Make no mistake about it, when the national party begins to siphon funds away from your race fifty days out from the election, it is not because they think you’re going to win, it is because they are hanging you out to dry. And according to a report in the Hotline On Call, House Democrats are scaling back on their plans to aid Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick, Harry Mitchell and Gabrielle Giffords:
“The DCCC is readjusting advertising buys in key districts across the nation, including in Arizona, where party strategists say incumbent Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (D), Harry Mitchell (D) and Gabrielle Giffords (D) are running stronger than expected campaigns. Dems had reserved a total of nearly $3M in the 3 districts, including more than $1.2M each for Kirkpatrick and Mitchell in the pricey Phoenix media market. Those numbers will sink in the coming weeks.” (Reid Wilson, “Dems Scaling Back Arizona Ad Buys,” Hotline On Call, 09/13/10)
This news comes a week after the New York Times wrote that House Democrats were planning a “brutal triage” of their incumbents that would result in the more vulnerable members and candidates being left to fend for themselves:
As Democrats brace for a November wave that threatens their control of the House, party leaders are preparing a brutal triage of their own members in hopes of saving enough seats to keep a slim grip on the majority. In the next two weeks, Democratic leaders will review new polls and other data that show whether vulnerable incumbents have a path to victory. If not, the party is poised to redirect money to concentrate on trying to protect up to two dozen lawmakers who appear to be in the strongest position to fend off their challengers.(Jeff Zeleny and Carl Hulse, “Democrats Plan Political Triage to Retain House,” New York Times, Sept. 5, 2010)
…and just days after recent polls in Arizona reveal Democrats are in a significant world of hurt this fall:
“The move comes as two internal Republican polls provided exclusively to Roll Call showed further evidence of the political peril that Kirkpatrick and Mitchell could be in. The 1st district survey found Kirkpatrick in a dead heat with Republican Paul Gosar. They are tied at 43 percent, with 14 percent of respondents undecided in the Moore Information poll of 412 likely voters taken Aug. 30-31. It had a 5-point margin of error. In the 5th district poll, Mitchell trailed David Schweikert, his 2008 opponent, 46 percent to 38 percent. National Research Inc. surveyed 400 likely voters from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2, with a 4.9-point margin of error. (Kyle Trygstad, “NRCC Expands Ad Reservations to $24 Million,” Roll Call, 09/07/10)
“Our polling, conducted for American Action Forum on August 25, 26, 28 & 29, 2010, with 400 likely general election voters, shows a competitive contest in the district. Despite Representative Gabrielle Giffords having 99 percent name ID (with a 52 to 41 percent favorable-unfavorable rating) compared to challenger Jesse Kelly’s 78 percent (33 to 25 percent favorable), Giffords and Kelly are currently tied on the ballot at 46 percent each.” (Source: American Action Forum polling memo, August 31, 2010)
Question for enterprising reporters: Are House Democrats scaling back in Arizona because they are less confident that Arizona voters will support those who - like Kirkpatrick, Mitchell and Giffords - support a reckless, job-killing agenda?