Thursday, December 20, 2007

DCCC Targeting Ohio's Fifteenth, Sixteenth Districts

Got a note from DCCC in the ebag today. "Here’s an early Christmas present: Mary Jo Kilroy and John Boccieri are first in line to get DCCC support for Democrats running in open seats." (links added) The note was followed by a Roll Call story detailing the strategy. Roll Call is subscription only, so we will quote liberally.

(And credit where it is due, Jerid was first up with his post, Boccieri, Kilroy First in Line for DCCC Support.)

Roll Call first notes:

    The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, convinced that its vulnerable incumbents are now well-positioned for re-election, is shifting its focus to the growing list of Republican open seats, DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) said in an interview Wednesday.

    Van Hollen has spent the year on defense, urging Democratic donors to bolster the campaign coffers of 31 incumbent House Democrats the DCCC had deemed vulnerable. But heading into 2008, Van Hollen is going on the offensive and encouraging contributions to Democratic candidates running in Republican open seats — beginning with six in Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio and Wyoming.
Which among other things, is good news for Zack Space in the Eighteenth.

Here's more on the new offensive:
    Overall, the DCCC is targeting 40 Republican-held seats in 2008 — both open seats and those where the incumbent is running for re-election, Van Hollen confirmed. Van Hollen acknowledged that the DCCC’s continuing wide cash advantage over the National Republican Congressional Committee was a key factor in his decision to shift his focus to aiding Democratic challengers.

    “We don’t have to spend all of our time worrying about what the Republican committee is going to be able to throw at our incumbents. There’s no doubt that allows us some flexibility,” Van Hollen told Roll Call. “It has given us some room to maneuver. Definitely.”

    The fundraising numbers for the DCCC and NRCC are due to be released today but were not available at press time on Wednesday. However, the NRCC had a paltry $2.5 million in the bank at the end of October, compared with $28.3 million for the DCCC.
Then we get into the specific targeting:
    At the outset of Van Hollen’s shift in strategy, the DCCC has its eye on 17 seats where the Republican incumbent is retiring — that number could grow — and in particular is focused on 12 seats where it believes it has a candidate in place who is solid at the very least. In those 12 districts, the DCCC is embarking on an immediate fundraising effort to flood six of them with campaign cash, with a similar effort focusing on the other six to follow at a later date.

    The first six Democratic candidates set to enjoy the largess of the DCCC’s fundraising effort include state Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson in Illinois’ 11th district; state Sen. John Adler in New Jersey’s 3rd; state Assemblywoman and 2006 nominee Linda Stender in New Jersey’s 7th; Franklin County Commissioner and 2006 nominee Mary Jo Kilroy in Ohio’s 15th; state Sen. John Boccieri in Ohio’s 16th; and 2006 nominee Gary Trauner in Wyoming’s at-large. (Emphasis added)
U.Va. guru Larry Sabato offers more good news for Dems in Ohio and elsewhere. (h/t Taegan Goddard.) After noting the fundraising and cash-on-hand discrepancies, he calculates:
    Out of 23 open seats for 2008--places where the incumbent member of Congress has decided to step down--nearly three-quarters (17) are held by Republicans. Open seats give the opposition party the best chance for a takeover in many instances. As of now, not a single retiring Democrat is leaving a seat easily subject to a takeover bid by a Republican, while at least seven GOP seats are clearly vulnerable and comprise our TOSS-UP category for the moment: those of retiring Reps. Mike Ferguson (NJ-7); Deborah Pryce (OH-15); Jim Ramstad (MN-3); Rick Renzi (AZ-1); Jerry Weller (IL-11); Ralph Regula (OH-16); and Heather Wilson (NM-1).(emphasis added)
And a bit more good news: Sabato has Space categorized as Leaning Democratic. For the record, Jean Schmidt in Ohio-2 is Likely Republican and the rest are unlisted meaning they are highly likely to remain unchanged.