The House Democratic campaign arm announced nine new candidate recruits for its Jumpstart program Monday — all running in districts that favor Republicans.
Jumpstart is a program that provides “early financial communications, operational and strategic support” according to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The first class of seven recruits is running in more competitive districts, so the second wave suggests that geographic aggression is central to the party’s 2014 House strategy. (One of the original recruits from the first round dropped out of his race for Congress.)
“Our recruiting is already ahead of schedule, and these Jumpstart candidates are standouts — women and men who have spent their careers solving problems and putting the middle class ahead of partisan ideology,” said Rep. Steve Israel of New York, chairman of the DCCC.
Democrats face a 17-seat deficit in their battle for control of the House, and the party must contend with maps redistricted mostly in favor of Republicans.
A couple of the new Jumpstart members are from perennially competitive districts, but four of the candidates are in races classified as Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call, and three others are in districts that lean Republican.
House Democrats have made no secret about their preference for recruits who aren’t from the statehouse. Israel likes to tout “problem-solvers” who have military, business or executive government experience. Five of the new Jumpstart members have no legislative experience.
“From a retired Navy commander to a local businesswoman to a sheriff and general, these Jumpstart candidates are getting a jump-start on their path to victory and a head start on making Congress work for America’s middle class again,” Israel said.
The unstated message is that such recruits lack a voting record that might come back to haunt them in a negative campaign.
Here are the newest Jumpstart members:
Iowa’s 3rd District: Former state Sen. Staci Appel, who is challenging Republican Rep. Tom Latham. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call currently rates this race as Republican Favored.
Nevada’s 3rd District: Democratic National Committeewoman Erin Bilbray-Kohn, who is challenging Republican Rep. Joe Heck. The race is rated Leans Republican.
Michigan’s 7th District: Former state Rep. Pam Byrnes, who is challenging Republican Rep. Tim Walberg. The race is rated Safe Republican.
Michigan’s 1st District: Retired Army Maj. Gen. Jerry Cannon, who is challenging Republican Rep. Dan Benishek. The race is rated Tossup/Tilts Republican.
Ohio’s 6th District: Former state Rep. Jennifer Garrison, who is challenging Republican Rep. Bill Johnson. The race is rated Tossup/Tilts Republican.
New Mexico’s 2nd District: Former Eddy County Commissioner Roxanne “Rocky” Lara, who is challenging Republican Rep. Steve Pearce. The race is Safe Republican.
Montana’s At-Large: Democratic Sen. Max Baucus’ former state director John Lewis. Whether the seat’s current occupant, Republican Rep. Steve Daines, runs for the Senate, will determine whether Lewis’ effort is a challenge or an open-seat race. The race is currently Safe Republican.
Virginia’s 2nd District: Former Pentagon official Suzanne Patrick, who is challenging Republican Rep. Scott Rigell. The race is Safe Republican.
New York’s 23rd District: Tompkins County Legislator Martha Robertson, who is challenging Republican Rep. Tom Reed. The race is Leans Republican.