Saturday, October 07, 2006

In House Races, More G.O.P. Seats Seen at Risk

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 — At least five more Republican Congressional seats are now in serious contention, analysts said Friday, an unwelcome development for Republicans as they begin to confront a political environment further darkened for them by the Congressional page scandal.

The fury over sexually charged messages sent to male teenage pages by Representative Mark Foley of Florida is undercutting Republican support among elderly voters, suburbanites and women, analysts from both parties said.

More immediately — and more alarmingly for Republican strategists who have looked to the party’s powerful voter turnout operation to save the party this year — there are signs that the furor is sapping the enthusiasm of a group essential to Republican victories in 2002 and 2004: religious conservatives.

“The social conservatives are frustrated with what’s going on,” said Saulius Anuzis, the chairman of the Republican Party in Michigan, where, he said, one-third of his volunteers are social conservatives. “We have heard disappointment and disenchantment. The level of commitment isn’t as fierce as it ought to be.”

The political uproar is playing out in races across the country and comes with Republicans already struggling against the political weight of more bad news from Iraq. The page scandal has left leaders and candidates in both parties to come up with new strategies a month from Election Day.


No comments: