DCCC's 40 Seat Target List

Last month, DCCC chair Chris Van Hollen outlined the essence of his 2008 strategy: go on offense against 40 or so Republican seats that they deemed vulnerable. Today Roll Call (behind subscription firewall) is reporting that Van Hollen has gotten more specific:

Among the 40 Republican-held seats the DCCC is targeting generally, Van Hollen acknowledged that not all of them are exceedingly vulnerable to a Democratic takeover. But he said they all exhibit potential, and include a mixture of the following factors:

* The demographics of the district benefit the Democratic candidate.

* The Democratic presidential nominee won the district in 2004.

* The Democratic presidential nominee performed reasonably well in the district in 2004, and the 2008 Democratic House candidate is particularly strong.

* The Republican incumbent running for re-election in the district is damaged -- either ethically or in some other manner.

"We're now letting our base know, our supporters around the country know, that it's critical that they now start directing resources to some of our key challengers," Van Hollen said. "We think we've done a good job putting our Frontliners in good shape."

The list includes the following seats listed with incumbent if there is one:

AK-AL: Don Young
AZ-01: Open
AZ-03: John Shadegg
CA-04: John Doolittle
CA-26: David Dreier
CA-50: Brian Bilbray
CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave
CT-04: Chris Shays
FL-08: Ric Keller
FL-09: Gus Bilirakis
FL-13: Vern Buchanan
FL-24: Tom Feeney
ID-01: Bill Sali
IL-10: Mark Kirk
IL-11: Open
IL-14: Open
MI-07: Tim Walberg
MI-09: Joe Knollenberg
MN-03: Open
MN-06: Michele Bachmann
MO-06: Sam Graves
NV-03: Jon Porter
NJ-03: Open
NJ-07: Open
NM-01: Open
NM-02: Open
NY-13: Vito Fossella
NY-25: Jim Walsh
NY-26: Tom Reynolds
NY-29: Randy Kuhl
NC-08: Robin Hayes
OH-01: Steve Chabot
OH-02: Jean Schmidt
OH-14: Steve LaTourette
OH-15: Open
OH-16: Open
PA-03: Phil English
WA-08: Dave Reichert
WV-02: Sheley Moore Capito
WY-AL: Open

This news comes as the committees' November receipts are reported and continue to show the Democrats in great position.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee continued its strong fundraising pace in November, hauling in $4.1 million in receipts for the month compared with $2.7 million for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The DCCC spent $2.7 million in November, leaving it with $30.6 million in cash on hand, according to FEC reports. The NRCC, meanwhile, spent $2.9 million -- more money than it raised for the month. It lags way behind the Democrats in cash on hand, with just $2.3 million.

In somewhat of an understatement, Van Hollen said regarding the money disparity:

Van Hollen acknowledged that the DCCC's continuing wide cash advantage over the National Republican Congressional Committee was a key factor in his decision to shift his focus to aiding Democratic challengers.

"We don't have to spend all of our time worrying about what the Republican committee is going to be able to throw at our incumbents. There's no doubt that allows us some flexibility," Van Hollen told Roll Call. "It has given us some room to maneuver. Definitely."

Obviously many on this list are no surprise, the usual suspects, but I am particularly gratified to see CA-26 on there. I see Dreier as definitely a top target next year and if all goes well in the primary, we're going to have a candidate in Russ Warner who will be well worth the investment. Indeed, overall, we have an embarrassment of riches among our challengers next year, glad to see they're going to be well taken care of by the DCCC.

Tags: 2008 Congressional Elections, dccc (all tags)

Comments

20 Comments

Pretty good list

It looks like the DCCC knows what types of seats to target this time.  Im glad they are not going to go after unwinnable seats like CA-41, CA-42, and the open CA-52.  However, I am surprised that they dropped PA-06(Gerlach) off their list.  The district went for John Kerry by three points in 2004 and Gerlach never got more than 51% of the vote.  

by Toddwell 2007-12-20 04:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Pretty good list

Yeah, no PA-06 was my first reaction too. Maybe because Murphy has declined a rematch?

I'm also a bit surprised they're not going after DE-AL. While Castle is a popular figure, he was on Rove's list of most vulnerable republicans. He's won reelection with 34 to 44 point margins until last year, when he won with an 18-point margin (57-39), so he clearly he felt the democratic wave. They could probably give him a good scare, particularly given the money advantage.

by Nautilator 2007-12-20 05:22PM | 0 recs
PA-06 is pathetic

I wonder if Dan Wofford, who held Gerlach to 51% in 2002, would agree to run again.  

by Toddwell 2007-12-20 05:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Pretty good list

We've probably got better chances with Murphy out of the race against Gerlach. Castle may retire on his own or after a shove from a tough competitor entering the race - I believe he's had some fairly serious health problems.

by Quinton 2007-12-23 04:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Pretty good list


Keep in mind, we ARE going after the "unwinnable" districts, too. Just like we went after the "unwinnable" NH-1, NY-20, AZ-5, FL-16 and KS-2 last time around.

Bottom line is, every Gooper district needs a challenger, and at least a nominal amount of seed money. If I ran the DCCC, I'd take 10% of our cash on hand and distribute that in equal shares to every district that had a contested race (which would be about $6,000 per district in 2008, enough to let even some nobody running as a sacrifice in a safe red district at least print some lawn signs and do a mailing or two).

