Democrats target two open House seats after Roe ruling

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is adding two new names to the list of candidates they hope will capture open House seats, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The move is an early example of Democrats’ campaign apparatus going on offense after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last week, even as Republicans benefit from skyrocketing inflation.

  • DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney (DN.Y.) specifically honed in on abortion in a statement announcing the additions, accusing Republicans of lining their bench with “extremists fixed on rolling back progress and banning abortion nationwide.”
  • But in a dire sign for Democrats, Cook Political Report on Tuesday shifted six race ratings in favor of Republicans and just two in favor of Democrats.

Driving the news: The DCCC is adding two candidates to its Red to Blue program, which entitles candidates who meet certain organizational benchmarks to party resources:

  • Pat Ryan (NY-19): A veteran and executive of Ulster County running in the August special election to succeed Democrat Antonio Delgado, who resigned from Congress last month to serve as New York lieutenant governor. He’s also running in the general election for NY-18, which is being vacated by Maloney.
  • Michelle Vallejo (TX-15): A small business owner and activist running in one of the few competitive House districts left in Texas after redistricting shored up vulnerable incumbents in both parties.

What they’re saying: “Democrats are filling our team with fearless advocates for justice who will fight to protect a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions and address challenges families face by lowering costs, creating jobs, and demanding a more just country,” Maloney said.

  • The DCCC’s press release specifically labeled insurance agent Monica De La Cruz, Vallejo’s Trump-endorsed opponent, a “Republican extremist.”
  • It made no mention of Ryan’s rivals, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro in NY-19 and state Rep. Colin Schmitt in NY-18.
  • Ryan said in a statement the special election will be “the first competitive Congressional election in a post-Roe world,” pledging to put “reproductive freedom, gun safety and democracy itself at the center of our … campaign.”

The other side: “The fact that Democrats are adding seats they currently hold to their ‘Red to Blue’ program tells you everything you need to know about how bad the political environment is for them,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesperson Michael McAdams said in a statement to Axios .

  • Molinaro spokesperson William Dawson said in a statement, “Democrats have created too many crises to count. Families are facing record inflation, an energy catastrophe, and a national crime wave as a direct result of the incompetence of those currently in power.”

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