That's Mike Doyle. He's in Congress representing Pennsylvania's Congressional 14th District, the district I live in. This election cycle, he's got no Republican opponent.
I was lucky enough to get some time with him this week to discuss the other local elections.
Before I got into the discussion Doyle began talking about the English/Dahlkemper race. He was cautiously optimistic. "I think we've got a chance to win that one," he said. Even the DCCC thinks English's seat is vulnerable. According to politickerpa, The Cook Political Report recently changed the district from "likely Republican" to "leans Republican." There's even some polling showing the race "competitive" with only 29% of those polled saying they'd like to see English re-elected.
Doyle doesn't see much of a race here. Congressman Murtha's being challenged by Republican William Russell. Initially, Doyle was surprised to read that Russell's fundraising was huge but then after sifting through the FEC documents online, he realized the reality behind the numbers. We've written about it here.
This is Tim Murphy's district. While it has the most favorable "blue" demographic of any district not represented by a Democrat (there are 75K more Democrats registered there than Republicans), challenger Steve O'Donnell, Doyle says, "has got some work to do." He's certainly within striking distance though, Doyle added. At this point 2 years ago, Jason Altmire was in much the same situation; not on the radar screen, trying to raise money and so on. The good news is that in that district if Democrats vote solely by party, O'Donnell wins. The trick, I am guessing, would be to raise enough money to get the word out to the district.
This is the race I'm really interested in. Doyle seemed optimistic about this race as well (and he admits to being extremely cautious in these matters - he always assumes the possibility of a worse case). Congressman Altmire's got a huge cash advantage (somewhere around 2-1) and Doyle added that he hasn't heard anything bad about him. He added that he wonders why the constituents would want the representative back that they voted out of office.
Doyle thinks the Democrats are in good shape, but he's not "ready to pop the champagne cork" just yet. He said that the Democrats will clearly pick up some seats in Congress - it's just a question of how many. If there's an Obama landslide we could see a gain of 25-30 seats. If it's a squeaker or if McCain wins, we may only see a gain of 10-15 seats. The Democrats in the Senate could end up with as many as 58 seats.
He thinks Pennsylvania will go to the Democrats, but it won't be as easy as people think and criticized what he saw as some over confidence on the part of some Obama supporters. Like O'Donnell, Obama's got some work to do - especially outside of the city. While it's great for Obama to fill stadium after stadium with tens of thousands of supporters, what won large chunks of Western Pennsylvania in the primary was Senator Clinton going out and mingling with the people, one on one. That's what Western Pennsylvanians like, he said. Senator Obama needs to do both.
He also needs to address economic issues. People are nervous about the economy.
The complication for this state in this Presidential election is this: McCain can with the Presidency without winning Pennsylvania. Obama can't. He has to win Pennsylvania in order to win the White House.
UPDATE: An astute reader graciously informed me of an error of mine. I have just as graciously corrected my posting