House Republicans open California office to defend majority

House Republicans open California office to defend majority
© Greg Nash

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has opened an office in California as House Republicans seek to protect incumbents in the Golden State.

The 10,000-square-foot office is located in Irvine, Calif., a city in Orange County — the site of a number of competitive races. The lease runs until 2020, which indicates that the NRCC hopes to be involved in state races during both the 2018 midterm elections and the next election cycle, in 2020.

Rep. Steve StiversSteven (Steve) Ernst StiversRep. Steve King pushes GOP to reinstate his committee assignments GOP lawmakers offer several locations for Trump address House vote fails to quell storm surrounding Steve King MORE (R-Ohio), chairman of the NRCC, visited the California office on Tuesday for the opening, where he was joined by 50 volunteers. Nat Serslev, the former district director for Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Calif.), will run the West Coast office.

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“This move allows us to harness and grow what’s already a strong base of support in Southern California,” Stivers said in a statement.

“Our long term physical presence in the area signifies how important our California members are to our conference. We believe this will help supplement their strong campaigns in 2018 and beyond.”

Republicans are defending seven California districts that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFemale Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up McCabe's shocking claims prove the bloodless coup rolls on MORE carried in 2016, suggesting that the Republicans who represents those districts are vulnerable.

Of those Clinton districts, the members based in Orange County include Walters and GOP Reps. Dana RohrabacherDana Tyrone RohrabacherExpanding Social Security: Popular from sea to shining sea Oregon Dem top recipient of 2018 marijuana industry money, study finds Democrats need a worthy climate plan MORE and Ed RoyceEdward (Ed) Randall RoyceLawmakers propose banning shark fin trade Bottom Line Exiting lawmakers jockey for K Street perch MORE, who is retiring after this Congress. Still, those incumbents all easily won reelection in 2016.

Other targeted races where Clinton also won include seats held by GOP Reps. David ValadaoDavid Goncalves ValadaoThe 8 House Republicans who voted against Trump’s border wall The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — The political currents that will drive the shutdown showdown Rep. Valadao officially concedes in California race MORE, Steve Knight, Jeff DenhamJeffrey (Jeff) John DenhamCrazy California an outlier? No, we are the canary in the coal mine Polling editor says news outlets should be more cautious calling elections Rep. Valadao officially concedes in California race MORE and Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaThe Hill's Morning Report — Shutdown fallout — economic distress Former congressmen, RNC members appointed to Trump administration roles Senate throws hundreds of Trump nominees into limbo MORE, who is also retiring.

Democrats need to flip about two dozen seats to take back the House, and they’ve been specifically targeting those seven California seats. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee opened a West Coast office last year, which is also based in Irvine.

“This purely defensive move is an indication that national Republicans are slowly realizing that their incumbents in California are in deep trouble—which Democrats have known, and invested in, for over a year," Drew Godinich, the DCCC's West Coast spokesman, said.

"Strong Democratic challengers combined with grassroots energy in Southern California pose a real threat to Republicans’ control of Washington in 2018 and the GOP is scrambling.”

The NRCC isn’t the only Republican group that will have presence in California this cycle.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC with ties to House GOP leadership, has opened field offices across the country, with five of those based in California. They include offices in districts represented by Walters, Royce, Valadao, Knight and Denham.

Updated at 4:00 p.m.