Still, Israel could stay on. The job is his if he wants it. Democratic aides noted he has few options in leadership outside the DCCC. Leaving the campaign committee would put him in a boat with current Caucus Chairman John Larson (Conn.), Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) and Van Hollen, none of whom have an obvious spot in the leadership structure unless someone retires or decides to opt out of the current lineup.
Others point to how hard Israel has worked as a reason he would want to stay on to “finish the job” of reclaiming the House for Democrats. That would be true especially if the party makes significant gains.
Prospects for the House looked better over the summer, when GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign was flailing.
“I just nominated Mitt Romney to be one of the DCCC’s newest Majority Makers,” Israel told Roll Call in August. “He may have handed the majority to us with his choice of [Budget Chairman Paul Ryan]. The Ryan budget is a debate we know we win — and Mitt Romney just nationalized the debate.”
But as the presidential race tightened and the effects of Republican redistricting victories began to show, the window on Democrats picking up 25 seats closed, experts say.
If Democrats win back fewer than 10 seats, most would see that as a failure, perhaps prodding Israel to exit.
Israel’s intentions are difficult to decipher, in part because he has declined to engage in any leadership politicking during the final months of the campaign.