The so-called Republican death list that first surfaced on U.S. News & World Reports Washington Whispers blog last week bears a striking resemblance to a memo that former National Republican Congressional Committee Executive Director Scott Hatch circulated on the same day.
The list painted a gloomy picture of Congressional Republicans Election Day prospects and was widely circulated in the media and on partisan blogs.
Washington Whispers author Paul Bedard described the source of the list as one of the key GOP vote counters.
In addition to his time at the NRCC, Hatch, who is now a lobbyist at Capitol Management Initiatives in Washington, D.C., was a chief floor assistant to then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas) in the 1990s.
Hatch declined to comment for this story.
But the e-mail he circulated Wednesday and a spreadsheet that accompanied it had several similarities to the list that Bedard described. Like the list in Washington Whispers, it had five categories of races: Republicans who are likely gone, Republican seats that are leaning Democratic, GOP seats that are pure toss-up, another seat of seats that lean Republican, and another called likely Republican.
Its that time of year, where the only thing scarier than Halloween is how the republican party is going to fare in this election cycle, Hatch wrote in the Oct. 22 e-mail. Attached is our current congressional race tracker looking at both the House and Senate.
The corresponding spreadsheet detailed vulnerable House districts and candidates along with fundraising numbers and ratings of each competitive contest.
With the top of the ticket in an uphill battle and the democrats outspending the republicans nationally at a minimum of 4 to 1 it is going to be another ugly year for the republican party, Hatch predicted in the e-mail.
Word of the list first appeared on the Washington Whispers blog on Wednesday at 3:49 p.m. The term death list does not appear in Hatchs e-mail, but is used by Bedards source to describe the spreadsheet.
Any solid updates on races would be appreciated and please use discretion when forwarding this so it does not end up as fodder on the democrat websites, Hatch wrote in his e-mail, sent out at 8:33 p.m. on Wednesday, almost five hours after it appeared on the U.S. News blog.
Once it was public, the death list was too juicy to pass up and quickly made the rounds on the Internet from the media to Democratic and Republican blogs.
After DeLay, Hatch worked for Virginia Rep. Tom Davis (R), including time as the NRCCs executive director when Davis was the commitee chairman. Hatch left the NRCC mid-cycle in late 1999.
It is really disheartening that a Republican with no real access to polling data or knowledge of the demographic makeup of these districts is attempting to capitalize on the demise of members of his own party with faulty information, said one GOP strategist, referring to the list on the U.S. News site. Whatever his analysis consists of, it is severely flawed and the ranking system is laughable.
Of Hatchs memo, another GOP strategist said, This is something Scott does every two years to try to be relevant. He always picks the worst scenario for House Republicans.
Despite dire predictions for this year, Hatch is optimistic about the future.
PS-2010 will be a great year, he wrote at the end of his e-mail.