With the swearing-in yesterday of Republican Rep. Tom Graves of Georgia, Democrats now hold a 255-178 majority in the House. And with a large majority comes the necessity to play more defense than offense, and that’s exactly what Democrats are doing in 2010. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee‘s Red-to-Blue program, inherently centered on playing offense, this strategy proved successful four years ago under the leadership of then-Chairman Rahm Emanuel as an effort to highlight the top Democratic candidates in the country and help them raise money.Â This year, thanks to a large number of retirements in moderate districts, nearly 40 percent of the candidates in the program are running in districts left vacant by a Democratic incumbent. That includes seven of the 11 candidates whom the DCCC enrolled in the program on Monday.Â Overall, 10 of the 26 candidates in the program are from Democrat-held districts. Five of the 26 are running in open Republican seats, and 11 are challenging a Republican incumbent.
Polling shows a distinct anti-Washington mood among voters across the country, and handicappers have warned of the possibility of Republicans retaking the House. However, while an increasing number of retirements usually signal a bad climate for the majority party — and that’s certainly what 2010 is for Democrats — in this volatile midterm election cycle some Democrats may have an advantage over the retiring Democratic incumbent: They can run against Washington just as much as their Republican opponent.