Democratic incumbents in trouble in the Great Plains 

Unemployment is relatively low in the Great Plains states, but some incumbent Democratic congressmen there are in political peril.

Case number one: Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota. Pollster Scott Rasmussen reports that Pomeroy is trailing state Representative Rick Berg 51%-44% in a poll conducted on March 23, two days after Pomeroy voted for Democrats’ health care bills, which North Dakota voters oppose by a 58%-36% margin. Berg was leading Pomeroy 46%-40% in a Rasmussen poll conducted in February. As I have noted, it’s highly unusual for an incumbent congressman to run behind a challenger, especially this early in the campaign cycle.

Case number two: Leonard Boswell of the 3rd district of Iowa. The Des Moines Register reports that Boswell is facing serious Republican opposition; no fewer than seven Republicans are running in the June primary for the nomination to oppose him in November. Boswell has been a target before, and in the Democratic year of 2006 won by only a 52%-46% margin. The district includes Des Moines and suburban Polk County; in 2008 it voted 54%-45% for Barack Obama while Boswell won 56%-42%.

Pomeroy, 58, has held the North Dakota at-large seat since 1992. Boswell, 76, was first elected in a largely rural district and moved to Des Moines in 2002 after redistricting placed his home county in the heavily Republican 5th district. Both have appealing personalities and no personal baggage. Both Pomeroy and Boswell voted for the 2009 stimulus package and the November 2009 and March 2010 health care bills. Boswell also voted for the cap-and-trade bill in June 2009; Pomeroy, from a state with burgeoning coal production, voted against it.

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Michael Barone

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