Campaign 2010

Nov 07, 2012

Reversing The Tea Party Wave

House Democrats succeeded last night in rolling back the Tea Party wave of 2010, winning at least 25 Republican held or newly created seats – taking the Democrats to 200 caucus members or more.

Democratic incumbents defeated much hyped Republican challengers like Mia Love (UT-04), Richard Tisei (MA-06), Ricky Gill (CA-09) while Democratic challengers defeated Tea Party Republicans like Allen West (FL-18), Joe Walsh (IL-08), Nan Hayworth (NY-18) and even Mary Bono Mack (CA-36), among others.  

House Democrats are back and the Tea Party is over. In fact, Democrats defeated 16 Republican incumbents last night - more than the 14 defeated in 2008.

House Democrats outperformed expectations. As the Cook Report’s David Wasserman wrote this morning, last night was “Better than expected night for House Dems.”

Rothenberg Report Rankings: We won 14 of the 18 toss up races, 8 of the 9 races ranked Toss Up/Tilt Democrat and 5 of 13 Toss Up/Tilt Republican.

Cook Report Rankings: We won 20 of the 29 Toss Up races.

No party with a lead of less than one (1) point in the generic ballot has netted more than 5 seats in the last 20 years.

In 1996, President Bill Clinton was re-elected and Democrats eked out a popular vote margin, but failed to win a majority – picking up only two (2) seats.

In 2004, a sitting President was re-elected narrowly while Republicans had no real advantage in the generic ballot, leading to a 3 seat gain.

Republicans stated goal was to do in 2012 what Democrats did in 2008: make major net gains, as many as 16, after a wave election took them to power. And they’ve failed.

NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions: “I’ve been saying for quite some time, publicly, plus 16. We’re going to pick up seats across this country.” [Bloomberg, 12/16/11]

Speaker John Boehner: “My goal is to gain seats.” [Yahoo News, 8/27/12]

What’s worse for Republicans, many of the Democratic gains in this election will not be competitive in years to come; they are enduring Democratic gains. [ex. IL-10, IL-11, FL-22, NY-24, etc.]

On everything within the DCCC’s control, we succeeded: we outraised the NRCC by more than $16 million despite being in the minority, we recruited a wide field of more than 50 Red-to-Blue candidates, we stayed competitive on the air despite being outspent, and we mobilized an historic ground game, especially in “orphan” states.

Fundraising: We have outraised the NRCC by $16.2 million ($151.9 million to $135.7 million), despite being in the minority.

More than one million grassroots low-dollar contributors.

Average grassroots gift was $35 with 90% of donations of $50 or less.

Recruitment: The DCCC had a strong recruiting class that was our most diverse ever. The Hotline described this recruiting class as the strongest since 2006.

On the Air: The DCCC’s Independent Expenditure invested more than $56.8 million in 49 districts and the DCCC raised nearly $8 million directly for candidates this cycle to compete with SuperPAC spending by helping candidates who get the lowest unit rates for television.

On the Ground: We have more than 910 field staff members in 63 districts across 26 states. Overall our volunteers have knocked more than 5 million doors and called more than 19 million voters.

Republicans pushed the panic button and outside money flowed in. As Republicans saw their losses mounting and the Tea Party Republicans in trouble, they began spending big to save them.

Americans for Tax Reform: $14.3 M

American Action Network: $11.7 M

Crossroads GPS: $9.6 M

Congressional Leadership Fund: $9.5 M

US Chamber of Commerce: $8.2 M

YG Network: $8.7 M

Freedomworks: $5.3 M

In addition, redistricting is not over. By court order, Texas and Florida’s final maps will be drawn in 2013 and each should result in additional Democratic seats.