Salena Zito

At the end of the last election cycle, the DCCC ignored its own program and started burning cash everywhere, regardless of whether an incumbent worked with the committee or not. Conversely, it left out other people even if they played ball, such as Reps. Steve Driehaus of Ohio and Kathy Dahlkemper of Erie, both of whom lost.

It will be interesting to see if the DCCC can keep its threat real in the next cycle, because it didn't hold onto its program in 2010’s chaos.

The DCCC’s problems are huge but not unique. It is $19 million in debt, as it reported just last week; the NRCC, in contrast, is $10.5 million in debt.

Yet the DCCC relies heavily on what the stock market would describe as "institutional investors" – its members' own campaign accounts.

Those accounts, not unlike big Wall Street mutual funds, are not casual spenders. They only give money if they think you can win.

The NRCC’s “institutional investors” held back money in 2008 because they saw a bad year and a mountain of debt.

Thanks to wild spending in political mega-markets at the end of the 2010 election cycle, the DCCC’s Israel is in a deep hole, almost guaranteeing a crisis in confidence from his institutional investors. That leaves him spending the entire year trying to get out of debt.

Then there is the whole recruitment problem: Thanks to political gerrymandering, Israel must convince candidates to run for Congress when they won’t know what their districts look like until well into next year.

Nothing stays the same in life or politics. Yet, if you play the game well, a chance to win comes again.

Perhaps Israel should steal Sessions’ playbook – the one Emanuel wrote at the DCCC.


Salena Zito

Salena Zito is a political analyst, reporter and columnist.