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Off to the races: Why Dems are unlikely to win back the House in '14

Democrats need to pick up 17 seats to takeover the House, but that is unlikely, in large measure, because of redistricting, Charlie Cook notes: “A Democratic takeover would require a huge wave running against the party not in the White House, something that hasn't happened since Franklin Roosevelt's first few years in office.”

More: “Last year, with Obama at the top of the ticket beating Mitt Romney by just under 4 percentage points, Democrats carried the popular vote for the House by 49.16 percent to 48.03 percent, a shade above 1 percentage point. Looking at the margins in each district, Wasserman calculates that Democrats would need to win the total House vote nationally by at least 6.8 percentage points to take 218 seats next year. It would require one heckuva tailwind for Democrats to run up that kind of popular-vote margin, something unprecedented in modern midterm history for the party holding the White House.”

Beth Reinhard and Elahe Izadi have noticed something – just how quiet Marco Rubio has been: “On Day Two of the first government shutdown in 17 years, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida held a press conference on flood-insurance reform. He left early, passing up the chance to toss out headline-making quotes on the budget standoff. On Day Three, he endorsed a little-known Pasco County Republican running for the Florida House. His last national media appearance was eight days ago.”

Said Rubio: "People know where I stand on the issue. There's not legislative action, there isn't anything happening, there's nothing to speak out on."

Jill Lawrence: “There's an empty space in the Republican Party where compassionate conservatism used to be, and an opportunity for a presidential prospect to step into the breach. The disappearance of that trademark George W. Bush brand from Washington has never been more apparent. The Republican House has gone from stalling immigration reform and cutting food stamps to precipitating a government shutdown by demanding the repeal of the health law that is the cornerstone of President Obama's legacy. The shutdown is threatening nutrition programs, cancer treatment, salaries, jobs, and much more.”

NEW JERSEY:Maggie Haberman writes of the “lackluster” Cory Booker campaign: “Cory Booker is all but certain to win the New Jersey special election for U.S. Senate. But as polls show Republican rival Steve Lonegan tightening the race, Booker is getting an uncomfortable reminder that he will have to campaign hard to defend the seat just a year from now, when he’d be up for a full term. Booker faces a tough test of the truncated race against Lonegan on Friday, when the Newark mayor and the former Bogota mayor face off in their first debate. For Lonegan, it’s a chance to test whether Booker has a glass jaw. For Booker, it’s a chance to show he is engaged in the race, and not the celebrity candidate who’s off giving speeches at colleges, as Booker has, during the waning days of the campaign.”

TEXAS: Dallas Morning News: "Wendy Davis talked a lot Thursday about the issues she wants to emphasize in her race for governor: public education (she’s for it) and hyper-partisanship and political cronyism in Austin (she’s against it). But the one thing she didn’t talk about — the very thing that has made her suddenly a viable statewide candidate — was conspicuously absent. Davis’ claim to fame was an 11-hour filibuster in June against a bill about abortion and women’s health....Thursday’s kickoff announcement was not the place to discuss abortion or women’s health care. But because those issues will most certainly be a subtext of her opponent’s attacks against her, Davis is going to have to find a way to talk about them."

NBC's Jessica Taylor: "Observers, including Democrats, still say she faces a steep hill in the solidly red Lone Star State? It’s been nearly two decades since Texas last elected a Democratic governor, and it’s a state that votes reliably Republican where President Barack Obama lost by 16 points. The last gubernatorial race touted to Perry as another moderate Democrat, former Houston Mayor Bill White, lost handily in 2010 by 13 points. Those close to Davis acknowledge she begins as the underdog, but point out that’s never stopped her before. She had tough fights in her two state Senate races in a district even Republicans describe as GOP-leaning. She fought against a partisan gerrymander of her district in 2011, and won re-election after she was heavily targeted by the GOP in 2012."