There are 13 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives who are terrified for their political lives. Each of them represents the best opportunity for the Republican Party to pick up House seats in the 2010 mid-term election. The main characteristics they share are: that they are all freshman legislators; each got less than 55% of the vote in 2008 and; to a one they are distraught over the Democratic Party’s deficit spending. They are: Connolly (VA11), Adler (NJ3), Bright (AL2), Massa (NY29), Driehaus (OH1) , Minnick (ID1), Griffith (AL5), Murphy (NY20), Heinrich (NM1), Pingree (ME1), Himes (CT4), Kissell (NC8) and Schrader (OR5).
These freshmen are so distraught over the Democratic House leadership’s deficit spending that they composed a letter to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pleading the case that unspent and repaid TARP funds should be earmarked for deficit reduction. Of the 13, eight voted against HR 2847; a $154 billion jobs bill that passed the House by five votes (Democrats have a majority in the House with 258 members).
Of the 22 Democratic freshmen who won in 2008 with less than 55% of the vote, 11 voted to pass HR 2847. This group is the most vulnerable in 2010 despite their political calculations to cast the vote for those in their districts hit hardest by the recession. However, they are all vulnerable to defeat as measured against latest national polling data. Recently CNN reported that 67% of all Americans do not support deficit spending and that balancing the budget should be the priority.
The Republican’s fountain of youth can be found at the intersection of Jobs Street and Deficit Drive in Anywhere, USA. GWU reports that 62% of Americans do not believe congressional economic stimulus measures are working. Yet still the Republican National Committee’s leadership insists on seeking the solution by affiliating with a small segment of the voting population that believes that non-secular intolerance is the path to victory. Rather than establishing GOP bona fides on the economy and the budget, the RNC is busy throwing fuel on the fire that gave the country town hall screaming matches instigated by the Tea Bagging movement during the August 2009 congressional break.
NBC reports that 43% of Americans have a negative opinion of the GOP and that 63% of Americans believe President Obama inherited the current economic conditions from his Republican predecessor. Pew found that Republicans leaders in Congress have a 51% disapproval rating. ABC News found that 52% of Americans believe President Obama is better at handling the economy than the GOP. The GOP is far from rehabilitating itself on these two important issues that will drive the day on November 2, 2010.
The RNC and its House and Senate affiliates should be focused like a laser on candidate recruitment, particularly in the districts with Democratic freshmen who won with less than 55% of the vote in 2008, with an added emphasis on the 11 Democratic freshmen members who voted for Speaker Pelosi’s recent jobs bill that chose reckless spending over deficit reduction. More time on fundamentals and less time on tea bagging its favorite coalition group is where the RNC should be concentrating its time, money and talent.