Advertisement

New Members Start Off in Campaign Mode

By The Hill, The Hill - June 8, 2010

For Reps. Mark Critz and Charles Djou, the Washington axiom of a "permanent campaign" has never been more apt.

The capital's newest congressmen have been in office less than a month, but the looming November election has forced them to begin their legislative careers in full campaign mode.

Critz, a Democrat, won a competitive special election in Pennsylvania on May 18, while Djou, a Republican, took his Hawaii seat a week later after winning a three-way special election on May 22.

Both are facing the same opponents in November they did in May, and political pressures back home are forcing Critz and Djou to put immediate distance between themselves and the national parties that helped elect them. Operatives for their opponents have pledged to scour the limited voting records both lawmakers will compile between now and November, seeking to exploit a paper trail that didn't exist in their initial campaigns.

In one of their first votes in Congress, on a measure to repeal the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military, the two went in opposite directions. Critz voted against repeal, bucking the Democratic Party leadership, while Djou joined just four other Republicans in supporting the measure.

The crossover could become something of a pattern for the next five months.

"It's possible Djou will have a more liberal voting record than Critz for the duration of this Congress on major issues," said David Wasserman, House editor for The Cook Political Report.

Critz, a former aide to the late congressman he replaced, Rep. John Murtha (D), won his special-election race against Republican businessman Tim Burns by a surprisingly strong margin of 8.5 points. National Republicans aggressively targeted the culturally conservative Western Pennsylvania district, which supported Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for president in 2008.

Djou won his Hawaii seat under more complicated circumstances. The childhood home of President Barack Obama, the 1st district had been held for nearly two decades by Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D), who resigned to run for governor. Two Democrats "” state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa and former Rep. Ed Case "” faced Djou and split the vote in the winner-take-all race, with Djou winning with just 39 percent of the total.

He will run against Hanabusa in the fall after Case dropped out, leaving Democrats confident they can take back the seat with a unified party. The May vote was evidence "that residents in the district would prefer to be represented by a Democrat," said Andy Stone, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Now in Congress, Djou and Critz must keep up a full-throttle campaign while adjusting to life in Washington and staffing their Capitol Hill offices.

"It is exciting, exhilarating and a little exhausting," Djou told The Hill of the dual responsibilities. He said he hoped to get a brief reprieve after May 22, but instead he spent the Memorial Day recess getting his office up and running before he returns to campaign mode with a D.C. fundraiser Wednesday. "I'm still waiting for that time to rest," he said.

The transition has been a bit easier for Critz, who was able to retain a large number of Murtha's staff, his campaign manager, Mike Mikus, said.

"He's putting the people's work before the campaign. That said, we're not missing a beat with the campaign either," Mikus said.

The special-election victories have given Critz and Djou the inherent advantage of incumbency, even for only five months. And Critz will have access to the perks of membership in the majority party "” a status that allowed him to trumpet the passage of an amendment in his name to the defense authorization bill that passed just before Memorial Day.

The majority of special-election winners go on to secure a full term in office, Wasserman said, and a Djou aide noted before his election that Hawaii voters had never ousted a sitting governor, senator or congressman in the state's history.

Still, there is precedent for voters to change their minds. In 2008, Democratic Rep. Don Cazayoux won a special election in a GOP-leaning Louisiana district only to lose the seat in November to Woody Jenkins, whom he had defeated months earlier. And in 1994, Democratic Rep. Peter Barka lost his Wisconsin seat just a year after winning it in a special election.

This time around, the respective national parties are going after Critz and Djou using virtually the same strategy of trying to undermine their stated pledge to be an independent voice for their districts.

Democrats criticized Djou for holding a fundraiser this week with GOP leaders, while Republicans jumped on Critz's support for Democratic spending bills last month.

"The fact that Mark Critz will have a voting record will make this race completely different," Tory Mazzola, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), said.

And after three weeks in Congress and a handful of votes, the verdict on Critz appears to be in "” at least as far as the NRCC is concerned.

"So far he's been a rubber stamp for Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.]," Mazzola said. His votes for Democratic jobs and a science spending bill "amount to a huge broken promise," he added.

Mikus said Critz has "stood up for Western Pennsylvania" and that he has voted "on the merits" of the bills that have come before him thus far. Republicans, he said, were continuing "a failed strategy of painting him as something that he's not."

