Would Rahm Emanuel have pushed Cicilline out of the race?

It’s long been a mystery to Rhode Island political observers why Washington Democrats apparently made no effort to push Congressman David Cicilline to retire and allow a more popular candidate to run in the 1st District. Folks in the Beltway are asking the same question, National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar reports:

In the course of a recent conversation I had with a senior Democratic strategist, the operative expressed a sense of nostalgia for the halcyon days of 2006. That was when Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Rahm Emanuel ran the Democratic congressional campaign committees with a no-holds-barred approach, anointing their favored nominees and pushing aside weak candidates to clear election fields. …

Those days are long gone …. The clearest example of the changed environment can be seen at Emanuel’s old stomping grounds at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; the DCCC is at risk of losing four House seats in solidly Democratic territory thanks to ethically tainted incumbents and weak candidates. …

The not-so-fearsome foursome are Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I, Connecticut House Speaker Chris Donovan, running in CT-05, and former Rep. Alan Grayson, running in an Orlando-area seat newly drawn to elect a Democrat. …

Party leaders had plenty of time to recognize that Cicilline faced serious problems, with his weak 2010 performance, alarming poll numbers and stream of bad headlines. But instead of recruiting an alternative candidate in a district where Democrats dominate, they watched and are still waiting to see what transpires.

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