WASHINGTON — Wanted: moderate Democrats. Contact the mostly liberal House Democratic leadership if interested.
Democrats hope to take back the House of Representatives in 2014 by mirroring their last successful effort to flip the chamber in 2006.
Rep. Steve Israel, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Wednesday he is recruiting nonideological "problem-solver" candidates to contrast with Republicans who, he said, are stuck on "tea party extremism."
"Our candidates will be mayors, business leaders, small business owners ... community members," he said.
House Democrats face a difficult task in regaining control in 2014. They would need a net gain of 17 seats to win a House majority in 2014; that's nine more than they netted in 2012.
Israel, D-N.Y., said it was too early to tell whether Democrats could do it this election cycle. "I'll let you know in a year if we're going to be north or south of 17 seats," he said.
At a briefing, he offered an early sketch of the Democrats' strategy. He said Democrats would focus on Florida and Texas, where districts are being tweaked after last year's redistricting; districts where Republican incumbents won with less than a 10 percent margin of victory; and other seats that have "unique and special" characteristics.
Israel, who also led the campaign committee in 2012, said candidate recruitment is the most pressing task for now. He said he started making his first calls to potential 2014 candidates as votes were still being counted on Election Night last November.
President Barack Obama, no longer on the ballot, will still play a big role, Israel said. Obama has asked to be kept apprised of recruiting and will be raising money for House Democrats, Israel said.
"The president has made a commitment that he would assist," Israel said. "We're in a very good place."