"Double Down" is the name of a best-selling book about the 2012 election, not to mention a very caloric sandwich at KFC, but the phrase applies just as well to House Democrats in 2014. Everyone knows Democrats need a long-term, not short-term, strategy for winning back the House. But a party committee's job is to maximize seats in the short-term, and its first responsibility is to hunker down and protect its incumbents.

For example, the DCCC and the allied House Majority PAC have spent a whopping $4.3 million to try to rescue 38-year Rep. Nick Rahall in West Virginia's 3rd CD, even though the coal country seat will eventually fall to Republicans, whether it's this year or later. Yet Democrats haven't spent heavily in Virginia's open 10th CD, where GOP nominee Del. Barbara Comstock may get an easy ride despite her liabilities.

On Election Night, the size of House Republicans' gain depends on how many Democrats they can unseat. Of the 38 seats we currently rate as competitive (in the Lean or Toss Up columns), 23 are currently held by

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Charlie "Chuck" Cook