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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has tapped four of its own to lead its challenger efforts in the 2010 cycle, which is expected to be a tough one for the party.

The DCCC announced that Reps. Bruce Braley (Iowa), Donna Edwards (Md.) Patrick Murphy (Pa.) and Allyson Schwartz (Pa.) will co-chair the “Red to Blue” program, which aims to target open seats and those currently held by Republican Members.

“The DCCC is focused on not only protecting our threatened incumbents, but also staying aggressively on offense,” DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) said

Van Hollen also announced that DCCC Vice Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) and Recruitment Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) will head up efforts on behalf of Democratic incumbents who are not in the DCCC’s “Frontline” program, which aims to aid the party’s most vulnerable Members.

Vulnerable Democrats Targeted in Big Ad Buy

The conservative advocacy group American Future Fund is dropping $900,000 on a round of television and radio ads urging centrist Democrats to start over on the health care bill.

The ad buy comes on the heels of a $500,000 round of advertising that the group ran during the runup to the White House health care summit two weeks ago.

The message in the two ads is similar: that the Democrats’ health care legislation amounts to “massive spending, backroom deals … $500 billion in Medicare cuts, crushing burdens on small businesses.”

The 30-second TV spots began airing in 18 districts Monday, and a 60-second radio spot was scheduled to begin today.

The spots are aimed at 18 House Democrats, 14 of whom face general elections rated as competitive: Reps. Michael Arcuri (N.Y.), Christopher Carney (Pa.), Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Steve Driehaus (Ohio), Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.), Baron Hill (Ind.), Steve Kagen (Wis.), Ann Kirkpatrick (Ariz.), Harry Mitchell (Ariz.), Alan Mollohan (W.Va.), Earl Pomeroy (N.D.), Betty Sutton (Ohio) and Dina Titus (Nev.).

The ads also target four Democratic incumbents in less competitive races: Reps. Brad Ellsworth (Ind.), Bob Etheridge (N.C.), Nick Rahall (W.Va.) and Charlie Wilson (Ohio).

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