The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rolled out the first 35 districts of its “Red to Blue” program Monday, highlighting the GOP-held seats the party believes it can flip and open seats it hopes to keep in the Democratic column in the 2014 midterms.
Needing to net 17 seats to win back the House majority, the announcement makes clear where the party believes its most important fights will take place.
“This is our initial roll out,” DCCC Chairman Steve Israel said Monday morning on MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown.” “There will be more, and we will have a very competitive battlefield as we go deeper into the cycle.” Full story
Hernandez is back in California's 21st District race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
California’s Central Valley was home last cycle to a botched open-seat opportunity for Democrats, and the party could be facing a replay in 2014.
After squeaking out of the 2012 top-two primary over the party’s preferred candidate, Democrat John Hernandez was defeated by Republican David Valadao by a 16-point margin for the new 21st District, even as President Barack Obama won there with 55 percent.
But back as a potential spoiler is Hernandez, a former president of the Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The issues many say contributed to his 2012 loss — a disorganized campaign and difficulty raising money — seem to be plaguing him once again.
EMILY’s List, a group that boosts female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights, has endorsed two candidates in competitive House races in Maine and California.
On Wednesday, the organization offered their support to state Sen. Emily Cain, running in Maine’s 2nd District, and former Capitol Hill aide Amanda Renteria, running in California’s 21st District. Full story
Renteria is running for Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Former Capitol Hill aide Amanda Renteria plans to announce on Sunday her campaign to oust Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., in the 21st District.
Nathan Gonzales of the Rothenberg Political Report reported earlier this month that Democrats had recruited Renteria to run. An ex-Capitol Hill staffer, she previously worked for Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. Renteria was also the subject of a 2008 Roll Call profile. Full story
Israel is the chairman of the DCCC. (Bill Clark CQ/Roll Call File Photo)
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee plans to target 17 House Republicans with a grass-roots push over the August recess, according to an internal party email obtained by CQ Roll Call.
On Monday, a DCCC aide sent a message to an email list sponsored by Americans United for Change, a liberal organization, describing the committee’s plans for the month-long break and including the warning, “please do not share this list with press.”
“In the majority of these districts we have field staffers on the ground, coordinated through the respective state parties, to define and hold accountable vulnerable Republican incumbents, through earned media tactics, messaging amplification, and community outreach,” wrote Ryan Daniels, the deputy national press secretary and African-American media adviser.
The DCCC’s list includes some of this cycle’s most-often mentioned vulnerable Republicans, but there are some lesser-known targets as well: Full story
Walden is the chairman of the NRCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
The House GOP’s campaign arm unveiled the first round of vulnerable incumbents for its Patriot program on Monday morning, suggesting which members it believes could need the most help in 2014.
However, these 11 new members in their incumbent-retention program have also signed a contract pledging they will reach certain communications, fundraising and strategy benchmarks to receive support later in the cycle.
“Our Members in the Patriot Program have proven that they are ready to run aggressive, organized campaigns,” National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon said in a press release.
A couple of names are notably absent from the list below, including Rep. Gary G. Miller, R-Calif., who represents a district that President Barack Obama won with 57 percent last November. House Democrats have already indicated Miller will be one of their top targets in 2014. Full story
John Hernandez, the California Democrat who lost in a competitive Central Valley district by 18 points, may be preparing for another bid for Congress.
Or maybe he’s just trying to retire some leftover debt.
Three local elected officials are hosting a fundraiser for Hernandez on March 14 in Fresno, Calif. According to an invitation to the event — which features a banner of Democratic presidential headshots — $30 “donations” will go toward a 2014 congressional exploratory committee, while suggested “contributions” of $500, $1,000 and $2,500 will go toward retiring the debt from Hernandez’s campaign last year.
Hernandez had $18,000 in cash on hand headed into the final month of the campaign before losing to now-Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif. As of Dec. 11, Hernandez had $40,500 in debt owed to consultants and campaign aides, according to his post-general report filed to the Federal Election Commission.
Democrats view the 21st District as a missed opportunity in 2012 and are likely to target it again next year. For example, here’s one of Hernandez’s television spots that was criticized for its poor production quality:
State Assemblyman David Valadao’s campaign for the new 21st district released a poll last Tuesday that showed the Republican ahead of his Democratic opponent by 20 points.
On Friday, the campaign of John Hernandez, CEO of the Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, released its own poll that showed the Democrat much closer, with Valadao ahead 41 percent to 37 percent.
The Valadao poll, conducted Oct. 8-9 by Moore Information, surveyed 400 likely voters and had a 5-point margin of error. The Hernandez poll, conducted Oct. 13-15 by FM3, surveyed 400 likely voters and had a 4.9-point margin of error.
Until recently, the race had attracted little interest from outside groups. The GOP-aligned Crossroads GPS announced a significant buy last week in this
majority-minority district to assist Valadao. Neither national party’s House campaign arm has gone on the air here, though the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched robocalls last week.
The Senate map is much less fluid, yet this is the time when some races begin to fade in terms of their competitiveness and others become more so. In recent weeks we’ve seen the New Mexico Senate contest move to the less competitive category, while Connecticut and Indiana are now fully in play. We are still monitoring developments in Connecticut (and could make another ratings change there soon), but new polling in Indiana confirmed for us that a ratings change was due. Full story
The year of change in California’s Congressional delegation officially kicked off on Tuesday.
It was the Golden State’s first regularly scheduled “jungle” primaries in a federal election cycle, and there was no lack of interesting finishes. Along with redistricting and retirements, it led to some contested primaries in a state unaccustomed to competitive House races. Under the new format, each district held only one primary contest, with the top two vote-getters — regardless of party — set to advance to the general election.
In the biggest shock of the night, it appears that the Democrats will not have a candidate on the general election ballot in the 31st district, where the party was poised to score a pickup. While the race hasn’t officially been called, Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar (D) finished behind Rep. Gary Miller (R) and state Sen. Bob Dutton (R) thanks to three other Democrats taking a combined 25 percent of the vote.
Many had thought Miller could become the first California Member to lose this cycle. But with 100 percent of precincts reporting, the Republican was in first place with 27 percent of the vote, followed by Dutton with 25 percent and Aguilar with 23 percent. This one could hurt in the Democrats’ hopes of regaining control of the House, with the Republican dodging a major bullet.
Here are the other highlights, by district (candidates certain to advance are in bold): Full story
Utah Congressional candidate Mia Love, who is in Washington, D.C., this week for meetings, was one of the candidates promoted to "Young Guns" status. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)
The National Republican Congressional Committee today announced its first round of Young Guns — candidates who have reached the highest tier of the committee’s recruitment and candidate support program.
The candidates are a diverse group that includes two woman, one of whom is African-American; a man of Portuguese descent; an openly gay man and a Jewish man.
“These candidates have met a series of rigorous goals that will put them in position to win on Election Day,” NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) said in a statement. Full story
Fresno City Councilman Blong Xiong told Roll Call on Monday that he has meetings scheduled on Capitol Hill today and Wednesday regarding his potential bid for California’s new 21st district. Full story
Jackie Walorski, running for an open seat in Indiana, was among the GOP candidates elevated by the National Republican Congressional Committee today. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
The National Republican Congressional Committee today announced the first round of candidates to make it to the third step in its Young Guns candidate program.
Eleven Republicans running in open seats or against Democratic incumbents were named “Contender” candidates, elevating them from the initial enrollment and “On the Radar” steps. The candidates must meet district-specific benchmarks to move through the program. Full story