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All About the 39 Democrats Voting 'No' to the Affordable Health Care for America Act

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Majority of Blue Dogs, Democratic Representatives in '08 pick-up districts, and Democrats in competitive districts all vote in favor of bill

One of the reasons political analysts suspected Democrats might face difficulty in passing health care reform in the House this year, was due to potential holdouts among the conservative "Blue Dog" wing of the party and other members of the Democratic caucus who might be vulnerable in 2010.

Most Blue Dog Democrats come from moderate or conservative House districts - many of which were carried by John McCain in the 2008 presidential election even in the face of a second consecutive Democratic tidal wave election.

However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Whip James Clyburn, in part by permitting a ban on abortion services to be voted on as a separate amendment to the Affordable Health Care for America Act, were able to ultimately corral enough Blue Dogs into their corner as the bill was passed with two votes to spare.

In fact, a majority of the Blue Dogs actually voted for the health care bill, by a 28 to 24 margin.

Some analysts (and Republican strategists) have stated that voting for the controversial health care bill might be problematic for Democrats in swing districts in 2010 - an election year in which the conventional wisdom suggests there will be a pullback towards the GOP, perhaps into the double-digits.

If that's the case, then many Democrats voted quite boldly last Saturday night. Here's why:

· The Democratic Party picked up 26 House seats in the 2008 election (netting 21). A majority of these 26 Representatives (14) voted for the health care bill, with just 12 voting against it.

· And of the 24 House seats that the Democrats won by less than 10 points in 2008, only 8 voted against the bill, with 16 voting in favor of it, including nine Representatives in "pick-up" districts for the Democrats (CT-04, FL-08, MI-07, MI-09, NV-03, OH-01, OH-15, PA-03, VA-05).

And as for the Democrats voting 'no?'

These 39 Representatives had an average margin of victory of a whopping 29.8 points in 2008. Six of these Democrats represent districts in which the GOP did not even field a candidate last November (AL-07, AR-04, LA-03, TN-06, TN-08, VA-09).

But one thing most of these 39 Democratic 'defectors' have in common is that they represent an ideologically conservative constituency.

John McCain won 31 of the 39 districts represented by Democrats who voted 'no' on the health care bill. In fact, McCain won by double-digits in nearly half of these districts (19). Overall, McCain had an average margin of victory of 9.6 points across these 39 districts.

In total, there were 49 House districts carried by John McCain in 2008 in which voters elected a Democrat to the U.S. House - which leaves 18 Democrats in McCain districts voting 'yes' on health care reform (AR-01, AR-02, AZ-01, AZ-05, AZ-08, CO-03, IN-08, IN-09, ND-AL, OH-06, OH-18, PA-03, PA-10, PA-12, SC-05, VA-05, WV-01, WV-03).

Democrats Voting Against the Affordable Health Care for America Act

District
Representative
'08 MoV
Obama MoV
Blue Dog
AL-02*
Bobby Bright
0.6
-26
Yes
AL-05
Parker Griffith
3.0
-23
Yes
AL-07
Artur Davis
100.0
+42
No
AR-04
Mike Ross
72.6
-19
Yes
CO-04*
Betsy Markey
12.2
-1
No
FL-02
Allen Boyd
23.9
-9
Yes
FL-24*
Suzanne Kosmas
16.1
-2
No
GA-08
Jim Marshall
14.4
-13
Yes
GA-12
John Barrow
32.0
+9
Yes
ID-01*
Walter Minnick
1.6
-26
Yes
KY-06
Ben Chandler
29.4
-12
Yes
LA-03
Charlie Melancon
100.0
-24
Yes
MD-01*
Frank Kratovil
2.4
-18
Yes
MN-07
Collin Peterson
44.5
-3
Yes
MO-04
Ike Skelton
31.8
-23
No
MS-01
Travis Childers
10.4
-25
Yes
MS-04
Gene Taylor
49.2
-35
Yes
NC-07
Mike McIntyre
37.6
-5
Yes
NC-08*
Larry Kissell
10.8
+5
No
NC-11
Heath Shuler
26.2
-5
Yes
NJ-03*
John Adler
3.4
+5
No
NM-02*
Harry Teague
12.0
-1
No
NY-13*
Michael McMahon
27.5
-2
No
NY-20
Scott Murphy
23.6
+3
No
NY-29*
Eric Massa
1.8
-2
No
OH-10
Dennis Kucinich
17.4
+20
No
OH-16*
John Boccieri
10.6
-2
No
OK-02
Dan Boren
41.0
-32
Yes
PA-04
Jason Altmire
12.0
-11
Yes
PA-17
Tim Holden
27.6
-3
Yes
SD-AL
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin
35.2
-8
Yes
TN-04
Lincoln Davis
21.0
-30
Yes
TN-06
Bart Gordon
48.8
-25
Yes
TN-08
John Tanner
100.0
-13
Yes
TX-17
Chet Edwards
3.1
-35
No
UT-02
Jim Matheson
28.4
-18
Yes
VA-02*
Glenn Nye
4.9
+2
Yes
VA-09
Rick Boucher
97.1
-19
No
WA-03
Brian Baird
28.0
+8
No
 
Average
29.8
-9.6
 
* Denotes 'pick-up' districts in the 2008 election. Presidential margin of victory data from CQ Politics. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

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