SPOTLIGHT

Where House Republicans Are on Offense

2nd District Rep Brad Ashford, D-Neb., right, and his challenger, the Republican Don Bacon, participate in their third and final debate in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016.
AP Photo/Nati Harnik
Kimberly Railey
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Kimberly Railey
Nov. 2, 2016, 10 a.m.

While House Re­pub­lic­an ef­forts are mostly fo­cused on de­fend­ing a his­tor­ic­ally large ma­jor­ity, the party con­tin­ues to play of­fense in a hand­ful of dis­tricts.

The GOP’s best pick-up op­por­tun­ity might be Flor­ida’s Re­pub­lic­an-tilt­ing and open 18th Dis­trict, where Re­pub­lic­an Bri­an Mast faces Demo­crat Randy Per­kins. Re­pub­lic­ans be­lieve Mast, a double am­putee and com­bat vet­er­an, of­fers a com­pel­ling con­trast to Per­kins, a CEO of a nat­ur­al-dis­aster re­cov­ery com­pany who is heav­ily self-fund­ing. Per­kins is now re­ceiv­ing no out­side re­sources, while GOP groups con­tin­ue to shell out mil­lions for Mast.

Re­pub­lic­ans are also try­ing to un­seat Demo­crat­ic Rep. Brad Ash­ford in Neb­raska’s 2nd Dis­trict, which Mitt Rom­ney won by 7 points in 2012. A re­cent GOP poll found Re­pub­lic­an re­tired Brig. Gen. Don Ba­con lead­ing by 4 points, while an Ash­ford in­tern­al in late Septem­ber showed the in­cum­bent with a 10-point lead. The Hil­lary Clin­ton cam­paign re­cently an­nounced ad­di­tion­al co­ordin­ated spend­ing there as it tar­gets the dis­trict’s elect­or­al vote.

In Cali­for­nia, Re­pub­lic­ans re­main bullish about their ef­fort to un­seat Demo­crat­ic Rep. Ami Be­ra. The state’s pres­id­en­tial-year turnout and Be­ra’s fun­drais­ing ad­vant­age make the 7th Dis­trict an up­hill climb for Sac­ra­mento County Sher­iff Scott Jones, while each can­did­ate is hammered on eth­ics is­sues. And in Min­nesota’s 8th Dis­trict, Re­pub­lic­ans are again in­tent on try­ing to un­seat Demo­crat­ic Rep. Rick No­lan, who stands to be­ne­fit from high­er turnout in the Du­luth area than in his pre­vi­ous match­up with Re­pub­lic­an Stew­art Mills. Both parties con­tin­ue to send mil­lions to this seat, while Vice Pres­id­ent Joe Biden stumped for No­lan at a rally last week in Du­luth.

Oth­er tar­gets, such as Ari­zona’s 1st Dis­trict, have fallen off the map for Re­pub­lic­ans, but the GOP still hopes to can­cel out at least a few of their own losses.

Kim­berly Railey

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