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“A lot of races for us in ’06 came online late, and we would’ve picked up probably a dozen more seats had we had stronger candidates in those districts already,” said Achim Bergmann, who worked as a strategist at the DCCC under Emanuel. “And that’s what I think they learned from that.”
And like Emanuel, Israel eventually learned not to overpromise.
Last cycle, Israel would often boast that the House was in play. He’s much more cautious this cycle, saying the committee hopes to make big gains — but never exactly declaring the House up for grabs, at least not yet.
It’s the same strategy Emanuel employed, telling donors in 2006 that a House takeover might take two cycles.
“[You’re] not going to know whether you will take back the House until a month out,” Israel said. “You have to start from day one to be able to catch a wave in the final few weeks, and that lesson worked in 2006, it is why we performed well in 2012 and we’re going to try and build on it in 2014.”