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 RyanFormer Dem candidate says he faced cultural barriers on the campaign trail because he is working-class Former House candidate and ex-ironworker says there is 'buyer's remorse' for Trump in Midwest Head of top hedge fund association to step down 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 BarrKentucky radio host: Schumer recruit can't beat McConnell On The Money: Wells Fargo chief gets grilling | GOP, Pence discuss plan to defeat Dem emergency resolution | House chair sees '50-50' chance of passing Dem budget | Trump faces pressure over Boeing Campaign to draft Democratic challenger to McConnell starts raising funds MORE (Ky.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickThe importance of moderate voters Overnight Health Care: CDC pushes for expanding HIV testing, treatment | Dem group launches ads attacking Trump on Medicare, Medicaid cuts | Hospitals, insurers spar over surprise bills | O'Rourke under pressure from left on Medicare for all Dem group launches ads attacking Trump's 'hypocrisy on Medicare and Medicaid cuts' MORE (Pa.), Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotHouse passes series of measures hitting Russia, Putin Trump applauded for walking away from 'bad' North Korea deal The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race MORE (Ohio) and Claudia Tenney (N.Y.) — all key seats that President TrumpDonald John TrumpMueller report findings could be a 'good day' for Trump, Dem senator says Trump officials heading to China for trade talks next week Showdown looms over Mueller report 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 PelosiPelosi, Dems plot strategy after end of Mueller probe Coons after Russia probe: House Dems need to use power in 'focused and responsible way' Trump, Congress brace for Mueller findings 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.