Saturday, April 14, 2018

The NRCC Is Starting To Freak Out About Really Deep Red Districts


On Thursday evening the Houston Chronicle reported that when Blake Farenthold slithered out of Congress last week he did so without repaying the $84,000 he stole from the taxpayers to cover up the charges that he had sexually harassed a female staffer. He had promised he would repay the stolen funds-- and he's a multimillionaire. The GOP-led House Ethics Committee is demanding he pay back the money, as are Speaker Paul Ryan and NRCC chair Steve Stivers. His very gerrymandered district (TX-27) has a PVI of R+13 and gave Trump a 60.1% to 36.5% win over Hillary. But this is precisely the kind of district the NRCC is starting to worry about. Two Republican are locked in deadly runoff combat for the nomination, Bech Bruun and Michael Cloud. (Two Democrats, Roy Barrera and Eric Holguin, are in their own primary runoff for the seat.) As of the February 14 FEC reporting deadline, neither Bruun nor Cloud was in good shape for what could turn into a competitive race. Bruun has $84,497 in his campaign account and Cloud has only $12,127. Holguin had only $2,413 and Barrera had nothing at all.

Yesterday Alex Isenstadt, reporting for Politico, noted that the NRCC is panicking over districts that should be gimmes for the party, not just TX-27, but districts all over the country that just a few months ago looked immune to the blue tsunami. Stivers no longer thinks there are safe seats anywhere and he's "pressing Republican lawmakers in conservative areas to get their sluggish campaigns in order." He's begging major donors, who have been largely ignoring the House and trying to save the Senate, "to open their wallets for incumbents in seats previously thought to be secure."
While most of the party’s efforts have been focused on defending swing districts, Republicans are increasingly turning their attention to more conservative areas, from suburban Phoenix to rural Virginia, fearful that they too could be casualties of a midterm bloodbath.

Party officials say they‘ve learned the lessons Democrats failed to heed during the 2010 House GOP takeover. That year, a number of Democratic-held seats once thought to be safe became endangered just before the election, giving the national party little time to mount a rescue campaign.

"In a year like this, every Republican is vulnerable. If you don't take your race seriously, you'll probably lose," said Robert Blizzard, a veteran Republican pollster who’s working on a number of congressional races. "The Democratic enthusiasm is no joke. They're coming to the polls in November no matter what. Don't run a strong campaign at your own potential peril."

...Stivers (R-OH) met one-on-one with all 43 House Republicans who were outraised by Democratic opponents during the fourth quarter of 2017.

At the committee’s Capitol Hill headquarters, staffers have begun referring to members like Illinois Rep. Randy Hultgren, Virginia Rep. Tom Garrett and North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd-- who also won reelection in 2016 by double digits-- as “the foundation.” In other words, the lawmakers whose fate will determine whether Republicans save their majority.

Over the past few weeks, the pro-House GOP Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC has conducted surveys in the districts of three conservative House Freedom Caucus members-- Garrett, Budd and Virginia Rep. Dave Brat.

It also polled the races of two North Carolina Republicans, Reps. Robert Pittenger and George Holding, both of whom won by double digits in 2016. Their House districts are among 50 the super PAC has surveyed.

Those familiar with the polling say none of the five members are in imminent danger of losing. Yet some are sounding the alarm.

On Monday, veteran GOP pollster John McLaughlin, who advised Trump’s 2016 campaign, delivered a presentation to Florida Republican legislators in which he warned that the party was failing to invigorate the president’s supporters. He said many Trump voters were likely sit out the midterms, a dynamic that could endanger lawmakers in conservative areas.

At one point, McLaughlin showed a slide highlighting the Republican drop-off in special elections since the start of the 2018 cycle and noting that Democrats had improved their performance by 14 percentage points on average.

“Republicans are losing elections because they don’t understand and are not appealing to Trump voters, and Trump voters are staying home because the Republican establishment has no clue how to get them out,” McLaughlin said in an interview.

Party officials are particularly concerned about members who’ve failed to fill their fundraising coffers. In North Carolina, Pittenger has been outraised by his Democratic opponent, Iraq War veteran Dan McCready. On Tuesday, McCarthy held an event for Pittenger in the state that raised over $160,000.

