Mod­er­ate Repub­li­cans turn eye to 2022 elec­tions

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY RYAN LOVELACE

A group of mod­er­ate Repub­li­cans is be­gin­ning to build a “farm team” to help the GOP re­cap­ture the House from Democrats in 2022.

The Repub­li­can Main Street Part­ner­ship, which bills it­self as “the gov­ern­ing wing of the Repub­li­can Party,” counts 55 mem­bers of Congress in its ranks, and it is in the early stages of chart­ing the GOP’s way back to the ma­jor­ity in the House.

Repub­li­can Main Street Part­ner­ship CEO Sarah Cham­ber­lain said her team is fo­cused in 2020 on pro­tect­ing vul­ner­a­ble House Repub­li­cans while flip­ping a hand­ful of seats that Democrats added in the 2018 midterms.

Ms. Cham­ber­lain said she thinks Repub­li­cans could pick up two to three seats next year, but likely not gain more than five, mean­ing the House looks to be out of reach un­til 2022.

“We’ve never re­ally built a farm team,

Main Street now is try­ing to re­ally build a farm team,” she said in an in­ter­view. “We need a farm team and that is our big push. And that’s why our re­ally big push with fo­cus­ing on 2022 — hold what we have, try to add a few, and then re­ally go all out in 2022.”

Ms. Cham­ber­lain said the GOP is fac­ing a “cri­sis” with sub­ur­ban vot­ers, par­tic­u­larly women who are “not op­posed to any­thing [Trump is] do­ing, they’re just op­posed to how he’s do­ing it.”

The group is host­ing its first-ever can­di­date school with seven can­di­dates for House seats set to gather in pri­vate in Wash­ing­ton.

Ms. Cham­ber­lain said the at­ten­dees will learn about how to reach sub­ur­ban­ites with their mes­sage, how to at­tract sup­port from union mem­bers, and how to build an ef­fec­tive ground game.

“A Main Street-type Repub­li­can lives in a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent dis­trict, has to have a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent rhetoric, and we need to go and teach them that be­cause that’s not some­thing that they’re get­ting,” Ms.

Cham­ber­lain said. “Not that the [Na­tional Repub­li­can Con­gres­sional Com­mit­tee] isn’t do­ing that, but they’re fo­cused on the big picture, we’re fo­cused on our niche.”

Con­ser­va­tive ad­vo­cacy groups, such as the free-mar­ket boost­ers at the Club for Growth, do not sup­port Ms. Cham­ber­lain’s ap­proach. Club for Growth Pres­i­dent David McIn­tosh, a for­mer GOP con­gress­man from In­di­ana, said in a state­ment that Repub­li­cans lose “when they aban­don pro-growth poli­cies to be­come warmed-over, mod­er­ate Democrats.”

“Be­ing a Repub­li­can in name only is a proven path to de­feat, and act­ing like Democrats is not a win­ning strat­egy for Repub­li­cans,” he said. “The key to win­ning any elec­tion is talk­ing about is­sues that vot­ers care about, and that’s not dif­fer­ent with sub­ur­ban vot­ers.”

The pol­i­tics of im­peach­ment has the po­ten­tial to scram­ble the 2020 race, and Ms. Cham­ber­lain said she is telling her mem­bers and prospec­tive can­di­dates to adopt a “wait-and-see” ap­proach to­ward the up­com­ing hear­ings.

Ms. Cham­ber­lain said her group is spring­ing into ac­tion now to en­sure Repub­li­cans down-ticket are ready if the im­peach­ment pro­ceed­ings send things “way off the rails.”

“Main Street, we re­ally are the ma­jor­ity mak­ers,” Ms. Cham­ber­lain said. “I know some of the con­ser­va­tives hate that, but it is the truth.”

Among the House seats the Repub­li­can Main Street Part­ner­ship is look­ing to cap­ture are com­pet­i­tive races in Cal­i­for­nia’s 50th con­gres­sional dis­trict, Iowa’s 3rd con­gres­sional dis­trict, Kansas’ 3rd con­gres­sional dis­trict, and New Jersey’s 3rd con­gres­sional dis­trict among sev­eral oth­ers.

In the Senate, the group will be work­ing in sup­port of the re­elec­tions of Sens. Su­san Collins, Maine Repub­li­can, and Martha McSally, Ari­zona Repub­li­can.

The Demo­cratic Con­gres­sional Cam­paign Com­mit­tee did not re­spond to re­quest for com­ment on the Repub­li­can Main Street Part­ner­ship’s plan to re­cap­ture Congress.

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