The 2012 election could see the end of the Blue Dog Democrats.
Politico says the coalition of centrist Democrats is facing extinction this year. Five members have already announced their retirement and a dozen more, including Rep. Jim Matheson, are facing tough re-election contests. When there are only 24 in the group to begin with, you can see why the situation seems so dire.
Redistricting is at the root of the Blue Dog problem. The once-in-a-decade line-drawing has forced some of them to compete for seats that have become even less friendly to Democrats — and those seats weren’t very friendly to begin with. Utah Rep. Jim Matheson, Georgia Rep. John Barrow and North Carolina Rep. Mike McIntyre are among those who have been thrust into deeply Republican territory after being targeted in GOP-led redistricting efforts in their home states.
All three members are regarded as strong and experienced campaigners who have figured out a way to survive on politically perilous turf. Still, 2012 will prove to be the toughest election any of them has faced. Each has drawn serious Republican opposition and they rank high atop GOP target lists. For months, the National Republican Congressional Committee has been airing TV and radio ads against the trio in an attempt to soften up their support well before the fall campaign season kicks into high gear.