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Dems to target Davis

Thursday, Jan 31, 2013

* From a press release…

Building on its successful 2012 record, House Majority PAC today announced it will run political programs in 10 Congressional Districts to target vulnerable Republicans, beginning in 2013. The Republican members of Congress are Michele Bachmann (MN-06), Mike Coffman (CO-06), Gary Miller (CA-31), Rodney Davis (IL-13), Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08), Michael Grimm (NY-11), Joe Heck (NV-03), David Joyce (OH-14), John Kline (MN-02) and Steve Southerland (FL-02).

Each of these Republicans represents a competitive district and has an out-of-touch, extreme record.

Over the course of 2013, House Majority PAC will execute individually tailored plans in each of these 10 districts, to include earned and paid media, online communications and social networking. These efforts will lay the groundwork for increased political activity leading up to Election Day in 2014.

“In 2012, House Majority PAC built a strong record of success and in 2013 we are ready to hit the ground running to hold these Republicans accountable and communicate with swing voters about their extreme records and backwards priorities,” said Alixandria Lapp, Executive Director of House Majority PAC. “Whether it’s supporting the end of Medicare as we know it, backing tax cuts for the wealthy, working to roll back the clock on women’s rights or opposing stem cell research, these Republicans are simply out of step with the districts they represent. House Majority PAC will work to ensure voters know the truth.”

During the 2012 cycle, House Majority PAC spent approximately $36 million, amassing a record that independent observers termed “impressive” and “winning.” The Democratic candidate won in 63 percent of the races in which House Majority PAC spent a significant sum. And of the 10 races in which House Majority PAC spent the most money, Democrats won eight. [Emphasis added.]

I have my doubts about the potential for success there. The district has a ton of college students, from Bloomington, to Champaign to Edwardsville and everything in between. They tend to vote Democratic, but they don’t vote big in off-year elections. If Davis had lost last year, he’d be my favorite to win in 2014.

But maybe you have a different idea. Let’s hear it.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


40 Comments
  1. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 10:11 am:

    targeting Davis is fine, if the Dems can find a quality candidate. State Senator Mike Frerichs is the one name I came up with.


  2. - LincolnLounger - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 10:17 am:

    It’s nice to know he’s been in office ten minutes and already has an “out of touch, extreme record.”

    They had their chance, but it won’t work this time.

    Will Dr. Gill run again?


  3. - Endangered Moderate Species - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 10:18 am:

    “has an out-of-touch, extreme record”

    Wow, I didn’t realize how busy Davis has been building up a record after only one month in his first elected office. (snark)


  4. - Allen Skillicorn - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 10:19 am:

    2014 will not be as favorable to Dems as 2012 was.


  5. - Adam Smith - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 10:19 am:

    I seem to remember Dems thinking the same thing about Rodney’s mentor, John Shimkus. Shimkus won a hard fought victory and the Dems though they’d take back the seat. How’d that work out?

    Rodney is a tireless worker and clearly outperformed the GOP in a bad year in Illinois. The Dems should worry more about protecting Schneider and Enyart next time around.


  6. - The Captain - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 10:22 am:

    I think they’re going to have a tougher time trying to win this seat in an off year election but if they’re going to have a chance to take it back in 2016 they need to keep Davis on defense rather than let him solidify his position.

    Also it’s worth pointing out that Andy Manar just won handily in a district similar to this one but without the college campuses in Bloomington and Champaign so it’s not out of the question that this district could be won by a Democrat in the right situation.


  7. - train111 - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 10:32 am:

    The district voted about 60-40 for Brady over Quinn in 2010. It voted for Romney 50.2-49.8 last year. (Only major party votes in the figures I came up with) I would think that the Dems have a pretty uphill battle to capture this district in an off year election.

    Just my $.02 for what it’s worth.

    train111


  8. - Ahoy! - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 10:34 am:

    Well of course their going to target the 13th District, the Democrats drew it to be competitive and it probably leans Democrat. Additionally, the swept all the other seats last election and can probably focus more on this race since they just have to defend the other seats that were also drawn to be Democratic seats. With so few districts nationwide true swing districts, this will probably be targeted by both parties for the next 8 years.


