The Democratic Party is playing it too safe, according to liberal activists.
Jim Dean, Democracy for America president, slammed the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee when a Democratic candidate came close to winning a Kansas spot in the House of Representatives that had been in Republican hands for more than two decades.
"To the Washington Democratic insiders who wrote this race off before it began, it's time to wake up and realize that the grassroots expects this resistance effort to be waged unflinchingly in every single county and every single state across the country," he said, according to McClatchy.
"The Democratic Party can no longer ignore districts that they consider 'safe' for Republicans," according to Our Revolution, the progressive group that Bernie Sanders' former presidential campaign team created.
James Thompson, who lost the Kansas special election, said, in his concession speech, that Democrats need to focus on all 50 states, not just the presidency.
"I think ultraconservative Republicans anywhere in the United States need to be scared right now, because we have shown that a motivated base and well-run campaign can win," he said in a ThinkProgress interview.
Democrats in Washington said they did enough to help Thompson and any more help would have been unwise, according to McClatchy's report.
"The DCCC will continue its longstanding and failed model of helping only most favored candidates until grassroots disgust makes that stance untenable," said Jeff Hauser, progressive strategist.
"Taking 'chances,' especially in a cycle which might well prove to be a wave, should be the DCCC's default approach," Hauser added.
Supporters of the DCCC said the party has to pick its battles.
"The DCCC has to be honest with its donors about where they have opportunity. If you cry wolf all the time, it makes it very difficult to actually move resources (when) you have a real race," Ian Russell, last year's DCCC political director, said.
Russell said the Kansas race did not appear winnable. But the DCCC is showing support for a Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives in Georgia, Jon Ossoff. The DCCC has mobilized field staff and $250,000 in advertising to help him in the race to take the seat vacated by Tom Price when he became Health and Human Services secretary.
Meredith Kelly, DCCC spokeswoman, said the DCCC is focused on the Georgia race.
"Energy among Democrats is off the charts, which the DCCC recognized and acted on earlier than any previous cycle," Kelly said in the McClatchy report. "We now have a good sense of energy that's out there in terms of how it actually translates at the ballot box."
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