Rep. Steve Israel (D-New York), the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, held a briefing with reporters on Monday where he identified the five House races that currently are going to be the “most interesting and the tightest.”
Israel began his assessment of the congressional campaign landscape with a “disclaimer” that the situation is “volatile and fluid.”
“If you had asked me this question last week, I’d have a different assortment of races to suggest,” explained Israel.
He went on to outline what he described as a “real time” assessment based on a “race review” conducted Sunday night.
“Obviously, you start with Grimm,” Israel said referring to the race between Rep. Michael Grimm (R-New York) and former New York City Councilman Domenic Recchia.
Grimm is currently facing a 20 count indictment for a slew of alleged crimes related to his management of a Manhattan health food store before he was elected in 2010. In spite of his legal woes, polls show Grimm has been able to maintain a slight edge over Recchia. However, Israel said he has seen indications of momentum for Recchia and he repeatedly described the race as a “tossup” that Democrats and Republicans will “litigate to the last moment and last day.”
Israel also pointed to four other races:
- Democrat Gwen Graham vs. GOP Congressman Steve Southerland in Florida
- Democrat Staci Appel vs. Republican David Young in Iowa
- GOP state Rep. Mike Bost vs. Democratic state Rep. Bill Enyart in Illinois
- Democratic Congressman Brad Ashford vs. Republican state Sen. Lee Terry in Nebraska
Israel pointed to the Nebraska race as evidence of the unpredictable nature of this year’s mid-term elections.
“To give you a sense of how volatile it is, who would have ever thought at the beginning of this cycle that we’d be talking about a race in Nebraska that people should be looking at and that is very competitive?” asked Israel.
Overall, Israel said he expects there will be “surprises” when voters head to the polls next month.
“I also believe that there may be some surprises after the election because it’s so volatile,” said Israel. “It’s going to be one of those deals where I’ll get that phone call the week before saying that this district that we never thought was in play is in play.”
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