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|NOVEMBER 4, 1998
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)
Dan Sallick or Olivia Morgan, 202-863-1500
|House Democrats' Historic 1998 Victory Sets Stage for 2000 Takeover|
November 4 - Following is a statement by House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt and DCCC
Chair Martin Frost:
In an election year that has been anything but ordinary, one thing is clear: the Democratic issue agenda has delivered us a historic victory in 1998 and put us on the path to regaining control of the House in 2000.
Newt Gingrich and his pro-impeachment agenda have been soundly rejected by American voters, granting House Democrats the mandate and the momentum to propel us into legislative action and into a New Majority.
Millions of dollars in special interest money funneled through the Republican Party left Democrats outspent by a mind-boggling $110 million. In the face of Republican attacks on the airwaves, in the mail and on the ground, Democrats, for the first time this century, won seats in the sixth year of an incumbent presidency.
House Democrats have made history in a complicated environment for very simple reasons:
-- Unwavering pursuit of an issues agenda that speaks to the real concerns of American families, like better schools for their children, a health car system that puts patients first, and a Social Security system they can count on.
-- Unified and disciplined dedication to that message and to along-term election year plan in the face of every imaginable GOP attempt to divert the public dialogue.
-- Top tier candidates ideologically in tune with their districts who got in early, raised money and ran top-notch campaigns. National Republican money and spin simply could not prop up their second-rate recruits.
-- Unprecedented turnout efforts both on the ground and on the radio, boosted by the participation of our Caucus financially and on the stump, and reaching out to all our core constituencies.
The strength of Democratic ideas and candidates has further reduced what was already the narrowest margin in the House in over 40 years, putting Democrats squarely on track to take back the House in the next cycle.
This year we made remarkable gains in Republican open seats. In 2000, self-imposed Republican term limits and departures brought on by GOP House Members forced to relinquish their Committee posts and choosing to seek higher office, will once again create a landscape ripe for Democratic pick-ups in GOP open seats.
With Democrats on the precipice of regaining the majority, quality Democratic candidates can be expected to energy quickly in vulnerable GOP districts and likely GOP open seats.
Just as 1998's gains can be attributed to the high caliber of our recruits, so will 2000'svictories be attained by a new round of outstanding candidates encouraged to run by the public's overwhelming endorsement of Democratic core ideals.
Through 1997 and 1998, internal divisions wracked the Republican Party, resulting in the last-ditch, misguided attempt by Newt Gingrich to stimulate Republican base voters with a barrage of pro-impeachment advertising. That disarray and inability to coherently articulate a positive message can only be expected to heighten in the 2000 cycle, as finger pointing and Presidential-yea posturing explode within the GOP, pushing Party members as a whole further to the right and more at odds with each other.
Since winning the majority in 1994, Republicans, led by Newt Gingrich, have embarked on an unswerving path of self-destruction. They tried to force an extremist legislative agenda on the American people and were rebuffed in 1996. They again ignored the interests of voters in 1998 and were again punished at the polls. They have spent hundreds of millions of special interest dollars trying to sell a bridge to nowhere, but the American public is not buying.
Again in 1998 Democrats have proven that the most important ingredient in any political recipe is people. By finding and supporting the individual candidates best suited to fight for American families' interests, Democrats have made historic gains in 1998, ushered in a new class of diverse and talented Freshmen, and positioned themselves for an inevitable take over of the House in 2000.
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