Chad’s Morning Brief: House and Senate Democrats Worry About Midterms
Democrats are united in one thing during this election cycle. Worry. Here is your Morning Brief for October 29, 2014.
House Dems Worried
The political environment continues to deteriorate for House Democrats ahead of a midterm election that’s certain to diminish their ranks.
With President Barack Obama’s unpopularity hindering their candidates and Republican cash flooding into races across the country, Democrats are increasingly worried that the election will push them deep into the minority and diminish their hopes of winning back the majority in 2016 or beyond.
Looking to contain the damage, Democrats are pumping money into liberal congressional districts that were long thought to be safely in their column. Over the last several days, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has directed resources to maintain seats in Hawaii and Nevada, both of which broke sharply for the president in 2012 — an indication of just how much the terrain has shifted against the party over the past two years.
Other unexpected races are suddenly in play. Some Democrats, for example, have begun to worry about the prospects of California Rep. Lois Capps, an eight-term congresswoman who is typically a lock for reelection but who now finds herself in a competitive race against Republican Chris Mitchum, a perennial candidate and the son of the late actor Robert Mitchum. In a sign of how seriously national Democrats are taking the threat, the DCCC is making a last-minute purchase of $99,000 worth of radio advertising in the Santa Barbara area to boost Capps, according to a committee aide.
Operatives from both parties expect Republicans to net five to 10 seats, which would give them some cushion heading into what’s expected to be a much more challenging 2016. Some Republicans, trying to tamp down rising expectations of even bigger gains, point out that a recently-redistricted congressional map has dramatically narrowed the playing field of competitive districts and limited potential pick-ups.
They also caution that they have yet to put away Democrats in many races that remain close.
Still, as the election heads into the final week, it’s clear that the landscape is tilting against Democrats. Of the 30 House races seen as most likely to change hands, 23 are held by Democrats.
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Dems Flee Reid
Not only have Democrats distanced... or runaway from President Obama. According to Roll Call, Senate Democrats are also running away from Harry Reid.
Harry Reid’s caucus is running from him on the campaign trail, but that doesn’t mean a revolt is in the works — yet.
The majority leader has twisted the Senate into a pretzel all year to protect his vulnerable members, but the Nevada Democrat is now facing skepticism on the campaign trail from some of those same Democrats, as well as from some would-be newcomers. And there’s at least one scenario that could force his hand.
Still, there’s that old saying: You can’t beat somebody with nobody, and so far, none of the senators who might have the chops to take on Reid have made any noises about doing so.
That includes No. 3 Senate Democrat Charles E. Schumer of New York, who has long been seen as having the inside track to replace Reid atop the Democratic power structure.
Schumer has shown immense patience, and Reid has given him tons of power in the meantime. But Schumer dismissed the notion Reid could get the boot.
“Is Harry Reid bigger than the majority?” NBC’s “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd asked Schumer on Sunday, noting that nearly a dozen Democrats have suggested they’d like a different majority leader.
“Harry Reid will run for majority leader and he will win with an overwhelming, probably very close to a majority vote,” the New York Democrat said.
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