Sabato's Crystal Ball

North Carolina (11) House 2010

 

Crystal Ball Outlook: Likely D

Democratic candidate: Heath Shuler, Incumbent

Republican candidate: Jeff Miller

Recent updates from the Crystal Ball

Background:

The first time was a charm for Democrat (Joseph) Heath Shuler during his November 2006 Congressional election. Schuler’s victorious campaign in the 11th district of North Carolina was the former NFL quarterback’s first foray into politics. Schuler defeated Republican incumbent Charles Taylor, running for his ninth term in Congress, taking 54% of the vote to Taylor’s 46%. Shuler dramatically increased his margin of victory during the 2008 election, winning 62% of the vote to his Republican opponent’s 36%. Republicans have been successful in the 11th district in the past three Presidential elections. The margin has been narrowing, however, from a 58% victory for George Bush in 200 to a 52% victory for McCain in 2008.

Health Shuler was a NFL quarterback before underperformance and injury led him to a second career as a real estate professional. Shuler’s experience running a small business helped him to become the Chairman a House subcommittee on Rural and Urban Entrepreneurship. Shuler is a self-described Conservative Democrat and is a member of the Blue Dog Caucus. Balancing the national debt is a priority for Shuler and his website features a National Debt Clock to emphasize his commitment.

Six Republicans have declared their candidacy for the the 11th district’s May 4 primary. Of these candidates, only Dan Eichenbaum and Gregory Newman had raised money for the campaign as of the last reporting period (ending December 31, 2009). Eichenbaum had $8,213 in receipts and Newman had received $11,275 in contributions. Shuler had already brought in over $560,000 in contributions this election cycle. I addition to his slight advantage in fundraising, Newman can claim a more professional website and more political experience than his closest opponent (someone should tell Eichenbaum to take down his depressing website visitors’ tally—121 visitors, and 2 of those were me). Newman has served as the mayor of Hendersonville, North Carolina since 2005 and seems to be the frontrunner going into the May primary.

Shuler’s wide margin of victory in 2008 makes the 11th District Likely Democrat.