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DCCC Blasts GOP ‘Reruns’

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has a name for any former Republican Congressman looking to reclaim his seat next year — “rerun.”

Today the DCCC will launch a feature on its Web site called “Republican Reruns” that uses much of the same ammunition that helped topple GOP incumbents in November.

The first five former Members selected for derision on the new Web site are ex-Reps. Jeb Bradley (N.H.), Jim Ryun (Kan.), Mike Sodrel (Ind.), Michael Fitzpatrick (Pa.) and Rob Simmons (Conn.).

Ryun already has declared his intention to run again, while Bradley openly has expressed an interest in another try. The other three are said to be weighing rematches with the Democrats who ousted them from office last year.

The new Web feature is part of a broader DCCC campaign to discredit the ex-Members and the notion that national Republicans can do nothing better than offer up candidates whom voters rejected in the previous cycle.

“Americans clearly want more change and the Republican answer is to put up the people who were thrown out last time,” said DCCC spokeswoman Jennifer Crider. “Their answer is more of the same. The American people spoke loudly and clearly that they wanted a change in the direction of the country and the Republicans haven’t gotten the message.”

On the Web site, each former lawmaker is pictured in black and white on the screen of a 1950s-era TV set. Individual sections are laden with references to President Bush, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and rubber stamps.

Democrats used Bush’s low poll ratings, the Iraq War and the fact that Republicans controlled both Capitol Hill and the White House to great effect last year.

“The Republican culture of corruption and Jim Ryun are nearly impossible to separate,” the Web site reads, echoing the DCCC’s 2006 news releases. “Ryun … took thousands of dollars from DeLay and returned the favor by contributing to DeLay’s legal defense fund, and voting to weaken ethics rules to protect DeLay.”

But just as the DCCC is blasting Republicans for recycling old material, the National Republican Congressional Committee wasted no time accusing the DCCC of dredging up stale rhetoric.

“With the records that their freshmen are already amassing in a Pelosi-Murtha-led Congress, it’s not surprising that the DCCC’s strategy is to rerun last cycle’s issues in an effort to distract voters from the Democrats’ current laundry list of broken campaign promises,” said NRCC spokeswoman Jessica Boulanger.

Ryun, who saw now-Rep. Nancy Boyda (D-Kan.) pull off one of the biggest upsets of the 2006 cycle, may be the only former Republican Member to declare his candidacy so far — but he may not get to a rematch without first facing a primary fight with state Treasurer Lynn Jenkins or another Republican.

Meanwhile, Simmons, who lost to now-Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) by fewer than 100 votes, looked like another definite return candidate until Gov. Jodi Rell (R) nominated Simmons for the newly created position of state business advocate on Monday.

Many pundits took the appointment as a signal that Simmons would not try to win back the 2nd district seat he represented for six years, but Democrats say the patronage job in no way prohibits him from running again. “We’re not taking him off the list,” Crider said.

The DCCC dubbed Sodrel the biggest rerun of all, noting that if he challenges Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.) again, it would be the fourth straight matchup between the pair.

“Mike Sodrel is planning to become a four-time Republican re-run,” his “biography” reads. “Sodrel spent his first and only term in Washington voting to rubber stamp the Bush Administration on Iraq, weakening ethics rules to protect Tom DeLay … Haven’t we had enough of Mike Sodrel?”

The DCCC will feature more “reruns” as circumstances warrant, Crider said. Other Republicans who lost in 2006, including ex-Reps. Richard Pombo (Calif.), John Sweeney (N.Y.) and Charles Taylor (N.C.), are said to be at least thinking of trying to run again this cycle.

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