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Back on October 12th while Donald Trump was staggering from the fallout surrounding the Access Hollywood tape, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Ben Ray Luján circulated a memo he had solicited from a man named Evan Coren.
According to the memo, Evan Coren “served 7.5 years on the National Security Council staff” and “has 20 years of experience working in Democratic politics and non-partisan municipal politics.” He also has experience as a campaign manager.
Coren had taken a look at all 435 House races with an eye for finding gems in the rough. The DCCC was already committed to 43 Red-to-Blue candidates and seven more “emerging” candidates. Coren’s job was to identify additional seats that could fall in an especially bad wave election, as then seemed much more possible than the polls indicate is likely today.
His approach wasn’t anything special. He looked at Republican representatives who were either low on money or simply not spending any money on media and ads, or both, and then did a quick survey of how the districts had voted in the 2008 and 2012 elections. This was a potentially flawed analysis because the districts were redrawn between the 2008 and 2012 elections, and it’s not clear to me if he adjusted his numbers to reflect that. Either way, though, it provided a framework for a strategy he recommended to the DCCC.
Essentially, he wanted to replicate “what the Republicans did to us in 2010” and catch a lot of them napping by dumping one million dollars (each) into a couple dozen races that no one thought were competitive. The money was to be spent on “media buys, web ads, social media ads, Spotify/streaming services ads, and (energizing) GOTV volunteers.”