GOP targets 80 House seats

Susan Ferrechio:

With just weeks left in a summer that showed far less economic recovery than Democrats had hoped for, the party is bracing for the prospect of a GOP-controlled House of Representatives next year, while Republicans set their sights on as many as 80 seats they believe will be vulnerable in November.

"I've been thinking for months the House is lost," one top Democratic strategist told The Washington Examiner. "I don't even think it's going to be close."

Republicans on Thursday predicted there will be competitive races in more than double the 40 districts the GOP would need to win in order to retake the majority from the Democrats.

"Every argument they have made for keeping the majority has fallen apart," said Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who recruits GOP candidates for the party's House campaign arm. "That is why you've got panic mode inside the Democratic Party from the incumbents themselves."

Tad Devine, a top Democratic strategist, said Democrats can maintain the majority in the House, but those in tough races will have to show constituents "that they've taken their side and they should demonstrate their independence from party leaders."

In the House, some of the most vulnerable Democratic candidates have been trying to save their campaigns by distancing themselves from leaders like Nancy Pelosi and President Obama, whose approval ratings have sunk into the dangerously low mid-40s, in part because of the sputtering economy.

On Wednesday, Rep. Bobby Bright, D-Ala., took that distancing to extreme lengths. He told a Montgomery, Ala., audience that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., might die between now and the election after he was asked whether he would vote for her again as speaker.

...
The question asked of Bright is the one haunting the so called independent Democrats who were allowed to vote against the health care monstrosity. The Democrat leadership is an issue in these races. Chet Edwards is running into the same buzz saw in Texas.

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