‘Moderate’ Democrats Targeted by Conservative Group Lose Seats in the ‘House That Rahm Built’

By Dan Joseph | November 4, 2010 | 10:22 AM EDT

President Barack Obama campaign with Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Va., Friday, Oct. 29, 2010, during a rally in Charlottesville, Va. Periello lost. He was among the 20 Democrats targeted by the conservative Family Research Council. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

(CNSNews.com) - Tuesday’s election, in which the Republican Party regained a majority in the House of Representatives, brought the defeat of almost all of the Democrats who were targeted by a conservative advocacy group.

Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council Action, told CNSNews.com Wednesday that his group had specifically targeted 20 Democratic incumbents who supported the Democrats’ health-care reform legislation or who voted against the Stupak-Pitts amendment, which would have removed pro-abortion provisions of the Democrats’ health care “reform” bill.

In April, FRC announced that it had spent many months “researching those races we see as vulnerable and that will have pro-life, pro-family candidates to fill the void.”

So far, 19 of those Democrats targeted by the FRC have gone down in defeat, while one – Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) -- is in a close race for which a winner had not been declared as of Thursday morning.

Perkins explained that many of the Democrats targeted by the FRC were specifically recruited in 2006 by then-head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Rahm Emanuel, because they appealed to the moderate and independent voters in their districts.

“What was interesting was that for a number of these conservative Democrats that Rahm Emanuel recruited, that enabled them to take control of the House, pressure was put on them to go along with the president’s government takeover of health care, which included the largest expansion of taxpayer-funded abortion in history,” Perkins told CNSNews.com.

The 19 Democrats targeted by the FRC who lost their seats were: Reps. Chris Carney (Pa.); John Boccieri (Ohio); Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.); Steve Driehaus (Ohio); Baron Hill (Ind.); Paul Kanjorski (Pa.); Mary Jo Kilroy (Ohio); Ron Klein (Fla.); Betsy Markey (Colo.); Walt Minnick (Idaho); Allan Mollahan (W.Va.), who lost in the primary; Glenn Nye (Va.); Tom Perriello (Va.), with whom President Obama campaigned in recent days; Earl Pomeroy (N.D.); Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.); Ciro Rodriguez (Texas); John Spratt (S.C.); Ann Kirkpatrick (Ariz.) and Alice Dina Titus (Nev.).

Most of them were so-called Blue Dog Democrats, who describe themselves as fiscal conservatives.

But Perkins said the candidates elected to replace them will produce a more conservative House caucus:

“Even more significant is that these so-called moderate Democrats defeated liberal Republicans in ’06 and ’08,” he told CNSNews.com. “They now have been replaced by conservative Republicans. So it’s not just Republicans regaining seats, it’s conservatives taking Republican seats. That’s a significant difference.”

Even the 34 congressional Democrats who cast “no” votes on Obamacare did not necessarily win their elections on Tuesday.

Seventeen of the “no on health care” Democrats failed to win re-election to Congress, including Reps. Michael Arcuri (N.Y.); John Adler (N.J.); Rick Boucher (Va.); Bobby Bright (Ala.); Travis Childers (Miss.); Lincoln Davis (Tenn.); Chet Edwards (Texas); Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (S.D.); Rep. Frank Kratovil (Md.); Jim Marshall (Ga.); Mike McMahon (N.Y.);Walt Minnick (Idaho); Glenn Nye (Va.); Rep. Ike Skelton (Mo.); Zack Space (Ohio); Gene Taylor (Miss.) and Harry Teague (N.M.).

Only 12 of the “no on health care” Democrats won re-election to the House of Representatives on Tuesday, including Reps. John Barrow (Ga.); Dan Boren (Okla.); Ben Chandler (Ky.);Tim Holden (Pa.); Larry Kissell (N.C.); Dan Lipinski (Ill.); Stephen Lynch (Mass.); Jim Matheson (Utah); Mike McIntyre (N.C.); Collin Peterson (Minn.); Mike Ross (Ark.) and Heath Shuler (N.C.).

Four Democrats who voted against Obamacare either retired or lost bids to gain higher office. Rep. Artur Davis (Ala.) failed in his bid to become governor of Alabama and Rep. Charlie Melancon (La.) lost his U.S. Senate race. Reps. John Tanner (Tenn.) and Marion Berry (Ark.) both retired from the House.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who went from the House to the U.S. Senate in 2004 and is considered among the leading conservatives in Congress, welcomed the new Republican majority in the House – which he called a mostly conservative majority.

“To see what happened in the House was overwhelming,” DeMint said Tuesday. “That puts us in a position to be responding to positive legislation, forcing votes on some good ideas for a change, rather than just saying no.”