House Democratic campaign arm adds two races to battlefield map

The House Democrats’ campaign arm is adding two races to its battlefield map — including a key New York swing district — in the lead-up to November as the group looks to usher in a majority next year amid concerns over President Biden’s standing at the top of the ticket.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) announced Wednesday it is targeting New York’s 22nd Congressional district and Virginia’s 7th Congressional District as part of its “Red to Blue” program, which provides financial backing and organization support for candidates, according to a release first shared with The Hill.

The DCCC is backing New York state Sen. John Mannion (D), who is challenging incumbent Rep. Brandon Williams (R), in New York’s 22nd District. In Virginia’s 7th District, the campaign arm is supporting Yevgeny “Eugene” Vindman — a retired Army officer who was a key player in former President Trump’s first impeachment — in his race against Republican Derrick Anderson to replace Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), who is running for governor.

“John Mannion and Eugene Vindman are exemplary public servants who have dedicated their careers to serving our country and their communities. Voters can trust them to always be vocal advocates for their districts and our democracy,” DCCC Chair Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) said in a statement. “I look forward to working with them to reclaim the House majority and get Congress back to work to deliver for the middle class.”

Williams, who was first elected to Congress in 2022, is one of the most vulnerable House Republicans on the ballot this year.He is one of 17 GOP lawmakers serving in districts President Biden won in 2020. That year, his district in New York broke for Biden by just more than 7 percentage points.

Decision Desk HQ projects Mannion has a slightly better chance over Williams of winning, 53 percent to 47 percent.

In Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, Democrats are hoping Vindman will keep the seat blue as Spanberger departs to run for governor of the Old Dominion.

Vindman easily won a crowded primary for the Democratic nomination last month, besting six other candidates by double-digit percentages. A number of House Democrats backed Vindman during the primary, during which he raised roughly $5 million.

Vindman and his identical twin brother — veteran Alexander Vindman — became known on the national stage during Trump’s first impeachment, which focused on a phone call between the president and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during which Trump asked Zelensky to investigate then-candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. Amid that request, the Trump administration had delayed hundreds of millions of dollars in aid for Ukraine.

The Vindman brothers raised concerns about the phone call, which ultimately led to the president’s impeachment in the House. The Senate acquitted Trump.

Cook Political Report says the Virginia race is currently “lean Democrat.”

The DCCC’s increased focus on the two key races comes as Democrats continue to grapple with the fallout from Biden’s disastrous debate performance last month, during which he at times stumbled over his words and appeared to lose his train of thought.

Nine House Democrats — including two frontline lawmakers — have publicly called on Biden to step aside, voicing concerns about his ability to beat Trump in November.

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