Given the gobs of money and attention poured into the 12th District special election, both Democrats and Republicans consider it to be a pretty big deal. But who should win Tuesday's race? Each side wants you to think it's the other guy, so they can play the all-important "underdog" card.
The DCCC just blasted out a press release compiling pundits saying Tim Burns should win the race because this is exactly the type of seat the GOP needs to win in the fall to realize their anticipated gains -- skews older, suburban/rural, voted for John McCain for president in '08. They cite WaPo's Chris Cillizza writing: "Both sides see the race as a must-win but, in truth, it is a muster-win for Republicans who have to prove they can emerge victorious in seats like this one," as well as the Cook Political Report and others expressing similar sentiments.
Republicans, though, view this seat as a potential upset seat to take over for Rep. John P. Murtha, in line with what Scott Brown (who came into the district to campaign for Republican Tim Burns) did with Ted Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts. That's a little much, but Democrats do own a significant registration advantage in the 12th and the district benefitted so much from Murtha's clout that his former top lieutenant, Mark Critz, should be able to retain much of the support his former boss enjoyed. Also, with the DCCC having pulled out of Hawaii with its tail between its legs, you better believe the Dems aren't going to be able to brush off a loss here easily.
In reality, this race is a tossup. The polling and spending have been pretty even and there are enough regional issues in play that it won't be the national referendum that the Beltway press seems to think it is. No Rocky Balboas here, folks.