Source: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/house-races/101869-new-members-critz-djou-start-off-in-campaign-mode The contents of this site are © 2010 Capitol Hill Publishing Corp., a subsisiary of News Communications, Inc. Add Comment

Name (required)

E-Mail (will not be published) (required)

Your Comments

Submit CommentClear The Hill Archives: Senate | House | Administration | Campaign | Business & Lobbying | Capital Living | Opinion View News by Subject: Defense & Homeland Security | Energy & Environment | Healthcare | Finance & Economy | Technology | Foreign Policy | Labor | Transportation & Infrastructure GO TO THE HILL HOME » Ballot Box Sections: Ballot Box Home » House races » Senate races » Dem primaries » GOP primaries » Polls » Fundraising » Campaign ads » Race ratings » Campaign committees » Campaign News GOP puts health reform on ballot in push to turn out conservatives New members Critz, Djou start off in campaign mode CBC faces tough fight on summer jobs Another Tuesday brings another test of growing anti-establishment mood NRCC recruits face added scrutiny after string of losses Campaign chairman defends Kirk over military record error Oil spill takes center stage inland in Missouri Senate race Corruption scandals are shaking up Florida Senate campaign Democrats' message to send to voters: It's really not as bad as it used to be Steele: White House effort to 'deny, obfuscate, and mislead' in job incidents White House, N.Y. Democrats: No job offers made in Gillibrand Senate race Club for Growth eyes new political fund for expenditures in Nevada, other states Crist says he's "lonely' on campaign trail Dems fire a shot across donors' bow Campaign Archive » Ballot BoxMost Popular Stories Most ViewedMcCain gets heat at town hall, Dems avoid 'unscripted' eventsNRCC recruits face added scrutiny after string of lossesHalter thanks progressive allies ahead of Ark. voteFeingold challenger may not be blank slateTarkanian closes with electability argumentEmailedNevada Dems cite Lowden RV in FEC complaint DiscussedMcCain gets heat at town hall, Dems avoid 'unscripted' eventsNRCC recruits face added scrutiny after string of lossesLieberman undecided on Fla., Conn. Senate racesHalter thanks progressive allies ahead of Ark. voteFeingold challenger may not be blank slate Blog Home » Most Viewed RSS Feed » Briefing Room Liberal group targets Sen. Collins on EPA resolutionObama says he would have fired BP CEOMORNING READ More Briefing Room » Congress Blog New tax could "carry" over hard times in real estateThe new classroom: online education and charter schoolsReid outlines agenda for June More Congress Blog » Pundits Blog Two articlesWhy I feel sympathy for Sarah PalinSex in South Carolina: A non-performing issue More Pundits Blog » Twitter Room Hoyer kicks off House Dems' new media competition Blagojevich tweeting own corruption trialRepublican: Thad Allen 'embarrassing' Gibbs More Twitter Room » Hillicon Valley Good morning techBig Apple seeks Chief Tweeter Eggerton on Comcast-NBCU: We can put a man on the moon but... More Hillicon Valley » E2-Wire Rockefeller may back Murkowski plan to block EPA climate rulesObama: No assurances yet that deep-water drilling can be done safelyE2 Round-up: BP's safety problems go back years, Senate Democrats struggle with path forward on energy, and a bleak outlook for global climate cooperation More E2-Wire » Ballot Box Top of the ballot: Super 12New members Critz, Djou start off in campaign modeTarkanian closes with electability argument More Ballot Box » On The Money Reforms may help some brokersBaucus: Senate close on extendersGeithner to appear before Senate panel on China More On The Money » Blogs News Feed You need Flash Player 8 (or higher) and JavaScript enabled to view this content var config = new Array(); // Edit these parameters to configure your Brightcove Badge config["divId"] = "flashcontent"; config["playerId"] = 28096213001; //the player's id config["lineupId"] = null; //lineup id (optional, if not used enter null) config["columns"] = 2; //number of columns config["rows"] = 1; //number of rows config["bgcolor"] = "#FFFFFF"; //movie background color config["openInNewWindow"] = "true"; //open player in a new window createbadge(config); COLUMNISTS David Keene Debt fear palpable Brent Budowsky The volatile voter Markos Moulitsas Trends not in GOP favor Dick Morris Obama lacks a clue More Columnists »

Get latest news from The Hill direct to your inbox, RSS reader and mobile devices.

function proc_w_cb(elm) { var button = $(elm); var div = button.getParent(); var email = div.getChildren('input').filterByClass('email'); var email_value = email.getProperty('value'); var myXHR = new XHR({ method: 'get', onSuccess: function(response) { alert(response); }, onFailure: function() { alert('Error'); } }).send('/newsalert_saver/newsalert.saver.php', 'task=ajax_add_email&email='+email_value); }; Home/NewsNews by SubjectBlogsBusiness & LobbyingOpinionCapital LivingSpecial ReportsJobsThe Washington Scene Home | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions | Contact | Advertise | RSS | Subscriptions

The Hill 1625 K Street, NW Suite 900 Washington DC 20006 | 202-628-8500 tel | 202-628-8503 fax

The contents of this site are © 2010 Capitol Hill Publishing Corp., a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc.

