Notable Democrats Left Off Initial GOP Hit List
Several Democratic incumbents considered vulnerable in this Republican-friendly election year were left off the National Republican Congressional Committee’s initial list of districts where it plans to spend a total of $22 million in ad buys this fall.
Rep. Walt Minnick was one, despite the fact that the Idaho Democrat represents one of the most conservative districts in the country. Although he was an obvious target for Republicans since the moment he won the seat in 2008, Minnick has a wide fundraising lead over GOP challenger Raul Labrador, and there has been scant polling to prove he is in trouble.
Others not on the NRCC’s initial independent expenditure list include Reps. Zack Space (Ohio), Jason Altmire (Pa.), Patrick Murphy (Pa.) and Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.), who all took over Republican-held districts in 2006.
In Giffords’ case, Republicans in the district are counting on help from the national party, as Giffords has racked up nearly $2 million already to spend in the general election. The GOP’s competitive primary, which still has a week to go, is forcing its top candidates to spend much of their otherwise respectable campaign coffers.
“This is just a down payment to what the fall plan will look like,” one NRCC representative said. “As the season heats up and the playing field expands, you will see more districts pop.”
The NRCC list, first reported by Politico, includes 41 districts — 39 with Democratic incumbents and one Republican-held district, Rep. Mark Kirk’s open seat in Illinois. The committee generally considers there to be far more districts in play, however.
Republicans need to pick up a net of 39 seats to win back control of the House. Because Democrats are expected to win a handful of GOP seats as well, Republicans will need a few more to take the majority.