Trump plans ambitious campaign travel ahead of midterms

Trump plans ambitious campaign travel ahead of midterms
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE will embark on an ambitious travel schedule this fall to campaign for Republican candidates around the country, as he seeks to ward off a “blue wave” in November.

The president is planning at least 40 days of campaign-related travel between Aug. 1 and Election Day — a whirlwind schedule that seeks to outpace the midterm campaigning of any president in recent history, administration officials said Tuesday.

Trump’s focus in the coming weeks will be on Senate races as he waits for the House map to come into clearer focus, officials said. But they cautioned that the president’s travel schedule was tentative and that he could quickly pivot to different races as needed.

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The goal, one official said, was to maintain flexibility to get in and out of House districts as desired.

As Trump’s official schedule intensifies later in the fall, he will also look to headline a slew of fundraisers in D.C., the officials said.

The president has already proven himself to be an adept fundraiser for Republicans. Administration officials said Tuesday that Trump has already helped raise $227 million for the Republican National Committee (RNC) in the 2018 cycle, as well as $175 million for Republicans running for reelection.  

Some competitive House districts are already on Trump’s roster. Officials said the president would appear in districts in New York, Ohio, Montana and Pennsylvania, where the GOP is working to maintain its grip on key Republican-held seats.

Faced with the time-tested rule that the president’s political party suffers election losses in midterm years, Republicans are scrambling to hold onto their majority in the House, where Democrats need to pick up at least 23 seats to take control.

There have already been signs that Democrats could mount a comeback in the House — Rep. Conor Lamb’s (D-Pa.) special election win in a district previously held by a Republican, for example.

Democratic hopes were also buoyed this month when Democrat Danny O’Connor came within 1 point of beating Republican Troy Balderson in Ohio’s 12th District — a heavily Republican district that hasn't had a Democrat elected to the House in more than 35 years.

The Senate poses less of a threat to GOP power. Democrats are defending more than two dozen seats in 2018, including several in states that Trump won in 2016, like West Virginia, Florida and Indiana.

To be sure, Trump has already stumped for Republicans in select races. He’s slated to appear on Tuesday night in West Virginia to campaign with state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who is challenging Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinCook Political Report moves Texas Senate race to ‘toss-up’ The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh McCaskill to oppose Kavanaugh nomination MORE (D-W.Va.) for his seat in November.

But the pace of those trips is slated to increase in the coming weeks as primary season comes to a close and general elections come into focus.