_qoptions={ qacct:"p-51dZx4IkAE4Zk" }; var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www."); document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E")); try { var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-10188146-1"); pageTracker._trackPageview(); } catch(err) {} var _sf_async_config={uid:3100,domain:"thehill.com"}; (function(){ function loadChartbeat() { window._sf_endpt=(new Date()).getTime(); var e = document.createElement('script'); e.setAttribute('language', 'javascript'); e.setAttribute('type', 'text/javascript'); e.setAttribute('src', (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://s3.amazonaws.com/" : "http://") + "static.chartbeat.com/js/chartbeat.js"); document.body.appendChild(e); } var oldonload = window.onload; window.onload = (typeof window.onload != 'function') ? loadChartbeat : function() { oldonload(); loadChartbeat(); }; })();

Both are facing the same opponents in November they did in May, and political pressures back home are forcing Critz and Djou to put immediate distance between themselves and the national parties that helped elect them. Operatives for their opponents have pledged to scour the limited voting records both lawmakers will compile between now and November, seeking to exploit a paper trail that didn't exist in their initial campaigns.

In one of their first votes in Congress, on a measure to repeal the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military, the two went in opposite directions. Critz voted against repeal, bucking the Democratic Party leadership, while Djou joined just four other Republicans in supporting the measure.

The crossover could become something of a pattern for the next five months.

"It's possible Djou will have a more liberal voting record than Critz for the duration of this Congress on major issues," said David Wasserman, House editor for The Cook Political Report.

Critz, a former aide to the late congressman he replaced, Rep. John Murtha (D), won his special-election race against Republican businessman Tim Burns by a surprisingly strong margin of 8.5 points. National Republicans aggressively targeted the culturally conservative Western Pennsylvania district, which supported Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for president in 2008.

Djou won his Hawaii seat under more complicated circumstances. The childhood home of President Barack Obama, the 1st district had been held for nearly two decades by Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D), who resigned to run for governor. Two Democrats "” state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa and former Rep. Ed Case "” faced Djou and split the vote in the winner-take-all race, with Djou winning with just 39 percent of the total.

He will run against Hanabusa in the fall after Case dropped out, leaving Democrats confident they can take back the seat with a unified party. The May vote was evidence "that residents in the district would prefer to be represented by a Democrat," said Andy Stone, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Now in Congress, Djou and Critz must keep up a full-throttle campaign while adjusting to life in Washington and staffing their Capitol Hill offices.

"It is exciting, exhilarating and a little exhausting," Djou told The Hill of the dual responsibilities. He said he hoped to get a brief reprieve after May 22, but instead he spent the Memorial Day recess getting his office up and running before he returns to campaign mode with a D.C. fundraiser Wednesday. "I'm still waiting for that time to rest," he said.

The transition has been a bit easier for Critz, who was able to retain a large number of Murtha's staff, his campaign manager, Mike Mikus, said.

"He's putting the people's work before the campaign. That said, we're not missing a beat with the campaign either," Mikus said.

The special-election victories have given Critz and Djou the inherent advantage of incumbency, even for only five months. And Critz will have access to the perks of membership in the majority party "” a status that allowed him to trumpet the passage of an amendment in his name to the defense authorization bill that passed just before Memorial Day.

The majority of special-election winners go on to secure a full term in office, Wasserman said, and a Djou aide noted before his election that Hawaii voters had never ousted a sitting governor, senator or congressman in the state's history.

Still, there is precedent for voters to change their minds. In 2008, Democratic Rep. Don Cazayoux won a special election in a GOP-leaning Louisiana district only to lose the seat in November to Woody Jenkins, whom he had defeated months earlier. And in 1994, Democratic Rep. Peter Barka lost his Wisconsin seat just a year after winning it in a special election.

This time around, the respective national parties are going after Critz and Djou using virtually the same strategy of trying to undermine their stated pledge to be an independent voice for their districts.