The restw would be earmarked for the top targeted races where we had the best shot.

I'm glad to see them targeting WV-2. West Virginia is still one of the most solidly Democratic states in the union, and has voted for only two Republicans in the last decade: Capito and Bush.  Returning WV to a 5 of 5 Dem Congressional delegation on Manchin's and Rockefeller's statewide coattails is both possible and very desirable. Capito is the proverbial camel's nose getting under the tent and we want to kick it back out, hard and finally, if we want to keep WV blue.

by admiralnaismith 2007-12-21 08:18AM | 0 recs
Re: DCCC's 40 Seat Target List

There's one seat they could add to this list.  Tom Davis is likely to retire and we have a strong challenger lining up for the seat.  (VA-11 former congresswoman Leslie Byrne) We made some gains in that district for the 2007 legislative races.  

by SixthElement 2007-12-20 04:46PM | 0 recs
Re: DCCC's 40 Seat Target List

FL-10 will be on the list as soon as Young retires.  He'll probably leave just before the filing deadline.  

by SixthElement 2007-12-20 05:19PM | 0 recs
Re: DCCC's 40 Seat Target List

I expect the top 40 list may shift a little with more retirements and polls.  Wyoming might become hopeless. NJ-3 might become a gimmee and require less attention (like Mark Warner's Senate bid, for example). Some Republican who is forbiddingly popular in an otherwise moderate district might suddenly die, or have a scandal explode, or a perfect challenger might come forward out of nowhere.

Heck, by July we could be looking at a top 50- list. Or maybe a top-30. I'm sure they have a list of second-tier maybes they're looking at, too. FL-10 is probably on it, and Delaware, and PA-6, 15 and 18.

Part of winning is being flexible, in case lightning strikes somewhere. For now, these are all excellent choices.

by admiralnaismith 2007-12-21 08:30AM | 0 recs
The money advantage is deceiving

I don't believe there will be as big a separation in funds once the races begin in earnest. The NRCC only has to ask a few of its well-heeled friends to come to the rescue and they will come up with a large number of "small donors" by way of magic.

We need two things from Democratic candidates in order to win: A backbone and a message.

Money alone just ain't gonna do it.

by Spiffarino 2007-12-20 05:34PM | 0 recs
Re: The money advantage is deceiving

Very true, but I think the point is that if we are at anyting close to even with the GOP on money, that's a huge advantage.  Heck, in the past we've had to try and compete while getting outspent 2:1.

by HSTruman 2007-12-21 05:42AM | 0 recs
Re: DCCC's 40 Seat Target List

At this point the DCCC could give $750,000 to each candidate in their top 40 targets, which would double the cash each would have to campaign with.

On the other hand, the Republicans would have to pick half of those to spend just $100,000 in each, and they would still have massive debts to deal with.

"We need two things from Democratic candidates in order to win: A backbone and a message."

Amen to that. However, money will probably be easier to get.

by C S Strowbridge 2007-12-20 05:59PM | 0 recs
What about NC-08? Kissell lost by a hair with zero

DCCC support in 2006.

I thought they always said they regretted not supporting him...

by verasoie 2007-12-20 06:38PM | 0 recs
They realize

that they made a big mistake by not supporting him.  They will support him strongly this time and he will have a great chance to win, especially if Obama is the Democratic nominee.  The reason Kissell lost in 2006 was the low turnout in the Mecklinburg county part of the district, which is nearly half black and Kissell won with 70%.  If he can turn out more black voters in Mecklinburg county, he wil win.  

by Toddwell 2007-12-20 06:51PM | 0 recs
It's There

     NC 8 is listed--it's the Robin hayes seat.

by Ron Thompson 2007-12-20 07:15PM | 0 recs
Okay, my bad, I thought it would be alphabetical

by abbreviation, NC before NM, NY, NV, and NJ, but I see that's it's alphabetical by the whole state name, New ... before North Carolina.

by verasoie 2007-12-20 07:31PM | 0 recs
Re: I thought it would be alphabetical

It's alphabetical by state, not by abbreviation.

So that "North" comes after "New".

by admiralnaismith 2007-12-21 08:58AM | 0 recs
Ecstatic to see Russ Warner....

... on the list (CA-26). He's ready for the big time this time around, raising significant bucks already -- well, well into 6 figures, the last I checked -- as well as making himself a presence both in his district and among the national players.

We've gotta knock off the dreaded Dreier. Cynthia Matthews, the Dem opponent the last two times, was a bad joke as a candidate who rightly engendered little support from either the establishment or the grassroots.

It's great to see that the DCCC smells the opportunity for victory with Russ.

by Randy G 2007-12-20 06:40PM | 0 recs
Re: DCCC's 40 Seat Target List

Was PA-06 (my district) being excluded a mistake, or are Democrats actually planning to give Gerlach a free pass?

by Namtrix 2007-12-20 07:12PM | 0 recs
LA-04

is an open seat, and Landrieu carried it in 2002.  And Jindal failed to carry a majority during the gubernatorial race.  A Democrat can win LA-04, especially if that Democrat receives lavish funding and support from the DCCC.

by truthteller2007 2007-12-20 08:02PM | 0 recs
Re: LA-04

That one may be too new to be on the current list.

It ought to be considered, definitely.

by admiralnaismith 2007-12-21 09:00AM | 0 recs

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