The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has decided to focus on winning races in seven states to regain a majority in the U.S. Senate, according to New York Senator Chuck Schumer, chair of the DSCC. The Associated Press reports that the targeted Senate races will be in Arizona, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Missouri, Montana and Tennessee. Dems currently enjoy a better than 2-1 fund-raising advantage, with $22 million in their campaign war chest, according to the AP.
The article also offers insight into Schumer’s strategy for individual campaigns, noting:
In part to counteract charges that Democrats are disconnected from average Americans, Schumer has for years boosted his political strength by constant public appearances throughout New York state.
Every year, he has visited each of the 62 counties, talking up local issues or touting some new piece of federal funding. In 2004, that effort paid off with Schumer winning all but one county.
It is a strategy he is preaching to 2006 candidates.
Schumer is also trying to pare his party’s message down to a few straightforward ideas.
“Mostly, it’s the meat and potato issues: Save Social Security. Fix prescription drugs. Energy independence,” he said.
The targeting decision may create some buzz among Democratic strategists, some of whom have made compelling arguments against focusing on a few races to the detriment of others. See, for example, Ruy Teixeira’s article making the case against narrow targeting of House of Reps seats, “Do the Math: Expanding the Playing Field in 2006 Is Actually A Very, Very Smart Idea.”
The GOP currently holds a 55-44 lead over Dems in the Senate, with one Independent voting Democratic. In 2006, 5 open Senate seats will be contested, with 14 Democratic senators seeking re-election and 14 incumbent Republicans seeking re-election. The Cook Political Report rates five races for Senate seats as tossups, with four of the seats currently held by Republicans.