Howard Dean: Losing Four Special Elections Isn’t a ‘Bad Sign’ for Democrats

• June 30, 2017 5:17 pm


Former Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean on Friday downplayed Democrats losing four special elections by saying that it was not a "bad sign."

MSNBC host Katy Tur pointed out that Democrats have not won a special congressional election over Republicans this year, and asked Dean whether they should be focusing on policy agenda ideas and trying to fix Obamacare.

"I don't think the special elections are a bad sign," Dean said. "Here we take four very Republican districts and come within four or six points of all of the seats where we were behind 20 in the last election, so I'm not concerned about that."

"I think the special elections have actually worked well for us, proving we can in fact win in red districts, but just not quite as red as the ones we've been in," Dean added.

Dean's diagnosis of the Democrats losing the special elections is similar to that of Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez, who tried to downplay the losses because they were Republican districts.

"I know folks were a little disappointed earlier this week. There were some elections in Georgia and South Carolina that we didn't quite get to the finish line on, but you know what folks? Those are beet red districts," Perez said last week at the Texas AFL-CIO Convention in Houston.

Perez also had the same optimistic outlook that Dean had about 2018, predicting that Democrats will have a great chance at flipping Republican seats.

Despite Dean and Perez's optimism, there are several Democrats who believe the party does not have a winning strategy and that they need a revival.

After Democrat Jon Ossoff lost Georgia's special congressional race, several Democrats questioned House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's (D., Calif.) leadership and their chances going into 2018.

"Our brand is worse than Trump," Rep. Tim Ryan (D., Ohio) said, urging Democrats to make a clear economic message an urgent priority. "We can't just run against Trump."

Ryan has been openly critical of the Democratic Party's strategic direction since November, trying to unseat Pelosi as the top House Democrat in order to implement a new strategy.

"There comes a time when every leader has to say, ‘For the good of the order and for the betterment of the party, it's time for me to step aside.' And I wish that that would happen right now. This is not a personal thing. I want to get back in the majority," Rep. Kathleen Rice (D., N.Y.) said in an interview.

"I think you'd have to be an idiot to think we could win the House with Pelosi at the top," Rep. Filemon Vela (D., Texas) said.