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Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hands the speaker's gavel to incoming House Speaker John Boehner after Boehner was elected Speaker on the opening day of the 112th United States Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 5, 2011. Republicans are t
Time to get it back.
Speaker Pelosi project bug
There are 435 seats in the House, so 218 are needed for the majority. Currently, Republicans hold 242 seats, Democrats 193, which means that Democrats need 25 seats to give Nancy Pelosi her gavel back and give President Barack Obama a functional Congress.

Daily Kos has now endorsed 15 candidates that won't just get us closer to those 25 seats, but will also significantly upgrade the quality of the Democratic caucus. There are no Blue Dogs in this bunch, just honest-to-goodness solid progressives.

Goal ThermometerI'll introduce the seven latest additions below. We'd love if you could help all of them, but as the list gets bigger, that becomes more difficult. So adopt the candidates you like best—you may be attracted to some because of geography, or because of diversity, or because of issues they focus on, or because they personally inspire you, or because you really, really, really hate their Republican opponent. The "why" is irrelevant, just please help someone out, give what you can, volunteer if you live in their districts or nearby, and do your part because reelecting Obama will only go so far in helping move our nation forward.

Given the number of seats we need to pick up, the path to a Speaker Nancy Pelosi runs through each and every one of these districts. There can be no complacency here. So without further ado, here are the new additions to our Orange to Blue Speaker Pelosi Project list. A link to the answers to our candidate questionnaire is included next to their name.

Mark Takano head shot, thumbnail
Mark Takano, CA-41
O2B Questionnaire

A frequent attendee at Netroots Nation conferences, Takano is a high school teacher in this Southern California district. Had this district existed in 2008, it would've delivered 59 percent of its vote to Obama, Gov. Jerry Brown won it 52-40 in 2010, while Sen. Barbara Boxer won it 49-42. However, it features a predominantly Latino, low-turnout voter pool in addition to a high-turnout Republican base in Riverside. While it should be an easy pickup on paper, few Democrats are declaring victory given the district demographics.

Alan Lowenthal head shot, thumbnail
Alan Lowenthal, CA-47
O2B Questionnaire

Running in another rejiggered SoCal district, Lowenthal is a state senator and retired college professor from Cal State-Long Beach. Obama carried this district 58-39, Brown carried it 50-42, and Boxer carried it 50-42 in 2010. The National Republican Congressional Committee is gung-ho on their candidate in the district, Gary DeLong and are heavily invested. Recent polling is all over the place—a Lowenthall internal has him up 20, while a DeLong internal has him trailing by just three. Another poll by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had their guy up 11. This seat leans D, but it ain't over yet.

Kathy Boockvar head shot, thumbnail
Kathy Boockvar, PA-08
O2B Questionnaire

This district in suburban Philadelphia is the kind of district Democrats must win across the board to win back the House. Obama won it 53-46 in 2008, yet it is currently held by incumbent freshman Republican Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, who was part of the GOP's 2010 wave. Republican line drawers didn't do much to shore up his district, guaranteeing him a rough reelection campaign. However, incumbency has its advantages, and Boockvar has a tough challenge ahead.

Still, this is our best pickup opportunity in Pennsylvania, and the Democrats scored with a strong candidate. And with Republicans cutting bait in the Keystone State, there will be little up-ballot support for the incumbent.

David Gill headshot
David Gill, IL-13
O2B Questionnaire

An unabashed progressive, Gill is running in this reconfigured  Springfield-Champaign-area district which went 55-44 Obama in 2008. However, factor in Obama's home-field boost, and this is a bit more evenly matched than might appear at first blush.

Originally, the Republicans were running incumbent Rep. Tim Johnson, but he surprisingly quit mid-race, giving Democrats a boost in the now open-seat district. Their new candidate, Rodney Davis, is an aide to wingnut Rep. John Shimkus, setting up a great solid-left versus solid-right battle. Indeed, it's Gill's politics that turns election prognosticators off, claiming he's too liberal for the district. We can prove the doubters wrong by giving Gil a big boost.

Lois Frankel head shot, thumbnail
Lois Frankel, FL-22
O2B Questionnaire

This new Boca Raton and West Palm Beach-area district leans Democratic, with Obama scoring a 57-43 percent victory in 2008. Frankel served as West Palm Beach mayor and is a former minority leader of the Florida House, so she's got political chops. Bill Clinton is fundraising for her tomorrow, so she's getting the big guns out on her behalf. Republicans have put up a former state rep who has had luck getting elected in difficult turf, so he's no slouch.

Headshot of Jim Graves, thumbnail
Jim Graves, MN-06
O2B Questionnaire

Graves is running against Rep. Michele Bachmann, which should tell us that, 1) hell yeah, let's go for it!, but 2) uh, isn't that district solidly red? Well, it's pretty red, the most Republican in Minnesota. And it was slightly shored up during redistricting. So why should we get excited about this race?

Minnesota Democrats (DFLers, to be exact) are hyping internal polling by respected pollster Greenberg Quinlan Rosner showing a tight race—with Bachmann leading by a narrow 48-46 margin, down from 48-43 in June. Bachmann's camp has dismissed the results but refused to counter with their own polling, usually a sign that they're not liking their own numbers.

This isn't a district Republicans should need to play defense in, but apparently Bachmann's latest rantings against Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin's supposed ties to the Muslim Bortherhood are taking their toll.

Pat Kreitlow head shot, thumbnail
Pat Kreitlow, WI-07
O2B Questionnaire

Like Boockvar's district above, this one is held by a 2010-wave Republican, the idiot reality TV "star" Sean Duffy. And like the seat above, these are the low-hanging-fruit districts Democrats need to win control of Congress. And while Duffy got a three-point redistricting boost, the district was still won by Obama 53-45 in 2008.

Duffy is the guy who told a town-hall audience that he "struggles" to survive making $174,000 a year—a startling admission that will likely be featured in endless ads. For his part, Kreitlow was a former news anchor for WEAU-TV in Eau Claire, though most of that media market is outside this district. And he has a great sense of humor.

These excellent candidates join Ami Bera (CA-07), Joe Garcia (FL-26), Jim Graves (MN-06), Jose Hernandez (CA-10), Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02), Patrick Murphy (FL-18), Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) and Manan Trivedi (PA-06) on our endorsement list. Each one of these great progressive candidates can win, and must win in order to take control of the House away from the creepy weepy orange thing.

Give $3 to these candidates, and let's make sure we fight tooth and nail to give Obama a Congress that isn't hell-bent on destroying him.

This isn't the last batch of endorsements. We're going to keep expanding the playing field so that we can get to that magical 25. But it's up to you to make sure we can have the right kind of impact in the battle for the House. 2:12 PM PT:

Thanks for the endorsement @dailykos! I promise to be a proud progressive voice in DC. @markos thanks again! #FL22

@LoisFrankel via web

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 01:30 PM PDT.

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