This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Washington • Democrats have two words they want voters to remember this fall: Donald Trump.
While extolling the virtues of Democrats' House candidates across the country, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) says Trump could fatally wound the chances of GOP incumbents and challengers down ticket.
"If the American people understand who Donald Trump is, and if they've been upset or hurt or disappointed by anything that Donald Trump has said, if they find that lots of other people have been saying those same things, I think that will matter to the American people," said DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M. "So if we can tie Donald Trump to the Republicans and tie the Republicans to Donald Trump, that'll be a good night for Democrats in November."
The DCCC is backing Doug Owens, who lost to Mia Love by five points in 2014, with money and resources as they mount a rematch.
In a round-table discussion with reporters, Lujan touted Owens campaign as a great example this cycle of a Democrat who can take back a Republican seat. Owens is part of the DCCC's "Red to Blue" program..
Like many Republicans in Congress, Love has said she won't answer the question of whether she would vote for Trump if he was the Republican nominee. But her campaign says having Hillary Clinton as the head of the Democratic ticket could hurt Owens.
"While the DCCC's candidate is promoting himself and unable to take a stance on any important issue, Mia is promoting Utah," said Dave Hansen, Love's campaign manager. "Mia always shows up and fights for Utah values. The DCCC should be more concerned about Hillary Clinton being at the top of the ticket and the fact that Utah doesn't trust or want the likely Democrat nominee who, unfortunately, Owens sent money to and supported."
Owens gave $500 to Clinton in 2007 as she geared up for her first run at the White House, election records show.
The DCCC counterpart, the National Republican Congressional Committee, has said it doesn't need to pour resources into helping Love this time around as she's got a solid campaign on her own.
Lujan says Democrats are on the "offense" this cycle and hope to pick up enough seats to take back the majority in the House.
That would take an immense wave of support for Democratic candidates. Republicans now hold 246 seats to Democrats' 188, the largest GOP majority in the chamber since the Great Depression.