Top House Dem Recruit Backs Out of Race—Again

Decision to drop out most tangible sign yet of Democrats’ changing political fortunes.

Rep. Steve Israel, DCCC Chairman Interview Goldmacher
National Journal
Alex Roarty
See more stories about...
Alex Roarty
Dec. 9, 2013, 1:07 p.m.

In mid-Oc­to­ber, at the height of the gov­ern­ment shut­down, House Demo­crats cel­eb­rated the de­cision of Omaha politi­cian Pete Festersen to re­start his can­did­acy against Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Lee Terry—a move, they said, that showed the toll the weeks-long im­broglio had taken on Re­pub­lic­ans. Festersen, who earli­er has op­ted out of a cam­paign, cited the shut­down as a primary reas­on he was reen­ter­ing the race.

As it hap­pens, what goes around comes around.

Festersen said Monday that, for the second time, he was no longer run­ning for Neb­raska’s 2nd Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict seat. Al­though he cited fam­ily ob­lig­a­tions, Re­pub­lic­ans im­me­di­ately jumped on the news as evid­ence that polit­ic­al for­tunes had once again changed—this time thanks to the health care law’s dis­astrous rol­lout.

“This is the biggest and most hu­mi­li­at­ing re­cruit­ment fail of the year for House Demo­crats, and they don’t have any­one to blame but them­selves,” said An­drea Bozek, a Na­tion­al Re­pub­lic­an Con­gres­sion­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee spokes­wo­man. “Their con­tin­ued com­mit­ment to Obama­care is not only cost­ing them votes, it is now cost­ing them their star can­did­ates.”

The Af­ford­able Care Act, plagued by mal­func­tion­ing web­sites and people los­ing their health care cov­er­age, has been a ma­jor polit­ic­al prob­lem for Demo­crats since the site de­b­uted Oct. 1—so much so that the party’s once prodi­gious lead in the gen­er­ic-bal­lot match­up has been re­versed in a mat­ter of months, as Charlie Cook ob­served last week.

Festersen’s de­cision to drop out doesn’t tan­gibly af­fect House Demo­crats’ ef­forts next year much. It’s only one seat among 435, and they can still find an­oth­er can­did­ate to take his place. Oth­er Demo­crat­ic re­cruits con­tin­ue to line up to run in oth­er battle­ground dis­tricts.

But na­tion­al Demo­crats had touted the City Coun­cil mem­ber’s ori­gin­al re­versal as a sign they had cap­it­al­ized on the cur­rent polit­ic­al en­vir­on­ment to make a last­ing dif­fer­ence in House cam­paigns. Festersen’s de­cision Monday is the most tan­gible mani­fest­a­tion yet that Re­pub­lic­ans are now do­ing the same. 

What We're Following See More »
BAD NEWS FOR CLINTON
Trump and Clinton Equally Disliked
6 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

According to the most recent Gallup poll, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are equally disliked. The poll, conducted between July 18 and July 25, shows both major party candidates for president are viewed favorably by 37 percent of respondents and unfavorably by 58 percent of respondents. This poll is bad news for Clinton, who has received better favorable and unfavorable ratings in nearly every poll over the last year.

Source:
VP PICK TAKES DIFFERENT TONE THAN TRUMP
Pence: “Serious Consequences” if Russia Hacked DNC
48 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

The same day that Donald Trump encouraged Russia to hack the State Department and "find the 30,000 emails that are missing," the GOP nominee for vice president took a more serious approach. "If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences," Pence said in a statement. Trump's comments at a press conference this morning were rebuked by individuals across the political spectrum, while some on Trump's team, including prominent surrogate Newt Gingrich, have called his comments a "joke."

Source:
ECONOMY STABILIZING
Fed Leaves Rates Alone, but Signals Hikes to Come
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The Federal Open Market Committee today voted to leave interest rates alone, but "upgraded its assessment of the economy’s recent performance and said near-term risks to the outlook have diminished, effectively leaving the door open to raise rates later this year, possibly as early as September."

Source:
CHARM OFFENSIVE
Pence Is Trump’s Man on Capitol Hill
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Spurred by VP pick Mike Pence, a former congressman with close ties to many lawmakers, the Trump campaign in recent weeks has stepped up its courtship of wary Capitol Hill Republicans. And the efforts appear to be bearing fruit." Central to the charm offensive: invitations to more than a dozen "Senate and House members into his family’s private box for some power-schmoozing with him and his kids" during the Republican National Convention.

Source:
PAUL RYAN: STOP IT
Trump Encourages More Spying by Russia
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump essentially encouraged more Russian espionage against Democrats in a press conference this morning. "Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he said. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” That prompted Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan to say: “Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug. Putin should stay out of this election.”

Source:
×