Steve Israel has been reading his Sun Tzu.
The New York Democrat, who kicks off his second term as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has already begun an ambitious campaign to recruit candidates to run for Congress in 2014. His party needs another 17 seats in Congress to win back the majority, a goal he says isn't out of reach--so long as he recruits the right candidates.
"The fundamental lesson I learned coming out of the cycle is that the cycle--it's not about 2014, it's about 2013," Israel said in an interview this week. "Our success was because we recruited early. We organized early. It was all about hitting the road and getting those recruits, the right kinds of recruits. So we're going to build on that playbook--which is, you go aggressive, you go early."
That sounds like Sun Tzu, the Chinese military philosopher of the first millennium B.C. "The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won," he wrote.
Democrats wasted little time in setting ambitious recruiting goals. The party begins the 2014 election cycle with its eyes on 48 Republican-held seats across the country, Israel said, including 30 in which the GOP incumbent won by less than 10 percentage points.