Meet the House Republicans the NRCC Wants to Help Most

by Jim Geraghty

Today’s Morning Jolt features… (sigh) yes, some Bob Filner and Carlos Danger Anthony Weiner revelations and reaction, but also an eye on the upcoming lower-ticket campaigns that might not get nearly as much attention…

Looking at the House Races and Even Lower on the Ticket…

You can always tell which incumbents a national party committee thinks are most vulnerable by who they tout the most. The NRCC has the “Patriot Program,” which lists 20 incumbents who… well, I’ll let the NRCC describe it: “a goal-oriented program helps Members stay on offense and fully prepare for their re-election campaigns. Through a number of Member-based communications, fundraising and strategy goals established at the beginning of the cycle, the program helps to ensure that its members are ready to run well-funded and organized campaigns against their Democratic opponents.”

The current lineup: Reps. Dan Benishek (Mich.), Gary Miller (Calif.) Michael Grimm (N.Y.), Bill Johnson (Ohio), Tom Latham (Iowa), Tom Reed (N.Y.), Scott Rigell (Va.), Keith Rothfus (R-Pa.) Lee Terry (R-Neb.) Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), Steve Southerland (Fla.) Rodney Davis (Ill.) Jeff Denham (Calif.), Mike Fitzpatrick (Pa.) Bob Gibbs (Ohio), Chris Gibson (N.Y.), Joe Heck (Nev.), David Joyce (Ohio), David Valadao (Calif.) and Jackie Walorski (Ind.). Not too many surprises there; most of those districts were either carried by Obama or represented by a Democrat until recently.

Meanwhile, the NRCC notices that the South Florida real estate market is so hot, at least one Democratic Congressman hasn’t been able to move into his district.

It has been almost a year since Joe Garcia told The Miami Herald’s editorial board that he’d move into the new Key West-to-Miami-Dade Congressional District 26 if he won.

Garcia won. But he hasn’t yet moved. His office said the freshman Democrat is in the process of getting a place.

Maybe he’s just waiting for prices to come down.

Meanwhile, Democrats are beginning to realize that having a pop-culturally-dominant messiah at the top of the ticket, but paying less attention down-ticket, has big consequences:

Barack Obama has spent well over $1 billion on his political campaigns, but it’s the $20 million to $30 million Democrats didn’t shell out three years ago that is costing the White House as he slogs through the first six months of his second term.

The GOP’s wildly successful, low-key and stunningly cheap campaign to seize state capitals in 2010 has come back to haunt Obama and his fellow Democrats. It’s now clear that the party’s loss of 20 state legislative chambers and critical Midwestern governorships represents an ongoing threat every bit as dangerous as the more publicized Republican takeback of the House that same year.

There was no stopping the GOP wave that year — but strategists in both parties say Obama’s team might have blunted it if they had somehow managed to cut into the GOP’s cash advantage — $30 million to the Democrats’ $10 million — in statehouse races by making campaigns at the very bottom of the ballot a priority.

Eh. Obama has always been very skilled at persuading voters to believe in him. They’re not so persuaded when he touts Jon Corzine, Martha Coakley, Creigh Deeds, or most of the 2010 Democrats…

The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.