Democrats hoping to take back the U.S. House next year launched a new "super PAC" aimed at erasing a financial edge that outside groups gave to Republicans in the 2010 elections.
The House Majority PAC will be an independent expenditure-only committee, meaning it will raise funds and participate in congressional races without any coordination with candidates. By law, so-called "super PACs" (political action committees) can take unlimited donations but have to disclose their donors.
"Our objective is to help the Democrats win back the House," said Alixandria Lapp, executive director of the House Majority PAC. "We will hold Republican incumbents and candidates accountable for their policies that take our country in the wrong direction."
Outside groups such as American Crossroads pumped millions of dollars into House races in November, helping the GOP win 63 new seats and take the majority.
For example, American Crossroads and two other independent groups spent more than a $500,000 in New York's 25th district, where Democratic incumbent Dan Maffei narrowly lost to Republican Ann Marie Buerkle.
In Virginia's 9th District, veteran Democrat Rick Boucher lost to Republican Morgan Griffith, in a race where three groups allied with Republicans spent over $800,000.
The House Majority PAC says it will try to take advantage of three areas to help Democrats win a net of 25 seats to take back the majority. One is to attack Republicans on policies, such as tieing them to Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's plan to overhaul Medicare.
The other areas where Lapp's group hopes to gain an advantage:
- Redistricting, where new congressional districts are being drawn in states such as Arizona, Texas and Florida that have had population gains.
- Seats won by President Obama in 2008 or Democratic Sen. John Kerry in 2004 that are now held by Republicans. There are 62 GOP lawmakers who now represent districts won by Obama and 14 in districts won by Kerry. One such target: Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., a Tea Party favorite who defeated Democrat Ron Klein in the Palm Beach area.
Two other Democratic groups have recently formed to play a role in the 2012 election: American Bridge 21st Century and Majority PAC, which is focused on Democrats keeping control in the U.S. Senate.
The House Majority PAC is led by veterans of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the party's official campaign arm. Lapp was the DCCC's campaign director in 2005-06, an election cycle that brought Democrats back into control of the House.
From USA Today on April 13, 2011.