Boswell's opponent shouldn't count on help from the NRCC

Josh Kraushaar reported for the Politico on Friday that the “National Republican Congressional Committee is getting clobbered by their Democratic counterparts on the fundraising front”:

The DCCC raised $3.65 million for the month, and ended November with $15.35 million cash-on-hand. It still holds $2.66 million in debt from last election cycle.

The NRCC only raised $2.34 million in November, and spent $2.16 million, hardly adding to their overall cash total. The committee now has $4.35 million in its account, while still owing $2 million in debt.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Democrats lose 20 to 30 House seats nationally next year. That said, if the NRCC can’t build up a decent war chest now, with unemployment high and support for health care reform sinking, they may not be able to convert favorable conditions into a huge wave. NRCC officials have talked about targeting dozens of seats, but they’re a long way from having the money to fund that many challengers.

The five Republicans competing in a primary to face seven-term incumbent Leonard Boswell should assume that they won’t get much help from the NRCC during the general election campaign. Iowa’s third Congressional district is not among the most vulnerable Democratic-held House seats. That’s not to say Boswell couldn’t lose, especially if Iowa’s employment market remains weak throughout next year. But I agree with David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report, who told the Des Moines Register, “I think it’s fair to say if Democrats are losing any of their seats in Iowa next year, they’ll be suffering large losses across the country.”

If Boswell looks like he is in trouble next year, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will certainly spend money on his behalf. Boswell is in the DCCC’s Frontline program.

Speaking of the GOP primary in IA-03, I got a kick out of Dave Funk criticizing Boswell for securing $750,000 in federal funds for the renovation of the former Des Moines Public Library building (which is now owned by the World Food Prize Foundation). Somehow I doubt third district voters will be outraged that Boswell obtained some federal help for this $30 million project in downtown Des Moines.

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DCCC keeps Boswell in Frontline Program

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced that 40 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives will be in the “Frontline Program,” which seeks to protect incumbents in potentially vulnerable districts. Once again, Leonard Boswell of Iowa’s third district will be a Frontline Democrat. Here’s what the designation means:

The Frontline Program is a partnership between the DCCC and Members which lays the ground work for the 2010 cycle by supporting and expanding their fundraising and outreach operations. Frontline Members must sign a memorandum of understanding, strengthened this cycle to reflect the challenging political environment, that requires Members to meet aggressive fundraising goals, accelerate volunteer and recruitment efforts, and increase their online networking.

The DCCC’s Frontline Program is a proven success. Frontline Members and the DCCC did its work effectively and early in the 2008 cycle.  As a result, the DCCC’s independent expenditure campaign made a significant investment in only 10 of 34 Frontline districts – approximately 15 percent of the IE’s budget.

I’ve put the DCCC’s press release after the jump. Most of the others named to the Frontline list appear to be in more vulnerable districts than Boswell. Republicans targeted Boswell during his first five re-election campaigns but did not make a serious challenge in IA-03 in 2008. Boswell defeated Kim Schmett by 56 percent to 42 percent in November.

Here’s an interesting fact from the DCCC’s statement, which underscores how the Republican Party has become increasingly uncompetitive in large parts of the country:

There are 83 Democrats in districts that President [George] Bush won in 2004, while there are only six (6) Republicans in seats that Senator [John] Kerry won.

Presumably a significant number of those 83 districts swung to Barack Obama in the 2008 election, as Iowa’s third district did. But the final presidential election results by Congressional district have not been calculated everywhere in the country.

I would be very surprised if the DCCC had to spend resources defending Boswell in the next election. Many House Democrats are in a more precarious position. Unfortunately, the irony is that re-electing Boswell in 2010 could make IA-03 a very tough hold for Democrats in 2012.

The DCCC is staying on offense as well, launching robocalls this week in the districts of 12 potentially vulnerable House Republicans. A few weeks ago the DCCC ran radio ads in 28 Republican-held House districts, including Iowa’s fourth district. Tom Latham is not being targeted in the current robocall effort, however. It’s just as well, since IA-04 does not appear to be among the top Democratic pickup opportunities for the next cycle.

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