The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

National News

March 21, 2014

Democrats see openings in congressional departures



The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is firmly behind Foust. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., will venture to McLean on Wednesday for a fundraiser.

Republicans will select their nominee on April 26 from six candidates, with the GOP establishment preferring Wolf's former aide, state delegate Barbara Comstock. She faces a challenge from a strong conservative, fellow state delegate Bob Marshall, who has represented several counties in the district since 1991.

The selection will take place through a "firehouse primary," in which the party will run its own election at polling sites it designates throughout the district.

The question in November is whether the government shutdown will still resonate with voters in the Virginia district or be a distant memory, overtaken by dissatisfaction with Obama and frustration with the health care law.

The numbers are daunting. In the November 2010 midterms, Republicans delivered what Obama called a "shellacking," netting 63 seats in the House while gaining six in the Senate. In March of that year, the president's approval rating was 53 percent before sliding to 47 percent in November, according to Associated Press-GfK polling.

Surveys this month put Obama in the low 40s.

"Polls numbers are not where we would want them to be, but Republican congressional poll numbers are at an historic low and a fraction of where the president is. So everything is relative," said Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Republicans hold a 233-199 advantage in the House, with three vacancies.

Pelosi insisted on Thursday that the 4-year-old health care law would be a political winner for the party in the fall. Republicans, who point to higher premiums and canceled policies, are certain it will cost Democrats House seats and possibly the Senate.

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