Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, believes President Donald Trump can be useful in any district to help Republicans hold the House majority.
“I am convinced we know how to use the president in any district in America,” Stivers said a Christian Science Monitor breakfast Friday morning.
The NRCC chairman clarified that it doesn’t necessarily mean sending the president into every district in person, but that Trump is an important part of turning out the GOP base and his message can be deployed via robocalls.
The Democratic base has been energized by Trump’s presidency, with many candidates outraising GOP hopefuls and incumbents. Democrats need a net gain of 23 seats to win the majority, and the party has identified a number of suburban districts where the president is unpopular as part of their path to the majority.
Stivers said he feels “pretty good” about GOP chances of retaining House control, pointing to four races — all in Minnesota — as bellwethers for the midterms. Republicans are trying to hold the 2nd and 3rd districts and are contesting open races in the 1st and 8th districts.
“If we win both of our incumbent races and either of the challenger races, we will be in the majority,” Stivers said. “If one incumbent wins and we at least win one of our challenger races, we’re probably in majority.”
Stivers spoke highly of Pete Stauber, the GOP candidate in Minnesota’s 8th District, calling him right “out of central casting.”
In the 1st District, perennial candidate Jim Hagedorn won the GOP nomination last month, defeating a female state senator who had the support of many Republican women in Congress who are looking to grow their ranks in the House. The House GOP conference is already losing a quarter of its women because they’re not running for re-election.
Stivers touted the NRCC’s efforts to recruit women.
“I feel very confident that we’re going to grow our number of female Republicans,” he said.
Asked specifically about derogatory comments that Hagedorn has made about female lawmakers, which have surfaced in his previous runs for Congress, Stivers said he wasn’t aware.
“That’s news to me,” the chairman said. “I will go back and look at his blog.”
Stivers also weighed in on the controversy in Virginia’s 7th District, where Democrat Abigail Spanberger has accused a super PAC tied to House GOP leadership of using her security clearance for political purposes. Stivers at first said Congressional Leadership Fund did “nothing wrong.”
“I’m sure the CLF had no idea they weren’t supposed to get it. From what I’ve read in the paper, this was done by a postal employee,” Stivers said.
But when told that CLF’s ad against Spanberger was released after the U.S Postal Service acknowledged that her form shouldn’t have been released, Stivers said that may merit closer “examination.”
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