Pence: 'We have our work cut out for us' in 2018 midterm elections

Pence: 'We have our work cut out for us' in 2018 midterm elections
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WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Vice President Pence on Wednesday told fellow Republicans at a joint Senate-House retreat that “we have our work cut out for us” in the 2018 midterm elections to keep control of both chambers of Congress.

The president’s party historically loses a large number of seats in midterm elections and handicappers such as Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report predict a Democratic wave is building.

But Pence on Wednesday evening vowed that Republicans will defy those predictions. 

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“Conventional wisdom holds that the upcoming midterms are going to be a challenge but I think you all know what President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally MORE thinks about conventional wisdom,” Pence said. “Conventional wisdom said in 2016 that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFive takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Five takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Trump jokes he'd get 'electric chair' if he deleted even one 'love note' email to Melania MORE was going to be elected president of the United States of America."

He said Republicans would overcome the odds thanks in part to passing a $1.5 trillion tax package that has bolstered the stock market and prompted big companies such as AT&T and Comcast to pay bonuses to thousands of workers. 

The vice president acknowledged, however, that it wouldn’t be a cakewalk.

“We made history in 2016 and we’re going to make history in 2018 when we reelect Republican majorities in the House and Senate,” he said. “We've got our work cut out for us, but we have a story to tell.” 

Pence urged fellow Republicans assembled at a three-day retreat at The Greenbrier resort to tout the positive economic statistics in the upcoming election.

“Because of what we’ve done in rolling back red tape and unleashing American energy and cutting taxes for working families and businesses, small and large, since Election Day 2.4 million new jobs [have been] created across America,” he said, citing a big rise in the stock market last year and a national unemployment rate of 4.1 percent. 

He also pointed to congressional action rolling back 14 Obama-era regulations under the Congressional Review Act and executive action unwinding regulation of offshore drilling and other economic activity.

He promised nervous GOP lawmakers that he and President Trump would be with them “every step of the way” up until Election Day.

“President Trump and I are going to be with you every step of the way in 2018” to tell the story of Republican legislative accomplishments to voters, he declared.

Republicans have a 51-49 seat Senate majority although Democrats have to defend 26 seats. 

Republicans have a 23-seat majority in the House amid four vacancies.

Pence spoke at a dinner hosted by the Congressional Institute kicking off the GOP lawmaker retreat.

Trump is scheduled to address lawmakers at lunch on Thursday.