The national organization responsible for helping House Republicans in their reelections this fall isn’t spending any money to boost Rep. Mimi Walters — because she asked them not to.
But she’s getting plenty of help elsewhere.
“Mimi Walters is a pro,” said Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, which is responsible for trying to preserve the GOP majority in the House. “She is another candidate who has asked me to not spend in her race. She says she’s got it. I feel confident she’s got it. She knows what she’s doing.”
Walters is facing a serious challenger in Democrat Katie Porter, with polling showing a tight race. The decision not to spend money on Walters’ Orange County seat is noteworthy in a year in which opposition to President Trump has made more traditionally safe GOP members of Congress vulnerable to Democratic challengers. That has forced Republicans in Washington to become more selective with their campaign dollars.
Typically, when Republicans don’t spend money in a contested race, it means they don’t think the candidate can win. But both Stivers and Walters’ campaign say that is not the case.
A spokesman for Walters’ campaign confirmed that she asked the NRCC not to invest in her race, adding that Walters “believes she will raise sufficient funds on her own to take care of her campaign’s needs.”
Stivers did not rule out the possibility of spending money for Walters later in the cycle, adding that “we need to make sure they finish strong and I feel really good about those races.”
Walters hasn’t been abandoned by national Republicans. The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Republican leaders, put up new ads Friday aimed at Porter, targeting her for her support for “Medicare for all” and the state gas tax.
The group has reserved $2.8 million in airtime in the Los Angeles media market for the fall, a CLF spokeswoman said. The fund began airing ads against Porter in August.
The fund opened a field office in the district at the beginning of this year, supported by a full-time staffer and volunteers who are responsible for engaging with voters through targeted phone banking and door-to-door canvassing.
House Republicans are two months out from a midterm election that most political prognosticators say is increasingly likely to result in Democrats winning enough seats to gain control of the House.
Stivers on Friday pushed back on that idea, arguing that strong economic growth will benefit the GOP. As evidence, he pointed to special election contests held this year in nine House districts most recently represented by a Republican. Democrats overperformed in most of them, but Republicans won eight.
“We’ve warmed up our machine know-how to turn out our voters,” he said. “We’ve done it in suburban districts. We’ve done it in rural districts. We’ve done it in almost every kind of geography and demographic. They give us great tests for the fall, and going into the last 60 days I feel really confident with our plan and where things are.”