House Republicans add 5 members to incumbent protection program

House Republicans add 5 members to incumbent protection program
© Greg Nash

The House GOP campaign arm announced Friday that it is adding five Republicans to the ranks of its incumbent protection program for this year’s midterm elections.

The National Republican Congressional Committee’s (NRCC) Patriot Program now has a total of 23 GOP lawmakers on its roster as it tries to defend the House GOP majority. The program offers fundraising and organizational assistance to its most vulnerable incumbents seeking reelection.

The latest five Republicans to make the list are among those in districts that have become more competitive as Democrats seek to expand their target map: Reps. Andy BarrGarland (Andy) Hale BarrIt's time for the Fed to be made accountable for its actions GOP super PAC ad targets McGrath as ‘Pelosi liberal’ in Kentucky It’s possible to protect national security without jeopardizing the economy MORE (Ky.), Mike Bishop (Mich.), Mike BostMichael (Mike) J. BostMORE (Ill.), John CulbersonJohn Abney CulbersonFive biggest surprises in midterm fight Trump's woman problem may cost the GOP the House The Hill's Morning Report — Battle lines drawn as Trump and Cohen dig in MORE (Texas) and Scott TaylorScott William TaylorVirginia reps urge Trump to declare federal emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence Virginia judge rules candidate's name must be removed from ballot due to fraud Pentagon, GOP breathe sign of relief after Trump cancels parade MORE (Va.).

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“Republicans have placed our nation on a prosperous trajectory—what we call The Great American Comeback. These Members were instrumental in making that happen, and will be instrumental in seeing it through well beyond the 2018 election,” Rep. Steve StiversSteven (Steve) Ernst StiversHouse Dem campaign chief presses GOP on banning use of hacked materials Trump is wrong, Dems are fighting to save Medicare and Social Security Hillicon Valley: Ex-Trump campaign adviser gets 14 days in jail | Tesla stocks fall after Elon Musk smokes weed on video | Dem, GOP talks over hacked info break down | Russian extradited over massive financial hack | Whole Foods workers trying to unionize MORE (R-Ohio), chairman of the NRCC, said in a statement.

Culberson has represented his Houston-area district since 2001, but has become a top Democratic target after Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPompeo: 'We've not been successful' in changing US-Russia relations Michael Moore ties Obama to Trump's win in Michigan in 2016 The Memo: Could Kavanaugh furor spark another ‘year of the woman’? MORE narrowly carried it by just more than a point over President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE in 2016.

Taylor, meanwhile, represents a district that Trump won by 3 points but that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) carried by 4 points last year. Taylor is also only in his first term, compared to a longtime incumbent like Culberson.

Barr, Bost and Bishop represent districts that Trump won by more comfortable margins. Trump carried Barr and Bost’s districts by 15 points each, while he won Bishop’s by 7 points.

Still, all three are considered to be in competitive races for reelection.

Barr is expected to face the stiffest challenge from a Democratic candidate since he defeated former Rep. Ben Chandler (D-Ky.) in 2012. At least five Democrats are running to unseat Barr, including Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, retired Marine Corps pilot Amy McGrath and state Sen. Reggie Thomas.

Trump handily carried Bost’s district, but Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthDems should run as economic progressives, says ex-Obama strategist Democrats must reconcile party factions to raise blue wave odds Senate Dems want DOJ review of Giuliani's work for foreign entities MORE (D-Ill.) also won it in 2016. Democrat Brendan Kelly, St. Clair County state’s attorney, outraised Bost in the fourth quarter of 2017. The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, currently rate’s Bost’s race as a “toss up” along with Culberson’s district.

The Cook Political Report rates the odds slightly more in the GOP’s favor at “Lean Republican” for Barr, Taylor and Bishop.