Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 11, 2016

Democrats Need to Expand House Playing Field

Watch the candidate recruiting that DCCC chairman Steve Israel and his team do over the next few months. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call).

Watch the candidate recruiting that DCCC Chairman Steve Israel and his team do over the next few months. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Can Democrats win back the House in 2014? Not unless a strong recruiting cycle and national events give them a big boost. My column in Tuesday’s Roll Call looks at the top Democratic opportunities around the country — district by district — and finds the party well short of the three to four dozen serious targets that it needs. (For Rothenberg Political Report House ratings, click here.)

“That makes 17 districts where Democrats start with realistic opportunities to make gains. The list could grow, of course, with GOP retirements, unusually strong Democratic recruits or redrawn districts in Florida and Texas. But 17 districts are not nearly enough opportunities to give Democrats a decent chance of taking back the House.”

Democrats have some opportunities, of course. But not every Republican who had a “close” race last year automatically is vulnerable again in 2014, and not every Democrat who survived a tough challenge or defeated an incumbent Republican last time can figure that he or she will win again in 2014.

So, the one thing to watch over the next six to nine months is how many strong House challengers Democrats can put on the field.

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