Democrats criticized Djou for holding a fundraiser this week with GOP leaders, while Republicans jumped on Critz's support for Democratic spending bills last month.

"The fact that Mark Critz will have a voting record will make this race completely different," Tory Mazzola, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), said.

And after three weeks in Congress and a handful of votes, the verdict on Critz appears to be in "” at least as far as the NRCC is concerned.

"So far he's been a rubber stamp for Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.]," Mazzola said. His votes for Democratic jobs and a science spending bill "amount to a huge broken promise," he added.

Mikus said Critz has "stood up for Western Pennsylvania" and that he has voted "on the merits" of the bills that have come before him thus far. Republicans, he said, were continuing "a failed strategy of painting him as something that he's not."

Source: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/house-races/101869-new-members-critz-djou-start-off-in-campaign-mode The contents of this site are © 2010 Capitol Hill Publishing Corp., a subsisiary of News Communications, Inc. Add Comment

Name (required)

E-Mail (will not be published) (required)

Your Comments

Submit CommentClear The Hill Archives: Senate | House | Administration | Campaign | Business & Lobbying | Capital Living | Opinion View News by Subject: Defense & Homeland Security | Energy & Environment | Healthcare | Finance & Economy | Technology | Foreign Policy | Labor | Transportation & Infrastructure GO TO THE HILL HOME » Ballot Box Sections: Ballot Box Home » House races » Senate races » Dem primaries » GOP primaries » Polls » Fundraising » Campaign ads » Race ratings » Campaign committees » Campaign News GOP puts health reform on ballot in push to turn out conservatives New members Critz, Djou start off in campaign mode CBC faces tough fight on summer jobs Another Tuesday brings another test of growing anti-establishment mood NRCC recruits face added scrutiny after string of losses Campaign chairman defends Kirk over military record error Oil spill takes center stage inland in Missouri Senate race Corruption scandals are shaking up Florida Senate campaign Democrats' message to send to voters: It's really not as bad as it used to be Steele: White House effort to 'deny, obfuscate, and mislead' in job incidents White House, N.Y. Democrats: No job offers made in Gillibrand Senate race Club for Growth eyes new political fund for expenditures in Nevada, other states Crist says he's "lonely' on campaign trail Dems fire a shot across donors' bow Campaign Archive » Ballot BoxMost Popular Stories Most ViewedMcCain gets heat at town hall, Dems avoid 'unscripted' eventsNRCC recruits face added scrutiny after string of lossesHalter thanks progressive allies ahead of Ark. voteFeingold challenger may not be blank slateTarkanian closes with electability argumentEmailedNevada Dems cite Lowden RV in FEC complaint DiscussedMcCain gets heat at town hall, Dems avoid 'unscripted' eventsNRCC recruits face added scrutiny after string of lossesLieberman undecided on Fla., Conn. Senate racesHalter thanks progressive allies ahead of Ark. voteFeingold challenger may not be blank slate Blog Home » Most Viewed RSS Feed » Briefing Room Liberal group targets Sen. Collins on EPA resolutionObama says he would have fired BP CEOMORNING READ More Briefing Room » Congress Blog New tax could "carry" over hard times in real estateThe new classroom: online education and charter schoolsReid outlines agenda for June More Congress Blog » Pundits Blog Two articlesWhy I feel sympathy for Sarah PalinSex in South Carolina: A non-performing issue More Pundits Blog » Twitter Room Hoyer kicks off House Dems' new media competition Blagojevich tweeting own corruption trialRepublican: Thad Allen 'embarrassing' Gibbs More Twitter Room » Hillicon Valley Good morning techBig Apple seeks Chief Tweeter Eggerton on Comcast-NBCU: We can put a man on the moon but... More Hillicon Valley » E2-Wire Rockefeller may back Murkowski plan to block EPA climate rulesObama: No assurances yet that deep-water drilling can be done safelyE2 Round-up: BP's safety problems go back years, Senate Democrats struggle with path forward on energy, and a bleak outlook for global climate cooperation More E2-Wire » Ballot Box Top of the ballot: Super 12New members Critz, Djou start off in campaign modeTarkanian closes with electability argument More Ballot Box » On The Money Reforms may help some brokersBaucus: Senate close on extendersGeithner to appear before Senate panel on China More On The Money » Blogs News Feed You need Flash Player 8 (or higher) and JavaScript enabled to view this content var config = new Array(); // Edit these parameters to configure your Brightcove Badge config["divId"] = "flashcontent"; config["playerId"] = 28096213001; //the player's id config["lineupId"] = null; //lineup id (optional, if not used enter null) config["columns"] = 2; //number of columns config["rows"] = 1; //number of rows config["bgcolor"] = "#FFFFFF"; //movie background color config["openInNewWindow"] = "true"; //open player in a new window createbadge(config); COLUMNISTS David Keene Debt fear palpable Brent Budowsky The volatile voter Markos Moulitsas Trends not in GOP favor Dick Morris Obama lacks a clue More Columnists »

