- The Washington Times - Monday, March 3, 2014

The head of the campaign arm for House Democrats downplayed the notion that a loss in a Florida special election this month would spell trouble for the party’s chances of picking up a significant number of House seats in the midterm election this fall.

New York Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said that race between Republican David Jolly and Democrat Alex Sink in Florida’s 13th congressional district is a “toss up.”

Mr. Israel also looked to lower expectations in the contest, saying that Republicans have historically had 13 percentage point edge over Democrats in terms of voter turnout in the district in non-presidential election years.

“Every district has its own unique dynamics and terrain,” Mr. Israel said on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown.” This is a very tough terrain for us.”

The race could prove to be a bellwether for the fall election.

Democrats need to pick up 17 seats to take control of the House.

Mr. Israel said the 2014 midterm election will be a referendum on House Republicans.

“Republicans have a 13 percent job approval, they shut down the government, they are extreme, they are irresponsible,” he said.

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