With less than a month to go until the midterm elections, the Republican party’s leading outside congressional election super PAC has announced it won’t use its funds to back two Southern California lawmakers facing tough odds in the coming midterms.
None of the $12 million the Congressional Leadership Fund plans to spend on cable television ad buys will go toward the races of incumbent Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Mimi Walters (R-CA).
Both serve in Orange County and both won re-election in historically red districts that voted in favor of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Each of their races is categorized as a “Republican Toss Up” by the Cook Political Report.
The decision seems to indicate that the races are not a priority for Republicans, who may see the races as unwinnable against the onslaught of funds raised by their Democratic challengers.
Both Rohrabacher’s and Walters’ Democratic opponents outraised them in 2018. In fact, Democrats nationwide have consistently outraised Republicans, with a 30 percent increase in annual fundraising compared to the 2016 election cycle.
“Republicans are taking a cold-blooded look at races to decide where to put resources and where to withdraw resources to put somewhere else,” Stuart Rothenberg, a nonpartisan election analyst, told the Los Angeles Times.
According to pollsters, Democrats have a strong chance of taking back control of the House in November, with a projected 23 House wins.
As the LA Times reported, the Congressional Leadership Fund, which collects large checks from top Republican donors, can always add Rohrabacher and Walters to their ad lineup at a later date, but “millions of Californians have already received their ballots by mail, so immediate advertising is crucial to the fate of the two lawmakers.”
This post has been updated to clarify that the Congressional Leadership Fund is a super PAC.