Get latest news from The Hill direct to your inbox, RSS reader and mobile devices.

function proc_w_cb(elm) { var button = $(elm); var div = button.getParent(); var email = div.getChildren('input').filterByClass('email'); var email_value = email.getProperty('value'); var myXHR = new XHR({ method: 'get', onSuccess: function(response) { alert(response); }, onFailure: function() { alert('Error'); } }).send('/newsalert_saver/newsalert.saver.php', 'task=ajax_add_email&email='+email_value); }; Home/NewsNews by SubjectBlogsBusiness & LobbyingOpinionCapital LivingSpecial ReportsJobsThe Washington Scene Home | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions | Contact | Advertise | RSS | Subscriptions

The Hill 1625 K Street, NW Suite 900 Washington DC 20006 | 202-628-8500 tel | 202-628-8503 fax

The contents of this site are © 2010 Capitol Hill Publishing Corp., a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc.

_qoptions={ qacct:"p-51dZx4IkAE4Zk" }; var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www."); document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E")); try { var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-10188146-1"); pageTracker._trackPageview(); } catch(err) {} var _sf_async_config={uid:3100,domain:"thehill.com"}; (function(){ function loadChartbeat() { window._sf_endpt=(new Date()).getTime(); var e = document.createElement('script'); e.setAttribute('language', 'javascript'); e.setAttribute('type', 'text/javascript'); e.setAttribute('src', (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://s3.amazonaws.com/" : "http://") + "static.chartbeat.com/js/chartbeat.js"); document.body.appendChild(e); } var oldonload = window.onload; window.onload = (typeof window.onload != 'function') ? loadChartbeat : function() { oldonload(); loadChartbeat(); }; })();

The transition has been a bit easier for Critz, who was able to retain a large number of Murtha's staff, his campaign manager, Mike Mikus, said.

"He's putting the people's work before the campaign. That said, we're not missing a beat with the campaign either," Mikus said.

The special-election victories have given Critz and Djou the inherent advantage of incumbency, even for only five months. And Critz will have access to the perks of membership in the majority party "” a status that allowed him to trumpet the passage of an amendment in his name to the defense authorization bill that passed just before Memorial Day.

The majority of special-election winners go on to secure a full term in office, Wasserman said, and a Djou aide noted before his election that Hawaii voters had never ousted a sitting governor, senator or congressman in the state's history.

Still, there is precedent for voters to change their minds. In 2008, Democratic Rep. Don Cazayoux won a special election in a GOP-leaning Louisiana district only to lose the seat in November to Woody Jenkins, whom he had defeated months earlier. And in 1994, Democratic Rep. Peter Barka lost his Wisconsin seat just a year after winning it in a special election.

This time around, the respective national parties are going after Critz and Djou using virtually the same strategy of trying to undermine their stated pledge to be an independent voice for their districts.

Democrats criticized Djou for holding a fundraiser this week with GOP leaders, while Republicans jumped on Critz's support for Democratic spending bills last month.

"The fact that Mark Critz will have a voting record will make this race completely different," Tory Mazzola, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), said.

And after three weeks in Congress and a handful of votes, the verdict on Critz appears to be in "” at least as far as the NRCC is concerned.

"So far he's been a rubber stamp for Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.]," Mazzola said. His votes for Democratic jobs and a science spending bill "amount to a huge broken promise," he added.

Mikus said Critz has "stood up for Western Pennsylvania" and that he has voted "on the merits" of the bills that have come before him thus far. Republicans, he said, were continuing "a failed strategy of painting him as something that he's not."

Name (required)

E-Mail (will not be published) (required)

Your Comments

Get latest news from The Hill direct to your inbox, RSS reader and mobile devices.

The Hill 1625 K Street, NW Suite 900 Washington DC 20006 | 202-628-8500 tel | 202-628-8503 fax

The contents of this site are © 2010 Capitol Hill Publishing Corp., a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc.

Read Full Article »

Latest On Twitter

Follow Real Clear Politics

Real Clear Politics Video

More RCP Video Highlights »