Dems seek to harness Trump rage in suburban Philly

U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan is one of the Republicans targeted by a digital advertising campaign.

Philadelphia has been a hotbed of protest against President Trump, and national Democrats are moving early to try to leverage the outrage in suburban U.S. House races next year.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced Thursday it will send a full-time organizer and launch a digital advertising campaign to build a wave of activists for campaigns against three Republican incumbents in Pennsylvania’s 6th, 7th and 8th districts.

They’re calling it the “March into ‘18” project.

“The organic strength of the women’s marches, Affordable Care Act rallies, and protests can already be felt,” said Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico, the chairman of the DCCC.

“A groundswell of people are looking for ways to tell their stories, channel their energy and organize for change in Pennsylvania, and this DCCC project will help do just that,” he said.

Republican Rep. Ryan Costello represents the 6th District, which includes parts of Montgomery, Chester and Berks counties. Rep. Patrick Meehan represents the Delaware County-based 7th District. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick is just beginning his first term in the Bucks-centered 8th District, having been elected to succeed his brother, Mike.

The three districts are considered competitive, though Republicans have managed to hold them for a long time. Democrat Hillary Clinton carried the 6th and 7th Districts. Trump won in the 8th District.

The committee also is targeting 17 other GOP-held districts in California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Texas and Virginia.

It’s the earliest DCCC has tried to organize on the ground for the midterms, party officials said. Typically there is little activity until the first few months of the election year.

Officials said the digital campaign will target promoted Twitter ads at people who have tweeted about local women’s marches and other Trump-related protests.