  9. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 10:36 am:

    Davis will solidify his weak areas, strengthen his base and tighten the middle up. There is no reason to thin Rodney Davis is a weak and lazy Member of Congress and the next nine months will show that there is more there to Rodney Davis as he defends this time.

    By the by, YDD, Double or nothing on the Cannoli with Davis KEEPING the seat? Rich still gets the Vig.


  10. - siriusly - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 10:36 am:

    I agree with you Rich as usual. While it was extremely close as an open seat during an Obama presidential election year, I don’t see Davis losing here. But likewise, he’s a freshman who barely won - they probably have to put him on their target list at this early stage.


  11. - McLeaniac - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 10:39 am:

    Davis is very beatable. He squeaked by over Gill, who is a known fail. Just wait until the Dems run someone with charisma against Davis next election. Davis is so easy to beat.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 10:46 am:

    ===Davis is so easy to beat.===

    So easy? If its’ “so easy”, Gill should have beaten him, becasue it’s “so easy”.

    Vulenrable is different than “so easy”

    Off-year, opposite party in the White House, tough “ask” for a Dem even if its “so easy”


  13. - From a Distance - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 10:50 am:

    Other than Christian County, Davis ran substantially behind Romney. But he seems to be a hard worker and I’m guessing he solidifies things. Dems still need a candidate.

    As noted above, softening him in 2014 makes him a top target in 2016 in this district. My guess is Manar will be quietly rooting against whoever the Dems put up in 2014.


  14. - BucktownDem - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 10:52 am:

    The 13th is a competitive district in an off year and Presidential year. Keep in mind that the top of the ticket next year will be led by Durbin who has strong ties there with much of his old district overlapping with the current 13th. He’ll make sure that a candidate that is stronger than Gill (remember he supported Geotten in the primary) will get all the help they need. Additionally, the ILDP didn’t run a coordinated campaign last time and will in 2014 because of all the statewide races, so there will be some extra love given to those campuses and strong D precincts that were left off the table in 2012 except for portions that took in Manar’s district (and the new IL House district there). With strong recruiting, a coordinated effort to soften him up, and a stronger top of the ticket (especially if led by anyone other than Quinn) than 2010 will benefit any Dem that takes the fight. Remember, the GOP Congress has a 9% approval rating. It isn’t about to get much better and could potentially get worse if we go over the cliff and have a govt shut down like Shock alluded to the other day. It won’t be easy, but it’s a swing district (one of the few out there nationwide) and the Dem Party will have it’s resources trained on it since other targets are less appealing. It’s do or die for taking back the majority in districts like this. Money will be there and better recruitment has already started to avoid a 5th Gill run.


  15. - Phantom of the Illini - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 11:02 am:

    I agree that the Dems are going to have an uphill climb to knock off Davis, if you just look at the turnout numbers, you’re losing like 20,000 votes in Sangamon County alone in an off year. That being said, a lot of these counties are having competitive downballot races to boost the GOTV programs and the county parties. Those college kids get their stuff together and you get a candidate that isn’t damaged goods (i.e. Dr. Gill),you can give Rodney a run for his money.

    It can be done in ‘14, but my money would be that Rodney better start sweating in 2016.


  16. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 11:06 am:

    I suspect the Dems will put their real efforts into defending their 2012 gains. There will be plenty of work to be done there.


  17. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 11:13 am:

    I don’t even think the new congressman has even unpacked yet. Targeting him now shows how pathetic our politics has become. Targeting him shows how pathetic the Democrat’s chances are next year.

    Davis should easily win reelection in 2014. There are 234 targets - Davis is one they consider a possibility? No. It isn’t.


  18. - Susiejones - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 11:16 am:

    have to agree with others that Rodney hasn’t been in office long enough to be labeled out of tough and extreme. ridiculous. he has good staff working for him and who ran his campaign this time. look for him to be in Congress for several terms.


  19. - WizzardOfOzzie - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 11:24 am:

    Both sides are taking this a little far. VanillaMan, why should it be easy for him? He won by a few hundred votes in a majority Dem district against a very, very, very weak candidate.

    The Dems will be all in on trying to win back the majority. With no re-election, Obama will be fundraising like crazy for the House Dems. They will be well funded and need to find additional targets because the GOP gerry-rigged so many seats nationally.


