Democrats' campaign chief: US House is 'in range' for takeover

Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, says Dems have moved within striking distance for winning control of the US House in Election 2012.

Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor
Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, spoke at a Monitor-hosted breakfast for reporters in Washington, D.C. on May 10.

Rep. Steve Israel of New York is chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which seeks to elect Democrats to the House of Representatives. He was the guest at the May 10 Monitor breakfast in Washington.

Democrats' chances of gaining 25 seats, the number needed to win back the House:

"We have gone from deep on our own 20-yard line. We have moved the ball to their 20-yard line.... This thing is in range ... I am telling you, razor-close."

How President Obama's stance in support of gay marriage will affect House races:

"I just don't think it is going to be a huge dynamic in specific congressional races because our candidates reflect the priorities and the values of the districts in which they are running."

Response to an assertion from Republican campaign chief Rep. Pete Sessions [see previous Monitor Breakfast] that many Democratic candidates don't want to be seen with Mr. Obama:

"The question is whether Mitt Romney wants to appear with any House Republicans.... Has Pete taken a look at the polling on House Republicans lately?"

Impact of "super political-action committees" in the 2012 elections:

"I am concerned about the effect of super PACs in this election.... We didn't lose the House in 2010 to House Republicans. We lost it to Karl Rove and the Koch brothers."

Message from West Virginia's Democratic presidential primary, in which a federal inmate won 41 percent of the vote:

"There may have been some anxiety over the president's position on coal, and it manifested itself. But I promise you that that candidate is not a threat to President Obama's reelection chances."

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