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GOP to donors: Top-of-ticket quality matters

Thought Leader: Josh Kraushaar
February 23, 2023
Source: Axios
Written by: Josh Kraushaar

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is privately telling big-dollar donors that bad candidates for governor and Senate were a top reason the GOP didn’t win more House seats in 2022, emphasizing that quality candidates matter up and down the ticket.

Why it matters: By explaining why his party underperformed in the last election, McCarthy and the National Republican Congressional Committee are also setting expectations for the next one.

Driving the news: McCarthy and Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), the new NRCC chairman, gave their theory of the case in slick slide presentations to top donors and lobbyists at a retreat at the Ritz-Carlton in Key Biscayne, Florida, last weekend.

Between the lines: McCarthy also noted that House Republicans have added seats in the last two cycles, in sharp contrast to Senate Republicans.

The intrigue: Hudson told the donors that “hard dollars” — meaning direct contributions to campaigns, rather than “soft money” spent by outside super PACs or independent expenditures — are crucially important for winning tight races, according to Punchbowl News.

The big picture: As both parties sift through the raw data of the 2022 election, they are gaining a clearer picture of who came out to vote and how partisans and various demographics behaved.

What to watch: The NRCC also listed the 36 lawmakers — 19 Republicans and 17 Democrats — who won by less than a five-point margin as top targets for 2024.

The bottom line: House Republicans are trying to convince donors that their money was well spent in the last cycle — and why they should invest in McCarthy’s plans to grow the majority in 2024.

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