Major GOP group leans into immigration, tax law in final week

Major GOP group leans into immigration, tax law in final week
© Greg Nash

The Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), the super PAC aligned with Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAmash storm hits Capitol Hill Debate with Donald Trump? Just say no Ex-Trump adviser says GOP needs a better health-care message for 2020 MORE (R-Wis.), is leaning heavily into immigration and the GOP tax cuts as a closing message one week out from the pivotal midterm elections.

CLF is out with its final TV ads that are running in the final week in districts with GOP-held seats represented by Reps. Andy BarrGarland (Andy) Hale BarrDying on the track: Horse racing is at a crossroads On The Money: House chairman issues subpoenas for Trump's tax returns | Trump touts trade talks as China, US fail to reach deal | Five things to know about Trump's trade war with China | GOP offers support for Trump on tariffs GOP offers support for Trump on China tariffs MORE (Ky.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickHere are the eight Republicans who voted with Democrats on the Equality Act House approves anti-LGBT discrimination Equality Act This week: House to vote on bill to ban LGBTQ discrimination MORE (Pa.), Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotWe can curb potential pandemics by investing in prevention tactics Top Myanmar court rejects jailed Reuters journalists' final appeal Four decades of the Taiwan Relations Act remains a monument to our resolve to uphold democracy MORE (Ohio) and Claudia Tenney (N.Y.) — all key seats that President TrumpDonald John TrumpFeinstein, Iranian foreign minister had dinner amid tensions: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign MORE won in 2016 with the exception of Fitzpatrick’s newly redrawn district in the Philadelphia suburbs.

The 30-second spots tout the GOP incumbents as strong defenders of Trump’s economic agenda and the GOP tax law passed late last year. And on immigration, they highlight Republicans' support for Trump's border wall and backing of  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Meanwhile, CLF is continuing to tie Democratic candidates to House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Threat of impeachment takes oxygen out of 2019 agenda Trump denies 'tantrum' in meeting with Pelosi: 'It is all such a lie!' MORE (D-Calif.).

In a Tuesday donor memo obtained by The Hill, CLF Executive Director Corry Bliss argued that in the final week before the election, Republicans will need to draw a sharp contrast with their opponents on these issues, which he believes could be the deciding factor in two dozen toss-up races that likely determine which party controls Congress.

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“One week out from Election Day, more than 20 races remain too close to call, and most will come down to who wins this last week,” Bliss wrote in the memo.

“Winning the close races will come down to getting Republicans to vote and defining the choice.”

Trump has focused on an immigration-heavy message as he traverses the country with a blitz of campaign rallies. Many Republicans are taking their cue to focus on immigration and the border wall from him, especially as a migrant caravan headed to the border draws national attention and scorn from the president.

Meanwhile, Ryan is playing up the tax cut that he argues has contributed to the growing economy.

As the parties vie for the majority, Democrats have repeatedly outraised Republican campaigns throughout the cycle. And while CLF has raised a record-breaking $160 million, the super PAC has sounded the alarm about Democratic campaigns raking in millions and mega-donors, like former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, flooding the airwaves to boost Democrats.

In addition to big ad buys, CLF has run a country-wide field program with 40 offices located in competitive House districts. According to the memo, the group said it’s contacted more than 30 million voters this cycle, with an emphasis on turning out reliable GOP voters.

“When Republicans present voters with a choice between their policies and the liberal Democratic agenda, Republicans win,” Bliss wrote. “In this environment, if it is ‘fill in the blank’ or there is not a clear choice, Republicans are in trouble.”

In the final week, both sides are furiously spending money in an expanded battlefield that includes more conservative districts.

Democrats still feel good about their prospects of winning at least the 23 seats needed to take back the House, buoyed by Trump’s unpopularity in key suburban districts and by voter enthusiasm. The party has maintained its messaging focus largely on health care and pre-existing conditions protections.