I half-consciously noted such a use on, I think, NPR a while back by an elected Democratic politician, but didn't even note who it was and have since caught a couple other uses where it was clearly neutral, either from the context or from knowing the politics of the speaker. Today, the decidedly left-leaning Raw Story uses it in a headline (using a screen capture since the actual link doesn't use that form):
There, on the right side of the second line, you can see. At the same time, today's Wisconsin State Journal — a Republican paper to be sure, but hardly the most knuckle-dragging operation around — has a headline:
Democrat choice is tough for someIs this a cropping that's losing it's sting?