It's the time in the election cycle when the House campaign committees beat the bushes for top-flight candidates to run for the handful of seats that ought to be competitive next time around. And, like Christmas presents that get repackaged year after year, the same old districts get billed as prizes just waiting to be won.

How many times have we heard about the "perfect" challenger who can beat John Hostettler, R-Ind.; Jim Matheson, D-Utah; Dennis Moore, D-Kan., or Anne Northup, R-Ky. -- only to see these battle-tested incumbents go on to win again?

So, House recruiters are under pressure to find opportunities in less-cultivated terrain.

Of course, House Democrats, 15 seats short of a majority, are the more desperate to find promising new targets. The less-than-impressive 2004 victories of Republican Reps. Marilyn Musgrave (CO-04) and Henry Hyde (IL-06) have turned their seats into tempting new targets. But reality doesn't measure up to Democratic fantasies.

Although Hyde, who is serving his 16th term and who chairs the International Relations Committee, gets a great deal of press attention, his re-election contests

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