- Republican donors and lawmakers are becoming increasingly concerned that the 2018 midterm elections could be a bloodbath for GOP candidates.
- While focusing on capturing swing districts, the Republican Party is also looking to secure congressional districts in more conservative areas.
This November’s midterm elections could deliver a serious blow to the GOP’s majority control over the House and Senate.
Republican donors and lawmakers are becoming increasingly concerned that the 2018 midterms could be a bloodbath for GOP candidates, according to Politico. This fear that few Republican candidates are safe has prompted party leaders to take a number of measures to ensure that the House and Senate do not flip to the Democrats.
Along with continuing to focus on defending swing districts, the GOP is now looking to secure congressional seats in more reliably red, conservative districts that backed President Donald Trump in 2016. Party leaders are putting the heat on candidates to get their campaigns off the ground by running and pitching donors to continue contributing money to incumbents who could be in danger of losing their jobs.
The GOP is hoping not to repeat what happened to the Democrats in 2010, when the Republicans took over the House after a record number of seats were in danger of flipping from blue to red. However, voters historically go for the opposite political party of the president in the midterms in order to balance out power between both parties.
Earlier this year, National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) chairman Steve Stivers of Ohio met with all 43 House Republicans who raised less money than their Democratic opponents at the end of 2017. Many GOP leaders fear that candidates who do not fundraise enough money will find themselves on the wrong side of their elections in seven months.
The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC dedicated to electing Republicans, has begun conducting surveys in 50 House districts. Some of these districts are represented by conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus who won their elections by double digits in 2016.
The pro-House super PAC is also now putting together political fundraising tools for some lawmakers who previously were all but safe in their reelection bids.
“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,” GOP pollster John McLaughlin told Politico.
McLaughlin, who advised Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, said Democrats are outperforming Republicans in special elections too.
The national party is also trying to urge retiring House lawmakers in conservative districts to change their minds and run for reelection in order to keep the safely Republican seats.
The growing fears among GOP donors and lawmakers come amid the retirement of House Speaker Paul Ryan. Ryan’s retirement has increased the worries of party leaders that other lawmakers could also decide not to run in 2018, seeing that GOP’s leader in the House has chosen not to.
While Ryan has cited a desire to no longer be a weekend dad to his kids as his reason for retiring, many believe that it could be because of the grave danger the Republican Party is in heading into the midterms and the likelihood that the Democrats will take over as the majority party in Congress.