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 StiversThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Officers recount the horror of Jan. 6 New Mexico Democrat Stansbury sworn into Haaland's old seat 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.

“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 ClintonClintons, Stacey Abrams meeting Texas Democrats Biden says Russia spreading misinformation ahead of 2022 elections Highest-ranking GOP assemblyman in WI against another audit of 2020 vote 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 Rohrabacher'Blue wave' Democrats eye comebacks after losing reelection Former Rep. Rohrabacher says he took part in Jan. 6 march to Capitol but did not storm building On The Trail: The political losers of 2020 MORE and Ed RoyceEdward (Ed) Randall RoyceBottom line California was key factor in House GOP's 2020 success Top donor allegedly sold access to key politicians for millions in foreign cash: report 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 ValadaoPro-impeachment Republicans outpace GOP rivals in second-quarter fundraising Cheney, Kinzinger are sole GOP votes for Jan. 6 select committee Progressives nearly tank House Democrats' Capitol security bill MORE, Steve Knight, Jeff DenhamJeffrey (Jeff) John DenhamBottom line Bottom line Business groups breathe sigh of relief over prospect of divided government MORE and Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaGOP leans into racial issues ahead of midterms 'I want to cry': House Republicans take emotional trip to the border Musicians, broadcasters battle in Congress over radio royalties 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.