DCCC chairman's memo to members: 'We're ahead of schedule'

"Back in February, I wrote to you that we started the 2014 cycle in a better position than 2012. I can now tell you we're taking full advantage of our strengths, exploiting Republican weaknesses, and that House Democrats are firing on all cylinders as we enter the second quarter of 2013," Israel says in the memo, which was sent to members of the House Democratic caucus. "We are ahead-of-schedule on recruitment, ahead-of-expectations on fundraising, and ahead-of-the-curve on defining the Republican Congress."

The chairman says the DCCC has 13 announced candidates — more than the five they had at this point in 2012 — and seven more "who have committed but not set announcement dates."

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The DCCC is off to a strong fundraising start, and Israel specifically mentions internal contributions from members totaling $4.2 million as helping them on that front. He also argues that redistricting, which hurt Democrats' chances at picking up House seats because the GOP got to draw the map in many states, won't have a major impact on the fight for House control.

The chairman predicts Democrats will "gain seats" — though he notably stops short of predicting a Democratic House takeover.

"House Democrats have begun 2013 ahead by every measure — money, polling, candidate recruitment — and are poised for gains next November," he concludes.

The National Republican Congressional Committee pushed back against the memo's contents, highlighting a few Democratic recruits that have decided against running.

"With Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi campaigning as the Democrats' national ticket in 2014, it's no wonder Democrat recruits are dropping out of races left and right. These Democrat candidates are as fearful of the Obama-Pelosi agenda as American families and seniors are," said NRCC spokesman Daniel Scarpinato.

This post was last updated at 10:20 a.m.