Shuler’s quixotic bid

Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C. is promoting on television today and tomorrow his longshot bid for Democratic House Leader. He’s very unlikely to win, but I wonder what he’s up to. A few thoughts:

1) Most House Democrats who hold reasonably competitive districts were defeated this year. That  guarantees the party is going to be something of a fringe-fest for the next few years. Shuler’s quixotic bid for Minority Leader is a smart attempt to distance himself from that. If Democrats return Speaker Pelosi to the leadership after suffering a 60-plus seat loss in the House, it is a real sign that they have learned nothing and are satisfied to be an ideologically pure minority.

2) Republicans will be redistricting North Carolina next year. When they draw the lines, they might want to consider what Maryland Democrats did to former moderate Rep. Connie Morella, R-Md., ten years ago. They couldn’t make her district much more Democratic (it was already deep blue), but they were able to push her over the edge by giving her a large number of Democrats who had never voted for her. With sufficient creativity in remapping, Shuler could lose tens of thousands of sympathetic Republican voters to Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., and inherit thus suffer the same fate.

Assuming he loses, Shuler will find himself at odds with his party’s leaders for some time. (If by some miracle he wins, he will either have to tack left or else fight his entire caucus for two years.) It’s not completely unreasonable to ask whether Shuler could switch parties. Then again, there will be a governor’s race in North Carolina in 2012. The Democratic incumbent is deeply unpopular, and Obama’s re-election will  surely create a high-black-turnout situation that is favorable to Democrats, whether Obama actually carries the state or not.

So Shuler might feel like an endangered species right now, but he has a lot of options, and a lot of ways to win.

Beltway ConfidentialNancy PelosincUS

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The Port of San Francisco, which controls much of the The City’s waterfront, faces potential layoffs due to a financial crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Steven Ho/Special to S.F. Examiner)
In a financial ‘crisis,’ SF Port officials lobby for stimulus funding

Looking to right their financial ship, Port of San Francisco officials are… Continue reading

Police Chief Bill Scott on Wednesday said a rebranding and reoganization of the former Gang Task Force amounts to “more than just the name change.” (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Faced with surge in shootings, Chief Scott reenvisions SFPD’s Gang Task Force

New Community Violence Reduction Team adds officers with community-policing experience

San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen and members of the orchestra were thrilled to be back inside Davies Symphony Hall on May 6 in a program for first responders featuring string works by Jean Sibelius, George Walker, Carl Nielsen, Caroline Shaw and Edward Grieg. (Courtesy Stefan Cohen/San Francisco Symphony)
SF Symphony makes joyful return to Davies Hall

Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts program for first responders and community leaders

Stores including Walgreens and Safeway are required to pay their employees additional hazard pay under a city ordinance that is currently set to expire later this month. (Shutterstock)
Grocery workers could gain additional weeks of $5 per hour hazard pay

San Francisco will vote next week on whether to extend a law… Continue reading

The fatal shooting of San Francisco resident Roger Allen by Daly City police on April 7 prompted protests in both cities. (Jordi Molina/ Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Daly City approves body-worn and vehicle cameras for police after fatal shooting

Daly City officials on Wednesday approved body and vehicle cameras for police… Continue reading

Most Read