From Donna Cassata’s AP story “Democrats see openings in congressional departures“:
…Republican retirements in a half-dozen swing districts provide Democrats with an opportunity to grab a handful of seats this November. The party has cleared a path for its preferred candidates while the GOP faces some messy primaries that underscore the divide between conservatives and the establishment.
In a Virginia district stretching from wealthy enclaves overlooking the Potomac River to the Shenandoah Valley, Republican Rep. Frank Wolf announced in December that he would step down after 34 years, giving Democrats a shot in a district that Republican Mitt Romney won by just 1 percentage point in the 2012 presidential election.
Democrat John Foust, a Fairfax County supervisor for the past seven years, already had set his sights on the seat, declaring his candidacy days before Wolf’s announcement. Last fall’s 16-day partial government shutdown, felt hard among the tens of thousands of federal employees in the district and outside contractors, was the deciding factor.
“The government shutdown was so indicative of the way Congress is working,” the soft-spoken Foust says in an interview in which he describes himself as mainstream and pragmatic. “The Republicans are willing to sacrifice ordinary people to pursue a partisan agenda. It’s just not acceptable.”
Despite the ‘Dems in Disarray’ squeeky bandwagon MSM pundits seem to be riding at the moment, Republicans are not exactly unified, nor is their party brimming with bright congressional prospects. Further, “Polls numbers are not where we would want them to be, but Republican congressional poll numbers are at an historic low and a fraction of where the president is. So everything is relative,” adds Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Elsewhere on the political map, Democrats are upbeat about their chances in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, where Republican Rep. Tom Latham, a close confidante of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, made the surprise announcement that he would retire after 10 terms. Obama won the district by 4 percentage points in 2012.
New Jersey, where two-term Republican Rep. Jon Runyan is retiring, offers a chance for Democrat Aimee Belgard, a member of the Burlington County Board of Freeholders, the county’s governing body…Obama won the district by 4 percentage points in 2012. The primary is June 3.
Democrats in the Philadelphia suburbs are counting on Dr. Manan Trivedi, an Iraq War veteran, to flip a seat held by Republican Rep. Jim Gerlach for six terms…
Democrats are all but certain to flip the California seat held by eight-term Republican Rep. Gary Miller, who is retiring. Obama won the district by 16 percentage points in 2012.
There is no question that Dems face a tough 2014 map. But the doomsayer pundits being hustled by the GOP’s echo chamber may have some explaining to do first Tuesday in November.