Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio Still Doesn’t Fully Understand Why Democrats Lost

The Northwest Report
November 16, 2010

The following is a letter that Peter DeFazio sent to his colleagues after major Democrat losses during the 2010 elections. It was sent to to all House Democrats:

Our Caucus should come together next week and listen to the members who lost, the members who won narrowly close elections, and the remaining members of the caucus. We should hear their stories about what worked and what was not successful because if we do not to learn from our losses we will remain in the minority until we do learn.

Following the loss of our majority, we should fully understand the causes of our historic losses before we begin the process of rebuilding. We believe leadership elections should take place in December after our Caucus has had the opportunity to hear from each other and our concerns.

We cannot ignore the historical results of these elections. At a minimum, we lost 60 seats, with a few races still to call. According to the exit polls, we lost a majority of both male and female voters, reversing the last four years of Democratic gains. Two years ago, President Obama won a majority of the female vote by 13 points. We also lost a majority of voters over 30 years of age, including an 18 point margin for seniors. We lost the independent vote by 16 points, compared to President Obama’s 8 point margin. Finally we lost a majority of voters earning more than $50,000 a year.

Considering these disturbing exit polls, we believe we should not rush to elect a leadership slate next week, but rather spend more time to understand these historic losses. Before we chart a new path forward, we need to understand where we erred to avoid repeating past mistakes.

There is no pressing need to elect our leadership so soon after the election. We should take the Thanksgiving break to reflect on the Caucus discussions and talk with our constituents. We can then return in December to elect our leadership team. Heading into a Presidential election cycle, we believe our Caucus would benefit from a more thoughtful discussion, prior to leadership elections.

We are not endorsing or opposing any leadership candidate with this letter, but we are seeking more time for a more thoughtful discussion with everyone in the same room. America expects us to take this moment and draw the best from it in her interest. Our fates our tied together. With the economy predominant in all polls, the public knows we can do so much better for our nation. We should be given more than two weeks to understand what happened and select our leadership who will be charged with restoring our majority.

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