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Headshot of Democrat Ann Callis
Former judge Ann Callis, one of the DCCC's choices in a contested primary
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has launched the first round of its biennial Red to Blue program for the 2014 election cycle, highlighting 35 different House contests for special attention. The DCCC has two broad categories: "Red to Blue" itself, which represents the most competitive races; and "Emerging Races," which is more of a watch list. Some races involve endorsements of specific candidates while in others, the committee isn't choosing sides—yet. (And yes, despite the program's name, it also involves some open Democratic seats that the party needs to hold.)

The listings can be further broken down into a few different buckets. Most of the R2B districts don't involve contested primaries, but a few do: CA-21, where the DCCC is supporting Amanda Renteria over John Hernandez; IL-13, Ann Callis over George Gollin; and NM-02, Rocky Lara over Leslie Endean-Singh. Interestingly, it looks like the D-Trip has backed off is soft-pedaling its early endorsement of Pete Aguilar in CA-31, since it now includes that district without picking a specific candidate, though they did recently host a D.C. fundraiser for him. (Eloise Reyes and Joe Baca are also running there.)

A few candidates on the Emerging Races list have also been hit with similar downgrades. In PA-08, the committee is no longer singling out Kevin Strouse over Shaughnessy Naughton, even though Strouse, like Aguilar, had made the DCCC's earlier Jumpstart program. Similarly, in PA-06, Mike Parrish doesn't get any special attention over Manan Trivedi, despite earlier statements of support for Parrish from the DCCC. (Parrish never made Jumpstart, though.) And in MI-11, Bobby McKenzie, another Jumpstarter, fell off the radar for some reason, even though no other notable Democrats appear to be in the race. Perhaps the D-Trip is still holding out hope someone stronger gets in?

And while the division of contests between the R2B and Emerging lists largely tracks with what you'd expect, there are a couple of races that are a bit surprising to see slotted into the second-tier. One is NY-19, where wealthy investor Sean Eldridge has both been raising money at a good clip and self-funding a bunch. The other is NY-21, the open seat in New York's North Country where local Dems have rallied around unknown filmmaker Aaron Woolf. Woolf's low ranking makes it seem that the DCCC is not optimistic about holding this district. (And oddly, NC-02 is on the list, but Clay Aiken didn't earn an endorsement.)

As for outright omissions, Daily Kos Elections has four GOP-held seats listed as Likely Republican that didn't make the cut at all. They are: IN-02 (Democrat Joe Bock challenging Rep. Jackie Walorski); MN-02 (Mike Obermueller vs. John Kline); NE-02 (Brad Ashford vs. Lee Terry); and WV-01 (Glen Gainer vs. David McKinley). They could always be included later, though. Obermueller, for instance, made R2B last cycle, as did IN-02 (though with a different Democratic challenger).

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 10:17 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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