Politics

DCCC Credits Large Battlefield in Securing Majority

Democrats had 101 targets in 2018

DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján touted the committee's efforts in winning back the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats won back the House largely due to victories in the suburbs, but they also said their expansive target list led to gains in unlikely places.

Voters in suburban districts tend to be wealthier and better educated, and largely backed Democrats on Tuesday — even in districts with strong GOP incumbents.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee executive director Dan Sena said there is a case to be made following Tuesday’s results that suburban areas are becoming permanent fixtures of the Democratic electorate.

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But, he noted, Democrats didn’t just win in the suburbs.

“When you have local candidates who have the resources to tell their stories... Democrats can actually win anywhere,” Sena said. “... If you have the right type of candidate that fits the district with the right type of resources you can push back on a challenging environment.”

Democrats sought to create multiple paths to the majority, Sena said on a press call with reporters Wednesday. They focused on suburban districts, where President Donald Trump remained unpopular, as well in some of the deeper red districts.

The committee had invested at least $100,000 in roughly 85 seats— more than double the number of races the committee invested in last cycle, where Democrats only picked up six seats.

DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján noted that in 2016 Trump won 18 of the seats that Democrats flipped Tuesday night. Lujan also said the early investment in field programs helped Democrats, particularly in tougher districts, withstand Republican attacks.

Both Luján and Sena acknowledged that they did make significant gains in suburban districts where opposition to Trump was a factor. But Sena said from the beginning of the cycle the committee had to build a strategy to win regardless of the president’s actions.

“One of the key pieces that we have learned over the last two years of watching Trump and studying Trump is there is an opposite and equal reaction across the country whenever he does something. We call it shaking the snow globe,” Sena said. “There was an opposite reaction in highly suburban areas. We were there to maximize on it.”

So far Democrats have a 26-seat majority in the House. More than 20 have yet to be called, and the DCCC is dispatching staffers and legal teams to districts that are too close to call or where ballots are still being counted.

"I’m confident that the Democratic majority will grow,” Luján said.

 

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