In Virginia, Garrett and Brat have posted subpar totals, raising concerns among party leaders, who are rushing to help them build their war chests. Next month, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise will headline a “Breakfast with Brat” event benefiting the conservative congressman.

“Unfortunately, in Garrett and Brat’s case, neither congressman has done what they need to do from a fundraising perspective,” said Chris LaCivita, a longtime Virginia-based Republican strategist. “From a fundraising standpoint they have made their races attractive to Democrats."

In some states, the GOP is racing to build political infrastructure for lawmakers who previously needed little help from the national party. Congressional Leadership Fund has opened a field office devoted to boosting Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the House GOP Conference chairwoman who’s won her past five reelection bids with at least 60 percent of the vote.

The RNC has established an elaborate field program in North Carolina, where Holden, Budd and Pittenger are running-- and where there are otherwise few voter turnout mechanisms in place. With North Carolina in a “blue moon” election cycle, meaning that there are no statewide races on the ballot other than Supreme Court contests, the committee has dispatched six full-time field staffers to the state.

...Some Republicans, however, contend that the biggest concern isn’t donors-- it’s unprepared lawmakers failing to realize the danger they face.

Congressional “majorities aren’t made by the races that are targeted the whole cycle. They are made by open seats and unprepared members in Republican-leaning seats where members are unprepared,” said Jeff Burton, a former top NRCC official.

“They will go home in August and finally realize what the environment looks like,“ he added, “and by that time, it’s almost too late.”
No one imagined Republicans in deep red districts like Virginia Foxx (NC-05), Trey Hollingsworth (IN-09), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Peter Cook (CA-08), Devin Nunes (CA-22) and Brian Babin (TX-36) could be on slippery ice but all 6 and dozens of others in red, red districts are.

Jenny Marshall's primary in northwest North Carolina is less than a month away. And then comes the general election. She told us today that her right wing opponent "is in trouble. Recently Foxx spoke to Wilkes County Republicans about the challenge Democrats are putting up this election cycle. She said maintaining their majority 'won’t be easy because they [Democrats] are going all out against the president and against us.' She went on to say that, 'we know because of President Trump getting elected that miracles still happen,' and that Republicans 'literally are doing the Lord’s work.' I hate to break it to the Republicans, but we are not buying it. We want a representative that actually works for all of the people of this district to ensure that they are paid fairly for their work, that people have access to healthcare, and that students are receiving the high quality public education they deserve. Every day Rep. Foxx sits high up in Washington, pushing terrible policies and filling her coffers with PAC money, while we’re working hard on the ground-- making calls, recruiting volunteers, and actually talking to the people of the 5th District. The 5th is a lean red district, but we are working hard to turn it blue."

Dayna Steele is urging progressives outside of her district (TX-36) to adopt a red district. "So many of you are in districts that would elect a Democrat even if no one was running. Find the reddest district in your state or find the reddest district in the country or find the reddest district in Texas, like mine. Adopt a candidate in a red district and do everything you can for them like call banking and fundraising (which is virtual now). You can adopt me here.

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At 5:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Instant Karma: the Takers get taken by one of their own.

At 8:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You spent a long piece just to reiterate that this is not a blue (positive) wave.
It's a big ANTI-red tsunami. And it exists precisely because trump and his cabal is simply a disastrous shit-show and even some of the white male racist dumbfucktards realize it.

“Republicans are losing elections because they don’t understand and are not appealing to Trump voters, and Trump voters are staying home because the Republican establishment has no clue how to get them out”

This is horseshit. they know how to get trump voters excited and "out". They wear swastikas; call out latino immigrants as 'rapists and murderers'; talk about the evils of islam; pray speaking in tongues; advocate killing ob-gyns who might do abortions; advocate killing lgbtqs, and so forth.
In an anti-red tsunami, you get your bestest turnout by hate. all hate all the time. You cannot do any positive messaging because of the ongoing shit-show.

The Rs are inoculated against becoming the Whig party because their opponent is the corrupt, feckless democrap party. If the 2008 crash didn't kill them because obamanation and the democraps in congress kept them alive, the trump shit-show won't kill them for the exact same reason. And the democraps in congress are mostly the exact same corrupt, feckless bunch that refused to let the 'crashing R' party die.

If they're not total imbeciles, they'll just ride this one out (maybe the next one too). But the one after, they'll be back on top again in the next anti-blue tsunami, just like 2010.


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