DCCC chair accuses NRCC chair of ‘showboating,’ but declines to make seat predictions

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) accused his Republican counterpart of "showboating" Wednesday by setting a goal of winning 245 U.S. House seats in the midterm elections, but he declined to offer a specific number of seats he is aiming for this fall.


Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) answers questions following a meeting of the House Democratic Caucus on May 9 in Washington, D.C. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden (Ore.) "can spend all his time looking in his crystal ball," Israel told reporters, charging the Republican was engaging in "wishful thinking."

But when asked about his own thinking about House race math, Israel wouldn't tip his hand, arguing that his job is only "to focus on the fundamentals" at this point in the election cycle.

"I just don't find it to be useful for me to handicap at this point," he said.

Walden has reportedly informed Republican leaders about his push to get to 245 Republican seats. Right now, Republicans hold 233 seats, Democrats have 199.

Israel argued that the elections will not be referenda on the federal health-care law. He also predicted last fall's government shutdown would hamstring Republicans.

"The next six months is going to be about who's got your back," Israel said.

When asked if he could name any Democrats who want to campaign with President Obama, Israel said those decisions are up to individual candidates.

"Every Democrat makes their own choices, their own decisions," he said.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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