  20. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 11:53 am:

    Please don’t insult Dr. Gill for not winning. Support anyone who runs for public office enough not to refer to their hard work and effort as weak or worthless. Campaigning is a thankless enough task without losing. The good Doctor was never my candidate, but please, show a little respect.

    Why is it a given that Davis has a strong edge in 2014? Well, what Mr. Miller has already said, and plus I haven’t see our President fundraising like crazy, unless he was the candidate. 2014 won’t be easy for a 2nd term president anymore than it was for any previous 2nd term president midterm election.


  21. - Skeeter - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 12:03 pm:

    Reading the headline, I was hoping that maybe Dems would finally get that Danny Davis doesn’t seem to much like serving in Congress and that perhaps it is time to find an alternative who will work for the district.

    No such luck.


  22. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 12:24 pm:

    If you’re the DCCC, you have to give donors and potential donors a reason to give you money. You have to show them exactly how their donation results in a Democratic House majority. Otherwise, why should anyone give more dough?

    I share Rich’s doubts about the potential for the Dems to knock out Davis, but I fully understand the logic behind listing him as a target. How else can you plausibly get to 218 without picking up another seat in IL?

    And Davis should send the DCCC some flowers. This “targeting” should really boost his fundraising and increase his stature within the House Republican Caucus. Expect him to get a lot of love from his colleagues.


  23. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 12:26 pm:

    Setting aside the personalities involved, why wouldn’t the dems target davis? Is there another freshman congressman who won with less than 47 percent of the vote (remember there were 2 dems in the race) and who has never won a gop primary anywhere else in the country?

    Now I expect davis to win in 2014 because of the anti chicago backlash among downstate voters in off year elections but by posturing for a general fight in 2014 the dems could force davis into votes that would enrage the tea party base gop and possibly get him a primary fight.

    By


  24. - unreliable sources - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 12:57 pm:

    Looks like the Dems are already sniffing around pretty seriously:

    http://atr.rollcall.com/illinois-democrats-recruit-judge-as-gill-ponders-another-run/


  25. - Will - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 12:59 pm:

    Of course it will be competitive. Davis very narrowly won by around 1,000 votes, getting less than 50%. He likely would have lost had it not been for a left-leaning third party candidate.
    Davis ran a very skillful campaign talking to partisan groups, not saying much about where he stands on most issues, but now he’ll have to start taking votes. The evasion will become more difficult.

    The trick is who to recruit. It needs to be someone AFSCME and public employees like because they’ll be out for blood and voting heavily next year in central Illinois. A member of AFSCME or a teacher’s union would be a smart candidate in ‘14.

    The party establishment won’t want Gill but other than him and Frerichs, I can’t think of anyone who starts with an enthusiastic base of support and can generate enthusiasm. A largely unknown, bland candidate like Goetten isn’t going to win in on off-year election.


  26. - shore - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 1:03 pm:

    This is an extremely early list. some of the names-there’s a congressman from california who won on a fluke are legit, others they probably know they don’t have a shot at beating. They have a real list that is probably headed by potential R retirements, potential weak R candidates who sleep walk, R’s that run for other offices, R candidates like biggert who have lost a few steps, ect.

    What’s more interesting will be how Republicans work to take back what they’ve lost. WTTW did a segement the other night with foster, duckworth, and schneider all of whom really underachieved. Schneider still can’t believe he’s a congressman and now that mark kirk is off the DL I would expect he’s in for a difficult re-election campaign.


  27. - bored now - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 1:10 pm:

    a not-from-illinois perspective: the d-trip needs to show a plan for getting back into the majority. anything that looks possible will eventually get on the list.

    i have no idea if the 13th will be competitive, and i don’t think anyone else does, either. kind of depends on the democratic and republican tickets on november, 2014. given the tendency (around the country) to nominate more extreme elements as republican nominees, it appears smart (even brilliant) to look at as many of these districts as possible. the one thing we *do* know is that parties build up infrastructure as the result of competitive g/e tickets, so there is absolutely no reason (for either side) not to try…


  28. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 1:15 pm:

    “I expect Davis to win in 2014 because of the anti Chicago downstate backlash…”

    Wow. You really have zero respect for this congressman and his majority of voters, huh?

