Articles

How Bad Is It For House Republicans?

May 03, 2018
28705efde070714916cf7b787dd96151

It’s only May, but House Democrats are measuring the drapes. “We will win,” Nancy Pelosi assured the press Tuesday—adding, “I will run for speaker,” in case anyone doubted it. The 78-year-old pol is so confident of retaking the House that she’s already pre-emptively naming committee chairman, starting with three New Yorkers: Rep. Carolyn Maloney, 72, to lead the Joint Economic Committee; Rep. Jerry Nadler, 70, to lead Judiciary; and a spring chicken, Rep. Nydia Velázquez, 65, to lead Small Business.

Mrs. Pelosi’s confidence may flow from recent headlines touting Democratic fundraising. “Democrats outraising Republicans in key House races,” trumpets Reuters. “More than 40 Dem House challengers outraising GOP incumbents,” screams the Hill. “Democratic House candidates hold fundraising edge after 1st quarter,” proclaims CNN.

Like much political reporting, there’s some truth in those statements, but no nuance and little context. The structure of this year’s midterm elections is complicated, so headlines about important campaign elements like fundraising demand closer examination.

Let’s focus first on the GOP’s most vulnerable House seats: the 23 Republicans whose districts Hillary Clinton carried.

One problem with the fundraising stories that have given Mrs. Pelosi such cheer is that they often compare Republicans and Democrats by totaling the money raised by all of their respective primary candidates. National Journal, for example, says that Republicans have raised less money than Democrats in 13 of those 23 key seats. Head-to-head figures look a little better: 15 of the 16 Republican incumbents running for re-election in those seats have raised more money than their leading Democratic opponent, while also having more cash on hand at the end of the first quarter.

Take Virginia’s 10th Congressional District. Eight Democratic candidates there have together raised $4.9 million. That’s more than the incumbent Republican, Rep. Barbara Comstock. But of that total, the Democratic front-runner banked just $1.4 million, with $818,000 on hand. Ms. Comstock raised $2.8 million and has $1.8 million on hand. So she is in much better shape than the reporting might suggest.

The real trend in fundraising strength for these campaigns won’t be revealed until the quarter after each state’s primary. If races like Rep. Peter Roskam’s in the Sixth District of Illinois are any example, the advantage for GOP incumbents seems likely to grow. Mr. Roskam has more than $2.4 million in cash after the March 20 primary, while the winning Democrat was forced by the primary to spend down his funds to just $192,000.

Republicans do have significant problems in some of these 23 districts won by Mrs. Clinton—especially in California. On June 5 the Golden State will hold its “jungle primaries,” in which the two top vote-getters, regardless of party, continue on to the general election.

Democrats do lead the money chase in the districts from which Republican Reps. Ed Royce and Darrell Issa are retiring, with the leading GOP fundraisers in these races ranking fourth and fifth, respectively.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher trails his principal Democratic challenger (one of six) by $300,000 in fundraising and $200,000 in on-hand cash. He could be kept out of the runoff altogether, as another Republican, former state Assemblyman Scott Baugh, might nip him at the wire.

On the other hand, in Orange County Republican Rep. Mimi Walters has raised almost twice as much as her leading Democratic competitor (there are seven of them). Ms. Walters also has nearly three times as much on hand.

To continue reading this article, visit WSJ.com

Related Article

4caec2e67b154749d80d79ce37f89876
May 24, 2018 |
Article
Democrats imagine that contempt and rage will carry them to midterm victory. ...
1b91824fac6c863a1366173ae7d8c38c
May 17, 2018 |
Article
The world doesn’t postpone challenges so that policy makers will have time to prepare. Mike Pompeo was sworn in as secretary of state three weeks ago, and John Bolton walked into the West Wing as national security adviser 2½ weeks earlier.  ...
6288be4c62d670524959e7d58c40506e
May 10, 2018 |
Article
Each successive set of state primaries reveals more about how the midterm elections might play out this fall. ...
63b27eb61866471e62427cb48d0e3899
April 26, 2018 |
Article
For 10 days, former FBI Director James Comey has been on a high-profile media tour to promote “A Higher Loyalty.” With more than 600,000 copies sold in the first week, the book leaves competing “resistance” favorites “What Happened” and “Fire and Fury” in...
Button karlsbooks
Button readinglist
Button nextapperance