DCCC chair: Paul Ryan is ‘down-ballot disaster’ for Republican House candidates

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
Font Size:

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Steve Israel says Democrats are on the path to win back the House, in large part because Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate is dragging down Republican House candidates.

“The reason for the momentum is very simple,” said Israel in a briefing with reporters Thursday. “It is that the Paul Ryan has become a down-ballot disaster for Republicans across the country.”

“We clearly won August and we have some momentum, and if we can build a good September on the good August that we had, and a good October on the good September, then we can net the 25 seats that we need to win [control of the House],” he said.

Israel said the winds had changed in Democrats’ favor as a result of three things since Congress left for the August recess: the Ryan pick, Rep.Todd Akin’s contentious remarks about rape and abortion, and a Politico report about Republican Congressman swimming naked in the Sea of Galilee. Those things gave Republicans a “horrible August,” Israel said.

As evidence of a shift of momentum, Israel pointed to generic ballot polls from September that showed Democrats leading.

Moving forward, he said, Democrats are in good shape to capitalize on existing momentum with a strong ground game, along with $61 million in reserved airtime — more than the $43 million reserved by the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Israel said his group had reserved it early “at a lower cost per point,” meaning they would get “more bang for the buck.”

The Paul Ryan pick “gave us the debate we wanted,” Israel said. “We’ve been spending most of the cycle talking about Medicare versus millionaires, and Mitt Romney gave us the bullhorn.”

UPDATE: NRCC Communications Director Paul Lindsay emails: “The only down-ballot disaster in House races is ObamaCare and it’s $716 billion in Medicare cuts for current seniors. It cost Democrats the House in 2010 and will cost them more seats in 2012.”

Follow Alexis on Twitter