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Battle for the House Engages

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
The DCCC has been pushing to expand its map, leading DCCC Chairman Steve Israel to remain confident the House is "absolutely in play."

How resonant each party's Medicare messaging ends up being with voters may well decide the outcome of competitive races. But especially in races such as McIntyre's, in districts that favor Republicans, if the GOP can simply neutralize the attacks about Medicare and pivot back to the economy and Obama, the path to the 113th Congress becomes steeper for the incumbent.

But it won't just be the committees and the campaigns that drive Congressional races. Super PACs, on both sides of the aisle, will play a strong role in determining the broad House landscape. "The only thing that keeps me up at night is the super PACs," Israel said. "They're like a Death Star, in a far corner of the universe waiting to vaporize or try and vaporize our candidates in specific districts."

He makes the argument that, unlike last cycle, when GOP super PACs hit a Democratic candidate, there will be Democratic-allied super PACs that can be "throwing punches back."

But perhaps more influential than even super PACs this cycle will be how the top of the ticket does. Post-conventions, Obama currently has an edge. That could boost Democrats in swing districts, but strategists of both parties cautioned that the election is still a political lifetime away.


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