A top House Democrat sounded less than enthusiastic Monday about the help that the White House is providing for incumbent Democrats in the midterm elections.
“I don’t know if they’re doing everything they possibly can,” said Rep. James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, assistant House minority leader, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“There’s some things I would like to see done, because there’s a lot of fundraising going on. I do not believe that fundraising will be key in November,” Mr. Clyburn said, adding that Democrats need more of a ground game from the White House.
“I think the organization will be key,” Mr. Clyburn said. “And if we can get the White House to come in, or at least the president’s political operations, to help us at the state and local levels the way they did in Ohio and Florida, the mechanisms they put in place were just great.”
When “Morning Joe” regular Mark Halperin advised Mr. Clyburn to “look in the camera” and ask the president for specific help, the lawmaker replied with a smile, “No, I’ll get on the phone and ask the president.”
Although Mr. Obama’s job approval ratings are low and many Democratic candidates don’t want to appear on the stump with him, the president has been keeping up an ambitious fundraising schedule to benefit Democrats. He’s held 27 fundraisers for the party to date in this election cycle, with more coming this week.
At a fundraiser in Florida two weeks ago, Mr. Obama expressed concern about Democrats’ chances in November.
“In midterms we get clobbered — either because we don’t think it’s important, or we’ve become so discouraged about what’s happening in Washington that we think it’s not worth our while,” the president said.
Democrats are on a record fundraising pace this year. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $6.4 million in February, boosting its election cycle total to $89 million, the most money ever raised by that point in the cycle for a midterm.
Democrats would need to claim 17 House seats in November to reclaim a majority, considered a long shot at best. The party would need to lose no more than five Senate seats to maintain control of that chamber.