RNC Makes a Big Bet on 2018

GOP is dropping $250M on strategy to hold House majority at all costs
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 15, 2018 6:51 AM CDT
RNC Looks to Spend Big to Avoid Going Home
In this Dec. 2, 2017, photo, RNC chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, speaks at a fundraiser in New York. The RNC is committing $250 million to aid party candidates in November, hoping the big spending can help diminish the prospect of a Democratic wave and preserve the GOP majority in Congress.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The Republican National Committee has committed $250 million to a midterm election strategy that has one goal above all: Preserve the House majority for the rest of President Trump's first term. Facing the prospect of a blue wave, the White House's political arm is devoting unprecedented resources to building an army of paid staff and trained volunteers across more than two dozen states. "Our No. 1 priority is keeping the House. We have to win the House," RNC political director Juston Johnson said. RNC officials shared their midterm spending plan with the AP as several hundred volunteers and staff held a day of action on Saturday in competitive regions across the country. The weekend show of force, which comes as Democrats have shown a significant enthusiasm advantage in the age of Trump, was designed to train 1,600 new volunteers in more than 200 events nationwide.

There were more than three dozen events in Florida alone, a state that features competitive races for the Senate, the governorship, and a half-dozen House races. The RNC expects to have 900 total paid staff around the country before the election. The number of trained volunteers, he said, has surpassed 10,000. The strategy is expensive and carries risk. The RNC's focus on a sophisticated field operation to identify and turn out key voters leaves the RNC with no additional resources to run TV or online advertising. It also puts tremendous pressure on the president and senior party leaders to raise money. RNC chair Ronna McDaniel said strong fundraising—a record $132 million in Trump's first year—has allowed the aggressive strategy. "We're building a volunteer army that will be a turnkey operation for every Republican campaign up and down the ballot," Nevada state director Dan Coats said.

(More RNC stories.)

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