National Democrats are throwing their support behind Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, adding her to a list of top-tier candidates who they think have a shot at defeating Republican incumbents in November.
Londrigan, a Springfield Democrat, was one of nine candidates added last week to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Red to Blue program. There are now 33 candidates with that designation, chosen from among 101 districts that the DCCC is targeting in November’s election.
Londrigan was added after winning the five-way Democratic primary March 20 with 45.7 percent of the vote. Londrigan is one of many first-time women Democrats on the ballot this year, and she made her family’s personal health scare central to her campaign. She will take on incumbent U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, in November.
“Her decisive win in that primary proved that she’s battle-tested. She knows how to win,” said DCCC spokesperson Jacob Peters. “Betsy has really deep roots in the district, and a persuasive healthcare message that helped her win that primary and will help her win the general (election).”
BIG NEWS! Our campaign was just added to @dccc's Red to Blue list! This is now one of the top races in the country - the stakes are high for #IL13 families. I'm running for Congress because #DC is a mess & Congressman Davis is part of the problem. https://t.co/oAy8VPkzzC pic.twitter.com/GBqnsx6GeR
— Betsy D Londrigan (@BetsyforIL) March 22, 2018
The Red to Blue program is reserved for “top-tier candidates in top-tier competitive districts,” Peters said. It “arms candidates with organizational and fundraising support to help them continue to run strong campaigns,” according to DCCC, the official campaign arm of the Democrats in the House. The DCCC provides strategic guidance, staff resources, candidate trainings, and more.
Londrigan had proven to be a capable fundraiser, even before the DCCC’s support. She raised more than $560,000 for the primary—more than any of her challengers. She’s worked as a professional fundraiser and was endorsed by Democratic heavy-hitters such as U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as the pro-choice women’s advocacy group Emily’s List.
There were 54,000 Democratic primary voters in the 13th District on March 20, around 20,000 more than in 2014 (the last midterm/gubernatorial election), noted Jacobs.
“That’s a huge surge in Democratic energy. This is a district that was drawn to support a Democrat, and we feel like it can absolutely support a Democrat in the right environment, and this is the type of environment we’re looking at,” Jacobs said.
Davis has held the seat since 2013, with a campaign war chest of more than $1 million. But he’s seen as potentially vulnerable in a 13th Congressional District drawn by Democrats specifically to give Democrats a shot. The gerrymandered 13th District includes parts or all of 14 counties, stretching from the western half of Bloomington-Normal all the way south to Edwardsville.
The Cook Political Report rates the district as “likely” to stay Republican in November.
The National Republican Congressional Committee was quick to put out a statement soon after Londrigan was declared the winner in the primary.
“Elizabeth Warren acolyte and D.C. insider Betsy Dirksen Londrigan couldn’t be further out of touch with the district,” said NRCC spokesperson Maddie Anderson. “Repeatedly touting her Dick Durbin and Emily’s List endorsements tells voters everything they need to know about her—she does not share their values. We look forward to watching Rodney Davis soundly defeat Londrigan in November.”
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