DCCC adds 13 new House candidates to ‘Red to Blue' list

— -- The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) on Wednesday added 13 House races to their "Red to Blue" list of districts the party feels confident they can win this fall.

Committee Chairman Steve Israel repeated many of the party's 2012 campaign lines in a conference call announcing the additions, arguing that these districts contain Democrats who will fight for the middle class and that tea party extremists will be the GOP's downfall overall this cycle.

"The tea party wave is going to cost Republican seats in 2012," Israel told reporters.

Israel added that the party regards California and Illinois as two states where redistricting has been favorable to the Democratic party and that several of their new candidates hail from these states.

The new districts added to the Democrats' list-- which offers the promise of financial, communications, grassroots and strategic support from the committee-- are as follows:

•  California's 26th: Democratic state Assemblywoman Julia Brownley is running against Republican state Sen. Tony Strickland in a highly competitive district that has long been a Democratic target. This year, the district is open following Republican Rep. Elton Gallegly's decision to retire.

•  California's 47th: Democratic state Sen. Alan Lowenthal faces Republican Long Beach City councilman Gary DeLong in a newly-drawn district Democrats consider to be moderate territory.

California's 52nd: Democrat Scott Peters, a San Diego Port Commission Chair is campaigning against Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray, whom Democrats regard as highly vulnerable for re-election in a competitive district.

• Illinois' 12th: Democrat Bill Enyart  is running against Republican businessman Jason Plummer. Enyart only recently entered the race but the committee believes he's off to a strong start. Democratic Rep. Jerry Costello is retiring.

• Illinois' 13th: Emergency room physician David Gill, a Democrat, is running against Republican former congressional aide Rodney Davis, whom Democrats paint as too conservative for the district. Incumbent Republican Rep. Tim Johnson is retiring.

Minnesota's 2nd: Former state Rep. Mike Obermueller, a Democrat and an attorney, faces Republican Rep. John Kline in a district Democrats believe has turned in their favor following redistricting.

• North Carolina's 11th: Former Democratic congressional aide Hayden Rogers is running against Republican businessman Mark Meadows. This district has long been competitive, but is difficult turf for Democrats. The party believes redistricting has bolstered their odds. Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler is retiring.

• New Hampshire's 1st: Former Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter is waging a comeback and Democrats believe Republican Rep. Frank Guinta's low approval ratings and right-wing agenda will boost her candidacy.

• New Mexico's 1st: Democrats are banking on Michelle Lujan Grisham in this open seat race against Republican former state Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones, whom Israel blasted as a low-tier recruit. Democrats contend the district leans strongly in their favor.

• New York's 11th: Democrats believe Republican Rep. Michael Grimm's scandals have made him highly vulnerable for re-election. News reports indicate a federal grand jury is probing alleged fundraising improprieties related to his 2010 campaign. Democratic former city council aide Mark Murphy, son of former Rep. John Murphy, is campaigning in this district.

• New York's 18th: Former Clinton White House aide Sean Patrick Maloney is challenging Republican Rep. Nan Hayworth, whom Democrats paint as anti-woman and extreme.

Texas' 23rd: Democratic state Rep. Pete Gallego is running against Republican incumbent Francisco "Quico" Canseco. The committee believes Gallego is a top flight candidate and voters are expressing "buyer's remorse" over Canseco, who is conservative.

Washington's 1st: Democrat Suzan DelBene won her party's nomination last night to take on Republican county councilman John Koster this fall. DelBene ran unsuccessfully in the 8th District in 2010, but Democrats believe her background at Microsoft combined with little enthusiasm for Koster makes this a potential pickup seat.

The DCCC also identified four emerging candidates they are keeping an eye on: Scott Ellington (AR-01); Steve Pestka (MI-03); Jim Graves (MN-06); and Kim Gillan (MT-AL).