The Washington Times - January 18, 2012, 02:34PM

Democrats have the “wind at our backs” and are poised to make a run at winning control of the Republican-held House in the November elections, said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel.

The New York lawmaker told reporters Wednesday that, while he won’t guarantee Democrats will win the 25 seats needed to retake the chamber, “I am saying that we are nipping at their heels and we have the potential to overtake them over the next nine months.”

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“We are in a much better position than anybody would’ve imagined a year ago and the Republicans are in a much more perilous position than anybody would’ve imagined a year ago,” he said.

The DCCC, the fundraising and recruiting arm of House Democrats, has identified 36 GOP-held seats they say they can win. Six of those seats are in California, with five in Illinois and three in Florida.

The committee said the targeted races earned a spot on its annual “Red to Blue” initiative by surpassing fundraising, organization and infrastructure goals. Half of the 36 races will have Democratic primaries.

Results of a Reuters/Ipsos poll released last week showed voters would support a Democratic candidate over a Republican candidate in their district by 4 percentage points — 48 percent to 44 percent.

Mr. Israel said he is particularly encouraged by polling that suggests independent voters are now leaning Democrat.

“We win this election back when we win those independent voters,” he said. “Republicans have had a catastrophic decline of fortune with those independent voters, and they are coming back to Democrats.”