Ron Paul isn't leaving the presidential race but he is leaving the House of Representatives—and Democrats have their sights on his House seat, which they view as "winnable," the party's House campaign chief said.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel expressed cautious optimism about the party's chances of snagging the Paul seat from the GOP. Paul could go from being a thorn in presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney's side to one in wants-to-be-returning House Speaker John Boehner's.
Democrats will have former Rep. Nick Lampson running in Paul's district in November. "Nick Lampson—talk about battle tested and tenacious, and so tenacious and so relentless he won't even take 'yes' for an answer? That would be Nick Lampson," Israel said to reporters at a press breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. "I think that the fact that you have Nick Lamspon running in that district makes it winnable."
Democrats' odds of actually scoring the Paul seat are long but not impossible. The Cook Political Report rates the seat as being "Likely Republican," with the district having a +9 Republican lean. It would be a stretch for them to flip Paul's seat.
He was even more bullish about Texas more broadly. "I think it's safe to say that we pick up two seats with redistricting in Texas," he said. "Texas got four seats. Conservatively [Republicans] get two, we get two. I think with the right atmospherics we could get three."