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 StiversHouse Dem campaign chief presses GOP on banning use of hacked materials Trump is wrong, Dems are fighting to save Medicare and Social Security Hillicon Valley: Ex-Trump campaign adviser gets 14 days in jail | Tesla stocks fall after Elon Musk smokes weed on video | Dem, GOP talks over hacked info break down | Russian extradited over massive financial hack | Whole Foods workers trying to unionize 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 ClintonHillary Clinton: FBI investigation into Kavanaugh could be done quickly Hillary Clinton urges Americans to 'check and reject' Trump's 'authoritarian tendencies' by voting in midterms EXCLUSIVE: Trump says exposing ‘corrupt’ FBI probe could be ‘crowning achievement’ of presidency 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 RohrabacherGreen group targets California GOP House candidates in new ads Over 100 lawmakers consistently voted against chemical safeguards: report Hillicon Valley: Manafort to cooperate with Mueller probe | North Korea blasts US over cyber complaint | Lawmakers grill Google over China censorship | Bezos to reveal HQ2 location by year's end MORE and Ed RoyceEdward (Ed) Randall RoycePoll: House GOP candidate leads in California swing district Overnight Defense: Congress reaches deal preventing shutdown | Pentagon poised to be funded on time for first time in years | House GOP rejects effort to get Putin summit documents GOP rejects effort to force release of documents about private Trump-Putin meeting 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 ValadaoDems make big play for House in California Immigration overhaul on life support in the House The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE, Steve Knight, Jeff DenhamJeffrey (Jeff) John DenhamTrump attacks Dems on farm bill House Republicans push for vote on Violence Against Women Act Steyer group launching 0,000 digital ad campaign targeting millennials MORE and Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaGreen group targets California GOP House candidates in new ads House Republican pushes medical examinations for Supreme Court justices Congress and Trump are out of step on intellectual property 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.