Representatives Jared Polis (CO) and Donna Edwards (MD), chairs of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's 'Red to Blue' program, announced the first round of targeted candidates and races for the 2012 election. Candidates targeted by the program will get financial, strategic, logistical and grassroots support from the DCCC. Because of the importance of the 2012 election, the 'Red to Blue' program is launching earlier than it has in past years.
Polis and Edwards expressed confidence that their program this year, 'Drive for 25', had a chance to take back the House of Representatives:
“These candidates are going to be aggressively holding Republicans accountable for consistently choosing Millionaires over Medicare, oil companies subsides over middle class tax cuts and ideology over solutions,” said DCCC Chairman Steve Israel. “In 2012, House Republican candidates are going to have to defend the indefensible. Allyson Schwartz, Jared Polis, and Donna Edwards know what it takes to win and will provide top notch leadership to our candidates.”
New Reuters/Ipsos polling last week showed that voters would support a Democratic candidate over a Republican candidate in their district by 4 points (48 percent – 44 percent) confirming a consistent Democratic lead that emerged this last fall and winter.
The first round of targeted candidates are Ami Bera (CA-07), Jose Hernandez (CA-10), Mark Takano (CA-41), Sal Pace (CO-03), Val Demings (FL-08), Keith Fitzgerald (FL-13), Christie Vilsack (IA-04), Brendan Mullen (IN-02), Pam Gulleson (ND-AL), Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02), John Oceguera (NV-03), Dan Maffei (NY-25), Charlie Wilson (OH-06), Kathy Boockvar (PA-08), Nick Lampson (TX-14), Denny Heck (WA-10), Jamie Wall (WI-08) and Paul Hirschbiel (VA-02). Additionally, the DCCC is targeting 18 other races that have Democratic primaries and will provide the winners of those races with additional support. Those races are: AZ-01 (Gosar-open), CA-26 (Gallegly-open), CA-31(Open), CA-47 (Open), CA-52 (Bilbray), CO-06 (Coffman), CT-05 (Murphy-open), FL-22 (West), IL-08 (Walsh), IL-10 (Dold), IL-11 (Biggert), IL-12 (Costello–open), IL-17 (Schilling), MD-06 (Bartlett), MI-01 (Benishek), MN-08 (Cravaack), NM-01 (Heinrich-open), WA-01 (Inslee-open).
Another group of candidates is being recognized for their potential and the quality of their efforts so far, which could be given future 'Red to Blue' assistance. The 'Emerging Races' candidates are Clark Hall (AR-01), Raul Ruiz (CA-36), Leonard Bembry (FL-02), David Crooks (IN-08), Rob Wallace (OK-02), Manan Trivedi (PA-06), Jackson Eaton (PA-15), Eric Stewart (TN-04), Pete Gallego (TX-23), John Douglass (VA-10), Rob Zerban (WI-01) and Pat Kreitlow (WI-07). Races designated as 'Emerging' include: AZ-09 (New-open), IL-13 (Johnson), MT-AL (Rehberg-open), NY-13 (Grimm), NY-19 (Hayworth) and SC-07 (New district).
Also spotlighted by the DCCC are three candidates in strong Democratic districts who are designated 'Majority Makers': Alan Grayson (FL-27), Steven Horsford (NV-04), and Joaquin Castro (TX-20).