Saturday, April 27, 2013

Swing Districts-- The Utter Failure Of Steve Israel's Chairmanship At The DCCC


Being reptilian isn't always the answer

There are 21 congressional districts, almost all of them in the Old Confederacy, of course, where Obama failed to score even 30% last November. Seven of them-- a third-- are in Texas. When people are talking about "Texas turning blue," these aren't the parts of Texas they're talking about. Nor are these congressional districts where a Democrat is going to beat a Republican incumbent, and, yes, each one of them has a Republican incumbent. These are the 21 districts (from bad to worse in terms of PVI):
TX-13- Mac Thornberry R+32
TX-11- Mike Conaway R+31
GA-09- Doug Collins R+30
TX-08- Kevin Brady R+29
AL-06- Spencer Bachus R+28
AL-04- Robert Aderholt R+28
UT-03- Jason Chaffetz R+28
UT-01- Rob Bishop R+27
OK-03- Frank Lucas R+26
LA-01- Steve Scalise R+26
TX-19- Randy Neugebauer R+26
GA-14- Tom Graves R+26
TX-04- Ralph Hall R+25
TN-01- Dave Roe R+25
KY-05- Hal Rogers R+25
TX-26- Steve Stockman R+25
TX-01- Louie Gohmert R+24
KS-01- Tim Huelskamp R+23
NE-03- Adrian Smith R+23
WY-AL- Cynthia Lummis R+22
UT-02- Chris Stewart R+18
The 5 reddest districts that re-elected Democrats-- not really actual Democrats, hard-core, right-wing Blue Dog types who vote with the Republicans on virtually every important issue are:
UT-04- Jim Matheson R+16
WV-03- Nick Rahall R+14
NC-07- Mike McIntyre R+12
GA-12- John Barrow R+9
MN-07- Collin Peterson R+6
The best Obama did in any of these districts was 44% (in both GA-12 and MN-07). This isn't the most fertile territory to invest money in electing Democrats, especially if you want Democrats who will support a progressive agenda. Let's take a look at the districts with Republican incumbents where Obama either won or held Romney to a margin of 5 points or less. There are a lot more of them than you may think, and a lot more than the DCCC bothers to contest. These are the keys to a Democratic take over in the House next year (Bolded means the DCCC did not contest the district in 2012):
FL-25- Mario Diaz-Balart (Romney- 51/Obama- 49)
CA-39- Ed Royce (51/47)
FL-07- John Mica (52/47)
NJ-05- Scott Garrett (52/49)

OH-14- David Joyce (51/48)
MI-11- Kerry Ventivolio (52/47)
VA-04- Randy Forbes (50/49)
OH-10- Michael Turner (50/48)
WI-01- Paul Ryan (52/47)
CA-25- Buck McKeon (50/48)

NY-22- Richard Hanna (49/49)
NY-23- Tom Reed (50/48)
MI-07- Tim Walberg (51-48)
VA-10- Frank Wolf (50/49)
NY-11- Michael Grimm (47/52)
WA-03- Jaime Herrera Beutler (50/48)
MI-08- Mike Rogers (51/48)
PA-15- Charlie Dent (51/48)
MN-02- John Kline (49/49)

VA-02- Scott Rigell (49/50)
PA-07- Pat Meehan (50/49)
MN-03- Erik Paulsen (49/50)
PA-06- Jim Gerlach (51/48)

WI-07- Sean Duffy (51/48)
WI-08- Reid Ribble (51/48)
FL-07- Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (47-53)
FL-13- Bill Young (49/50)
WA-08- Dave Reichert (48/50)

CA-10- Jeff Denham (47/51)
MI-06- Fred Upton (50/49)
PA-08- Michael Fitzpatrick (49/49)
NY-02- Peter King (47/52)
NJ-03- Jon Runyan (48/52)
NV-03- Joe Heck (49/49
IA-03- Tom Latham (47/51)
IL-13- Rodney Davis (49/49)
CO-06- Mike Coffman (47/52)
NY-19- Chris Gibson (46/52)
NJ-02- Frank LoBiondo (46-54)
CA-21- David Valadao (44/55)
CA-31- Gary Miller (41/57)
Italics signifies that Obama won the district. Notice how many districts Obama won where Steve Israel didn't even bother to fight. That's why the Democrats will never take back the House as long as Israel chairs the DCCC, which he is doing again this cycle. Thursday he wrote to the Democrats in Congress boasting about their edge in recruitment and fundraising for 2014. “We are ahead-of-schedule on recruitment, ahead-of-expectations on fundraising, and ahead-of-the-curve on defining the Republican Congress."
“House Democrats have begun 2013 ahead by every measure-- money, polling, candidate recruitment-- and are poised for gains next November,” Israel concluded.

Such diction is an example of how Israel has shied away this cycle from predicting that Democrats would win control of the House.

In a section analyzing Cook Political Report data, Israel wrote, “To retake the majority, Democrats need 17 seats, which is the exact number of Republicans currently sitting in seats that President Obama won in 2012.”
There are 28 Republicans bolded in the list above, seats Israel ignored in 2012 and of them, 10 are in districts Obama won (italics). There are very few indications, based on the rate at which Israel is handing out free re-election passes to his Republican pals and the lack of serious recruiting efforts against vulnerable Republicans, that Israel learned any lessons from his catastrophic performance in 2012, from his predecessor's even more catastrophic performance in 2010-- or that he has any more chance of leading the Democrats to victory in 2014 with his failed strategy than he did last time.

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At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in pa7and it drives me crazy!even the democratic party seems very loathe to really fight, do early recruiting, etc.

Sestak won here with volunteers and outside money, not local dem effort.

At 1:16 PM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Progressive United took issue & notice to what Steve is doing Russ Feingold sent out a petition telling him to stop ignoring progressives & demanded him to start backing them in all the races.

He won't listen but at least the pressure & pushback is out there

At 1:35 PM, Anonymous Ford Prefect said...

...especially if you want Democrats who will support a progressive agenda.

From the moment of Israel's selection to head DCCC, I assumed he would be very REgressive and he was. His job was to bring in as much corporate money as possible. That means moving to the Right, not the other way. Why else would they select a recently former employee of Goldman Sachs to be the finance director for DCCC?

Taken from a Rightist or corporatist perspective, Israel's management doesn't look awful at all. The Democratic leadership is essentially saying, "We'd rather be in minority than move to the left." It's the old Iron Law of Institutions.

If Pelosi, Hoyer et al were really interested in the kind of "success" you are, they would be making different decisions--that much is obvious. Being in minority gives them the fig leaf they need to avoid responsibility while still affording them the valuable cash and prizes that go along with going along.

That's where the incentives are, not electoral success.


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