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 BarrSchumer urging ex-congressional candidate Amy McGrath to run against McConnell House Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 Poll shows 25 percent view McConnell favorably, lowest among leaders in survey MORE (Ky.), Mike Bishop (Mich.), Mike BostMichael (Mike) J. BostMORE (Ill.), John CulbersonJohn Abney CulbersonDCCC official says Democrats look to make 'big gains' in Texas, Georgia Democrats need a worthy climate plan NASA lost key support to explore Jupiter's moon MORE (Texas) and Scott TaylorScott William TaylorEx-GOP Rep. Ryan Costello joins group pushing carbon tax Virginia New Members 2019 Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — First lady's office pushes for ouster of national security aide | Trump taps retired general as ambassador to Saudis | Mattis to visit border troops | Record number of female veterans to serve in Congress 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 StiversRep. Steve King pushes GOP to reinstate his committee assignments GOP lawmakers offer several locations for Trump address House vote fails to quell storm surrounding Steve King 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 ClintonSanders expected to announce exploratory committee next week Bernie Sanders records announcement video ahead of possible 2020 bid Overnight Defense: Trump declares border emergency | .6B in military construction funds to be used for wall | Trump believes Obama would have started war with North Korea | Pentagon delivers aid for Venezuelan migrants MORE narrowly carried it by just more than a point over President TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand backs federal classification of third gender: report Former Carter pollster, Bannon ally Patrick Caddell dies at 68 Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN Ambassador job 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 DuckworthTrump’s new Syria timetable raises concern among key anti-ISIS allies Bipartisan senators press Trump for strategy to protect Syrian Kurds Haaland displays trans flag outside office after Supreme Court decision on transgender military ban 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.