GOP and Dems alike use fiscal cliff as a prelude to 2014 races

WASHINGTON – Thirty-six days ago, the country voted. With a year and 11 months remaining before the next election, national Democrats and Republicans are already firing potshots at Minnesota members they consider to be potentially vulnerable in 2014 using the current fiscal cliff talks as a starting point.

The latest salvo comes in the form of a series of press releases from the campaign arm of U.S. House Republicans, the National Republican Congressional Committee. They ask if U.S. Reps. Tim Walz and Collin Peterson, along with Rep.-elect Rick Nolan “support Obama’s blank check proposal” to include a large debt ceiling increase and a mechanism for preventing future increases from harming the nation’s credit rating.

Last week the group’s Democratic equivalent, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, created an online petition for three dozen GOP House members, including U.S. Reps. John Kline and Erik Paulsen, asking them to prevent a middle class tax increase by supporting President Obama’s call for an increase on taxes for the wealthy.

While the new Congress hasn’t yet been sworn in (that happens on Jan. 3), both parties are eager to begin defining members early in their term. President Obama won narrow victories in Kline, Paulsen and Walz’s district, leading each party to see potential pick up opportunities in those districts.