TO: INTERESTED PARTIES
FROM: LIESL HICKEY, NRCC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
DATE: JANUARY 16, 2013
SUBJECT: DEMOCRATS’ HOPES OF MAJORITY BUILT ON QUICKSAND
Steve Israel said it again. And again. And again. And again. The Democrats’ goal of the 2012 cycle was to win control of the House. They failed miserably.
Nonetheless, Democrats remain in decisive control of Washington – having won both the White House and the Senate. That leaves House Republicans as the only stop-gap against the Democrats’ big-government, big-spending policies.
Today, the GOP enjoys the second-largest Republican majority in the House since World War II, and that majority is built on a solid foundation. In contrast, the Democrats’ hopes of winningin 2014 continue to rest on quicksand.
In 2014, Republicans will employ the same proven strategy that brought us such historic success in 2010 and 2012: Stay on offense.
Last year, Democrats found their resources and energy drained by involvement in races they never anticipated.
Rather than just defend our majority, Republicans sought out new opportunities and ran races in every region of the country – including making the Democrats spend money in deep-blue territory.
As a result of redistricting, which favored Republicans, and this well-executed strategy – the House is well-aligned and firmly in GOP control.
A SMALLER MAP
The national map of competitive House races looks very different headed into 2014. Namely, it’s smaller and Republicans have the upper-hand.
Nationally, Romney won 227 congressional districts to Obama’s 208.
A total of 31 congressional districts across the country that voted for Obama in 2008, flipped back to Romney in 2012.
Even more troubling for Democrats: 15 of their members are in Republican-leaning districts, while only four Republicans are in Democrat-leaning districts.
The NRCC is focused on an extensive list of more than 40 potential targets that stretch from coast to coast (See full list of targeted districts at the end of this memo).
Our efforts will begin with seven districts that are currently held by Democrats that have voted Republican in all three of the last presidential elections. There does not exist a similar set of deep blue districts held by Republicans for Democrats to target.
In fact, in five of these districts, the presidential number got even better for Republicans last year – and in the other two, the result was virtually unchanged.
The targets: Ron Barber (AZ-02), John Barrow (GA-12), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01), Jim Matheson (UT-04), Mike McIntyre (NC-07), Collin Peterson (MN-07) and Nick Rahall (WV-03).
These Democrats all share something in common: They do not fit their districts – just as Ben Chandler and Mark Critz didn’t fit their districts. It’s no wonder why Rahall has already signaled an interest in a long-shot bid for the state’s U.S. Senate seat: He knows he faces a daunting re-election bid.
The NRCC will amplify its efforts to educate voters about these mismatches and provide strong alternatives. If the Democrats lose these districts, they are likely to be lost for a generation. The districts like Kentucky’s 6th (Rep. Andy Barr) and Pennsylvania’s 12th (Rep. Keith Rothfus) that Democrats lost their hold on in 2012 will continue to slip away in 2014.
Of course, we aren’t going to stop there. Our efforts begin in these districts; they do not end here.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Republicans will continue the offensive strategy that again led to success in 2012, to keep Nancy Pelosi from ever being Speaker of the House again. New opportunities for Democrats are limited, and their current caucus is already built on shaky ground.