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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"Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who wrote the explosive dossier alleging ties between Donald Trump and Russia," says in a new book by The Guardian's Luke Harding that "Trump's land and hotel deals with Russians needed to be examined. ... Steele did not go into further detail, Harding said, but seemed to be referring to a 2008 home sale to the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. Richard Dearlove, who headed the UK foreign-intelligence unit MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said in April that Trump borrowed money from Russia for his business during the 2008 financial crisis."
"The British publicist who helped set up the fateful meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016 is ready to meet with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's office, according to several people familiar with the matter. Rob Goldstone has been living in Bangkok, Thailand, but has been communicating with Mueller's office through his lawyer, said a source close to Goldstone."
"Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak said on Wednesday that it would take him more than 20 minutes to name all of the Trump officials he's met with or spoken to on the phone. ... Kislyak made the remarks in a sprawling interview with Russia-1, a popular state-owned Russian television channel."