Democrats’ “Drive to 25” Getting Further Out of Reach
Headlines today underscore the uphill climb Washington Democrats face in their quest to reinstall Rep. Nancy Pelosi as speaker, with Roll Call reporting that the “campaign is complicated by a handful of races that should be safe or are considered prime pickup opportunities.” The article went on to report that:
“Troubled incumbents and the potential for flawed general election candidates in these five or six contests will force the party to spend valuable resources needed elsewhere to net the 25 seats that would put Democrats back in power....At the top of the list are Tierney and Rep. David Cicilline (R.I.), two embattled incumbents in very Democratic states and in otherwise safe districts. Both face top-tier Republican recruits in November....[W]ith a lack of an obvious political wave this year, Democrats have to hold and win many more seats than Republicans do, with little room for error.”
Democrats are being forced to spend valuable resources in the seats of troubled incumbents, while the DCCC’s “operational lapses” in states like California make the Democrats’ “drive to 25” increasing quixotic, according to a prominent California political columnist:
“Democratic operatives had expressed private hopes that the party could pick up as many as eight seats in California's 53-member House delegation this year, although their more public goal was five or six seats. Never mind.
“In the aftermath of the June 5 primary, Democrats' hopes for a big California gain and resuming control of the House that they lost in 2010 have plummeted. Democrats may gain California congressional seats this year, adding to the 34 they now hold, but it's likely to be one or two at most. They could lose ground. Early in the year, some gains for Democrats seemed inevitable, even though they didn't control redistricting after the 2010 census....
“The major factor in lowering Democratic congressional ambitions in California, however, is the party's operational lapses – i.e., failure to get their designated candidates past the ‘top-two’ primary and into the November runoff....
“Several Democratic incumbents, meanwhile, face stiff Republican challenges in newly redrawn districts, and party leaders are worried about tepid voter turnout. National political handicappers, such as the Rothenberg Political Report and The Hill, have concluded that with their shortcomings in California, Democrats' chances of recapturing the House this year now have declined to near-zero.”
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