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DCCC Director: We Haven't Written Off Seats Yet, But 'Tough Choices' Coming

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A top official at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee stressed on Friday that the Party had not begun to pare down the number of elections on which it would spend resources, despite reports suggesting it was already narrowing the field.

Speaking on a panel on the 2010 elections at Netroots Nation, Jon Vogel, the executive director of the DCCC, acknowledged that at some point the committee would have to make "tough choices" -- in which, in all likelihood, it prioritized a select number of races and abandoned others in hopes of retaining control of the House. But the committee wasn't there yet, he said, predicting, ultimately, that Democrats would maintain power in Congress.

"It is way too early in the cycle to write off any seats at this point," said Vogel. "And I've seen very fluid numbers over just the past several weeks. Things are up and down. So what we are doing right now is investing broadly in our races to make sure we are position in the fall to make those kind of tough decisions. And the Speaker [Nancy Pelosi] has been very clear... saying that she expects us to make some very tough decisions and she expects us to win. And that's our job here is to make sure she is Speaker in the House and has a strong Democratic majority. I'm confident in that. But she expects us to make those tough decisions."

What those "tough choices" will look like, Vogel didn't say. But on Friday, Politico published a story hinting at what kind of decisions his committee would have to make. The DCCC, the paper reported, had bought ad time defending 39 of its more vulnerable incumbents -- a major effort, to be sure, but one that did not cover all of the endangered members.

This, of course, is the nature of having a major majority in the House. There are more races to invest in than resources allow. And while the DCCC may not be ready to start trimming its 2010 focus, Democratic allies have begun doing just that. The AFL-CIO, which has pledged to spend big money on a host of House races, is already implementing its "firewall" program to elevate 20 to 30 'can't-lose' elections that it believes are critical for maintaining a Democratic majority.