Campaign 2010

May 28, 2004

New Majority


House Democrats do not usually like to talk about 1994, the year of their exile into the minority. It has been a bad memory, best left undisturbed.


But in a changing political climate, some Democrats are now taking a new look at their least favorite year and finding some heartening parallels with the current one. Democratic leaders say they believe they are poised to reverse the surprise Republican takeover of 1994, particularly if a continuing slip in public support for President Bush puts a breeze at their back.


“If that wind comes,” said Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the House Democratic whip, “we are much, much better positioned than the Republicans were in 1994 to take the seats that we need to take back control.”


Mr. Hoyer argues that Democrats have more top candidates than the Republicans did in 1994, and need to gain fewer seats: 12, as against 38. He also says his party’s contenders are in a much better financial position than those ascendant Republicans were.


Further, Mr. Hoyer and other Democrats see in public opinion surveys the beginnings of a growing sentiment for change, the very thing that helped do in the Democrats and make Newt Gingrich speaker of the House.


“We are in a strong position to capitalize on that,” said Kori Bernards, communications director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.



Ms. Bernards, the spokeswoman for the House Democratic campaign group, said Democrats accepted that not everyone was convinced of the party’s threat to the majority. They say they intend to prove it, however, in November.

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