House Dems Campaign Head Preparing for Worst

Image: Obama Delivers State of Union to Congress
epa04046124 The dome of the US Capitol is visible at dusk just before US President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington DC, USA, 28 January 2014. This will be the second State of the Union address of Obama's second term. EPA/JIM LO SCALZOJIM LO SCALZO / EPA

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With just 20 days left before the midterm elections, the top Democrat in charge of winning House congressional elections says his party is preparing for the worst.

“The first thing I see every morning when my eyes flutter open is 29 -- which is the average loss to a president’s party in a second midterm,” New York Rep. Steve Israel, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told reporters Wednesday.

“We never assumed the best, we prepared for the worst,” he said.

Israel – who believes there remains 32 races within 6-points – would not predict exactly how many seats Democrats would lose on November 4.

“What is a great night, is for us to be able to say, no matter what happens, we prepared, we knew what was coming, we fired on all cylinders and our early investments kept these races competitive in what is indisputably one of the toughest environments that we have had, obviously since 2010,” he said.

The DCCC recently pulled money from several races across the country, re-allocating those funds to help shore-up Democratic incumbent races -- An apparent shift from offensive to defensive races.

Outside spending groups on the Republican side are dominating airwaves across the country. While Israel cannot coordinate with outside groups, he made a public plea Wednesday for the Democratic “cavalry” to get on board and not “leave a single race on the table.”

“It is frustrating that the cavalry that has always been there doesn’t seem to be there,” he said. “My point is, we still have 20 days and that is an eternity for outside groups to mount up the cavalry and get them to the Hill.”

Republicans were quick to dismiss the impact of outside spending on congressional races.

“Chairman Israel needs stop the Washington blame game and admit that President Obama and his devastating policies are casting a large shadow over the landscape for House Democrats,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Andrea Bozek said in a statement.

With Democrats appearing to be bracing for a loss this year, unlikely to net the 17 seats in the House needed to regain the majority, the party is trying to exude optimism for 2016. The DCCC believes their investments in the field have helped lay a foundation for success in the future.

“No question that we are facing headwinds now,” Israel said. “A lot of this also is about building out an infrastructure that will thrive and prosper in a 2016 environment when democrats have a strong wind at their backs not in their faces.”


-- Alex Moe