New NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer (MN-06), charged with charting a back after losing 40 seats in 2018, insists there is no political realignment in the suburbs and that the path back in 2020 relies on the GOP finding a better way to message to independents.
Emmer: “There’s a narrative that people are trying to build out there that somehow there’s been this shift, this political realignment in the suburbs. That’s not true. It isn’t there.”
“Emmer's analysis of the midterms pins the blame on the Republican Party at large for failing to win over independent voters with a cohesive message on the booming economy. He stressed that the party’s focus on immigration in the final days repelled moderates, but he disputed attempts to fault the president specifically and pushed back on assumptions that Trump would be a liability in 2020.”
Emmer: “You’re definitely impacted, but you don’t rise or fall based on the executive,”
He also declined to say if there would be a formal autopsy into the midterm drubbing, but he "intends to effect some structural change within the committee to allow for more member input, particularly in fundraising and recruitment. And he described plans to further decentralize NRCC operations through more-robust regional leadership teams that could divide some operations based on rural, suburban, and urban areas in each region." (Hotline reporting)
MORE ON THIS. "Republican operatives in the 2018 trenches, now formulating battle plans for the next election, are backing the suburban Republicans blaming Trump for their ejection from Congress. In reviewing polling and other data, they discovered that the president’s provocative immigration rhetoric was more damaging to the House GOP during the final seven to 10 days than they realized at the time."
Post-election data "compiled by GOP pollster David Winston reveals the extent to which Trump, in highlighting immigration over the economy, sunk his party’s House majority. As an issue, immigration made independents 59 percent less likely to support GOP candidates, compared to 29 percent more likely; the issues of the border and the caravan, specifically, made independents 47 percent less likely to support Republicans, compared to 28 percent more likely. Independents were 87 percent less likely to support candidates who backed Trump." (Washington Examiner)
Meanwhile, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY 21) sent a letter to Emmer and House leadership requesting “an honest, transparent assessment of the structural operations and decision-making process that led to our party losing an historic number of seats.” Signees included Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL 16) and ousted Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL 26), and Kevin Yoder (R-KS 03).
Stefanik requested a look into the committee’s “fundraising, polling and staffing to messaging and voter targeting among key demographics” as well as “decisions made by House Leadership during the 2018 cycle including the policy process, legislation and messaging.”
“A GOP source close to Emmer said both he and Stefanik have been in close contact in recent days. He proposed holding NRCC listening sessions with members to find out ways to recruit more female candidates in the next cycle.” (The Hill)
WOMEN IN GOP. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy didn’t want Rep. Ann Wagner (MO-02) "leading the NRCC. The California Republican called Wagner to express his preference for a far less prominent male lawmaker," Emmer, "according to three sources familiar with the conversation. Wagner could have defied McCarthy — some lawmakers and aides thought she’d win if she would have — but she realized doing so would create tension and would be counterproductive as the party tried to pivot toward 2020."
"Several Republican women are preparing their own plans to help their female colleagues, support women candidates and woo suburban women just in case nobody listens. Wagner, for example, is about to relaunch a “suburban caucus” in the House. The group will craft an agenda aimed at winning back suburban women by promoting issues like paid family leave and child care tax credits." (Politico)
DO OVER. New DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) said she hopes 2018 MN-01 nominee Dan Feehan (D) and 2018 IL-13 nominee Betsy Dirksen Londrigan (D) run against in 2020. (Talking Points Memo)
MIDWEST MANIA. "Michigan Republicans began moving legislation last week to limit the power of newly elected Democratic officials. ... The continuing legislative maneuvers in Michigan and Wisconsin are part of a broader war for power in the Midwest, a politically prized region for both parties — but especially for Republicans, who are trying to dilute Democratic control ahead of bigger battles. The G.O.P., which lost the House in November as well as four key governorships in the Midwest, depends on its gerrymandered districts in the region for a trove of seats in both Congress and state legislatures. Without these safe seats, they would be unlikely to attempt such last-minute tactics."
"In Michigan, voters this year approved an independent redistricting commission, but Republican lawmakers are using the current lame duck session to try to curb the new Democratic secretary of state’s implementation of it. ... The Republican efforts could hurt the party’s image with moderate voters in a region that President Trump considers crucial for his 2020 re-election effort, and where his standing has fallen in suburbs that he would need to carry again to win." (New York Times)