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Land of Hopes and Dreams

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 30: U.S. House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks as (L-R) Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Assistant House Minority Leader Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), House Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY), House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), and House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) listen during a news conference September 30, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The U.S. government was officially shut down at midnight after the Senate and the House of the Representatives failed to come to an agreement to pass a federal spending bill to keep the government running.
National Journal
Josh Kraushaar
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Josh Kraushaar
Oct. 7, 2013, 7:48 a.m.

Demo­crats are en­ter­tain­ing the pro­spect that Re­pub­lic­an in­transigence over the budget and debt ceil­ing could put the House in play for 2014. So with the pos­sib­il­ity of these crises worsen­ing, it’s worth ex­amin­ing what would need to hap­pen for them to net the 17 seats ne­ces­sary to pull off a his­tor­ic up­set.

— The crit­ic­al num­ber for Dems is 45, the num­ber of GOP-held House seats with a Cook PVI of R+4 or bet­ter. They need to re­cruit cred­ible can­did­ates in at least 25 of them to have any hope of com­pet­ing. Even in a wave elec­tion, not every com­pet­it­ive race goes one party’s dir­ec­tion. And re­mem­ber: these in­clude battle-tested mem­bers now run­ning in ger­ry­mandered seats (Ger­lach, Reich­ert, Dent) and ones un­likely to draw much op­pos­i­tion (Paul Ry­an, Randy For­bes).

— If the Wash­ing­ton grid­lock is giv­ing Demo­crats a de­cis­ive edge, ex­pect to see it on the re­cruit­ment front in those dis­tricts. Right now, most of those in­cum­bents aren’t even fa­cing op­pon­ents, and pun­dits aren’t rat­ing the races as po­ten­tially com­pet­it­ive. There’s time for that to change, but fil­ing dead­lines in key battle­ground states aren’t far away (Feb. 2014 in Pa. and Ohio).

— Pay close at­ten­tion to the GOP-friendly sub­urb­an House dis­tricts. The big bell­weth­ers if a wave is emer­ging: Dav­id Joyce (OH-14), Mike Turn­er (OH-10), Erik Paulsen (MN-03), Re­id Ribble (WI-08), Pat Mee­han (PA-07), and John Kline (MN-02). If they’re in trouble next sum­mer, the House could be in play.

Fi­nally, a real­ity check on the PPP/Mo­ve­On.org polls: They tested GOP mem­bers against gen­er­ic Dem can­did­ates, res­ults de­signed to give overly-op­tim­ist­ic read­ings of any race. And they didn’t sur­vey any of the nine Dems in Rom­ney CDs, who would have shown sim­il­ar vul­ner­ab­il­it­ies. Take their con­clu­sions with a big grain of salt.

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