DCCC Spending Too Heavily In Red Districts
by Chris Bowers, Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 02:35:54 PM EDT
AZ-08: $445,210.71. PVI: Republican +1.4
IL-06: $82,946.87. PVI: Republican +2.9
IN-02: $319,879.08. PVI: Republican +4.3
IN-08: $833,899.63. PVI: Republican +8.5
IN-09: $83,428.98. PVI: Republican +7.1
KY-04: $13,833.64. PVI: Republican +11.7
NY-24: $390,447.98. PVI: Republican +0.6
NC-11: $118,496.90. PVI: Republican +7.1
OH-15: $52,832.64. PVI: Republican +1.1
PA-10: $259,195.99. PVI: Republican +8.0
VA-02: $129,493.94. PVI: Republican +5.9
WI-08: $275,778.90. PVI: Republican +3.7
CO-07: $118,907.65 PVI: Democratic +2.3
FL-22: $135,800.60. PVI: Democratic +3.6
IA-01: $357,042.22-- PVI: Democratic +4.8
NM-01: $230,526.42 PVI: Democratic +2.4
PA-06: $102,239.29 PVI: Democratic +2.2
WA-08: $28,204.03. PVI: Democratic +2.3
I do not dispute that we should challenge every district, no matter how red it may be. Also, I do not dispute that our chances to win many, if not all, of the red districts listed above are excellent this year. I also do not dispute that our chances to win the red districts the DCCC has recently spent money in are worse than some blue districts I have not listed. Further, I also do not dispute that other measures of how red or blue a district is, including Democratic performance and partisan voter registration numbers, should be taken into account. I just do not have that information in front of me at this time.
However, there is still a big problem with the DCCC's over-reliance on red districts in their targeting of late. While we may have roughly the same chances to win any of the above listed districts in 2006, we will have a far better chance of keeping the blue districts we win in 2008 and beyond than we will have of keeping the red districts that we win. I am all behind Chris Carney in PA-10, for example, but after he beats Don Sherwood this year, he is going to be justifiably considered a first-tier target by the NRCC every two years until he either loses or retires. However, if Patrick Murphy were to win in PA-08, or Dan Maffei were to win in NY-25, they would not be on the top of the NRCC target list very often, if ever. The DCCC would need to keep dumping cash into a Democratic-held PA-10 in both 2008 and 2010 in order to keep the seat. They would not need to dump nearly as much cash, if any, into Democratic-held PA-08 and NY-25.
Republican held red districts and Republican held blue districts may count the same toward a Democratic majority in 2006, but they do not count the same toward future Democratic majorities in elections after 2006. The more blue districts Democrats win in 2006, the more long lasting and difficult to topple our majority will become. There are a number of Republican0held blue districts where Democrats are competitive this year but so far have not received much, if any, DCCC resources: CT-02, CT-04, CT-05, KY-03, NH-02, NY-25, PA-07, PA-08, and WA-08. By contrast, the DCCC is lavishing resources on virtually every Republican held-red district in the top four tiers of my House forecast. That is strategically myopic. It has the potential to build an extremely tenuous majority based on red districts that we could lose in any bad year. It has the potential to build a caucus where large numbers of Democrats will feel the need to sell out core Democratic values in order to get elected (see Bean, Melissa).
Over the past three months, by a count of 3-1 the DCCC has spent its resources in Republican-held red districts. We need to be spending much more money in blue districts that will be easier to defend, and produce Democrats more likely to stay with the majority of the caucus on difficult votes. That would result in building a majority that can govern better, and has the potential to last longer. I am a big proponent of the fifty-state strategy that will bring the Democratic message everywhere. However, in the final weeks of a campaign, when it comes time to make the hard decisions and target the races where we can win, we need to implement a blue state strategy. Dumping 75% of our money into red districts and leaving so many winnable blue districts out in the cold is not a good way to build a sustainable Democratic majority that can enact progressive legislation.
With only five weeks left, the DCCC must shift more resources into Republican-held blue districts. If they do not, we could wake up to find ourselves winners on November 7th, but still not exactly in control.