Pressing toward its goal of taking back the House this year, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) announced the districts and candidates it will target in 2012. The party will target GOP representatives in key swing states, such as Allen West in Florida, Joe Walsh in Illinois, Martin Heinrich in New Mexico and Roscoe Bartlett in Maryland. The full list is available, on the DCCC website.
The list is divided into three tiers: Red to Blue (priority campaigns), Majority Makers (likely Democratic) and Emerging Races (increasingly competitive). Democratic candidates on the Red to Blue list will receive national support and funds from the party.
The committee will specially target vulnerable GOP freshman incumbents, of which there are many following the Republican sweep during the 2012 midterm elections.
Democrats must win back 25 seats to regain the majority in the House.
Tea Party Group Weighs Who To Support Against Orrin Hatch
A prominent Tea Party organization is looking to throw its support, and major funds, behind a conservative primary challenger to Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch in Utah, but can't decide which candidate to back.
Hatch is being challenged by former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist and state Rep. Chris Herrod. So far, the national conservative group FreedomWorks has said it likes both candidates, but hasn't endorsed either one. It's prepared to spend significant money in the state, the Deseret News reports.
Latinos For Kaine
Tim Kaine's Senate campaign launched its "Latinos for Kaine" campaign Wednesday. The former Virginia governor announced the support of Latino business and community leaders around the state.
Kaine outlined his support for the DREAM Act, and "forward-looking" immigration reform that would allow the most talented immigrants to stay and work while also securing the borders and penalizing illegal immigration.
"The Spanish I learned as a missionary in Honduras has opened many doors during my time as a civil rights attorney, mayor, and governor, and if elected to the Senate I pledge to continue to work closely with the Latino community to secure improved economic opportunities for all Americans," Kaine said in a statement.
Kaine, the party's presumed nominee, is anticipating a down-to-the-wire race against former Gov. George Allen (R).
Virginia's quickly growing Hispanic population is a key voting block in the swing state.
Watch the announcement:
Sean Bielat Is Back For Round Two, Dings Kennedy
Republican Marine Corps reservist Sean Bielat announced he'll make another bid for Congress in Massachusetts' District 4, for the seat being vacated this year by retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D).
Bielat challenged Frank in 2010, but lost by 11 percentage points to the longtime congressman. Now he may find himself up against a member of the famed Kennedy clan. Joseph Kennedy III, the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, is expected to make a bid for the seat. Without naming names, Bielat jabbed the Democrat in his announcement speech. "Nobody should expect to succeed in this country by virtue of their birth," he told the crowd, to applause.
Jim DeMint Makes Big Ad Buy In Texas
Republican "kingmaker" Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) spent half a million dollars on a TV ad buy in Texas, where former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz is running to be the Republican party's Senate nominee.
The conservative leader endorsed Cruz this fall, on the same day Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst announced his Senate bid. Dewhurst recently picked up an endorsement from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
A recent PPP poll shows Dewhurst leading Cruz by 18 percentage points, 36 to 18.
DeMint has endorsed conservatives in other primary races in battleground states, such as Rep. Mark Neumann in Wisconsin, Don Stenberg in Nebraska and Josh Mandel in Ohio.
Sen. Bill Nelson Dodges Obama In Florida
Richard Carmona Launches His Campaign
Richard Carmona, a top recruit for Democrats in 2012, officially launched his campaign for the U.S. Senate in Arizona Tuesday.
Carmona is a former U.S. surgeon general who served in George W. Bush's administration, and a Vietnam veteran. He will face former Arizona Democratic Party chair Don Bivens in the primary, and the winner will face the presumed Republican nominee, Rep. Jeff Flake.
Carmona announced his candidacy in early November after months of weighing a bid. He said in an interview with The Associated Press that voters are looking for someone who is willing to work to find common ground with their political opponents. At one point, he said he would try to build a "coalition of the reasonable."
Watch the announcement video: