- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 5, 2010

Republicans accusing vulnerable House Democrats of avoiding town hall-style meetings during the summer recess have created a new website calling them out on it.

The National Republican Congressional Committee site is set to launch Friday and shows 70 of the chamber’s 255 Democratic members have yet to schedule town hall meetings and encourages visitors to contact the lawmakers and ask why.

“Congress [members] are refusing to face the American people when they return to their districts,” say Republicans on the site, called Where Are the Dems?. “Instead, they are running for cover. To date, few vulnerable Democrat members of Congress have committed to engage their constituents face to face this August.”

All 435 House seats are in the November elections.

Exactly how many of the chamber’s 255 Democratic members are vulnerable depends upon who is doing analysis. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report lists 66 Democrats and seven of the chamber’s 178 Republicans as vulnerable.

Among the Democrats on the list and largely considered vulnerable are first-term Rep. Frank Kratovil of Maryland, as well as frequently targeted Reps. Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire and Larry Kissell of North Carolina.

The list also includes former Republican and eventual Blue Dog Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez, California Democrat, though the Cook report predicts she will likely retain the seat, which she won in 1996.

Five of the House Democrats listed on the site are scheduled to hold face-to-face meetings with the constituents. Among them is Rep. Tom Perriello of Virginia, who has scheduled 20 meetings through Sept. 13.

“Town hall meetings are a unique part of American democracy, and I look forward to a lively and engaging discussion with folks in every locality across the district,” Mr. Perriello says.

As a result of lawmakers retiring on running for office, 19 Democratic and 22 Republican seats are open. Two other seats were left open earlier this year by the resignations of Republican Rep. Mark Souder, Indiana, and Democratic Rep. Eric Massa, in New York.