Internal Democratic polls in recent weeks have shown tight careers in the once solid Republican Party seats in Indiana, Texas, Michigan, Ohio, and Montana that President Donald Trump brought to hand in 2016, data suggesting that the battlefield is straying in a dangerous direction for the Republican Party.
“Republicans were rocked by the fact that many white suburban voters abandoned them. The question now is whether that trend will continue,” said former Representative Carlos Curbelo (Florida), who lost reelection in 2018. Yes, it could jeopardize some of those districts, particularly in the Midwest. “
House GOP’s first round of ad purchases included reserves to defend only half a dozen vulnerable members: Representatives John Katko (RN.Y.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.); Scott Perry (R-Pa.); Rodney Davis (R-Ill.). Don Bacon (R-Neb.), Mike Garcia (R-Calif.) And an open seat in the Atlanta suburbs.
But delays in surveys and fundraising suggest that a large number of other districts are becoming vulnerable, such as those of Representatives Chip Roy (R-Texas), Representative Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), and David Schweikert ( R-Ariz.), Also as open seats in Texas, the Indianapolis area and Long Island.
And if the environment worsens, other seats in North Carolina, Minnesota, Missouri, Washington state, central Virginia, and Michigan could be at risk.
Adding to the fears of the Republican Party is the dominance of the Democrats’ fundraising. According to a POLITICO analysis, more than 30 House Republicans were outraged by a Democratic opponent in the last quarter, and 10 ran out of cash. Meanwhile, a dozen Democratic challengers had at least $ 1 million deposited at the end of June.
The disparity has left some vulnerable Republican Party incumbents anxious and eager for the help of House of Representatives minority leader Kevin McCarthy and the Republican National Committee of Congress, who are paying the dues.
“DCCC candidates are printing money, and the drop in the president’s poll numbers is devastating for Republicans across the map,” said a Republican Party member in a competitive district, who granted anonymity to speak fearlessly. to retaliation. hold the line and focus on saving the headlines first. “
The Democrats’ offensive map has skyrocketed in recent weeks as Trump’s popularity has plummeted, allowing him to reach goals that were once far-reaching if favorable conditions exist.
The party has publicly released a series of polls in June and July showing tight runs and single-digit declines in more than a dozen seats the Republican Party won, many with double-digit victory margins.
Among the most surprising data: Democrat Kathleen Williams tied Republican Matt Rosendale in a race for the Montana open seat, where Trump won by 20 points; Democrat Christina Hale rose 6 points in an open Indianapolis district that Trump led to 12 in 2016; and Democrat Wendy Davis followed Roy by just 1 point in a central Texas district, Trump, with 10 points.
“The fact that the vote is close has to be problematic in many of those districts, and the headlines in those districts cannot see themselves as overly confident,” said Mike DuHaime, a veteran Republican operative. “They must take it seriously.”
Democrats certainly could not capture those seats, but their aggressive strategy could have serious implications, said DuHaime, the political director of the Republican National Committee in 2006 when Democrats returned to the House. “If they’re forcing Republicans to spend money there on defense, rather than spending money on offenses, it’s smart.”
Recent polls have also suggested that Republicans have major problems in Texas, far beyond the three seats now open that Democrats almost captured in 2018. Internal polls found single-digit races in Texas seats held by Representatives Van Taylor, Ron Wright, and Roger Williams that Democrats did not they did not even place on their ambitious target list. . Trump won each by double digits in 2016.
The NRCC, however, has cast strong doubt on Democratic polls showing red-tilt seats at stake.
“These surveys that are sold by the DCCC are the same meaningless surveys that sold in ’16 and ’18 that routinely missed the mark by 10-15 points and should be taken with a grain of salt,” NRCC spokesman Chris Pack said. .
Republican polls have brought some good news on the seats. Recent polls showed the Republican Party with a big lead in a Utah swivel seat held by Democratic Rep. Ben McAdams and close races in Democrat-occupied seats held by Rep. Andy Kim (DN.J.), Xochitl Torres Small (DN .M.), Elaine Luria (D-Va.) And Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), five of the 30 Democrats with districts that Trump won in 2016.
Republicans also bragged this week about an internal poll showing their star recruit to claim the former seat of Curbelo, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez, Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.
And while many in the party acknowledge that the current environment is bleak, they say they hope Trump recovers enough in the next three months that the party doesn’t suffer a 2008-style election that annihilates Republican headlines in what historically It has been safer seats.
“This is not a defeat at all,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), Former chairman of the NRCC. “They got a monetary advantage. We got a field and candidate advantage.”
Still, most party strategists agree that while some offensive targets are still ripe, they will have to protect more Republican seats than they expected at the beginning of the cycle. The tension lies in how defensive your strategy should be.
Some Republican agents are eager to see more defensive reserves in states, such as Ohio, Texas, and Arizona, with major Senate or presidential contests that could raise prices for television commercials. No major outside Republican Party group has booked in markets like Dallas, which covers a highly competitive open seat; in Cincinnati, where Chabot faces his second consecutive competitive race; or in Phoenix, where Schweikert, limped by an ethics investigation, does not have the funds to go to television.
Adding to the Republican Party’s fears is the fact that Democratic challengers have developed a significant cash advantage and can put a district at stake with little outside spending.
In the second quarter, almost all of the 30 candidates in the DCCC’s “Red to Blue” program for major challenger campaigns outraged their Republican opponents. And as of June 30, half of them had more cash on hand. The problem is particularly acute in vacant positions where Democratic candidates in Virginia, Texas, New York, and Georgia have at least four times more in the bank.
The holders have also lost their advantage. Representatives Don Young (R-Alaska), Jim Hagedorn (R-Minn.), Roy and Davis are all challengers. cash in hand. Schweikert had less than $ 240,000 after the second quarter, while his Democratic rival, Hiral Tipirneni, had more than $ 1.6 million. That deficit and his ethical problems have clouded his reelection in a position that Trump won by 10 points.
The Democratic Campaign Committee of Congress purposely pushed for an offensive strategy early in the cycle, hoping that a cadre of well-funded recruits would help them capitalize on a continuing suburban revolt.