Lawmakers pulled from campaign trail

For members occupying vulnerable congressional districts, Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) call to return to Washington next week is likely unwelcome news. 

Right now, most members facing a challenge are focused on holding campaign events, townhalls and fundraisers as the fall campaign heats up. 

The interruption in August recess in order to tackle a $26 billion state aid package is something one Democratic consultant called "a logistical nightmare" for members who will now have to cancel a slew of campaign and other events to make it back to D.C.    

The members who stand to be impacted most are Democrats in tossup races who are trying to make the most of the August break with voter face time. Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.), a leading GOP target, had more than 20 townhalls planned across his district for the recess.     

"Congress being called back into session hurts all incumbents, regardless of party and helps all challengers," said Republican pollster Chris Wilson. "Voters want to hear from their elected representatives right now, and meetings have been scheduled for weeks. For every meeting that is canceled you have an angry voter, or group of voters, and that certainly isn't helpful in an already tumultuous anti-incumbent environment."

For Republicans, the return of Congress is a messaging opportunity. The party is already hitting Democrats for rushing back to Washington to "spend more taxpayer money."

"Democrats will come up with any excuse to avoid confronting their constituents," said NRCC spokesman Paul Lindsay. "Like an addict needing a fix, they couldn't be away from Washington for more than a week without having to come back and spend more taxpayer money that does nothing to create private-sector jobs."   

While Democratic pollster John Anzalone, who's polling for a handful of House Democrats facing tough challenges this fall, admits the return to D.C. "messes up schedules and logistics," he said it offers an equally good messaging opportunity for Democrats. 

"They're coming back to save more jobs. Let the Republicans sit across the aisle and continue to vote 'no' just like they have been," Anzalone said. "Although [Democrats] probably wish they had been called back to Washington last August."