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Saturday, October 13, 2012

House Dems May Not Net Many Seats from Illinois

Redistricting has been a challenge for the minority party in the HouseAt the Daily Beast, James Warren reports that Democrats were hoping for a huge seat haul from the Illinois gerrymander, the subject of unsuccessful legal action.
But trial testimony underscored the active involvement of the Washington-based Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in creating the Illinois map, including emails about “how to destabilize Republican incumbents” and one that heralded that its aim was “seemingly accomplished” by the map.
Conventional wisdom at the time was that GOP incumbents Walsh, Judy Biggert, Robert Dold, Schilling and the soon-to-retire [Tim] Johnson were seriously endangered..

But interviews with campaign consultants and party officials on both sides suggest that, with less than a month to go, the Democrats’ belief that they could recapture five, even six, Republican seats appears to be folly.

The consensus today seems to be that it’s hard to envision the Democrats picking up more than three Republican seats. Several Democrats said they would safely wager only on a pick-up of just two. A mix of factors seems at play, including several weak Democratic candidates and campaigns; poor coordination by the party apparatus; and several million dollars in super-PAC contributions from outside the state helping some Republicans, including Walsh.

Some campaign officials in both parties say internal polling shows a softening of support for Obama compared with the levels of enthusiasm he generated in their districts four years ago. He’s done little personally to boost Democratic candidates back home, with Sen. Dick Durbin seen by some as the only member of the state’s party elite to be working hard for their elections.