Wasserman Schultz Expects Democratic Gains in the House
Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz predicts Democrats will pick up seats in the House next year — regardless of who’s at the top of the ticket.
“We have seen that the country supports our party’s agenda,” Wasserman Schultz said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast Thursday morning. “I think the left is the center of America right now,” she said when asked if Democrats could win from the left at the presidential level. “The messages that come from left of center that focus on reaching the cornerstone of middle class life are really where Americans are today,” she added.
She did not say how many seats Democrats could pick up this year, and declined to say what role pending redistricting efforts could have on the party’s gains. The districts in her home state of Florida , where she currently represents the 23rd District, may change for the 2016 elections.
“I’m confident as party chair that when districts are drawn fairly, the voters will have an opportunity to compare our candidates versus their candidates, and they are, most of the time, going to choose our candidates.”
Having come out in support of the Iran deal on Sunday, Wasserman Schultz, the first Jewish woman elected to the House from Florida, said she is not worried that Democrats will be targeted for their support of the deal.
She dismissed concerns about political pressure on her to oppose the deal.
“No one in AIPAC or anywhere directly threatened me,” she said.
But the six-term Democrat’s decision to back the deal has already earned her a potential primary challenge .
“Every two years, I have an opportunity to have [my constituents] weigh in on the job I’m doing,” she said. “I’ve never been afraid to go through that process,” she added, saying she believes in being open with her constituents about her decision to support the deal.
“I have gone through the most exhaustive, deliberate process that I have ever gone through in my 23 years in office in reaching a conclusion that the Iran deal was worthy of my support,” she said.
As party chair, Wasserman Schultz treaded carefully when speaking about the Democratic presidential field, refusing to weigh in on the controversy over Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails.
But she did praise Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders and the message he’s sending.
“Bernie Sanders is doing a great job in so many different venues – that’s obviously been reaching people in a special way and touching people,” said. “It’s good for the Democratic party and for our eventual nominee,” she added.
She was emphatic that there would be only six sanctioned debates, refusing to respond to accusations from former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley that she’s “rigging” the debate schedule .
“It’s very important to make sure we not let the debate process get out of control,” Wasserman Schultz said.
While she expects the presidential ticket to boost congressional candidates, she lamented that there hasn’t been “that same consistency in turnout” in midterm years. She stressed that as party chair she’s been working with the various party committees to improve organization and coordination.
“We want to be able to consistently rely on the abilities of the state parties to quarterback campaigns,” she said, before touting the importance of the committee’s ownership of President Barack Obama’s email list.