I highly recommend Cyclone Conservatives as one of the more interesting, better written GOP blogs. (He's also good enough to include "Generic Democrat" as an option in his poll.)
But he gets this one wrong looking at the 1st and 2nd CDs:
Both districts, at this point in time, are uphill battles but cannot be viewed as complete write-offs.
So... where are the candidates? If these were competitive seats, top-tier Republicans would have been lining up to challenge freshmen before last Christmas.
Braley is a much more savvy campaigner and better fundraiser and lets all be honest, David Loebsack should have never won and is essentially a fluke.
The real fluke is that Jim Leach held on in Democratic territory as long as he did. Cy acknowledges the nature of the district, but then really drops the ball:
Loebsack's district is tough for Republicans, but Loebsack is also a very weak candidate.
Well, he was a stronger candidate than Bob Rush (1996, 1998) and Julie Thomas (2002), who the D-Triple-C luuuuuved for their self-financing capacity. And he was stronger than the long-ago challengers: John Whitaker (1986; now a legislative winner in a tough seat), Jim Larew (1980; now Gov. Culver's legal eagle) and Dick Myers (1978; still a major player in Iowa politics even in retirement). All these folks took on Jim Leach and lost. Only Bob Rush even carried Johnson County (barely).
But a college professor with a beard succeeded where all those A-list candidates failed. Dave Loebsack brought Leach-voting Democrats home by successfully making the Leach-as-Bush-enabler argument. Sure, there was an element of right place at the right time. Yet it was Dave Loebsack who saw the opportunity when no one else did. He's doing the leg work in the district, and so far there's deafening silence from the GOP.