Despite all of the bad news over the last several months, and the talk of a 1994-like sweep of the US House of Representatives by the Democratic Party, not all news is bad news for Republicans.
First and foremost, the Democratic Party has yet to present a united front and viable alternative to the GOP. Several Democratic congressmen, including William Jefferson of Louisiana and Alan Mollohan of West Virginia, are amidst their own ethics investigations, which helps to soften the impact of the 'culture of corruption' charges leveled at the Republican Party.
The Democratic Party’s own perceptions of corruption are not solely at fault. In addition to the gaff in the Ohio 6th (the Democrats’ number one candidate failed to qualify for the May 2nd primary), the Democrats have handed several gifts to Republicans in competitive Southern races.
Robin Hayes, who represents the 8th District in North Carolina, was first elected in 1998, and has always been a surefire supporter of traditional domestic industries in North Carolina, such as tobacco and textiles. However, his vote for the Central American Free Trade Agreement angered many unemployed textile workers—he voted for it after declaring himself "flat-out, completely, horizontally opposed"—and redistricting from the 2000 Census, which added a huge swath of Democratic urban Charlotte to the 8th, left him ripe for the picking.
The Rothenberg Political Report, a non-partisan newsletter that covers federal races, listed the 8th District early on in this election cycle as a seat ripe for picking by the Democrats.
Unfortunately for the Democratic 'wave,' the most formidable general election candidate in the 8th District Democratic primary dropped out in late March, citing financial reasons. Timothy Dunn, a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves (yet another example of the 2006 Democratic 'mold'), told reporters that his law practice did not generate enough income to provide for his family, so he had to drop out of the congressional race in order to ‘provide for his family.'
Dunn had raised $80,000, more than his two Democratic opponents combined, but far short of the $800,000 raised by Hayes.
With the likely retention of the 8th for Republicans, the potential to net the 15 seats necessary to take the House for the Democrats is that much more difficult.