DCCC Expands Red to Blue Again

Posted September 11, 2008 at 3:29pm

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has expanded its “Red to Blue” list of candidates targeted for special financial and structural support, bringing the total to 54 candidates from across the country.

In a memo to his colleagues Thursday, DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) reminded House Democrats that while the party is in a strong position heading into the final stretch before the November elections, it must stay aggressive in order to maximize potential gains when voters head to the polls.

“We are in the final sprint and it’s critical that we remain vigilant so we beat the historic pattern and pick up seats,” he wrote. “How many seats House Democrats pick up will depend on the work we do in this final stretch.”

While the DCCC has already reserved $53 million in TV ad time, Van Hollen reminded his colleagues that the committee currently doesn’t have enough money to fund all of the races party leaders perceive as potential pickup opportunities. He also again used the memo as an opportunity to warn his colleagues from growing complacent because of the DCCC’s huge financial advantage over the National Republican Congressional Committee.

“The shortage of NRCC resources is no comfort — they have already reserved time to defend the most threatened Republican incumbents and Freedom’s Watch is getting rates in districts of Democratic threatened incumbents,” he wrote. “Unless we immediately work to make sure we can fund our opportunities, Democrats will not realize our full potential this cycle.”

Freedom’s Watch is a conservative 501(c)(4) group that is expected to spend heavily to boost Republicans in Congressional races.

Van Hollen also touted the committee’s voter outreach program, noting that it has already invested $9 million in voter contact programs, which is the total that was spent overall on the same programs last cycle.

He detailed the committee’s specific outreach programs dedicated to targeting turnout in the Hispanic and African American communities.

“The good news is that the DCCC is a step ahead and is also investing in early voter contact programs in more than 50 districts across the country, with an extra emphasis on Hispanic voters, African American voters and values and veterans voters,” he wrote.

The new additions to the Red to Blue list are:

• Alan Grayson, running against Rep. Ric Keller (R-Fla.).

• Annette Taddeo, running against Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.).

• David Boswell, running for an open seat in Kentucky’s 2nd district.

• Dan Johnson, running against Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.).

• Jim Esch, seeking a rematch against Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.).

• Alice Kryzan, running for an open seat in New York’s 26th district.

• Sharen Neuhardt, running for an open seat in Ohio’s 7th district.

• Sam Bennett, running against Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.).

• Michael Skelly, running against Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas).

The DCCC also expanded its list of “emerging races” — contests that have not yet reached the Red to Blue level.

With five additions there are now 14 races on that list.