Indiana’s 8th District joins Red to Blue program

After another strong quarter of fundraising, Dave Crooks has been added to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” program. Both the Crooks campaign and the state Democrats sent out email blasts to celebrate the news:

DCCC Chairman Steve Israel today announced 14 more races have qualified for the highly competitive Red to Blue program as the latest wave in the DCCC’s ‘Drive for 25’ campaign to win the House. These candidates have earned a spot on Red to Blue by surpassing aggressive fundraising, organization and infrastructure goals. These candidates also demonstrate they are problem solvers who will represent the American people’s priorities and protect the middle class.

Indiana’s 8th District was previously labeled as an “Emerging Race” by the DCCC, indicating a race that may become competitive.

Meanwhile, Republican Speaker John Boehner made headlines by admitting that the GOP’s majority in the House may be in jeopardy in the fall.

“But there’s a 1-in-3 chance that we could lose,” Boehner told [Fox News’] Bill Hemmer.

This may just be the standard “don’t forget to come out and vote” message for the base, but Boehner’s comments were widely reported and Democrats were quick to seize on the statement. If nothing else, it’s a distraction from the constant gamesmanship and spin going on over which party will control the Senate in the fall.

Crooks joins IN-2 candidate Brendan Mullen on the Red to Blue list. In 2006, Joe Donnelly was able to defeat Chris Chocola in the 2nd District with the help of the DCCC and the Red to Blue program.

Red to Blue is not without its critics. The DCCC has used the program to support conservative, Blue Dog Democrats and push liberal candidates out of races. I was unable to find any hard numbers on the overall record of the program, but Red to Blue is no guarantee of success. Case in point: the program backed Trent Van Haaften in Indiana’s 8th District in 2010. Then, there’s the declining share of campaign expenditures that the party committees as PACs and other outside groups increase their spending.

That said, this is good news for Crooks and all the Hoosiers in the 8th District. Crooks will have to spend a little less time fundraising, and will be able to campaign a little more. And there’s a better chance that Larry Bucshon won’t be representing southwest Indiana next year.