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Posts tagged with “DCCC”

DCCC Reportedly $20 Million in the Red

Yes, the same is true of the RNC, but given the challenge of running a Republican National Committee that’s $20 Million in debt and a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) that’s $20 Million in debt, I’ll take the former thank you very much.

Especially in a year like 2012 and its built-in disadvantages for House Democrats.

Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) is not exactly vowing to win back the House in 2012, but he still insists “the House will be in play” next year.

Yet Israel is inheriting a mess as he takes over the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this cycle. The DCCC is nearly $20 million in debt, the electoral map may be even more daunting in 2012 after redistricting, and fundraising even tougher as the party competes for money during a presidential election cycle.

The DCCC has slightly more than $3 million cash on hand, and it now will have to raise funds to pay off its huge debt with Democrats in the minority. That presents a significant disadvantage compared with the past four years when Democrats held a fundraising edge.

In addition, 19 House Democrats on Wednesday publicly opposed the election of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as speaker, a stunning rejection of her leadership that is doubly important on the political side because Pelosi is, by far, the biggest draw for the DCCC.

Pelosi also remains highly unpopular with independents nationwide, although she is still a favorite of the Democratic base and has begun planning a wide-ranging fundraising schedule for the year, according to Democratic insiders.

Redistricting following the 2010 census will give Republicans additional pickup opportunities next year. In addition, Democratic Party affiliation is down significantly from 2008, and progressive voters remain wary of President Barack Obama and the party as a whole.

Israel is going to have to compete for Democratic donors with both the Obama-Biden reelection campaign and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, where Democrats are in jeopardy of losing their smaller majority.

In politics, the political money rule is traditionally: “Spend to hold on first, offense second.”  I’ve already gone into what Democrats in the Senate are looking at (see here and here) in previous posts.  For House Democrats, it’s probably worse.

Since they’re out of the majority, they’ll be some retirements.  The only questions are who, where, and will you hold it.

Then there is redistricting.  My gut tells me we won’t see it in Wisconsin, but many states will see the tradition “Fight it out” primary of two sitting House members forced to take each other on in order to stay in Congress.

(Word was that if Wisconsin Democrats had all the beans the State GOP now does with redistricting, they planned to “primary out” either Sensenbrenner or Petri.  Jay Heck and Mike McCabe of course have no idea of what I’m talking about…)

The Politico article chimes in on the other big issues facing the DCCC.  Obama’s re-election campaign is going to be a vacuum of Democratic donor cash, starving the DCCC and its Senate counterpart, the DSCC.  Then, of the two, there will be a push among Senators like Schumer, Reid, Boxer, and Durbin, to push the New York, Chicago, and Hollywood money to the Senate to save their majority.

House Dems will probably be the “Odd Man Out” of the three when it comes to donations this cycle.

How will they compensate?  Oh, expect to see a lot of people encouraged to run who can self-finance.  That may be all they can afford to help their chances and liberals will suddenly stop saying things such as “Buying the Seat” for two years.

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But The Seat’s Not “Red”…Yet

From this morning’s “Morning Score” email from Politico, which I called last night.

PICKING FAVORITES: The DCCC is announcing 11 new additions to its “Red to Blue” list of targeted races Monday, with two particularly telling names on the list: Hawaii state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, the non-DCCC-favored candidate in last month’s special election for her state’s 1st Congressional District, and West Virginia state Sen. Mike Oliverio, who ousted Democratic Rep. Alan Mollohan in a May primary. Neither of those contenders was their party’s top choice; both of them are now the standard-bearers Democrats have settled on for November. Also on the list: Tarryl Clark (in MN-06); Chad Causey (in AR-01); Joyce Elliott (in AR-02); Denny Heck (in WA-03); Julie Lassa (in WI-07); Gary McDowell (in MI-01); Tommy Sowers (in MO-08); Manan Trivedi (in PA-06) and Trent Van Haaften (in IN-08).

NOTABLE: Seven of those seats are actually not targeted for flipping from “red to blue” — they’re open seats being targeted for retention.

(The “Picking Favorites” opening at the start of that paragraph is the actual wording used in the email.  It’s irony applying to what the DCCC, DPW, and David Obey did is just delicious to no end.)

