There’s no rest for the weary at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has yet to name the new committee chairman for 2016, but the DCCC is already getting a jump on recruiting during the final days of New York Rep. Steve Israel’s tenure.
On Thursday morning, Israel held the first 2016 recruitment meeting since Election Day. He named two northeastern congressional districts as top targeting opportunities, and party strategists are readying for at least five rematches from 2014, according to a committee aide. Democrats must capture some 30 seats in 2016 to take back control of the House. There are still a handful of outstanding races that have yet to be called.
The committee is aiming to convince three ousted incumbents to run again for their seats: Reps. Pete Gallego of Texas, Steven Horsford of Nevada and Brad Schneider of Illinois.
If Schneider runs again, it will be his third straight race against Rep.-elect Bob Dold, who held the seat from 2011 to 2013.
At least 11 members attended the meeting with Israel, including several in serious contention for the DCCC chairmanship. The group included Reps. Donna Edwards of Maryland, Lois Frankel of Florida, Jim Himes of Connecticut and Jared Polis of Colorado.
Other members in attendance were Reps. Denny Heck and Derek Kilmer of Washington, Jerry McNerney of California, Jerrold Nadler and Paul Tonko of New York, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois and Marc Veasey of Texas.
Two unsuccessful Democratic candidates from 2014 will be asked to make another run — former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, who lost to Rep. Mike Coffman, and Maine state Sen. Emily Cain, who lost an open-seat race to Rep.-elect Bruce Poliquin.
The DCCC’s top early offensive targets include the open-seat race to replace retiring Republican Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick, who is honoring a self-imposed term-limit pledge, and New York’s 11th District, the Staten Island-based seat of Republican Rep. Michael G. Grimm, who is facing indictments.
On Wednesday, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden laid out his plans for the next cycle in an interview with CQ Roll Call. He said he would take a slower approach to recruitment.
"I haven’t made any recruitment calls yet,” Walden said. “People need to absorb these things.”
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