House GOP campaign chief: Members ‘need to get their act together and raise more money’

Greg Nash

The head of House Republicans’ campaign arm said Wednesday that GOP candidates need to rely less on the party’s national fundraising apparatus and more on their own fundraising, acknowledging the challenges facing Republican members.

“Our members need to get their act together and raise more money,” National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chairman Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) said at a breakfast event hosted by the Republican-aligned Ripon Society.

“The individual campaigns need to raise more money. They cannot expect somebody else is going to do it for them, and they’re going to hear that from me when we come back after the break and we see all the final numbers,” he said.

“That’s the one issue that I think we’re going to have over the next quarter, is getting these guys moving.”

Emmer’s remarks came roughly a week after the NRCC’s Democratic counterpart, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), announced that it had raked in $14.4 million in December alone, giving it its best fundraising month of 2019. 

The NRCC has not yet posted its fourth quarter fundraising numbers. But the DCCC outraised the Republican group in every month of 2019 and carried a significant cash-on-hand advantage at the end of November, the last month for which financial data is publicly available.

Still, Emmer predicted on Wednesday that the GOP would flip control of the House in 2020, arguing that the Democratic Party’s ascendent progressive wing would drive away voters that helped hand it control of the chamber in 2018. 

“We are going to flip the House for the first time in a two-year presidential cycle since 1952,” Emmer said.

“If you have any concern whatsoever as to whether I’m credible in this regard, go look up the website for Justice Democrats,” he continued, referring to the progressive PAC that helped bolster the campaigns of some of the Democratic Party’s rising liberal stars.

“You will see that my grandfather’s Democrat Party – the party that my grandfather loved so dearly – is dying,” Emmer said.

“They want to fundamentally change the Democrat Party to the Socialist Party of America.”

Emmer’s remarks shed further light on the GOP’s strategy heading into the 2020 elections.

The NRCC and other Republican groups have sought for months, if not years, to cast their Democratic opponents as radical socialists bent on overhauling the nation’s institutions. 

While some Democrats, including one of the party’s leading presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), have identified as democratic socialists, the party has sharply rejected Republican accusations that it is trying to erode democratic principles. 

Republicans will need to net 20 seats in 2020 to recapture control of the House. And while that remains within the realm of possibility for the party, it won’t be an easy feat, considering that the GOP will also need to keep control of a handful of competitive seats.

Emmer suggested on Wednesday that the Democratic Party’s presidential nominating contest will weigh heavily on its political fortunes down-ballot, calling Sanders “the gift that just keeps on giving because he refuses to give it up.”

“We’ve all seen it during these incredible debates,” he said, referring to the Democratic presidential primary debates. “The policies they are advocating do not represent mainstream America. When you have every candidate on the debate stage raising their hand to give free health care to illegal immigrants, that’s a major problem for them.”

Tags 2020 elections Bernie Sanders DCCC Fundraising House races NRCC Tom Emmer

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