National Democratic campaign group to help VanOstran with strategy, fundraising

By Chuck Raasch

WASHINGTON • A national Democratic Party organization that helps competitive campaigns with advice and money has added Missouri’s 2nd District candidate Cort VanOstran to its “red to blue” list.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee made that announcement Friday, continuing a spate of events and stories indicating VanOstran’s race with incumbent Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, could be close. Missouri’s 2nd District is now one of 82 Republican-held House seats targeted by national Democrats.

Wagner has had a decided money advantage, and she and her aides have expressed confidence she will win re-election. Last week, the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee told the Post-Dispatch that Wagner eschewed any help from that committee, the GOP version of the DCCC.

Wagner “is a pro and she begged me not to spend in her race,” Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, said. “She said she has got this.”

As of July 18, the last reporting deadline, Wagner had just under $3 million in her campaign coffers, compared to VanOstran’s $454,000.

But the DCCC’s “red to blue” program is more than a symbolic designation. It “arms top-tier candidates with organization and fundraising support to help them continue to strong campaigns,” DCCC spokeswoman Amanda Sherman said. “Additionally, the DCCC provides these races with strategic guidance, staff resources, candidate trainings, and more.”

DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Lujan, a congressman from New Mexico, told reporters Thursday he felt confident that Democrats would win back the House in the Nov. 6 elections. They need to flip 23 seats currently held by Republicans.

He said the “expansiveness of the (competitive race) map and battlefield” favors Democrats.

“There is something incredible happening across America, and as long as the energy and momentum is on our side we will continue to make investments” in races like Missouri’s 2nd, he said.

poll released by Quinnipiac University earlier this week gave Democrats a decisive 14-percentage-point advantage when likely voters were asked which party they favored to control the House.

The influential non-partisan political newsletter, Cook Political Report, last week shifted its rating on Missouri’s 2nd District from “likely” to “lean” Republican.

Missouri’s 2nd District is the third in the St. Louis metro area on the list of the DCCC’s most competitive races. Earlier, it had put Metro East districts held by Reps. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville and Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, on its “red to blue” list.

They face, respectively, Democrats Betsy Dirksen Londrigan and Brendan Kelly.

Source: St. Louis Post Dispatch, 9/14/18

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