    Playing voters as stupid enraged easily manipulated ignorami isn’t very democratic.


  29. - UST - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 1:32 pm:

    As a lifelong conservative voter I generally vote Republican. In Davis’ case i did not because Davis did not win the primary and was instead chosen by the party. I really dislike party members that decide that the voters, in this case the primary, are wrong and that they know better and then shovel a party hack at us.
    Gill, a person that dis not do well in past elections, almost puled it off. If he runs again I might even campaign for him at various Republican rallies. There is always room for a wise guy in the crowd


  30. - Red - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 1:46 pm:

    My bet is that Champaign Mayor Don Gerard will throw his hat in for the Dems.

    The DCCC came into Champaign late in the cycle, invested a whole bunch of money on the ground, but failed to get turnout as high as in 2008. Cox got 4,000 votes more than Gill in 2012. That being said, there were about 26,000 Republican votes that didn’t come in for Davis from Champaign County either…Republicans could hold on to this seat easily if they get their act together on the ground.

    No easy answer.


  31. - One of Three Puppets - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 1:49 pm:

    Gill goes 5 for 5!


  32. - Hyperbolic Chamber - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 2:23 pm:

    If Rodney Davis is extreme, how would Gill be characterized?

    Fact is, Davis fits the district very well. I predict Davis garners support from a whole lot of Dem-leaning groups (read: construction unions, for one) over next 2 years. Coupled with stated downturn in Dem turnout in offyear guarantees a Davis win.

    This DCCC talk of extremism before he castes a vote will only help force Davis more to the middle than he would have been anyway.

    For goodness sake, can’t we have any moderates anywhere anymore?


  33. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 2:33 pm:

    === an out-of-touch, extreme record ===

    Ah yes, based on his long history of legislation. HouseMajorityPAC #FAIL

    Not to mention the fact Davis won after having roughly 6 months to mount a campaign against three time candidate Dr. Gill and his substantial support from the DCCC during a Democratic year.

    Davis is smart and works hard. He also has 2 years and the advantages of incumbency to build name recognition.


  34. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 2:41 pm:

    Vanilla I grew up downstate and insult no one by recognizing a backlash against chicago dems exists downstate. where did I say voters in the 13th were stupidly enraged just because they may punish a generic dem congressman with a vote against or by staying home in protest of quinn and madigan and other illinois dems for the pension cuts and facility closures. The college kids and presidential voting indies could get dems this seat in presidential years but an off year candidate needs to tap into the blue collar dem electorate which can get just as mad at the chicago dem establishment as the gop. I’m thinking of the counties edwin freaking eisendrath won in the dem primary in 06.


  35. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 3:25 pm:

    Voter in the 13th understand that Chicago politics and state issues are not Federal Congressional ones. They are smarter than that. The good Doctor lost on national issues, not because downstaters don’t like Chicago. Geez.

    Do you still live downstate, or did you leave?


  36. - Yogi - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 4:03 pm:

    Rodney should win, but if Dems got Callis, she would be a candidate that could pose real challenges for Rodney’s re-elect.


  37. - Keyser Soze - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 4:42 pm:

    An “extreme record?” Davis is about as extreme as Beaver Cleaver.


  38. - Will - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 5:15 pm:

    “Ah yes, based on his long history of legislation. HouseMajorityPAC #FAIL”

    If Davis was serious about John Shimkus being his mentor then he’s too extreme for a moderate district. He limited his campaign appearances with Shimkus to Republican events for a good reason.

    Maybe Davis will get some help from the guy who gave him his start in politics, now that he’s released from prison.


  39. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 8:43 pm:

    Says the angry blogger who falsified stories about Davis’ work history.


  40. - Will - Thursday, Jan 31, 13 @ 11:20 pm:

    Anonymous, Davis never denied that Ryan gave him a leave of absence to run for office. It happened. And the campaign finance reports make it clear that Ryan’s political machine helped to fund Davis’ run for State Rep. I can point to specific misleading statements by Davis about this issue. Feel free to link anything specific at my blog that I’ve falsified.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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