As I posted last night in my compilation post, the DCCC doesn’t have a catch-all program for its seats like the NRCC’s “Young Guns,” so they’re piggybacking the name “Red to Blue” for many of the Democratic-held open seats this cycle.  The confusion (and irony) is that many of these seats were never “Red” in the first place.

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DCCC To Sue Alabama Democrat Who Flipped for Money Back

Yeah, best of luck with this…

Democrats may have to sue Rep. Parker Griffith to reclaim hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations they gave to the Alabaman before he left the party for the GOP late last year.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) spent more than $500,000 last cycle to propel Griffith to Congress over Republican Wayne Parker, according to campaign records.

Despite an initial pledge in January to return the campaign donations of any disappointed supporters, Griffith quickly clarified that he would not return any of the money that the DCCC pumped into his 2008 race.

Griffith this week reiterated that qualification, telling The Hill in an e-mailed statement: “We are unable to refund any contributions from the previous election cycle to any donor as those funds were spent during the 2008 campaign.”

The lawmaker has vowed to return donations given to him this cycle. Griffith received more than $68,000 from Democratic legislators in 2009.White House Chief of Staff and former Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) contributed $2,000 to Griffith in January of last year.

According to the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) website culling data through Dec. 31, 2009, Griffith had returned $2,550 in individual contributions and $17,000 in other donations.

The DCCC, however, isn’t satisfied.

The campaign committee — which has been unable to publicly pressure Griffith to reimburse it for what DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) described as Griffith’s failure “to honor our commitment to him” — may seek legal action.

DCCC spokeswoman Jennifer Crider would say only that the committee is “not ruling anything out at this point.”

The threat of a lawsuit spurred Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-La.) to return $263,000 in Democratic campaign donations after he switched parties in 2004. While no lawsuit was filed, then-DCCC Chairman Bob Matsui (Calif.) argued for Alexander to return hundreds of thousands of party and Democratic member donations “based on the fraudulent claim he was going to run for Congress as a Democrat.”

For looking for some sense of parallel, it’s never been made full-disclosed just how much, if any of the money the NRSC spent on Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter’s re-election fight in 2004 was returned.  All that has been disclosed is Specter returned individual contributions to those who requested it of him after his party switch in early 2009.

In Wisconsin, Chippewa Falls State Representative Jeff Wood didn’t even have the decency to do that in 2008 when he made his deal with Assembly Democrats to avoid a challenger by switching from Republican to Independent; and then caucusing with the Democrats.  ADCC Chairman at the time, Mark Pocan of Madison, even was nice enough to mock the requests of the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee (RACC) and the Wisconsin GOP for Wood to return their contributions.

Worse yet, the State Republican Party is asking Wood for their money back.  Seriously.  As only the GOP could do, they want all the money that INDIVIDUALS in their conduit gave to him back.  Forget the fact that Wisconsin law says a conduit has to direct donations to whomever the giver says.  It’s not up to the big wigs at the GOP party headquarters to decide who gets what.  But they are asking for their investment back.  A money back guarantee?  Yikes, how pathetic.

There’s only one thing to say to Pocan now isn’t there…“Ain’t Karma a bitch, ah Mark?  No backsies!”

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The Obligatory “Griffith Defects” Post

By now, you’ve heard all about this.  One of the few Democrats representing Alabama — a Freshman to boot — bolts the party and announces he’s going to become a Republican because of the health care bill.

Freshman Rep. Parker Griffith (D-Ala.) switched his affiliation to the Republican Party on Tuesday, saying he could “no longer align myself with a party that continues to pursue legislation that is bad for our country.”

Griffith was elected last year to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Bud Cramer. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee dropped more than $1 million in independent expenditures to keep the seat, and Griffith won with 51 percent, even though only 38 percent of voters in the north Alabama district chose Barack Obama for president.

“Democrats of every stripe and philosophy sweated and bled for this man,” said Alabama Democratic Party Chairman Joe Turnham. “He narrowly became a congressman through the hard work, votes and financial contributions of thousands of Democrats. Today, they feel betrayed.”

