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House Dems Tout Recruits to Caucus

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel penned a Thursday memo to the caucus boasting about their edge in recruitment and fundraising for 2014.

According to a copy of the memo obtained by CQ Roll Call, the New York Democrat outlines section-by-section how, in his view, House Democrats are on track to make gains in 2014.

“We are ahead-of-schedule on recruitment, ahead-of-expectations on fundraising, and ahead-of-the-curve on defining the Republican Congress,” Israel wrote of his second cycle leading the DCCC.

In early April, a handful of Democratic challengers jumped into races across the country. March proved to be a historically successful fundraising month for the committee.

The DCCC’s financial advantage at this point in the cycle cannot be disputed. But National Republican Congressional Committee aides scoff at the Democrats’ strategy to tout recruits so early in the cycle.

Republicans argue that the early push gives them ample opportunity for researching these candidates. An NRCC spokesman mocked the memo, noting recruits who had withdrawn from their races already.

But getting into House races early also allows a candidate to get a jump on fundraising and organization. In the memo, Israel added that more “top-tier” candidates are expected to announce soon.

Of those candidates who have announced bids, Israel notes each recruit in bullet points, along with positive local press.

Interestingly, Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar is among those listed. He is challenging Republican Rep. Gary G. Miller in California’s 31st. But Democratic former Rep. Joe Baca recently announced his intent to run against Aguilar in that primary as well. Baca’s name did not appear in the memo.

But this was about the big picture and Israel is bullish on 2014.

“House Democrats have begun 2013 ahead by every measure — money, polling, candidate recruitment — and are poised for gains next November,” Israel concluded.

Such diction is an example of how Israel has shied away this cycle from predicting that Democrats would win control of the House.

In a section analyzing Cook Political Report data, Israel wrote, “To retake the majority, Democrats need 17 seats, which is the exact number of Republicans currently sitting in seats that President Obama won in 2012.”

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