Israel joined a chorus of Democrats pushing the message that they stand a solid chance to flip the 25 seats they need to boot Republicans from the majority in 2012. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that Democrats “had definitely put the House in play.” And the DCCC announced that starting on Monday, it will air radio ads targeting incumbent Republicans in 25 districts across the country.
“We have gone for gale-force winds against us to a breeze at our backs,” Israel said.
While Democrats point to a series of recent polls that all show Democrats beating Republicans in generic ballot polling for congressional races, there are a host of other factors working in Republicans’ favor.
“The president's numbers need to improve, but the House Republicans’ numbers are toxic. Radioactive,” Israel said.
Israel also pointed the finger at conservative outside spending groups such as Americans for Prosperity and American Crossroads, both of which bankrolled many attacks on Democrats in 2010.
“We did not lose the 2010 election to Republicans. We lost it to the Koch brothers and Karl Rove,” he said.
That line of attack could play directly into the hands of Republicans, who argue that Obama and congressional Democrats were oblivious to the message voters sent them in 2010 about the direction they were taking the country. It also creates an opportunity for Republicans to accuse Democrats of being hypocritical, because Democratic PACs and outside groups are stepping up their game for 2012 after being heavily outspent in 2010.
Summing up his advice to Democratic House contenders for this cycle, Israel said candidates need to “run like a mayor," focusing on how they would solve voters’ problems instead of ideological issues.
“There is a strong anti-incumbent mood in this country. People want problem-solvers,” he said.
Israel also called Friday for Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) to be impeached over her move to unseat the independent chairwoman of Arizona’s redistricting panel.