The campaign arm of the House’s Democrats has identified its members most in need of added institutional and financial support for the 2014 midterm elections.
The 26 “Frontline” Democrats announced today by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee include members from politically competitive districts, most of them freshmen who haven’t yet developed deep political networks in their districts.
The list includes seven of the nine Democrats who won in districts President Barack Obama didn’t carry in 2012 — Ann Kirkpatrick and Ron Barber of Arizona, Patrick Murphy of Florida, John Barrow of Georgia, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, Pete Gallego of Texas and Jim Matheson of Utah. All seven won with less than 54 percent of the vote in 2012. McIntyre was in the closest House contest nationwide, winning by 0.2 points and 654 votes.
Democrats need a net gain of 17 seats to win a 218-seat majority in the House. They made a net gain of eight seats in 2012, when Republican advantages in redistricting helped the party defend its majority even as Obama was re-elected by 5 million votes and Democrats won about 1.4 million more votes than Republicans in all House elections.
The party controlling the White House rarely gains seats in Congress in midterm elections, though Democratic officials say they can make gains in 2014 by running against what they call the “Tea Party Congress.”
The Frontline program will “multiply Members’ strengths, and make sure they are positioned to compete and win – so they can continue to address the problems facing America’s middle class,” DCCC chairman Steve Israel said in a statement today.
Responding to the Frontline list, National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Andrea Bozek said in a memo that Democrats “are having trouble simply defending the seats they already have.”