2012 could be shaping up to be an even more anti-incumbent year than 2010.
The Washington Post says, if this year's primaries are any indication, incumbents could be facing a tougher environment than two years ago. In the Alabama primary, three incumbent members of Congress were held below 60% in their primary elections. That suggests incumbents could be in some trouble.
We already knew more incumbents were going to lose this year, in large part because redistricting has given many of them new territory. That was a big reason Schmidt lost last week, and the new map also claimed Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who lost to Rep.Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) in a combined district. (We’re not including Kucinich’s loss in the analysis above because he faced another incumbent — a special case.)
But the examples in Alabama and Mississippi are striking because all three incumbents experienced relatively minimal changes under their state’s new maps.
In other words, if we’re seeing this in Alabama and Mississippi, it’s game-on in states where incumbents are running in lots of new territory.
None of this is to say that dozens of House incumbents are going to lose this year. Even in the most anti-incumbent year, the vast, vast majority of incumbents will win re-nomination just because it’s so difficult to raise money and run a campaign against an incumbent in the primary.
But the combination of redistricting and the anti-incumbent fervor out there (combined with a new group spending money solely to defeat incumbents) is looking pretty potent, historically speaking.