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'McCain Democrat' districts swing back to GOP

From Msnbc.com's Tom Curry
House Republicans had great success last night in winning “McCain Democrat” districts: those won by Republican presidential candidate John McCain in 2008, but represented by a Democratic House member.

Of the 49 “McCain Democrat” districts, at least 36 were won by Republicans on Tuesday.

Sixteen of them were in the South, three were in Ohio, two were in Pennsylvania and two in New York.

Casualties from such districts included House Armed Services Committee chairman Ike Skelton of Missouri, who was first elected in 1976.

Among the survivors from McCain Democrat districts were veterans such as House Agriculture Committee chairman Rep. Collin Peterson in Minnesota and Rep. Mike McIntyre in North Carolina, who weathered a $400,000 ad barrage from the National Republican Congressional Committee. Peterson’s race was not targeted by NRCC or outside groups such as American Crossroads.

Two of the McCain Democrat districts were still undecided as of 11 a.m. Eastern time Wednesday, Arizona’s Eighth Congressional District, represented by Gabrielle Giffords and Kentucky’s Sixth, represented by Ben Chandler.

In contrast with their victories in most of the McCain Democrat districts, Republican were less successful in extending their reach into solidly Democratic turf: districts that had voted for John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election and Barack Obama in 2008.

Of the roughly 20 Kerry 2004/Obama 2008 Democratic-held districts that appeared to be in play during the campaign, Republicans had won eight, as of as of 11 a.m. Eastern time Wednesday.

Among the big winners were Chip Cravaack, who defeated 36-year Democratic veteran James Oberstar in northern Minnesota, a district that went for Kerry in 2004 and Obama in 2008 with 53 percent. Oberstar, chairman of the house transportation committee, was a House lifer, having begun his D.C. career in 1963 as an aide to Rep. John Blatnik.

Another GOP challenger who ousted a Democrat in a Kerry/Obama district was Lou Barletta, who defeated Rep. Paul Kanjorski. His Pennsylvania district backed Kerry with 57 percent in 2004 and Obama with 53 percent in 2008. Kanjorski was first elected in 1984.

Republicans still have a chance to win three more Kerry/Obama districts in Arizona’s Seventh, California’s Twentieth, and Washington Second congressional districts. The Associated Press has not declared a winner in those races.