Travels reveal political priorities

Aug 5th, 2010 | By politicsnews | Category: Politics

House leaders always rack up miles during August recess, but this summer’s travels reveal not only the political hopes and dreams for each party, they also lay bare the fears about where they are vulnerable as the 2010 midterms approach.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is campaigning across the country. While she will fundraise heavily on the West Coast, she is also traveling to Texas and New Mexico to defend the Democratic majority.

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Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) — popular among conservative Democrats — is headed to moderate districts in Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina and Mississippi. Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) has launched a major month of traveling, including a bus tour, as he pitches himself as the next speaker of the House, planning a multistop trip next week through Pennsylvania, where Republicans hope to pick up a handful of seats.

And Mike Pence of Indiana — who may have statewide and possibly national political ambitions — is being a homebody as he plans to visit several congressional districts in the Hoosier state.

But while Democrats must criss-cross the country on defense, Republicans are expanding their travel map, looking to snatch Democratic seats in Pennsylvania and California.

Congressional aides cautioned that travel plans might now be altered with the House heading back into session next week.

Pelosi’s summer schedule shows her not only hitting events in San Francisco, Los Angeles and other Democratic-friendly areas but stretching outside of her political comfort zone with travel in the red state of Texas. She’ll attend dozens of events, according to aides, including a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser in Los Angeles with President Barack Obama. Before heading back to Washington, she’ll speak to about 6,000 people in September at the American Legion conference in Milwaukee.

Pelosi has already burned plenty of jet fuel in the first week of House recess. She was in New Mexico for events with Reps. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Lujan on Tuesday. She was in Los Angeles Wednesday touting Social Security’s anniversary with Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra of California. On Thursday, Pelosi heads north to Portland, Ore., to talk about the recovery act with Rep. Earl Blumenauer.

“The speaker will travel across the country for the DCCC, members and candidates, participating in more than 35 fundraising events and message events on the Make It in America Agenda, the recovery act, protecting Social Security and honoring our commitments to troops and veterans,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said.

Hoyer is hitting the road for endangered Democrats in more moderate districts in which Pelosi might be less popular and the local candidates might not want to have a photo-op with the speaker.

Hoyer’s list includes Reps. Larry Kissell of North Carolina; Mark Critz and Chris Carney of Pennsylvania; Timothy Bishop of New York; Travis Childers of Mississippi; and House candidates Stephene Moore of Kansas; Ami Bera, who is challenging Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.); and Denny Heck, who is seeking to replace retiring Rep. Brian Baird of Washington.

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