WASHINGTON—Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who helped Democrats retake the House of Representatives in 2006, said his party can do the same in 2014 if Republicans stay on the course that led to the 16-day government shutdown.
“If they stay on course, Democrats have a good chance,” Emanuel said at a Center for American Progress conference in Washington today. “If they reverse course, then it’s a district-by-district scenario.”
Democrats believe they need to gain 17 seats to retake the majority in the House–a tall order after Republican-led redistricting helped fortify incumbents and made very few seats competitive.
Emanuel, who was chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the Democratic takeover of 2006, said Democrats will also have to recruit candidates who can succeed in districts drawn to favor Republicans.
“In 06 remember … I got a lot of criticism about the types of candidates we were recruiting,” Emanuel said.
“This is a map that the Republicans designed nationwide,” he added. “If you want to win it back, you have to pick the lock nationwide.”