GOP ramps up spending for House candidates in ‘Democrat-held territory’ as midterms near

With the midterms looming closer and closer, Republicans intend to up their spending game, with or without former President Donald Trump’s help.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) announced on Friday that it plans to spend an additional $28 million funding GOP House candidates who’re seeking a seat in a deeply “Democrat-held territory.”

“We are continuing to expand the playing field deeper into Democrat-held territory and look forward to prosecuting the case against every one of these vulnerable Democrats,” NRCC chair Tom Emmer said in a statement.

“We have the message, the candidates and the resources needed to retake the majority and this investment will help us deliver on our mission,” he added.

Meanwhile over in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund announced $18.4 million in spending right after Labor Day.

All this is reportedly occurring without involvement from Trump, much to the chagrin of some Republicans who’re trying to pressure him to get involved.

Take McConnell.

“The minority leader is advising Trump-backed candidates and senators with good relationships with the 45th president to prod him to transfer millions of dollars from his leadership PAC to super PACs supporting Trump’s favored candidates, according to two people familiar with McConnell’s entreaty,” Politico reported Friday.

“The private push to get Trump to financially engage in a number of battleground states comes as the former president sits on roughly $99 million, stored in his PAC. That unused cash is drawing increased attention from GOP leaders as the midterms approach, with Trump’s own endorsed candidates lagging in polls and trailing their Democratic opponents in fundraising.”

Trump’s involvement is crucial because many Senate candidates, most of them Trump-backed, “are facing serious money woes compared to their Democratic opponents.”

Republicans say that, since they are his own preferred candidates, it’d only behoove the former president to get involved and “prove he’s still a kingmaker,” as Politico put it.

“A lot of Trump candidates need help, like Blake Masters. My argument would be: ‘If the people you endorsed do well, you do well,'” Sen. Lindsey Graham said to the outlet.

Sen. Josh Hawley added that one particular candidate, Blake Masters, will “probably not” win unless Trump intervenes: “He can win that race, and I think he will in the end, but I do think he’s gonna need some more help.”

But why Trump’s help in particular? Because he’s “sucking up a massive portion of GOP donations (including a sizable chunk of the grassroots dollars) in a midterm election year,” according to Politico.

This raises another question. If he’s bringing in all the money, why is he just sitting on it instead of spending it? Some believe it’s because he still resents establishment Republicans like McConnell, among others.

“One Republican senator, granted anonymity to speak candidly about the situation, doubted that Trump would loosen his purse strings even for his own candidates given the long-running tensions between him and Senate Republicans — a sentiment echoed in part by some operatives close to the former president,” Politico notes.

So are Republicans completely out of luck? Not necessarily. There’s another man with big money whom Republicans — or at least those in the Senate — have been looking to for help: Billionaire investor Peter Thiel.

As previously reported, McConnell’s been pressuring Thiel to bankroll the campaigns of Masters and J.D. Vance, in large part because both of them got this far in the first place thanks to the billionaire.

Earlier this year, Thiel backed both candidates’ primary elections. But after they won their respective elections, he suddenly withdrew, leaving the rest of the battle up to McConnell to fund.

The Senate leader wasn’t pleased:

“McConnell told Thiel over the phone last week that Vance’s race in Ohio was proving more costly for the Senate Leadership Fund than anticipated, that money was not unlimited and that there was a need for the billionaire to ‘come in, in a big way, in Arizona,'” The Washington Post reported earlier this month.

Senate Leadership Fund chief executive officer Steven Law reportedly also joined McConnell in badgering Thiel.

“Law, in a call with Thiel the day before his group cut back on the Arizona ads, expressed concern about Masters as a candidate and pessimism about his campaign’s viability. Both Vance, 38, and Masters, 36, are friends and former business associates of Thiel’s; Masters stepped down from roles at Thiel’s investment firm and foundation this year,” according to the Post.

The message both McConnell and Law were trying to convey, according to the Post, was that “they should essentially split the cost. But Thiel apparently disagreed.

It appears, for all intents and purposes, that Republicans are stuck funding themselves without any “outside” help. It’s not an ideal situation, but it looks like they intend to push through no matter what, even if they have to fund everything by their own lonesone selves …

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Vivek Saxena

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