Israel has been traveling the country to win over skeptics, delivering detailed, 90-minute presentations laying out what he sees as a path to victory. A Washington Post reporter was granted access to a presentation delivered recently to donors in Manhattan.
Israel’s pitch is built around the idea that Republicans won as many as 30 seats by single-digit margins, giving Democrats immediate opportunities. Another 22 were unique targets with districts more favorable to Democrats in non-presidential years or where the party ran poor campaigns in 2012. Texas and Florida still have to resolve legal battles over their congressional maps, and Democrats believe the final configurations will produce several more seats for them.
Without a presidential contest to compete with, Democrats also believe liberal mega-donors will open their wallets more generously to House Majority PAC, a super PAC supporting House Democrats. Its director, Ali Lapp, a former DCCC adviser, can attend events with Israel at this early stage of the campaign season without violating laws prohibiting the two committees from coordinating their activities.
“The House Majority PAC is the super PAC dedicated to retaking the House,” Israel told New York donors, introducing them to Lapp.
All 10 of House Majority’s initial targets are suburban Republicans. In 2012, the super PAC spent $40 million for House Democrats, and the budget for 2014 will be much larger.
So too will Republican super PAC budgets, many orchestrated by Karl Rove, which is why Israel is happy to have Obama actively working on his behalf.
The president admitted to Pelosi and Israel in an election night phone call that he had ignored their past requests for help.
“What I couldn’t do in 2012, I’m in big time in 2014. I am in, and I mean it,” Obama told the lawmakers, according to Israel’s recounting. Obama began his first-ever concerted campaign for House Democrats on Wednesday in San Francisco, a more than $3.2 million night that served as the first of eight DCCC fundraisers he plans to participate in this year.
In his remarks, Obama credited Israel with “doing an often thankless, extraordinarily difficult job” with “boundless energy.”
Pelosi said that energy, along with a New Yorker’s hardened sense of reality, is why she forced Israel into another term trying to win back the majority.
“He doesn’t sugarcoat any prospect that we’re on,” she said, “but he’s confident that we have a path to victory.”
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