With Republicans facing what many are calling a “blue wave” of Democrats taking control of the House — and possibly the Senate — the Republican Party is cutting off funding to some incumbents whose races appear to be a lost cause under an increasingly unpopular president.
According to Politico, GOP officials feel that up to 45 Republican-held seats are now at serious risk, and are making plans to shut down support for incumbents whose campaigns are going nowhere and have failed to do much on their own to raise much-needed campaign donations.
“This is the time of year when tough decisions have to be made,” Ken Spain, a longtime former top National Republican Congressional Committee staffer, told Politico. “There are likely going to be a number of unhappy Republican members of Congress in the coming weeks.”
According to the report, the party is looking at polling to determine whom to weed out, with Rep. Barbara Comstock (VA), Rep. Keith Rothfus (PA), and Rep. Rod Blum (IA) reportedly on the funding chopping block.
Currently, the GOP has set aside campaign-boosting funds for Comstock and Rothfus, but those dollars are not guaranteed and could easily be diverted to other incumbents who have a better chance of holding onto their seats.
According to Brian Walsh, an ex-House GOP campaign official who now oversees the pro-Trump America First Action super PAC, “At this point in the cycle with a field this large, difficult choices will have to be made. Such is the world we live in now.”
The loss of funding should not come as a surprise to many who are now facing ouster, because they were warned during a House GOP Conference meeting earlier this spring when “NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers told members not to expect the party to bail them out later in the campaign if they failed to pull their weight,” Politico reports.
“The NRCC isn’t going to be able to help those who haven’t helped themselves,” explained former Rep. Phil English (PA). “These are very Darwinian decisions. It means selection of the fittest.”
“In a year when there is a big advantage to one side over the other, the side with the limited resources has to be particularly strategic — and that means being dispassionate and not emotional as to how they are making decisions,” said English. “This is a challenge, and a judgement call that I think people at the NRCC always dread.”
You can read the whole report here.