IMP Exclusive DCCC Memo .pdf
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Exclusive: DCCC Memo Says Dems ‘On Offense’
in 4 MI Congressional Races, while National
Handicappers Predict GOP Will Keep House
Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 5:15 p.m.
As the filing deadline hits in Michigan, Inside Michigan Politics has obtained a memo from the Democratic
National Campaign Committee (DCCC) touting the Dems’ chances in four competitive races this fall.
The memo highlights former state Rep. Pam Byrnes (D-Lyndon Twp.) in the 7th Congressional District,
noting that U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Tipton) was recently added to the National Republican Campaign
Committee’s (NRCC) Patriot Program for endangered incumbents.
The DCCC claims the Democrats are “on offense,” despite the fact that many analysts expect 2014 to be a
good GOP year -- as the sixth year in a president’s term tends to be for the oppositional party. University
of Virginia Professor Larry Sabato, for instance, currently predicts Republicans will net five to eight seats in
Another reason why Michigan is a big factor in the DCCC’s 2014 playbook is that the number of competitive
districts has shrunk nationally in recent cycles. So the playing field just isn’t that big.
The memo uses the familiar language of juxtaposing Democrats representing the middle class with
Republicans who “voted over and over again for budgets that give tax breaks to companies for shipping
Republican analyst Dennis Darnoi of Revsix wasn’t buying it.
“I had to check the date on the memo, because these are the same ineffective talking points from 2010,
when Democrats fresh off the ‘historic elections of 2008’ were primed to win Congressional Races in the
11th and 1st, retake the Michigan House and implement the first wave of their two-cycle Strategy in the
state Senate,” he said.
“A basic understanding of election history shows that the party of the president -- regardless of affiliation - suffer losses in second term mid-term elections. This year is no different and there are no state or national
models indicating otherwise.”
Since last year, the DCCC has targeted two other races besides the MI-7. The MI-1 is between Democrat
Jerry Cannon and U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Crystal Falls). The MI-11 looks like it will have a Democratic
primary battle -- something powerbrokers wanted to avoid -- between former congressional candidate
Nancy Skinner, Anil Kumar and former U.S. State Department official Bobby McKenzie. The DCCC memo
doesn’t mention either by name, instead salivating over the “bloody primary battle” on the other side
between U.S. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Milford) and attorney David Trott.
The DCCC now has added the MI-8 to the list in light of the retirement of U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Howell).
Although there’s likely to be a Democratic primary, with former state Demographer Ken Darga filing, the
DCCC is openly touting Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing. That comes after U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi
(D-Calif.) and other luminaries tried to woo Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, much as they did with former
Secretary of State candidate Jocelyn Benson in the MI-11. On the GOP side, the memo only mentions
former Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester), who scored Rogers’ endorsement, and ignores
Auburn Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett and Tea Party favorite Rep. Tom McMillin (R-Rochester).
Darnoi responded that while individual candidates “will face unique challenges, the fact remains that by all
metrics the voting electorate will tilt in favor of Republican candidates … and no amount of partisan spin by
a paid political operative will alter the fundamental dynamics of this midterm election.”
But Adrian Hemond, partner with Grassroots Midwest and former chief of staff to state House Minority
Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills), think the memo is “more or less right on,” although he admits it’s a
little optimistic. Hemond said Grassroots Midwest helped Schertzing collect signatures, but is not involved
in any races.
“Some seats are tough, but Republicans seem on the road to nominating people who make these less
tough,” he told IMP.
Asked which seat the Dems are most likely to pick up, Hemond predicted the 7th if Byrnes keeps raising
money. But he added that if McMillin gets the nomination in the MI-8, “I want to change my answer.”