Josh Kraushaar at the National Journal writes today that House Republicans are worried their most vulnerable members aren’t doing enough to raise the money they will need to fend off Democratic challengers in the 2018 midterms – particular in those media markets like New York City, LA, and Houston that require a lot of cash.
Of the 53 House Republicans facing competitive races, according to Cook Political Report ratings, a whopping 21 have been outraised by at least one Democratic opponent in the just-completed fundraising quarter. That’s a stunningly high number this early in the cycle, one that illustrates just how favorable the political environment is for House Democrats.
One of the more interesting observations in the Kraushaar piece is that “weak fundraising totals in the year before an election often suggest that members are thinking about heading for the exits.” As one senior GOP House strategist said, “if Congress can’t pass tax reform into law, a wave of retirements will soon follow.”
We can tiptoe around it, but many a sitting politician who thinks they are about to lose their bid for reelection frequently decide it’s time to announce they want to spend more time with their family and will be taking a lucrative lobbying job in D.C. in the near future.
Is it possible donors will get excited if some of Trump’s agenda begins to make its way through? Maybe. Is that likely to happen? Who knows? And with Trump’s approval rating still somewhere in the 30s, and with governing parties typically doing less well in the midterms, the calculation on the part of many GOP incumbents may be to avoid the grinding fundraising circuit if they are not certain they are up for another campaign with a more than dicey outcome.
I’m not yet sure we can smell a wave election for Democrats in 2018 just yet, but Republicans in the House seem to be smelling something.