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
Add to Briefcase
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 »
LOFTY GOALS
White House Proposes New Tax Plan
14 hours ago
BREAKING

The White House on Wednesday laid out its plan for tax reform, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying it would be "the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country." The tax code would be broken down into just three tax brackets, with the highest personal income tax rate cut from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. The plan would also slash the tax rate on corporations and small businesses from 35 percent to 15 percent. "The White House plan is a set of principles with few details, but it’s designed to be the starting point of a major push to urge Congress to pass a comprehensive tax reform package this year," said National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.

Source:
EMERGING BUDGET FRAMEWORK?
Dems Proposes Obamacare-for-Defense Deal
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"An emerging government funding deal would see Democrats agree to $15 billion in additional military funding in exchange for the GOP agreeing to fund healthcare subsidies, according to two congressional officials briefed on the talks. Facing a Friday deadline to pass a spending bill and avert a shutdown, Democrats are willing to go halfway to President Trump’s initial request of $30 billion in supplemental military funding."

Source:
WHITE HOUSE BLOCKING DOC REQUEST
Michael Flynn Remains A Russian-Sized Problem
1 days ago
BREAKING

The Michael Flynn story is not going away for the White House as it tries to refocus its attention. The White House has denied requests from the House Oversight Committee for information and documents regarding payments that the former national security adviser received from Russian state television station RT and Russian firms. House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz and ranking member Elijah Cummings also said that Flynn failed to report these payments on his security clearance application. White House legislative director Marc Short argued that the documents requested are either not in the possession of the White House or contain sensitive information he believes is not applicable to the committee's stated investigation.

Source:
SENATE JUDICIARY HEARING
Sally Yates to Testify on May 8
1 days ago
THE LATEST
MESSAGE TO PUTIN
U.S. To Conduct Exercises In Estonia
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

The U.S. deployed "F-35 joint strike fighters" to Estonia on Tuesday. The "jets will stay in Estonia for several weeks and will be a part of training flights with U.S. and other NATO air forces." The move comes at a time of high tension between the U.S. and Estonia's neighbor, Russia. The two nations have been at odds over a number of issues recently, most of all being Vladimir Putin's support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in light of Assad's chemical weapons attack on his own people in the midst of a civil war.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login