Rep. Steve Israel, the new chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Sunday morning that he is optimistic about House Democrats’ chances at gaining seats in 2012.
“The Republicans are at their historic high tide,” the New York lawmaker said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “This has only happened four times in history have they reached the numbers that they have now. Each time they suffered an average 48-seat loss in the next cycle. Why? Buyer’s remorse. And I think that will happen again.”
“There’s no question it’s an uphill battle. I love uphill battles,” Israel said. “And let me give the landscape. We need 25 seats to take the House back.”
The DCCC chairman said there are at least 61 Republican seats that he has his eye on in 2012, all of which were won by President Barack Obama in 2008. And 14 of those districts were won by both Obama in 2008 and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in 2004.
Israel did not mention that redistricting this year will complicate that math by reshaping the map in many battleground states.
Rep. Jason Altmire said on CNN that Democrats need to consider the results of the 2010 elections and be aware of the majority’s ability to go too far in the 112th Congress.
“We have to look at the world as it is,” the Pennsylvania Democrat said. “The Republicans have retaken control of the House, and there is certainly a threat that they may overreach and make the same mistakes that previous leaderships have made, both Republican and Democrat.”
Israel pointed to Republican leadership, calling it an early sign of the opposing party’s hypocrisy.
“Let’s talk about some of the people they’ve put in charge over the next two years. You can talk about our leadership, but let’s talk about their leadership,” he said. “They talk about cutting spending. Who did they appoint as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee? A Congressman who is known widely on Capitol Hill as the prince of pork. Who did they appoint as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee? A Congressman who said the job of Congress is not to regulate banks, but to serve banks.”
Democrats hope they’ll also have momentum in the presidential race. Earlier in the same show Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine said he doesn’t think it’s likely Obama will get a serious primary challenge during the 2012 election cycle.
“You know, could somebody throw in their name? And, yes, it’s possible. But I think the likelihood of any serious challenge to the president is virtually nil,” Kaine said. “And I think the president’s strong performance and especially the three major accomplishments at the end of the year make it even smaller.”