The chatter in DC about Democrats possibly reclaiming a majority in the House is just leftist happy-talk meant to keep donors in the queue. For proof, look no further than a fundraiser Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is headlining for freshman IL Democrat Brad Schneider in Chicago on Tuesday. Schneider’s district was drawn explicitly to elect a Democrat. If Democrats are worried about his reelection, they are nowhere close to the net 17 seats they need to take control of the House.
Schneider’s 10th District encompasses the tony suburbs of Chicago’s North Shore. For years, the area was represented by moderate Republicans John Porter and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL). Republican Robert Dold was elected in 2010, but lost reelection last year, after the district had been redrawn to include more Democrats. According to the Cook Report, the district is D+8, which is slightly misleading since this is partially based on native-son Barack Obama heading up the ticket.
That said, if Democrats were really hoping to take control of the chamber, IL-10 would be a given. Pelosi would not be headlining a fundraiser for Schneider if there weren’t doubts about his reelection. If the Democrats have to defend districts drawn to their advantage, it is unlikely they can seriously contest the many Republican-leaning seats they would need to win to secure the majority. Believe what the Democrats do, not what they say.
The fact is, Schneider is vulnerable next year. Although Barack Obama won the district with more than 60% of the vote, Schneider edged incumbent Rep. Dold by just one point, 50.5-49.5. The district votes Democrat at the Presidential level, but is almost preternaturally biased to support moderate Republicans at the federal and state level. The district is wealthy and socially liberal, but very fiscally conservative. Dold is almost the perfect Congressman for the district in anything but an Obama wave election.
2014 will not be an Obama wave election. Nancy Pelosi clearly understands that.