NRCC launches attack on Markey, other swing-district Dems, on stimulus

As if that last campaign season wasn’t long enough, it looks like the next one is already well underway. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) launched a fusillade on Monday against 25 House Democrats who voted in favor of the $819 billion stimulus bill last week. Freshman Rep. Betsy Markey, the first Democrat to represent the 4th District in more than three decades, was the lone lawmaker to merit the NRCC’s attention in Colorado.

The stimulus bill — up for debate in the Senate this week — passed on a vote of 244-188 without the support of a single Republican. Markey, like the other four Democrats from Colorado, voted in favor of the package. The NRCC blasted recently elected Democrats from swing districts with the claim their targets didn’t represent their districts when they voted for the stimulus.

Quoth NRCC communication director Ken Spain in the releases, each tailored to its own potentially vulnerable Democrat:

“Even Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) acknowledges that this massive trillion-dollar spending bill is so big and bloated with wasteful spending that it cannot possibly be labeled ‘fiscally responsible. It is becoming increasingly difficult for [this lawmaker] to defend his [or her] vote for a trillion-dollar spending package over delivering actual solutions for struggling middle-class families.”

In our case, that would be becoming increasingly difficult for Betsy Markey to defend her vote … you get the idea.

That’s the same NRCC that pulled its support from Markey’s opponent, three-term incumbent Republican Marilyn Musgrave, in the final weeks before the November election. The campaign committee wrote off Musgrave’s chances when it yanked $400,000 worth of television advertising from the air for the crucial last week before the election, The Colorado Independent’s Jason Kosena reported in October. Observers speculated the NRCC decided to give up the seat because Musgrave was becoming too expensive to defend, in hopes of retaking the district in 2010.

“I suspect another thing they are looking at it is what seats they think are going to be recoverable in the reasonably near future,” Colorado State University political science Prof. John Strayer said before the election. “You know, a ‘let’s look at what seats we can walk away from now and be relatively sure that if things don’t go well for the Democrats, not Markey personally but the Democrats as a party, if they have some stumbles, that we can recover the seat later.’”

It looks like the NRCC has already decided the 4th District might be “recoverable.”

In addition to Markey, the committee peppered the following Democrats from swing districts with the release, The Hill reports:

John Barrow (Ga.-12)
John Boccieri (Ohio-16)
Joe Donnelly (Ind.-02)
Steve Driehaus (Ohio-01)
Gabby Giffords (Ariz.-08)
Alan Grayson (Fla.-08)
Debbie Halvorson (Ill.-11)
Martin Heinrich (N.M.-01)
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (S.D.-AL)
Baron Hill (Ind.-09)
Jim Himes (Conn.-04)
Mary Jo Kilroy (Ohio-15)
Ann Kirkpatrick (Ariz.-01)
Larry Kissell (N.C.-08)
Suzanne Kosmas (Fla.-24)
Jim Marshall (Ga.-08)
Harry Mitchell (Ariz.-05)
Dennis Moore (Kan.-03)
Chellie Pingree (Maine-01)
Loretta Sanchez (Calif.-47)
Kurt Schrader (Ore.-05)
Zack Space (Ohio-18)
Harry Teague (N.M.-02)
Dina Titus (Nev.-03)