On Wednesday, the chairman of the House Republicans’ campaign branch sought to allay fears about the party’s loss in New York’s 19th Precinct in a memo in which he called Democrat Pat Ryan’s victory a ” weird”.
Why is this important: The memo, obtained by Axios, comes as Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) faces criticism from within his party that he’s too distracted by what his role might be if the GOP takes over. power in November – and not focused enough on ensuring the party regains a majority.
Driving the news: Ryan defeated Republican Marc Molinaro, a popular county executive and former gubernatorial candidate, in an upset. Molinaro was seen as the ideal candidate for Republicans, and many expected him to take victory on Tuesday night.
- In the memo, titled “A Quick Note on What Happened at NY-19,” Emmer admits the election “didn’t yield the outcome we hoped for” but defended the NRCC’s performance.
- He cites the fact that the special election was held at the same time as New York’s regular primary election, arguing that New York’s closed primary system discourages independent voters from running.
- “As a historically blue state, the primary often serves as a general election for New York Democrats,” he wrote. “That means New York Democrats are historically running at much higher rates for primaries.”
- He also argued that a series of polls, including those conducted by the Democratic National Campaign Committee, showing Molinaro in the lead, failed to predict the “structural advantage of Democrats” using samples that looked more like the November electorate.
The big picture: Republicans entered 2022 with unwavering confidence that inflation and President Biden’s weak polling results would carry them to a large majority in the House.
What we are looking at: Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report tweeted that, based on the recent election, his group has revised its outlook “to a 10-20 seat gain for the GOP, with Democrats in control not out of the question.”
Between the lines: Several Republican members and strategists have complained that Emmer is distracted by the goal of becoming GOP whip after the election. He has already started calling committee chairs and other high-profile Republicans about his future run, GOP members told Axios.
The other side: Upon learning of the criticism, several House GOP members called out Axios to defend Emmer.
- “As the only executive in New York State, I will tell you that specials are special,” GOP conference chairwoman Elise Stefanik (RN.Y.) told Axios. “Anyone who criticizes the leadership, whether it’s Tom Emmer or anyone else, for misinterpreting this run, criticizes from the sidelines.”
- “There are a lot of potential candidates for leadership and whip, myself included, and we need to stay focused on what the NRCC is doing,” she added.
- “I have never worked alongside anyone more dedicated, focused and vigilant in our efforts to take back the house than Tom Emmer,” Rep. Jodey Arrington, an NRCC deputy, told Axios. “In fact, I think he’s waited too long…longer than anyone who’s expressed an interest in leadership.”
What they say : “It’s hard to credibly claim that the NRCC was distracted when it was the biggest spender in this race,” NRCC spokesman Michael McAdams told Axios. “Chairman Emmer is fully focused on getting a majority and we’ll let the results in November speak for themselves.”
- “The first stage of grief is denial and that is where the MAGA NRCC finds itself today – unable to accept that voters in ruby red Kansas in upstate New York overwhelmingly rejected their extreme attempt tearing up women’s freedoms,” DCCC spokesman Chris Taylor said. .
- “Republicans spent 3 to 1 for Democrats in the NY-19 special election race – they still lost. So essentially the NRCC spent $1.3 million to underperform Trump in this district,” Taylor said. “There are 222 House seats that are better than NY-19 by Biden 2020 performance.”
Read the memo.