Saturday, August 28, 2010

DCCC starts to triage House races

Time is growing nigh and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has put out the word to its candidates to make their case, show how they're going to win in November, or they're pulling the plug on money and support. 

"At the end of the day, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will look at races we can win,” said DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen, as reported in Politico yesterday. 

As with all political campaigns, the closer Election Day approaches idealism takes a back seat to the realities of cold hard cash and fundraising.  Even with ample cash reserves, campaigns that don't have an idea how they're going to win will find themselves on the other side of the door, noses pressed against the glass, without access to DCCC staff, resources, and most importantly the chance for a DCCC Independent Expenditure to bolster their own paid media efforts with third party attack ads.

With 67 days left until November 2nd, Van Hollen's looking at the political calculus on competitive House races and realizing the margin between retaining the majority and slipping back into the minority is getting very thin.  Striking a tone of optimism, Van Hollen remains confident Democrats will retain their House majority. 

The DCCC has done a better job of raising money during a down year for Democrats than the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), having a cash advantage of $14 million over their rivals.  But this is still not alleviating growing concerns from withing Democratic circles, as Politico reported earlier in the week

Evidence of this is showing up on the campaign trail, where many of the endangered incumbents are starting to openly distance themselves from Democratic House Leadership and the Obama Administration.  In Virginia, nine term Congressman Rick Boucher hasn't once invoked Obama's name in any campaign ads, opting for the "I'm from here, I'm one of you" campaign themes.

Freshman Congressman Tom Perriello, behind in every public and internal poll, is openly calling for the resignation of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner while at a local Tea Party meeting.  Earlier in the year, Perriello described Geithner "as a clone of Bush Administration Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

In the case of Boucher, Perriello, and other Democratic House incumbents with huge cash advantages over their Republican opponents, the question remains will it be enough down the stretch? 

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