Based on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's (DCCC) latest decision
to add the 13th Congressional District contest to its list of "emerging
races," it appears that party leaders are increasingly confident that
they have a shot at winning the ...
Based on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's (DCCC) latest decision to add the 13th Congressional District contest to its list of "emerging races," it appears that party leaders are increasingly confident that they have a shot at winning the Republican-controlled seat this fall.
Congressional Quarterly hinted that Democratic candidate Scott Harper was looking viable when it changed the 13th's status from "Safe Republican" to "Leans Republican" in July. "This a race to keep an eye on for signs of increased competitiveness," CQ reported.
Biggert seemed to be feeling the heat at the time. Days later, she released internal polling numbers to The Hill as evidence of her popularity among the district's voters.
An ability to raise some serious campaign cash -- $375,000 as of the end of June (plus $146,000 of his own money) -- is what put Harper on the radar of Democratic party leaders. Last spring the DCCC added IL-13 to it's list of targeted races, which showed that the party was serious about giving organizational and research support to Harper's campaign. The Herald News reported on this "national nod," noting that the DCCC hadn't ruled out naming Harper to its high-profile "Red-To-Blue" list later in the year. With the bump up to the "emerging races" category, the campaign moved one step closer.
Harper's campaign isn't releasing their most recent fundraising figures, but spokesman Max Flessner said today that they're expecting to post another record-breaking quarter." (The filing deadline for the third quarter is October 15.) Harper kept pace with Biggert during the second quarter, but at the end of June had about half as much cash-on-hand as the incumbent.
(H/T Swing State Project)
UPDATE: DCCC Midwest press secretary Ryan Rudominer released the following statement on Harper's addition to the list:
"Congresswoman Biggert has ignored the economic needs of middle-class families and she's going to be held accountable for rubber stamping President Bush's failed agenda. In stark contrast, Scott's running an aggressive grassroots campaign and like Democratic Presidential nominee and Illinois Senator Barack Obama, Scott represents much needed change in Washington."