Van Hollen names Braley Vice Chair of DCCC

Bruce Braley (IA-01) was elected to Congress in 2006 with the support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "Red to Blue" program. In 2008 he helped manage the DCCC's Red to Blue efforts. For the next election cycle, he's been promoted again:

The DCCC today named the second of its three Vice Chairs - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-IA) will serve as Vice Chair for candidate services, responsible for the DCCC's offensive efforts including recruitment, money, and training.  

DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen said, "The DCCC will stay aggressive this cycle and continue to challenge Republicans who are out of step with their districts.  As a former chair and former member of the Red to Blue program, Bruce Braley knows first hand what it takes to be a successful candidate; his battle tested leadership will be a real asset to our candidates facing tough elections."

Congressman Bruce Braley brings his experience as chair of the DCCC's successful and effective 2008 Red to Blue Program and as a former member of the Red to Blue Program.

Vice Chair Bruce Braley said, "I'm looking forward to continuing my work at the DCCC in this new leadership role.  It's critical for us to continue assisting our candidates with the money, messaging and mobilization they will need to get elected in the 2010 election cycle.  I will work hard to help our candidates win their races."

Congressman Bruce Braley will serve as Vice Chair for candidate services.  The DCCC's candidate services include recruiting, money, and training.  A Vice Chair focusing on Member participation will be named at a later date.

Last month, Van Hollen named Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida the DCCC Vice Chair for incumbent retention. Given her refusal to endorse three Democratic challengers to Republican incumbents in south Florida, it was appropriate for Van Hollen to remove her from a leadership role in the Red to Blue program.

The third vice chair "will seek to increase House member participation in DCCC efforts," which presumably means getting more safe Democratic incumbents to pay their DCCC dues.

So Braley's niche will be finding and capitalizing on opportunities to pick up Republican-held seats. 2010 is likely to be a more challenging environment for Democratic candidates than the past two cycles, but it's good to know the DCCC is planning to remain on offense as well. We have a chance to achieve a political realignment, given the Democratic advantages with certain demographic groups in recent elections. Building on our success in 2006 and 2008 will require the DCCC to do more than protect our own vulnerable incumbents.

Good luck to Representative Braley in his new role. He'll be quite busy the next couple of years, with a seat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and a Populist Caucus to lead.

There's more...

IA-01: Is the NRCC pulling out?

From this morning's Des Moines Register:

"A national Republican committee's spending against Democrat Bruce Braley in Iowa's 1st Congressional District plummeted last week, a review of Federal Election Commission reports shows.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which had spent an average of $366,192 per week in opposition to Braley since mid-September, spent only $59,524 from Oct. 16 to 23. In addition, the NRCC spent no money on television advertising opposing Braley last week, even though the Nov. 7 general election campaign is entering its final phase."

[...]A review of FEC reports reflecting independent spending by the NRCC and the DCCC against their party's opponents in the two Iowa congressional races also disclosed:

- NRCC spending against Braley last week not only declined 84 percent compared with the average spending over the previous four weeks, but also took place when the Republican committee spent its largest sum of the campaign - $190,489 - on television advertising in opposition to Boswell in Iowa's 3rd District.

[...]- DCCC spending in opposition to Whalen's candidacy has averaged $84,500 over the last six weeks and now totals $595,694 during the period. By comparison, the GOP congressional campaign committee has reported spending a total of $1.5 million against Braley since mid-September."

Now, we know the NRCC is still thinking the IA-03 is competitive, and it likely is more so than the IA-01.  Could this be prioritizing of one race over the other?  The NRCC spokesperson wouldn't comment, which usually isn't a good sign.  If they weren't changing strategy, they'd quickly respond saying they're doing the same thing they've been doing for the past few weeks.  This isn't a good sign for the Whalen Campaign at all.

Looking over the most recent independent expenditure reports (the last 500 can be found here), it looks like the only recent NRCC purchase in the race was on Oct. 23rd -- yesterday -- for phone banks at an investment of $1,535.  That's a pretty meager investment.  I'll try to keep track of the expenditures this week, but things don't look good for Whalen.

There's more...

AZ-08,CO-07,IA-01,IN-02,IN-08,IN-09,KY-04,NC-11,NM-01

What do they have in common? A new Republican 527 called Americans for Honesty on Issues that has popped up to run negative ads against 9 Democratic House candidates.  Some of the negative ads have already run in Iowa and Colorado.

Candidates and titles of attack ads:

Bruce L Braley IA-01
"No Funds For Troops"

Edwin Permutter CO-07
"Sponsor"

Brad Ellsworth IN-08
"The Tarnished Badge"

Gabrielle Giffords AZ-08
"Path to Citizenship"

Baron P Hill IN-09
"Tagged"

Patricia A Madrid NM-01
"Super-Size"

Heath Shuler NC-11
"Heart in Tennessee"

Kenneth Ray Lucas KY-04
"Six Years & Zip"

Joseph Simon Donnelly IN-02
"Tax Attack"

There's more...

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