House Democrats Claim Momentum Heading Into August

Facing a difficult political environment, the DCCC’s executive director writes that Republican missteps have energized Democrats ahead of the fall campaign.

Rep. Steve Israel, DCCC Chairman Interview Goldmacher
National Journal
Scott Bland
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Scott Bland
Aug. 4, 2014, 1 a.m.

House Demo­crats head in­to the Au­gust con­gres­sion­al re­cess and the fall cam­paign sea­son with a newly en­er­gized base, after some un­pop­u­lar moves by their Re­pub­lic­an coun­ter­parts, the head of the Demo­crat­ic cam­paign com­mit­tee ar­gues in a new memo.

Fa­cing a chal­len­ging con­gres­sion­al map and polit­ic­al en­vir­on­ment ahead of the Novem­ber elec­tions, Demo­crat­ic Con­gres­sion­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee Ex­ec­ut­ive Dir­ect­or Kelly Ward touted the DCCC’s end-of-Ju­ly fun­drais­ing spree, cri­ti­cized House Re­pub­lic­ans’ bor­der bill, and called their vote to take Pres­id­ent Obama to court out of the main­stream in the memo, which was ob­tained by Na­tion­al Journ­al. And Ward con­tin­ued the Demo­crat­ic drum­beat against the GOP’s “im­peach­ment talk” — a key fun­drais­ing driver which has grown louder than any Re­pub­lic­an talk of re­mov­ing the pres­id­ent.

“House Re­pub­lic­ans made their only ‘ac­com­plish­ment’ a tax­pay­er-fun­ded law­suit against the pres­id­ent” be­fore re­cess, Ward wrote, dis­miss­ing the Re­pub­lic­an bor­der-se­cur­ity bill as ori­ented to­ward “the tea-party base.” Ward cited re­cent CNN polling show­ing 57 per­cent of Amer­ic­ans dis­agree­ing with the de­cision to push the law­suit and more, 65 per­cent, say­ing they don’t think Pres­id­ent Obama should be im­peached.

House Speak­er John Boehner has ruled out im­peach­ing Obama, but a ma­jor­ity of Re­pub­lic­ans, in­clud­ing scattered high-pro­file ones (such as Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who brought it up in the con­text of Obama’s po­ten­tial im­mig­ra­tion or­ders over the week­end), say they fa­vor such a move, which has sparked a clam­or­ous Demo­crat­ic re­sponse.

Demo­crats lever­aged those sen­ti­ments to bring in cam­paign cash over the past week. “Our grass­roots sup­port­ers are step­ping up like nev­er be­fore to show their sup­port for” Obama, Ward wrote, re­port­ing that the DCCC had its “best on­line fun­drais­ing week of all time” last week, bring­ing in over $4.8 mil­lion from more than 240,000 donors.

Ward said that the DCCC raised $1 mil­lion last Monday alone, its highest-gross­ing day of an elec­tion cycle in which the Demo­crat­ic com­mit­tee has again out­raised its Re­pub­lic­an coun­ter­part des­pite be­ing in the minor­ity.

If the in­creased activ­ity by Demo­crat­ic donors does in fact rep­res­ent an up­tick in in­tens­ity from Demo­crats in gen­er­al, that would be big news for the party. An early-Ju­ly sur­vey from the Pew Re­search Cen­ter found that Demo­crat­ic sup­port­ers were less en­gaged and en­thu­si­ast­ic about vot­ing than their Re­pub­lic­an coun­ter­parts, with 37 per­cent of Demo­crat­ic-aligned re­spond­ents say­ing they were “more en­thu­si­ast­ic about vot­ing than usu­al” com­pared with 45 per­cent of those who said they sup­port Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ates. In the same poll, 76 per­cent of Re­pub­lic­an sup­port­ers said “they are ab­so­lutely cer­tain to vote,” while only 67 per­cent of Demo­crat­ic sup­port­ers agreed.

On top of that, Demo­crats have more com­pet­it­ive House seats to de­fend than Re­pub­lic­ans. The latest rat­ings from The Cook Polit­ic­al Re­port put 26 Demo­crat­ic seats in some de­gree of jeop­ardy, com­pared with 15 Re­pub­lic­an seats. Demo­crats would need to net 17 seats in Novem­ber to take con­trol of the House.

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