House Leaders Hit the Trail for Last Week of Campaigns
House Republican leaders will make last-minute trips to campaign against endangered Democratic incumbents this week, while their Democratic counterparts will raise money and try to fortify their base ahead of Tuesday's elections, according to leadership aides.
Speaker John Boehner was campaigning Tuesday for Illinois state Rep. Mike Bost, who is trying to unseat Democratic Rep. William Enyart in the state's 12th District. On Wednesday Boehner will travel to West Virginia to stump for state Sen. Evan Jenkins in his bid to defeat Rep. Nick Rahall. Both races are rated as toss-ups byTheCook Political Report.
Boehner will also visit West Virginia's 2nd District on Wednesday to campaign for Alex Mooney in a race that favors Republicans. Boehner spent Monday in Iowa, campaigning for David Young in a toss-up House race against Staci Appel. An aide to the speaker said there will be more campaign stops, but did not provide details.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, meanwhile, will make his final campaign trip of the season to Georgia to assist businessman Rick Allen in his campaign against Democratic Rep. John Barrow.
Majority Whip Steve Scalise started a jaunt through the Southwest a week ago and plans to finish on Thursday in Oklahoma, stumping for Rep. Jim Bridenstine and Army veteran Steve Russell, who is running for Congress in the state's 5th District, considered a safe GOP seat. After that, Scalise will head back to his home district in Louisiana for Election Day.
On a Tuesday conference call with her members, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi implored them to donate to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in the last throes of the campaign. She was scheduled be in Houston later for a DCCC fundraiser. On Thursday, Pelosi will be in her hometown of San Francisco for a gathering of major donors.
Pelosi's staff said she may also travel to Florida, New York, and Puerto Rico before Tuesday's balloting.
Minority Whip Steny Hoyer spent Tuesday in Michigan campaigning for Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence and Debbie Dingell, the wife of Rep. John Dingell. Both Democrats are expected to win House seats next week, but Hoyer will also campaign for state Rep. Pam Byrnes, who is running a long-shot challenge against Republican Rep. Tim Walberg.
During Pelosi's caucus-wide conference call Tuesday, she and DCCC Chairman Steve Israel thanked colleagues for contributions to the committee totaling about $27 million this election cycle.
But Israel and Pelosi warned that the political climate is incredibly challenging and only getting harder. A source on the call said they received pledges for another $500,000 from at least 18 members.
A memo to Democrats circulated before the call warned that Republicans are bulking up their spending in the final days of the congressional campaigns. The memo pointed to infusions of money from outside groups, but also noted that some GOP candidates are tapping into their own personal wealth.
"Thanks to your diligent work, generosity and commitment, the DCCC is aggressively moving to protect our colleagues and go toe-to-toe with Republican outside groups that are raining millions down in this tough environment," the memo said.
A DCCC "dues sheet" obtained by National Journal and other news outlets provided information about contributions so far to the party by each of the 199 caucus members, including columns comparing goals for each Democrat to the amounts actually received.
A list also was obtained of the 37 members who will be exceeding their goals and of another 77 members who will have met their dues goals by the end of October.
Of course, not all House Democrats were on both lists.