In late 2017, the first hint of a 2018 Democratic blue wave emerged in the Virginia and New Jersey special elections. When accused child molester Roy Moore lost to his Democratic opponent Doug Jones in deep red Alabama, some were able to write that election off as an anomaly. However, with the recent win in Pennsylvania, Democrat Conor Lamb sealed the deal; a blue wave is indeed coming this November, and Republican leaders are panicked.
Politico is reporting that GOP leaders are sounding alarm bells about complacent incumbents who are raising less money than their Democratic competition.
Speaker Paul Ryan and the National Republican Congressional Committee are most concerned with incumbents who haven’t had to fight for their seats because they haven’t experienced any real competition from Democrats – until now.
Corry Bliss, executive director of the Ryan-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund told Politico, “This is a very tough environment for Republicans. If you’re getting outraised or if you haven’t started your campaign yet, you need to be scared and start today. Saying ‘I’ve never lost before, therefore I can never lose this time’ is not a campaign plan.”
What is particularly upsetting for Republicans is that, in the last quarter of 2017, Democratic challengers out-raised more than 40 GOP incumbents. Party leaders aren’t happy about it, saying it’s unacceptable and amounts to nothing short of laziness.
One GOP campaign staffer told Politico: “Many of our members have not been in Congress during a possible ‘wave’ election cycle, as happened in 2006 and 2010. Members in Republican-leaning districts should heed the warnings from House leadership and get ready for a fight.”
According to an NBC/Wall St. Journal poll, Democrats currently have a ten-point lead over Republicans: “Fifty percent of registered voters say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, while 40 percent want a GOP-controlled one,” and adding, “And among independent voters, Democrats lead in congressional preference by 12 points, 48 percent to 36 percent.”
Raising money is important, but one thing the GOP doesn’t seem to understand is that the Republican brand is taking a hit. They’re stuck between a rock and Donald Trump. When a Republican president insists there are some “very fine” white supremacists and the party says nothing, there’s going to be trouble.