Retirement by Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) and Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) – and Rep.’s decision Vicente Gonzalez to run in a neighboring safe seat instead of a swing district more like his current South Texas seat – robbed the Democrats of well-funded incumbents for tough races. Wisconsin Republican Derrick Van Orden has set aside $1.2 million and Illinois Republican Esther Joy King has more than $655,000. Meanwhile, by the end of the third quarter, not a single Democratic candidate had made a significant fundraising effort.
There are still a few seats likely to remain competitive after the realignment that a top candidate is missing, but party recruiters said strong contenders are actively considering, especially after seeing Republicans surge in the after-year election.
Some anecdotal evidence: Youngkin pollster Chris Wilson of WPA Intelligence told Mediafrolic that his company has “heard from more candidates looking at fringe seats” — those who hadn’t attracted much interest because they lean democratically — “since Tuesday than we have.” had in the entire preceding ten months of 2021.”
In Michigan, where reclassification is still underway, the former state According to two sources familiar with the party’s recruiting efforts, Attorney General Bill Schuette could be up against Democratic Representative Dan Kildee in east central Michigan. And party leaders hope Republican John James will compete for a Detroit seat, and state senator Tom Barrett will run for office. for a neighborhood in the Lansing district.
Another name to watch out for is Ricky Gill, a former Trump official and Indian American who raised nearly $3 million in a 2012 congressional bid. He is looking at a bid against the well-funded Democratic Rep. Josh Harder in Northern California.
Party officials are optimistic they will be able to win Democratic-leaning seats — and are already looking at some of Rep.’s newly redrawn seats. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Rep. Frank Mrvan (D-Ind.) and a new Oregon seat that Biden scored between 7 and 9. Republican Jimmy Crumpacker, who himself funded a failed 2020 bid for a Republican-facing district, could run for the new Oregon seat. And Mrvan already faces a challenger with a promising biography: Jennifer-Ruth Green, a Black Air Force veteran.
Republicans are especially encouraged by Youngkin’s ability to keep the GOP base energized as they make their way into the Virginia suburbs, particularly around Richmond and Hampton Roads, home to two competing congressional districts. In his memo to Congressional Leadership Fund backers, Conston praised that Youngkin prompted 84 percent of Trump 2020 voters to vote — while Democrat Terry McAuliffe motivated only 65 percent of Biden voters.
In the days following his defeat, Democrats openly questioned McAuliffe’s decision to rely so heavily on binding Youngkin to former President Donald Trump. And the loss helped House Democrats pass a massive infrastructure bill three days later that will give them something new to show off in swing districts next year.
But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the group charged with protecting a thin majority, can complicate a strategy to send Trump’s message away.
“Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans are not Glenn Youngkin. Youngkin won by running away from Donald Trump. House Republicans voted by a two-thirds margin to undo the election,” DCCC chairman Sean Patrick Maloney said in an interview last week. “If we let them go both ways,” he added, “that’s a problem.”
However, last week’s results suggested the GOP is expanding its tent.
More than 30 GOP members in the centrist Republican Main Street Partnership gathered Wednesday morning to listen to Republican pollster Dave Sackett’s debriefing on Youngkin’s coalition and other promising signs of the after-year election. It was additional confirmation for the group’s strategists, who urged the party early this year and reiterated Monday again in a new memo to figure out how to strike a “delicate balance” that could bring both into the fold. to hold.
“The best way to do this is to never criticize Donald Trump,” said Sarah Chamberlain, the partnership’s president and CEO, which hosted the meeting. “There’s no reason for that. Talk about his policies, talk about all the good things that have happened, and get the Trump base out. And then let the people from the suburbs vote for you too.”
“Suburban women in particular have never left the Republican Party,” she said, citing the 2020 victories of Reps. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) in the Biden-won districts. and Youngkin’s success near Virginia’s metro areas. “Trump was not a factor for them.”