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House Dems campaign arm signals early '18 targets

House Dems campaign arm signals early '18 targets
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House Democrats outlined their early strategy for the 2018 midterm elections in a Monday memo, targeting 59 seats as they seek to rebuild a party that suffered significant losses two months ago.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) memo sees the organization focusing on dozens of Republican seats that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden prepares to confront Putin Ending the same-sex marriage wars Trump asks Biden to give Putin his 'warmest regards' MORE won, as well as another slate of GOP-held seats that President Trump only narrowly carried.

Democrats had predicted dozens of pick-up opportunities in the 2016 election, but they only managed to flip six House seats while Republicans maintained control of both chambers and gained the White House.

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In its memo, the DCCC tries to cast the party as being on the offensive in 2018 with an eye towards regaining a House majority. Midterm elections have historically seen the party of the incumbent president lose House seats during the first two years in office.

“The DCCC has and will continue to harness this organic energy on the ground, through unprecedented grassroots engagement and digital fundraising, aggressive earned and paid-media accountability, and recruiting in a smart, expanded battlefield that takes lessons from the previous election,” the memo reads.

The memo also notes Trump’s unpopularity, pointing to protests in the wake of his inauguration and blowback from his recent executive order temporarily halting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries and an indefinite pause on Syrian refugees entering the country. A recent poll found he had a historically low approval rating from his first few days in office.

The DCCC’s early target list includes traditional swing districts like GOP Reps. Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Bruce Poliquin (Maine), Mike Coffman (Colo.), Will Hurd (Texas) and Rob Blum (Iowa).

Other Democratic targets include freshman lawmakers like GOP Reps. Brian Mast (Fla.), Jason Lewis (Minn.), Claudia Tenney (NY) and Don Bacon (Neb.).

The DCCC also singles out two Republican seats that are likely to lose their incumbents: GOP Rep. Tom Price’s Georgia seat, which will be available if he’s confirmed to be Trump’s Health and Human Services secretary, and GOP Rep. Lynn Jenkins’s Kansas seat, with Jenkins saying that she will retire at the end of her term.

Trump carried both of those states, but he won Price’s district by only 1 percentage point.

The Democrats’ GOP counterpart was quick to push back on the new memo, calling the DCCC strategy “full of recycled talking points and wishful thinking.”

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) points out that 11 of the 15 House GOP freshman Democrats targeted as “one term wonders” by the DCCC in 2016 survived their reelection bids.

“Doubling down on the same failed policy proposals and tactics that led to the erosion of Democratic officeholders nationwide is a surefire way to fail once again,” NRCC spokesman Jesse Hunt said in a statement.