Democrats Optimistic on Midwest House Seats
Ohio and Indiana Democrats are looking to pick up more House seats from the two states in 2008.
While Democrats across the country generally are playing defense, having picked up 30 congressional seats in 2006, in these two states they feel as if they missed some opportunities.
In the Buckeye State, state party chair Chris Redfern says: "If the election were held today, we'd pick up three additional congressional seats." Atop their list of targets, Democrats are looking at seats held by Reps. Deborah Pryce (who narrowly beat Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy in the fall), Steve Chabot, and Ralph Regula (first elected in 1972). In the second tier of targets, Redfern says the Democrats are looking at seats held by Reps. Jean Schmidt, Pat Tiberi, and Steve Latourette.
"I think Republicans are going to need to invest their money in votive candles in mass because they're up against it in Ohio," Redfern says. Furthermore, he says that Bill O'Neill, a judge on the Ohio 11th District Court of Appeals and former candidate for Ohio State Supreme Court, "is soon to announce" against Latourette.
In Indiana, where Democrats picked up three House seats last fall, they're also looking for more in the upcoming cycle. Democrats took three seats held by Republicans, and they're looking at targeting the seat held by seven-term Republican Rep. Mark Souder, who defeated Tom Hayhurst, a Democrat and Fort Wayne city councilman. But Dan Parker, chair of the state Democratic Party, tells U.S. News that he is also interested in finding a strong candidate to go after Rep. Mike Pence, the former head of the influential Republican Study Committee. Parker says that he is looking forward to talking with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in May when the state chairs meet in Annapolis about finding a challenger. Pence recently compared a Baghdad market to a "normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime." Parker called the comment "boneheaded."
Asked whether he had someone lined up for the race, Parker said: "There are folks who have called about it.... We want to see what kind of a priority that would be for DCCC."