If you’re looking for signs that the House could be in play in 2014, there are plenty in the wake of the government shutdown. Between the macro trends (growing D leads on the generic ballot) and the race-by-race developments (a crop of new recruits running), Democrats have reasons to be cautiously optimistic.
— The most encouraging news for the party is on the recruitment front. Party operatives now expect to land a number of recruits in both: a) swing districts where serious challengers usually don’t run, even in good years; b) Republican-friendly seats where challengers only run in strong Democratic years, like 2006 and 2008.
— To wit: Dems are closing to landing a former gubernatorial nominee (Alex Sink) to run in FL-13, and a former congressman’s son (Bill Hughes, Jr.) to challenge Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ). Neither seat has been in play for decades. In solidly-Republican suburban seats around Omaha (NE-02), Little Rock (AR-02) and South Bend (IN-02), Dems expect to recruit moderate candidates capable of winning crossover voters. These races alone aren’t enough to tip the majority, but if they’re indicative of a trend, stay tuned.
— This recruiting boomlet is a product of the more favorable national landscape for Dems. The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Dems holding an 8-point lead on the generic, with Americans’ approval of their own representative at an all-time low (43%/47%). The only silver lining for the GOP: Obama‘s approval remains mediocre, and even a D+8 isn’t a guarantee of picking up the 17 seats necessary for control. Also: this is the GOP’s low-water mark, and the Dem numbers will probably take a hit given Obamacare’s implementation woes.
It wasn’t long ago that there was talk about widespread voter dissatisfaction leading to permanent wave elections. That’s still not likely this time, but the potential exists as voter approval continues to hit record lows.
Dem Patrick Hays to Announce Today
Half a dozen Republicans considering the seat as well.
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"Senate Democrats on Thursday failed in their first attempt to save the state and local tax deduction, which helps many residents of California and other high-cost states reduce their federal income tax bills. The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-47 to reject an amendment that would have prevented the Senate from considering any bill that repeals or limits the deduction as part of a planned tax overhaul."
"A shake-up is underway at the Democratic National Committee as several key longtime officials have lost their posts, exposing a still-raw rift in the party and igniting anger among those in its progressive wing who see retaliation for their opposition to DNC Chairman Tom Perez. The ousters come ahead of the DNC's first meeting, in Las Vegas, Nevada, since Perez took over as chairman with a pledge this year to unite a party that had become badly divided during the brutal Bernie Sanders-Hillary Clinton 2016 primary race."