son recently was killed in Iraq and who appeared last month before a House Republican Conference meeting, and state Reps. Bernie O’Neill and Gene DiGirolamo. But no Republicans have filed for the seat yet, leaving Murphy sitting pretty for re-election.

10th district
Incumbent: Christopher Carney (D)
1st term (53 percent)
Outlook: Tossup

In a district that President Bush won with 60 percent, any Democrat would be hard-pressed to win against anyone but disgraced former Rep. Don Sherwood (R). Carney barely carried the district in the previous cycle despite the scandal surrounding Sherwood’s extramarital affair.

This northern Pennsylvania seat is a prime pickup opportunity for Republicans, who have recruited businessmen to run for the seat. Both candidates are wealthy enough to fund their own candidacies: Dan Meuser owns Pride Mobility Products, a wheelchair manufacturing company, and Chris Hackett owns OneSource Staffing Solutions, a staffing company.

Hackett announced he raised $247,000 since he declared his candidacy, though about $100,000 of it was from his own pocket. Carney reported raising $794,000 so far this cycle with about $589,000 in cash on hand through Sept. 30.

The challenge for both candidates will be to distinguish themselves each another, especially given their similar business backgrounds. But whoever gets a shot at Carney will have a good chance of being the next Representative from this GOP- leaning district.

11th district
Incumbent: Paul Kanjorski (D)
12th term (72 percent)
Outlook: Likely Democratic

Kanjorski should be able to coast to re-election again if the field remains as clear as it is now. But if Republicans have their way, Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta will step up to the plate to challenge Kanjorski.

Barletta lost to the veteran Congressman in 2002, but his anti- illegal-immigration policies in Hazleton garnered national media attention. He’s also so popular in his town that both Democrats and Republicans nominated him for re-election this year, after which he’ll make a final decision about running against Kanjorski.

If Barletta gets in the race, Kanjorski will have his work cut out for him this cycle. Otherwise, he’ll very likely start his lucky number 13th term in 2009.

15th district
Incumbent: Charlie Dent (R)
2nd term (54 percent)
Outlook: Likely Republican

This appears to be a lost opportunity for Democrats in one of the few districts left in the country that voted against President Bush in 2004 but still has a Republican Congressman. No top-tier Democratic candidate has come forward to run against Dent. Local Democratic activist Sam Bennett is the only candidate to have filed for the race, and, she raised only $28,000 in the previous reporting period.

Other potential Democratic candidates include Lehigh County Executive Don Cunningham and William Hall, an anti-abortion-rights activist.

18th district
Incumbent: Tim Murphy (R)
3rd term (58 percent)
Outlook: Leans Republican

After a little-known candidate held Murphy below 60 percent in the previous election, many Democrats started paying more attention to this Pittsburgh-area district. So far the Democratic primary is a quite crowded, including some well-known local names such as Beth Hafer, the daughter of the former state treasurer and a government efficiency expert, and Dan Wholey, the owner of a popular Pittsburgh fish market. Attorney and veteran Brien Wall also is running, along with veteran and businessman Steve O’Donnell.

Hafer raised $76,000 through Sept. 30, Wall raised $21,000, and Wholey had $54,000 in cash on hand, though that included a $45,000 loan from himself to his campaign. But that’s all chump change compared with the $607,000 Murphy had on hand at the end of the third quarter.

It has yet to be determined just how well Murphy will do against a worthy challenger in a district that President Bush won with 54 percent in 2004. However, a good Democratic turnout statewide could push a challenger to victory, but only if the crowded primary doesn’t backfire first.

West Virginia

Filing deadline: Jan. 26
Primary: May 13


Incumbent: Jay Rockefeller (D)
4th term (63 percent)
Outlook: Safe Democratic

Rockefeller is expected to cruise to his fifth term in 2008 without any serious opposition.

As of Sept. 30, Rockefeller had more than $3.2 million in cash on hand for his re-election and if a serious threat did somehow materialize, he could easily pump some of his famous family’s vast fortune into his campaign at any time.


1st district
Incumbent: Alan Mollohan (D)
13th term (64 percent)
Outlook: Safe Democratic

As an entrenched appropriator who hasn’t been in a close election in more than 20 years, any whiff of Mollohan’s vulnerability this cycle is based solely on an ongoing federal investigation involving his finances.

Mollohan reportedly is being probed for funneling millions of federal dollars to nonprofit groups in his district whose leaders include campaign contributors to the Congressman or people with close ties to him.

Although Mollohan has not been charged with any crime, he did step down from his post on the House ethics committee last year as a result of the investigation.

House Republicans and outside interest groups have sought to highlight the Congressman’s ethics troubles this cycle, but unless the case breaks against the Congressman before next November he doesn’t seem likely to lose his seat.

Republicans have yet to field a candidate in the race.

2nd district
Incumbent: Shelley Moore Capito (R)
4th term (57 percent)
Outlook: Likely Republican

After repeatedly trying and failing to knock off Capito with candidates from in and around Charleston, Democrats in the 2nd district have cast their gaze eastward to the panhandle of West Virginia, where state Sen. John Unger has emerged as one of the Democratic Party’s most hyped recruits of the cycle.

Democratic leaders believe Unger, a moderate, can once again put Capito, the daughter of a former governor, in a tough race like she had in 2000 when wealthy attorney Jim Humphreys (D) came close to beating her. (Humphreys spent almost $7 million on that race.)

Unger makes his home in Martinsburg, an area that Capito traditionally has counted on as a base of support in her four elections. He has worked as a missionary for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and also has been an international relief worker in Iraq, both in the 1991 Gulf War and in 2003.

Unger raised $150,000 since joining the race over the summer and reported $135,000 in cash on hand at the end of the third quarter. Capito had $525,000 in cash on hand as of Sept. 30.