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 RyanTrump quietly rolled back programs to detect, combat weapons of mass destruction: report Ocasio-Cortez top aide emerges as lightning rod amid Democratic feud Juan Williams: GOP in a panic over Mueller 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 BarrAndy Hale BarrThird Kentucky Democrat announces challenge to McConnell McConnell's Democratic challenger says she likely would have voted for Kavanaugh On The Money: Fed chief hints strongly at rate cut | Powell lays out 'serious concerns' over Facebook crypto project | Trump official to investigate French tech tax | Acosta defends Epstein deal MORE (Ky.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickThe Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants Al Green says impeachment is 'only solution' to Trump's rhetoric House approves bill raising minimum wage to per hour MORE (Pa.), Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotHouse passes annual intelligence bill House passes bills to boost small business cybersecurity Juan Williams: GOP in a panic over Mueller MORE (Ohio) and Claudia Tenney (N.Y.) — all key seats that President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade 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 PelosiDHS chief to Pelosi: Emergency border funding 'has already had an impact' The Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants Trump faces new hit on deficit 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.


“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.