Updated 3:09 p.m. | Ring, Ring: It's the voters.
This week, House Democrats have started a round of automated phone calls that allow recipients to connect directly to the campaign offices of their Republican opponents. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will target 16 GOP challengers in competitive districts with the calls, according to a party source.
The political benefits of this tactic are unclear. But it has the potential to be pretty annoying.
Callers are read a negative profile of the Republican that accuses him or her of supporting the shutdown. Then the caller is given the option to be transferred to the GOP candidate's campaign to tell their office that "the shutdown is hurting our families" and the candidate "shouldn't be part of the problem."
Here are the targeted GOP challengers:
- #AZ01: State Speaker Andy Tobin, one of several Republicans challenging Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick
- #AZ02: Retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally, who is challenging Rep. Ron Barber.
- #AZ09: Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Wendy Rogers, one of a couple of Republicans challenging Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.
- #CA07: Former Rep. Doug Ose and autism activist Elizabeth Emken — two Republicans challenging freshman Rep. Ami Bera.
- #CA36: Assemblyman Brian Nestande, who is challenging freshman Rep. Raul Ruiz.
- #CA52: Veteran Kirk Jorgensen and former San Diego Councilman Carl DeMaio — two GOP challengers looking to take on Rep. Scott Peters.
- #FL26: Miami Dade School Board Member Carlos Curbelo, who is running against Rep. Joe Garcia.
- #IL12: State Rep. Mike Bost, who is challenging Rep. Bill Enyart.
- #IL17: Former Rep. Bobby Schilling, who is challenging Rep. Cheri Bustos.
- #MN08: Businessman Stewart Mills, who is challenging to Rep. Rick Nolan.
- #NH02: Former state Sen. Gary Lambert, who is challenging Rep. Ann McLane Kuster.
- #NY01: State Sen. Lee Zeldin, who is challenging Rep. Timothy H. Bishop.
- #NY18: Former Rep. Nan Hayworth, who is challenging Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.
- #NY21: Former Bush White House staffer Elise Stefanik, who is challenging Rep. Bill Owens.
National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Andrea Bozek had this to say about the automated calls.
“You really have to thank the DCCC for giving Republican candidates an opportunity to talk to voters about how their member of Congress supports ObamaCare and is part of the problem in Washington," Bozek wrote in an email. "It’s not surprising that several of these candidates just outraised their vulnerable members.”