The DCCC’s chairman, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), took that criticism a step further, citing Griffith’s “duty and responsibility” to return all contributions made to him by Democratic members of Congress.

The chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Rep. Pete Sessions (Tex.), sought to cast Griffith’s decision as symbolic of larger problems with the Democratic caucus. “His decision is emblematic of the message that millions of concerned citizens have been trying to send to a Democrat Party that has become increasingly unwilling to listen,” Sessions said.

Since Tuesday, Griffith has seen the following happen to him:

  • The majority of his staff quit.
  • The DCCC ask repeatedly for the $1.4 million it has spent on Griffith back (Yeah…best of luck there.)
  • Another Democrat declare they were now running in the seat.
  • Griffith himself enter an already loaded GOP primary with little to no support announced to be coming from any local, state, or national GOP apparatus. (The NRCC is just using him as press release fodder it seems.)
  • Another Democrat — Chris Carney of Pennsylvania — reported to be courted by Sen. John McCain to switch parties as well.  He later announced he was declining the offer (at this time).

As much as one (and I know many conservative bloggers in and around DC who are) would want to declare this as some sort of “Democratic Small Tent Thing,” it really isn’t.  If anything this guy is doing almost exactly what Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania did when he flipped from the Republican to Democratic parties early this year: Trying to save his political bacon.

Let’s look at the facts:

  1. This guy barely won a Democratic Open Seat in 2008 with a margin of 51% of the vote in a Democratic year.
  2. Barack Obama only got 38% of the vote in 2008 for this Congressional District.
  3. Up until the switch, Griffith had voted with Pelosi 85% of the time.

The Griffith switch is very much the Democratic version of the Spector switch, a he’s a politician more concerned he has a job come election time than serving any sort of constituency because he’s become too used to people calling him “State Senator,” “Congressman,” or “Senator.”

One of the last “honest” party switchers was in my opinion, former Texas Senator Phil Gramm’s when he went from being a Democrat to a Republican while serving in the House.  In that case, he simply quit the Democratic Party in after being re-elected in 1982 because he was voting like a Republican for years and appears to find a champion for his economic thinking in Reagan.  He then ran as a Republican in the 1983 Special Election of the District asking the people of his district to judge him by his actions not the letter after his name.

He was easily elected as a Republican.

If Republicans in Alabama (or Democrats in Pennsylvania in the case of Spector) want to punish Griffith for being a political opportunist, go right ahead in my book.

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NRCC Announces “Patriots” Program

I always find the ‘incumbent-protection’ programs each of the campaign committees have to be stupidly named.  The DCCC calls theirs “The Frontline,” while the NRCC calls theirs “Patriots.”

Frankly, I’d like to see some honesty in branding for once from both sides.  How about, “Potential Roadkill?”

Anyhoo…it will pain Wisconsin liberals to know Paul Ryan will once again not have a target on his back.  Sorry, I just report these findings.

As linked above, here’s the NRCC list from The Politico.

The National Republican Congressional Committee will be unveiling the first 10 members on its Patriot program designed to aid vulnerable GOP incumbents this afternoon at a Tuesday briefing to political action committees.

As I report in today’s POLITICO, the list features a mix of veterans facing serious challenges for the first time, freshmen in competitive districts and lawmakers representing Democratic-leaning seats:

  • Dan Lungren (R-CA 03)
  • Ken Calvert (R-CA 44)
  • Judy Biggert (R-IL 13)
  • Anh “Joseph” Cao (R-LA 02)
  • Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI 11)
  • Erik Paulsen (R-MN 03)
  • Leonard Lance (R-NJ 07)
  • Christopher Lee (R-NY 26)
  • Dave Reichert (R-WA 08)

Some of these guys are perpetual targets.  Take Dave Reichart there of WA-08.  He’s the sheriff who helped bring down the Green River Killer, so Democrats in the Evergreen State have been fighting an uphill fight against him ever since he got in Congress.

Others are probably dead men walking.  Anh “Joseph” Cao of LA-02 is likely a caretaker in “Dollar Bill” Jefferson’s seat.  Jefferson, of course, is well-known for having $90,000 in a freezer of his New Orleans home and is awaiting trial for other criminal activities.

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