Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel, a New York congressman, expressed measured optimism Wednesday about taking back the House in November, saying that Democrats would capitalize on the ground Republicans have been losing.
“House Republicans have steadily lost ground,” Israel said at a press conference to announce the DCCC’s “Red-to-Blue” races, the contests they consider the most competitive and where they will focus resources.
“Now I’m not saying that we’ve got the 25 seats we need in the bank. I’m not saying that the majority is guaranteed,” Israel said. “I am saying that we are nipping at their heels and we have the potential to overtake them over the next 9 months.”
“We are in a much better position than anyone would have imagined a year ago, and the Republicans are in a much more perilous position than anybody would have imagined a year ago,” he said.
Israel pointed to polling such as a Reuters/Ipsos poll which has Democrats up four percentage points on the generic congressional ballot, as well as a DemocracyCorps poll that has Democrats up six percent with independent voters, voters Israel says are the key to victory.
“We lost the House of Representatives in 2010 when we lost 9 million independent voters,” Israel said. “They voted for us in 2006, they voted for us in 2008, they voted against us in 2010… we win this election back when we win those independent voters, and right now we’re up six. Republicans have had a catastrophic decline in fortune with those independent voters and they are coming back to Democrats.”
The DCCC announced 18 Red-to-Blue candidates and 18 Red-to-Blue races where a nominee has not yet been decided.
The DCCC remains impartial throughout a Democratic primary. They also announced three “majority makers” — Alan Grayson in Florida’s 27th Congressional District, Steven Horsford in Nevada’s 4th Congressional District, and Joaquin Castro in Texas’ 20th Congressional District.
Isreal said that they were so sure that these three guys would end up in congress, that they had volunteered to help other candidates raise money.
This is the earliest that the DCCC has ever released the list — two months earlier than normal, which Israel said reflected their momentum and “strong position.”
Previewing the tack that Democratic candidates would take this cycle, Israel said that these candidates “are going to be aggressively holding Republicans accountable for consistently choosing millionaires over Medicare, for consistently choosing oil companies subsidies over middle class tax cuts, for choosing ideology over solutions, and they are going to force Republicans across the country to continue to defend the indefensible.”
A majority of the Red-to-Blue races will challenge freshman Republicans in Congress, such as Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois, Minnesota Rep. Chip Cravaack, Illinois Rep. Bob Dold and Florida Rep. Allen West.
“The tea party right now… is ebbing in popularity, almost reversed from where it was this time last cycle,” said Israel.
“This cycle looks like it may be generating a perfect storm against the Republicans. A year ago we had gale force wind blowing against us, now we have a nice wind behind our backs,” he added. “If we can sustain that, we’ll have the majority back.”