2014 Playing Field Looks to Be Extremely Limited

Experts say there are only 50 to 75 House seats in play in the 2014 election. That small number means a very intense battle for control of Congress.

Politico says there are 38 Democratic seats thought of as vulnerable in 2014. Democrats need to hold those and pick up 17 more in order to win back control of the House. There are only 28 Republican seats considered vulnerable.

Both sides know the playing field is small, so they’re starting the battle early.

The NRCC has already begun holding regular conference calls with GOP candidates, something it usually doesn’t do until much later in the election season. And Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican super PAC, says it’s considering making an early investment in digital ads. One Democratic group, House Majority PAC, has already purchased nearly $200,000 in TV ads to batter a trio of vulnerable House Republicans on immigration reform.

House Democrats are working to expand the battlefield. They expect an increasing number of Republicans will find themselves in tough races as voters sour on a dysfunctional Congress. And they’re courting conservative-minded recruits to run in red districts. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, for example, has begun to promote the candidacy of Jennifer Garrison, a former majority leader in the Ohio House of Representatives who opposes abortion.

“There are enough districts that are winnable for us, and it is our charge to recruit candidates and to hold Republicans accountable and put those races in play,” said DCCC executive director Kelly Ward. “We feel there’s enough turf to do that in that we’re not starting off with a tightened battlefield in any sense.”