FACTBOX-Twelve U.S. House races to watch

Oct 19 (BestGrowthStock) – Republicans are threatening to wipe away
the Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives in
the Nov. 2 election on a wave of voter concern about the
economy and President Barack Obama’s agenda.

Republicans need to pick up 39 Democratic seats to claim a
218-vote House majority, and are well positioned to do it. The
nonpartisan Cook Political Report lists 85 Democratic seats as
highly competitive or likely to switch — a huge playing field
in the 435-seat House. All members are elected for two-year
terms.

Here are 12 of the top House races:

Florida’s 24th District – First-term Democratic incumbent
Suzanne Kosmas backed the stimulus package, final healthcare
overhaul and climate change bill, putting her on the defensive
early in a Republican-leaning district. She has since gone on
the attack against challenger Sandy Adams but appears to be in
deep trouble.

Virginia 5 – Democratic first-termer Tom Perriello has been
on a political death watch in his conservative district, with
most recent polls showing Republican challenger Robert Hurt
well ahead.

Louisiana 2 – Freshman Joseph Cao, the first Vietnamese
American in Congress, is the most vulnerable House Republican
and faces a tough fight in a heavily Democratic district. Cao
won in 2008 after incumbent Democrat William Jefferson was
found with $90,000 in his freezer — the sort of election break
Cao will not get this time.

Colorado 4 – In a Republican-leaning district in eastern
Colorado, first-term incumbent Democrat Betsy Markey has been
mired at around 40 percent in polls against Republican
challenger Cory Gardner — dismal numbers for an incumbent.

Texas 17 – Ten-term incumbent Democrat Chet Edwards has
kept his political career alive by reaching across the aisle in
his heavily Republican district, home to former President
George W. Bush’s Crawford ranch. But in an anti-Washington
year, Republican businessman Bill Flores may put an end to that
streak.

Florida 8 – The first-term Democrat Alan Grayson became a
favorite of left-wing blogs and a target for conservative
activists last year when he described the Republican healthcare
plan as “die quickly.” Grayson thrives on the attention and has
run a series of hard-hitting attacks on Republican Dan
Webster.

Ohio 1 – Democratic incumbent Steve Driehaus won in 2008
with the help of a big turnout by black voters drawn to the
polls in Cincinnati by Obama’s candidacy. That is unlikely this
time around, and Driehaus might pay the price in the race
against former Republican Representative Steve Chabot.

Pennsylvania 3 – Kathy Dahlkemper, an abortion rights
opponent, has been hammered by anti-abortion groups for her
vote in favor of the healthcare overhaul. She trails car dealer
Mike Kelly in polls in a socially conservative northwestern
Pennsylvania district won by Obama in 2008.

North Dakota At Large – Democrat Earl Pomeroy has won nine
terms in his conservative state but has never faced a political
climate as tough as this. Public and internal polling shows a
tight race with Republican Rick Berg.

Maryland 1 – Freshman Democrat Frank Kratovil has tried to
emphasize his independence from Obama and national Democrats
after narrowly winning election in his Republican-leaning
district in 2008. But his rematch with Republican Andy Harris
has been tough.

Ohio 16 – In a district hit hard by job losses, Democrat
John Boccieri’s first ad accused Republican opponent Jim
Renacci of backing tax breaks for companies that move jobs
overseas. Renacci has tied Boccieri to Obama and criticized his
support for healthcare and climate change bills.

Colorado 3 – Democrat John Salazar, the brother of Interior
secretary Ken Salazar, won the endorsement of the National
Rifle Association in his rematch with 2006 Republican opponent
Scott Tipton. But the going may be tougher this time, with
voter dissatisfaction with Democrats running high.

FACTBOX-Twelve U.S. House races to watch