This post is by Connor O’Brien from Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories
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The chairwoman of the Republican National Committee said Sunday that GOP candidates would benefit from President Donald Trump’s presence on the campaign trail ahead of hotly contested midterm elections.
“The president is a great asset for us,” Ronna Romney McDaniel said in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Citing the performance of the economy, McDaniel argued that “people are feeling good about where they are” because of Trump’s policies. She also cited his high approval rating among Republicans.
“Remember, in the midterms, it’s the party that’s turning out their base,” McDaniel said. “We have to turn out our base first.”
While Republicans stand to possibly gain seats in the Senate with a bevy of Democratic incumbents facing reelection in states Trump won in 2016, the House is on far shakier ground and is seen as increasingly likely to flip to Democrats. McDaniel gave her party 50/50 odds holding onto the House.
“First of all, we know the historical trends. … The Senate map, we are talking about picking up seats, which is unprecedented in a midterm of a first-term president,” she said. Republicans also gained Senate seats in 2002, President George W. Bush’s first midterm election.
“On the House, we have a lot of seats on the margin,” McDaniel said. “Absolutely we’ve had an unprecedented amount of retirements, and that has made it harder in some of these swing districts. But right now, I’d say it’s 50/50.”
McDaniel added that, “Candidates matter, and that’s going to be different in every single race.”
On the Democratic side, former President Barack Obama is expected to be a prominent surrogate for Democrats. Obama went on the attack against Trump directly for the first time in a speech Friday at the University of Illinois.
While Trump and administration officials have criticized Obama as breaking longstanding tradition by openly criticizing his successor, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez downplayed the risk of the former commander in chief playing such a prominent campaign role.
“I welcome President Obama on the campaign trail because he’s fighting for the issues people care about,” Perez said.
“People are enthusiastic because we’re fighting for the issues they care about,” he said. “People’s health care is on the ballot. This is the most important election of our lifetime.”