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 BarrAndy Hale BarrOn the Trail: Forget the pundits, more electoral votes could be in play in 2020 Mnuchin to lawmakers: 'I'm highly encouraged you will' pass Trump's North America trade deal Kentucky Democrat moves closer to McConnell challenge MORE (Ky.), Mike Bishop (Mich.), Mike BostMichael (Mike) J. BostMORE (Ill.), John CulbersonJohn Abney CulbersonGeorge H.W. Bush grandson to enter Texas congressional race Texas GOP rep predicts heavy Democratic presence in state ahead of 2020 Ex-Rep. Duffy to join lobbying firm BGR MORE (Texas) and Scott TaylorScott William TaylorVulnerable Democrats feel heat ahead of impeachment vote The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - Democrats to release articles of impeachment today Ex-Rep. Scott Taylor to seek old Virginia seat 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 StiversKoch campaign touts bipartisan group behind ag labor immigration bill Waters clashes with Trump officials over 'disastrous' housing plans Financial sector's work on SAFE Banking Act shows together, everyone achieves more 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 ClintonMore than 200,000 Wisconsin voters will be removed from the rolls Trump is threatening to boycott the debates — here's how to make sure he shows up Trey Gowdy returns to Fox News as contributor MORE narrowly carried it by just more than a point over President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Trump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn Seven years after Sandy Hook, the politics of guns has changed 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 DuckworthLawmakers call for investigation into program meant to help student loan borrowers with disabilities Overnight Energy: Protesters plan Black Friday climate strike | 'Father of EPA' dies | Democrats push EPA to abandon methane rollback Democratic senators push EPA to abandon methane rollback 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.