The House Democratic campaign arm is knocking moderate Republicans for voting to elevate Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) — who it dubbed “MAGA Mike” — to the top job in a new memo one year out from Election Day 2024.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) memo, first provided to The Hill, lays out five reasons why the campaign arm believes it is “on a path to take back the majority in 2024,” one of which touches on the voting record of moderate House Republicans.
“Freshman Republican incumbents had the benefits last cycle of running without a real voting record — that isn’t the case in 2024,” the memo reads. “These so-called moderates will now have to answer for voting with extremists like Marjorie Taylor Greene and elevating ‘MAGA Mike’ Johnson to the Speakership.”
The memo comes exactly one year away from Election Day 2024, when Democrats are working to take back control of the House. Democrats need to flip a net-five seats to assume the majority.
The messaging also comes less than two weeks after the House GOP conference voted unanimously to elect Johnson as the next Speaker following former Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) stunning ouster. The 18 Republicans representing districts President Biden won in 2020 — all of whom are top DCCC targets — supported Johnson’s bid for the gavel.
Democrats have been quick to highlight Johnson’s conservative voting record — and ties to former President Trump — since becoming Speaker, linking that characterization to the 18 Biden-district Republicans. Johnson opposed a bill to codify same-sex marriage, voted against certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election, and he has advocated for anti-abortion legislation.
“Rather than electing a Speaker who will advance legislation that lowers costs and makes life easier for working families, so-called ‘moderate’ House Republicans have chosen to elect an anti-abortion extremist and top election denier to lead their conference,” the DCCC wrote in a messaging memo the day Johnson was elected Speaker.
When Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-N.Y.), a Biden-district Republican, voted for Johnson on the House floor, one Democrat yelled out “bye bye.”
In addition to the voting record of moderate Republicans, the DCCC argued in its one-year-until-Election-Day memo that the current political environment favors Democrats, with a particular focus on abortion.
The issue of abortion helped drive Democrats to the ballot box during the 2022 midterm elections, which contributed to a worse-than-expected performance by Republicans. Analysts had predicted a “red wave,” but Republicans ended up with a slim, single-digit majority in the House.
That election took place months after the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, sending the question of abortion rights back to the states. The DCCC said it will continue to use abortion as a key part of its messaging ahead of the 2024 cycle — with another mention of Johnson’s record.
“We will remind voters of the many dangerous votes Republicans have taken on abortion — from punishing doctors who provide reproductive care and redistricting mifepristone to electing a Speaker who is a proud champion for a national abortion ban with no-exceptions for rape, incest, or the health of the woman,” the memo reads.
The strength of abortion as a basis for campaign messaging will come into sharp focus this week, when voters in Ohio weigh in on an amendment asking if the right to an abortion should establish abortion protections in the state constitution. The ballot measure has driven a surge in early voting.
The DCCC also said “it’s our expectation” that members part of the Frontline program — those who are running in competitive seats — ”will return to Congress based on their record of delivering real results.” The campaign arm noted that 62 percent of the current frontline Democrats have been on the list in the past “and have prospered” despite millions of dollars of spending against them.
Additionally, the group cited the strength of its Democratic challengers and its strong fundraising.
The DCCC has outraised its counterpart, the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC), this year. In the third quarter of this year, the DCCC raked in $26 million, far outpacing the NRCC’s $18.5 million. The DCCC also has more cash on hand at this point in the year — more than $44 million — compared to the NRCC’s $36.1 million.
“Bottom line: We need just five more seats to take back the House majority in 2024,” the DCCC memo reads. “Vulnerable Republicans are building the case against themselves. Meanwhile, court rulings ensuring fair maps, battle-tested Frontline Democrats, and top-tier DCCC recruits pave the way to victory.”