Despite promises that the party would be re-energized following it’s stunning losses in 2016, Democrats are off to a rough start in 2017.
The Democratic Party failed to win yet another high-profile election when Heath Mello, the Democratic candidate for mayor of Omaha, Nebraska was defeated by incumbent Republican Jean Stothert by seven points on Tuesday.
Mello drew national attention and considerable criticism from leaders within the Democratic Party for his anti-abortion views and became “a flashpoint for an ongoing internal party battle.”
Criticism of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) over the loss and it’s handling of Mello’s anti-abortion views was swift and significant.
“Initially, the national party saw in Mello’s candidacy an opportunity to flex its muscles in a conservative state,” the Huffington Post’s Daniel Marans wrote. He concluded that “the DNC’s elevation of Mello backfired.”
McClatchy’s Alex Roarty reported following on the loss:
“The ongoing fight over Mello is reflective of a larger debate in the party about whether it should emphasize its cultural values or economic agenda.” But for a party uncertain about where to go next, these arguments are not likely to cease soon, and if left unresolved, they could threaten the party’s ability to win back seats in the 2018 midterm election or the White House in 2020.”
This loss is emblematic of Trump era losses by Democrats and their strategy to retake the House of Representatives in 2018.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) strategy to retake the House centers around targeting 23 Republican-held seats that are in districts Hillary Clinton won in 2016 along with 10 Republican-held seats that are in districts Clinton narrowly lost.
Omaha is a purple city that went for Hillary Clinton in 2016, meaning that it is exactly the type of community that the DNC and DCCC will be targeting in 2018.
If Tuesday’s mayoral election is any indication of things to come, the Democratic Party has a considerable amount of work to do before they can retake the majority in the House of Representatives.
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