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
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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