GOP lawmakers call for autopsy on 'historic losses'

Rep. Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikGOP lawmaker: Schiff should be first witness Republicans call to testify in impeachment inquiry Singer Brandi Carlile drops out of Fortune event over Kirstjen Nielsen's appearance GOP lawmakers offer new election security measure MORE (R-N.Y.) is calling on incoming House GOP campaigns chief Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerGeorge Papadopoulos launches campaign to run for Katie Hill's congressional seat Shimkus says he's been asked to reconsider retirement Walden retirement adds to GOP election woes MORE (R-Minn.) and the rest of the leadership team to conduct an autopsy to find out what went wrong for Republicans in the disastrous 2018 midterms.

In a “Dear Colleague” letter obtained by The Hill, Stefanik and other allies wrote Monday that the “disappointing results” of the November election “require an honest, transparent assessment of the structural operations and decision-making process that led to our party losing an historic number of seats.”

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The GOP, the lawmakers wrote, lost a number of seats in suburban and other areas that traditionally have backed Republican candidates. The number of female House Republicans will drop from 23 to just 13 next year.

“We fell short across multiple demographics, including women, who represent a growing segment of America’s voting population,” Stefanik and others wrote. “Minimizing or ignoring the root causes behind these historic losses will lead us to repeat them.

“We urge your support for the National Republican Congressional Committee to officially assess the reasons behind our party’s historic losses and to develop recommendations for implementation moving forward.”

Stefanik’s chief of staff, Anthony Pileggi, a former National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) staffer, circulated the letter on Monday to GOP offices. In addition to Stefanik, it was signed by Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerHonoring service before self House approves Turkey sanctions in rare bipartisan rebuke of Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (R-Ill.), as well as Reps. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloProgressive Latino group launches first incumbent protection campaign The Memo: Bad polls for Trump shake GOP Anxious GOP treads carefully with Trump defense MORE (R-Fla.) and Kevin YoderKevin Wayne YoderFeehery: How Republicans can win back the suburbs K Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers Kansas Senate race splits wide open without Pompeo MORE (R-Kan.), who both lost their reelection bids.

The Stefanik letter is the latest twist in an ongoing spat with Emmer, the new NRCC chairman for the 2020 cycle.

After the November drubbing, Stefanik, who led GOP recruitment efforts for the NRCC in the 2018 cycle, said GOP leaders needed to do a better job intervening in primaries to help nominate more female candidates.

Emmer called that a “mistake” in an interview with Roll Call, prompting Stefanik to fire back on Twitter: “NEWSFLASH... I wasn’t asking for permission.”  

In the letter, the lawmakers singled out Emmer.

“We specifically ask the incoming Chair and Leadership team to undergo a thorough and transparent strategic assessment of NRCC operations along with House Leadership’s 2018 agenda to formally analyze what went wrong, what lessons were learned — including those learned from the successful efforts of our Democratic counterparts — and what will be done to better support the next generation of Republican congressional candidates,” Stefanik and the others wrote.

“The NRCC strategic assessment should include every aspect of its operations and decision-making process, from data, fundraising, polling and staffing to messaging and voter targeting among key demographics. The NRCC should also look at decisions made by House Leadership during the 2018 cycle including the policy process, legislation and messaging to see what contributed to our losses this cycle and how we can adjust moving forward."

“Addressing the root causes of our party’s historic congressional losses is our duty, and ours alone. We can and must do better,” the lawmakers continued. “Addressing this crisis right now is the first step toward ensuring Republican candidates better reflect America, and to winning more elections.”

A GOP source close to Emmer said both he and Stefanik have been in close contact in recent days. He proposed holding NRCC listening sessions with members to find out ways to recruit more female candidates in the next cycle.

"He is on board 100 percent with what the letter is asking," the Emmer source said. "We are on the same team, we want to find out what went wrong, correct it, and win the majority in 2020."