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Nation: DCCC Fund Drive Puts Spotlight on Open Seats

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Tuesday e-mailed its supporters with a fundraising appeal in which it pledged to match every donation of $30 or more to help it fund the campaigns in the 29 districts where the incumbent Republican is retiring.

The fundraising appeal coincided with the release of a 22-page “Battleground Briefing” from DCCC Executive Director Brian Wolff. The briefing expressed wide optimism about the Democrats’ ability to pick up more House seats in November.

In the new fund drive, dubbed the “2008 Open to Change Campaign,” the DCCC is asking supporters to help it raise $300,000 by the end of February. The matching funds provided by the DCCC are being collected from Democratic House Members.

“The rash of Republican retirements presents a terrific opportunity to elect Democrats eager to change direction. Usually, we’re limited to a handful of such opportunities. This time we’ve got nearly 30 and we’re still counting,” DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) said in the e-mail. “But, we can only seize these new opportunities if we have the resources needed to support our candidates.”

Republicans suggested that Democrats were busy playing politics in an attempt to gloss over a Congressional record that is paper-thin.

“In just over a year, the Democrat-led Congress remains devoid of accomplishments, but have accumulated one of the lowest Congressional approval ratings in history,” said Ken Spain, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. “Instead of peddling more empty promises, Democrats might consider getting to work.”

On Monday, Rep. John Shadegg (Ariz.) became the 29th House Republican to announce he would not seek another term. Of those 29, one was appointed to the Senate, one was elected governor, two have decided to run for Senate, one is running for governor this year, two have resigned and 22 simply have decided to call it quits at the end of their term.

Only five House Democrats have chosen to retire, with three of those doing so because they are running for Senate.

“Democratic energy is running so high that Republicans are running for the hills,” Van Hollen said.
— David M. Drucker

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