Dem strategist: 'Genuine concern' Russia will escalate interference efforts in 2018

Democratic strategist Jennifer Holdsworth on Wednesday expressed concerns about possible Russian interference in the upcoming midterm elections, warning of the possibility of escalated meddling efforts.

"I think that there is a genuine concern that there's going to be an elevation in the meddling," Holdsworth, chief revenue officer at targeting firm DSPolitical, told Hill.TV's Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on "Rising." 

"I freely admit that there has been no proof that there were actual votes changed in 2016, but look at what the Russians did get away with," she continued. 

"When a criminal sees that they can get away with something, they're going to escalate to the next crime, and I think that there is a real possibility that this happens in the midterms," she said.

U.S. intelligence officials have said they are concerned about the possibility of Russia interfering in the November midterm elections after their efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

 “I’m sure they went to school to critique what they did in the presidential election in 2016. I think they will find more ways to be subtle, and be a lot less noisy than they were the last time," former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperEx-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity Former DHS, intelligence leaders launch group to protect presidential campaigns from foreign interference Senate braces for brawl over Trump's spy chief MORE told Politico last month. 

An NPR/Marist survey released earlier this week found that one in three American adults said they think a foreign country is likely to impact results in November's midterm elections.

Kelsey Harkness, a reporter at the conservative Heritage Foundation's Daily Signal, pushed back on the survey's findings.

"It sounds like one in three Americans are watching too much CNN and MSNBC, buying into a lot of the conspiracy theories that they're peddling relating to this Russian meddling in the elections," she asserted on Hill.TV. 

"They [Americans] do not have faith in our voting system. I think that's very dangerous to our democracy to basically cheapen our votes, and have Americans say that they feel like their votes might not matter," she added.

— Julia Manchester