In the House, they're rushing to save suddenly vulnerable incumbents — even in states where President Obama cruised to double-digit victories — amid fresh signs of Republican momentum, says The Associated Press.
The once friendly states of New York, California, Obama's native state of Hawaii and adopted state of Illinois all now pose stiff challenges, AP says.
"We're in trench warfare. I'm not going to sugarcoat it," says Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Meanwhile, Democrats in the closest Senate races across the South are turning to racially charged messages — invoking Trayvon Martin, Ferguson, Mo., and Jim Crow-era segregation — to get African-Americans to vote and stop a Republican takeover in Washington, says The New York Times.
The images and words being used are striking for the overt way they play on fears of intimidation and repression, says the Times.
And the effort is being led by national Democrats and their state party organizations — not, in most cases, by the shadowy and often untraceable political action committees that typically employ such provocative messages, the Times says.