August, with its long congressional recess and vacuum of news, has increasingly become the cruelest month for incumbent politicians. For Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, August brings yet one more sign that he remains one of the most targeted House Republicans in the country.
In an email from the DCCC that was obtained by CQ Roll Call, Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) was identified as one of 17 members of the GOP that the Democrats hope to pressure with various grassroots efforts over the long August recess. Seventeen, not coincidentally, is exactly how many seats the Democrats would need to win the House in 2014.
“In the majority of these districts we have field staffers on the ground, coordinated through the respective state parties, to define and hold accountable vulnerable Republican incumbents, through earned media tactics, messaging amplification, and community outreach,” wrote Ryan Daniels, the deputy national press secretary and African-American media adviser.
In response to this revelation, Ian Prior of the National Republican Campaign Committee said Fitzpatrick’s record will inoculate him from the DCCC’s pressure.
“It’s laughable that Nancy Pelosi is using the DCCC to tout Obamacare, climate change, and other divisive policies that are devastating to Pennsylvania’s economic growth,” Prior said. “Meanwhile, Republicans like Mike Fitzpatrick are reaching across the aisle to pass bipartisan legislation that can actually benefit middle class families and small businesses.”
This is just the latest sign that Fitzpatrick is a major target of the DCCC. In May, Democratic candidate Kevin Strouse was put on the organization’s “Jumpstart” list. Then, DCCC chair Rep. Steve Israel of New York came to fundraise for Strouse in June. Finally, in July, it launched a web ad attacking Fitzpatrick for an increase in student loan rates.
Strouse faces businesswoman Shaughnessy Naughton in the Democratic primary.
This whole episode is part of an effort this year by the Democratic Party to flip the script that worked so well for Republicans in 2009, using August grassroots events to take the initiative in driving the national conversation.