Obama commits to six more fundraisers for House Democrats

February 13

CAMBRIDGE, Md. -- President Obama's low poll numbers are a drag for many Democrats in tough races this fall, but his ability to raise money remains invaluable to party members everywhere. This is why he has committed to appearing at six more fundraisers this year for Democratic House candidates as his party hopes to keep its fundraising edge over Republicans.


(Charles Dharapak/Pool via European Pressphoto Agency)

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) announced Obama's plans Thursday morning during an hour-long briefing on the 2014 midterm elections at the House Democratic policy conference, according to several aides who were in the room. He added that Obama may eventually commit to more fundraising appearances.

Israel said that the DCCC would be using a “Whose on your side?” argument with voters in competitive districts, stressing that Democrats are committed to raising the minimum wage, extending unemployment insurance and tweaking the Affordable Care Act.

"In all the polling, on the issues that matter to the American people, we're winning," Israel said, according to aides.

Obama's star power should help the DCCC build on an already impressive campaign war chest. The DCCC outraised the National Republican Congressional Committee $5.6 million to $4.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 and topped House GOP fundraising efforts by $15 million overall for the year. As the year began, DCCC enjoyed an $8 million advantage in cash on hand.

But Democrats are steeling themselves for an onslaught of television attack ads bought and paid for by conservative political groups, including Americans for Prosperity, which is already spending millions of dollars on TV ads attacking vulnerable Democratic incumbents in Florida and West Virginia for their support of the Affordable Care Act.

That outside money and historical trends suggesting that Democrats will lose, rather than gain seats, make Israel's task of reclaiming seats an incredibly difficult task. But in his briefing, he stressed that Democrats will be running against a deeply unpopular Republican caucus.

"Never in history has a majority run in a midterm election with a job approval at 12 percent," Israel said, citing recent stats on the popularity of House Republicans.

And despite the impending retirements of eight House Democrats, Israel crowed that 11 House Republicans are planning to step down, including Reps. Gary Miller (R-Calif.), his party's most vulnerable incumbent who made his announcement Wednesday, and Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), who announced plans to leave on Thursday.

Ed O’Keefe is a congressional reporter with The Washington Post and covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
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Aaron Blake · February 13