Democratic Rep. Mike Ross, a leader of the Blue Dog Coalition, said he is certain the group will have an effect on the 113th Congress, regardless of whether membership dwindles.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been pulling funding from North Carolina Rep. Larry Kissell’s race, just miles from where the Democratic National Convention took place.
The National Republican Congressional Committee is taking a merciless tack, spending big money to knock off more members of the group.
“The decimation of the Blue Dogs is entirely of their own making,” NRCC spokesman Paul Lindsay said. “They completely sacrificed their principles in order to support their party, and their party, despite that fact, has completely ignored them and shunned them.”
The losses hit close to home for former Rep. Billy Tauzin (La.). He co-founded the group and hosted its meetings in his office after the Republican wave election of 1994. The coalition owes its name to a painting of a blue dog he had in his office. Though he is now a Republican — he switched parties in 1995 — he still counsels members of the group.
He said that despite coming losses, the Blue Dogs can still be influential next year.
“We chat about this often,” said Tauzin, who is now a lobbyist. “They are going to shrink in size dramatically, but so will the margin of the majority. So proportionately they can and should remain important.”
That is a familiar refrain for many Members and aides tied to the group. If House Republicans remain in the majority but their margin slims, they say, it will be Blue Dogs who help Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) push compromise legislation out of the House.
The same goes for committees. The farm bill, for instance, would not have gotten out of the House Agriculture Committee without ranking member Collin Peterson (Minn.) and a cast of Blue Dogs on the panel.
“Given that Speaker Boehner has a large number of newly elected Republicans in the 2010 election that are very difficult for him to control ... there’s going to be a role for us to play in trying to work with Democrats and Republicans to get about the business of governing,” Ross said.
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