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 RyanOn The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood Stopping the next insurrection Former Sen. Bob Dole dies at 98 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 BarrGOP lawmakers press administration on US weapons left behind in Afghanistan GOP Rep. Andy Barr reports M in cash ahead of 2022 election House passes bill to fight valvular heart disease, honor GOP lawmaker's late wife MORE (Ky.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickHouse GOP members introduce legislation targeting Russia over Ukraine Ukraine president, US lawmakers huddle amid tensions with Russia Transformational legislation should be bipartisan again MORE (Pa.), Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotFraming our future beyond the climate crisis Liberal group launches campaign urging Republicans to support Biden's agenda Blinken grilled in first hearing since Afghanistan withdrawal MORE (Ohio) and Claudia Tenney (N.Y.) — all key seats that President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump lawyers to Supreme Court: Jan. 6 committee 'will not be harmed by delay' Two House Democrats announce they won't seek reelection DiCaprio on climate change: 'Vote for people that are sane' 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 PelosiTwo-thirds of Americans support banning lawmakers from trading stocks: poll The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Voting rights week for Democrats (again) Watch: Lawmakers, activists, family members call for voting rights legislation on MLK day 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.