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Democrats launch campaign to help defend majority in House

By Philip Rucker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 4, 2010; 2:26 PM

Democrats are launching an aggressive organizing campaign Wednesday to defend their majority in the House, recruiting thousands of volunteers to work on behalf of the party's endangered House members in swing districts across the country.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is rolling out a plan that would employ new voter-contact and data-analysis programs to help "frontline" members and candidates in the most hotly contested districts. The committee's plan, outlined by party strategists, also includes a series of house meetings Aug. 21 and a "Nationwide Day of Action" on Aug. 28, when Democratic volunteers will knock on some 200,000 doors.

The plan, which party strategists called the committee's most ambitious organizing campaign in many years, comes after the DCCC said it had reserved more than $49 million in television advertising time in 60 House districts for the final weeks of the midterm campaign.

Strategists said the DCCC's organizing campaign will target those districts, the vast majority of which are represented by Democrats, some of them senior lawmakers facing tough races. They include Rep. John M. Spratt Jr. (S.C.), chairman of the Budget Committee, and Rep. Ike Skelton (Mo.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee.

"The DCCC Fall Kickoff will energize volunteers and voters across the country so we can keep America moving forward, not go back to the failed Bush economic policies of the past," Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), chairman of the DCCC, said in a statement. "The DCCC is committed to reaching more people in districts across the country than ever before to talk to their neighbors at doors and by phone about this election and to highlight the choice voters have at the polls. Our Fall Kickoff will ensure we have a large and energized base of trained volunteers to communicate Democrats' message and get out the vote, which is critical to our success in November."

It was not lost on Democratic strategists that the "Nationwide Day of Action" falls on the same day that conservative talk show host Glenn Beck plans a major "Restoring Honor" rally with "tea party" activists on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. The Democrats' campaign is designed to motivate party activists and close the enthusiasm gap that polls suggest could hinder the party's success in November.

Democratic strategists said the DCCC will be working with state parties and field organizers across the country to use the new voter-data systems, which helped the party's candidates win special House elections over the past year in New York and Pennsylvania.

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