- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 26, 2011

The head of the Democratic campaign arm in the House said Thursday that the party’s upset win in Tuesday’s special congressional election for a New York House seat shows that the lower chamber is up for grabs in the next election.

Speaking to reporters at the Democratic National Committee headquarters, Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), said “far earlier than I expected to say, I can pronounced that this House is in play.”

Republicans currently enjoy a 47-seat majority.

Mr. Israel also said that the result in New York “served notice on Republicans that where there is a Democratic candidate who will support Medicare, we will take the fight to those districts, no matter how steep the climb.”
The promise and prediction comes roughly seven months after Republicans scored historic wins at the polls, picking up a net 63 seats in the lower chamber.

It also come two days after Kathy Hochul took the special election in New York’s GOP-leaning 26th congressional district, a race that centered on House Budget Committee Chairman’s Paul Ryan’s plan to reshape Medicare and also featured a third party candidate whom Republicans blame for putting the seat in Democrats hands.

Joanna Burgos, National Republican Campaign Committee spokeswoman, said President Obama’s own health care law cut Medicare payments by $500 billion already and promised that Repulbicans will “remind the American people” of that in next year’s elections.

“But at the end of the day, Democrats are misreading the electorate if they believe that middle-class families want to hear about anything other than plans for job creation and reversing the economic disaster that President Obama and his party have created over the last three years,” she said.

Appearing alongside Mr. Israel, Sen. Patty Murray, who heads the Senate Democratic political arm, repeated her charge that Republicans want to end Medicare in order to pay for a tax reduction for wealthy Americans, corporations and oil companies.

“We are not going to let up, we are going to hold Republicans accountable to the policies that they push here,” Mrs. Murra

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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