Despite bad polls and a depressed political base, House Democrats have scored a remarkable victory already: Officials say they've recruited top-notch candidates for 60 key House races three months ahead of schedule.
Needing 25 seats to take back control lost to Republicans in 2010, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had hoped to find enough candidates by the end of the year, believing that the odds would be with them if they ran strong candidates in 60 districts where either President Obama did well in 2008 or where a Democrat has last held the seat. The DCCC calls its effort the "Drive to 25."
But what happened took them by surprise. Not only did candidates sign up earlier than expected, but many came with impressive stories and resumes showing jobs as mayors, astronauts, generals, and prosecutors. [Check out our roundup of this month's political cartoons.]
"With the wind now at our backs, we have strong Democratic candidates running in 60 Republican and open districts across the country, putting twice as many seats in play as Democrats need to take the House," said DCCC Chairman Steve Israel.
The surge in candidates came in the past three to six months when polls started to shift in the Democrat's favor. A new Reuters/Ipsos poll gives House Democrats an eight-point advantage, 48-40, and an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows voters prefer Democrats 45 percent to 41 percent.
"We're seeing a lot of interest and energy," said a Democratic official. [Check out our editorial cartoons on President Obama.]
Israel in a statement said that the change is due to voter concerns about the direction of the House Republican majority. "Buyer's remorse has set in with independent voters across the country who are rejecting the Republican agenda that ends Medicare and fails to create jobs while protecting special interests and the ultra wealthy at the expense of the middle class and seniors," he said. [Read about how Jimmy Carter think Obama leaves too much to Congress.]
Still, it's an uphill battle in a political climate where Obama suffers from a low job approval rating and only 58 percent of Democrats think he will be reelected.
Follow this link to see all of the new Democratic candidates.