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Sean Patrick Maloney
Sean Patrick Maloney at a press conference in Washington, on Nov. 9, 2022. J. Scott Applewhite / AP

DCCC details 2022 defensive strategy in new memo

Despite losing the House, Democrats said they were able to defy history in the midterms through strategic investments, messaging.


Despite losing the House in the 2022 midterms, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is touting the cycle as an “HISTORIC” one, in a new memo to allies, donors, and stakeholders Thursday morning, pointing to historic investment in communities of color, strong candidate quality, and counter-messaging on top voter priorities as how they were able to keep the once-predicted “red wave” at bay.

“Republicans will have one of the narrowest majorities ever,” the four-page memo, reported first by NBC News, states. “Thanks to Democrats defying history and limiting GOP victories, it is less likely that Republicans will be able to implement some of their more extreme goals.”

The very narrow majority will toughen the job of top Republican Kevin McCarthy, who is already having to balance the wide range of viewpoints within his conference to earn the 218 requisite votes to officially become House Speaker in January.

But for Democrats, the roadmap to one of the best midterm cycles a party in power has seen came through $17.4 million spent on digital ads and heavy contrast on key issues of abortion, extremism, and the economy.

According to the DCCC, 51 percent of their ads mentioned abortion— an issue that, though second-guessed by pundits at various points, was shown to be the number 2 issue of importance to voters in exit polling. And 42 percent of ads run by the House Democrats campaign arm were economy-focused; despite the group struggling to land a cohesive message on the issue. 

But for Democratic candidates, the focus was on the economy: 320 of 562 ads run— or, 57 percent. By contrast, just over a quarter of candidate’s ads mentioned abortion, per the DCCC’s count.

The midterm map itself reflected the complexity of the abortion debate: Democrats able to defend in redder areas, where abortion restrictions were already in place, while they lost seats to Republicans in blue states, like New York and California.