We keep hearing about this explosion in interest for potential recruits to run in 2018 against incumbent Republicans, but it's hard to put into perspective how we’re doing. Vice has done us a favor and broken things down to give us an idea of where we’re at this early in the cycle and the results are fantastic and we have Trump to thank.
The 2018 midterms are still 561 days away, but an unprecedented early surge of Democrats have already declared their candidacies for the House of Representatives, setting up what will likely be one of the longest and most crowded series of House Democratic primary campaigns in memory.
Already 408 Democrats have thrown their hats into the ring, a 58 percent increase over the 259 who had declared by this point in the run-up to the 2014 midterms. And several hundred more candidates are likely to join races across the country as the Democratic Party and multiple outside progressive groups recruit their own candidates. This tsunami of Democratic challengers will likely make it more difficult for President Donald Trump to pass his legislative agenda as members of Congress — Republicans and Democrats alike — will be wary of casting votes that provide ammo to progressive Democratic challengers.
Wow! That’s a lot of recruits and though we know not all will make the cut seeing such a huge number of people putting themselves out there running for congress should encourage us all. So now that we know how many candidates are already out there how many districts are we talking about here that we want to compete in?
A spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC, or “D-trip” as it’s often called in Washington) told VICE News that the committee is in serious talks with more than 300 prospective candidates in about 70 Republican-held and open districts around the country. About 90 percent of those recruits, the DCCC said, have yet to file declarations of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission.
70 districts! It sure seems like the DCCC has expanded its battlefield for 2018 from where they usually try to compete. The other eye catching number: 90% of those already recruited haven't even declared yet. That means on top of the already strong recruits we’ve heard about we still have 90% of our bench to come! This surge in candidates wanting to run for congress then leads to the problem (a good one to have) of picking and choosing where to spend precious DCCC resources and the criticism it invites. People aren't waiting on the party though and are stepping up in the most unlikeliest of places.
“Democrats on the ground have been waiting for someone to save us, and that the DCCC will find someone to save us, and that’s not happening, so it was time to get off the sidelines,” said Randy Wadkins, a chemistry professor at the University of Mississippi who is running in the state’s conservative 1st District.
The anti-Trump resistance is so decentralized that dollars are already flowing Wadkins’ way even though the race is not considered competitive by political forecasters. He has raised $13,630 through Crowdpac from donors around the country in his first few weeks, a fraction of what he knows he will ultimately need.
“I refuse to believe it’s a lost cause,” he said.
Neither do we Randy, neither do we.
Thanks for reading!