House races

House races

Democrats see opportunity in repeal debate

As the floor debate over healthcare repeal gets under way in the House on Tuesday, many Democrats see it as an opportunity to re-pitch the law's more popular components. 

Ahead of another campaign cycle where "yes" votes on healthcare are likely to haunt the campaigns of some Democrats in the House and Senate, expect Democrats to try and use the coming debate as a chance to correct the messaging that fell flat on its face two years ago.  

"Our biggest failure was that we passed a fairly moderate bill, but we allowed it to be painted as this crazy liberal monstrosity," said Democratic pollster Stefan Hankin. "So we completely lost the moderation, and I think that's what we have the opportunity to get back in this debate."  

Hankin said Democrats should refocus on parts of the law that polling shows broader support for, including coverage of pre-existing conditions. 

"We had way too much focus on the 30 million people who are uninsured," he said. "While that's important and people care about that, what you really need to show people is what this bill does for them." 

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Rep. Donnelly says redistricting has him thinking about 2012 plans

Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), one of the few centrist Democrats who survived last November's midterm elections, said Thursday that redistricting might very well change his 2012 plans.

Donnelly suggested a run for governor in 2012 might be a more attractive option should his congressional district be redrawn to include more Republican territory, according to the AP.  

Republicans control the Indiana state legislature and will largely control this year's redraw. Even though the size of the state's congressional delegation will remain unchanged, Republicans will likely look to make marginally Republican districts safer bets for the party.

That, along with the likelihood that Donnelly would once again be a top GOP target in 2012, could have him leaning toward a statewide run. 

Donnelly held off Republican Jackie Walorski to keep his seat in 2010 and was likely aided by the presence of a Libertarian candidate on the ballot who garnered about 5 percent of the vote.  

Democrats in the state have been looking for a top-tier candidate to run for governor in 2012 after former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) passed on the race. Former Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.) also said he wouldn't get in the race to succeed Gov. Mitch Daniels (R). 

Among Republicans, many observers think Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) is more likely than not to jump in the race for governor now that Bayh is out. Pence is also a rumored Republican presidential hopeful in 2012 and is expected to make a final decision on his plans as early as the end of the month.  

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Ex-Reps. Stupak and Inglis to join Harvard

Former Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak (D) and former South Carolina Rep. Bob Inglis (R) are set to reunite after leaving Congress in January.

The nine-term Democrat and six-term Republican will join Harvard University's Institute of Politics as resident fellows this spring.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the former members will be among a half-dozen fellows who meet with students, participate in activities with the university community and lead weekly study groups.

Stupak announced his retirement in April 2010 after playing a central role in the healthcare reform debate. His socially conservative district was subsequently won by Republican Dan Benishek.

Inglis was defeated in a primary by Trey Gowdy after telling his constituents to "turn Glenn Beck off." He subsequently emerged as a prominent critic of the GOP.

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Colorado Dem rethinks some public events after Arizona shooting

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) is mulling whether or not he should continue with a series of public meetings billed as "Government in the Grocery" events. 

In light of Saturday's shooting in Arizona that killed six people and left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in critical condition after being shot in the head, a spokeswoman for Perlmutter said the congressman is weighing changes to the constituent meetings he has held in grocery stores in his district since 2006. 

"We are going to be talking with law enforcement, with grocery stores in our district and with our staff just to evaluate the program in the coming days and determine how to move forward," Perlmutter spokeswoman Leslie Oliver told Colorado's KUNC Radio

Oliver said it has yet to be decided whether two upcoming "Government in the Grocery" events will take place.

Saturday's shooting occurred outside a Safeway in Tucson at an event billed by Giffords as "Congress on Your Corner."

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Georgia Democrat hints at House grudge match

Georgia Democrat Jim Marshall left the door open to a return to politics when thanking supporters in Macon Thursday.

The former four-term congressman lost his seat to Republican Austin Scott in a surprise upset in November.

Having left Congress, Marshall is set to teach a course on national security at Princeton University, but noted he's still looking for other ways to serve.

"I don't plan on stopping my service, but I don't know what that service will be," he told some 200 supporters who turned out for the event. 

Marshall said he hasn't analyzed his loss to Scott and is instead focusing on his future.

"It's sort of wide open," said Marshall, according to the Macon Telegraph. "I don’t know if I will or I won't run again — I won't preclude it. (After losing) I didn't go through a lot of what-ifs. It was just the national mood and the local mood. I'm just moving on from here."

Marshall lost to Scott by six points in November. In past cycles, the Democrat had defeated his opponents by double-digit margins.

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