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February 6, 2016

Exclusive: NRCC Chairman Predicts Wave Election for Republicans

2014 elections

Walden is the chairman of the NRCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

One hundred days from Nov. 4, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden said he expects House Republicans will ride a political wave in November.

In an exclusive sit-down interview with CQ Roll Call, the Oregon Republican was bullish about his party’s prospects, predicting they would pick up 11 House seats in November. That number would bring their majority to 245 members — the biggest Republican majority since 1945.

“I know what it felt like in ’06 to be us,” Walden said in the interview, referring to the year Democrats picked up 31 seats and took control of the House for the first time in 12 years. “When you get that gale force wind in your face, you get blown away.”

Party operatives don’t use that four-letter word, “wave,” lightly — especially this cycle. Picking up a large number of seats is tough for either party because there aren’t as many competitive races on the map following the decennial redistricting process in 2012.

Out of 435 House contests, only seven are rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Four more races are rated Tilts Democratic, and another seven are rated Tilts Republican. That’s not a large playing field.

After traveling 78,508 miles across 24 states for 59 of his party’s members and candidates, Walden said the GOP is in good position as members prepare to head home for the August recess.

“We believe a lot that the drive for 245 is more than just a rhyming number,” Walden said. “We know there’s going to be some puts-and-takes there, but I think you can get to 245 [seats] this cycle.”

Some of the “puts” Walden referred to specifically include retiring GOP Rep. Gary G. Miller’s seat in California’s 31st District, which President Barack Obama carried with 57 percent in 2012. Democrats secured one of the top two slots for their nominee there, and the race is one of four on the map currently projected to flip party control.

Walden specifically mentioned Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., as one of his party’s most endangered incumbents. Coffman is running against a top Democratic recruit in a seat Obama carried in 2012 by a 5-point margin.

Though Walden did not mention him by name, Republican Rep. Michael G. Grimm’s legal trouble also presents the GOP with an uphill climb in New York’s 11th District, where Obama won by a 4-point margin last cycle. That race is rated Leans Democratic.

Still, Walden said his party has a number of things going in its favor.

With primary season nearing its end, Walden said his party came through with its “strongest nominees possible.” National Republicans saw their preferred candidates win competitive nominations in Iowa’s 3rd District, New Jersey’s 3rd District, New York’s 1st District and California’s 7th District. But they still have primaries where problematic candidates could emerge in Arizona and New Hampshire in the next two months.

And, he added, Obama’s poll numbers coupled with the historical trend of the six-year presidential itch puts the wind at the GOP’s back.

“I think atmospherics are really bad for the Democrats,” Walden said. “This is shaping up far more to be a referendum election and not a good one for Democrats.”

There’s also one thing House Republicans don’t have on their side: a cash advantage.

At the end of June, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had $8.4 million more in the bank than the NRCC. The DCCC is beating the NRCC in the digital fundraising game, and has Obama raking in the cash at high-dollar fundraisers across the country.

“What keeps me up at night? It probably is the cash discrepancy,” Walden said.

However Walden said that with Democrats defending more seats, his party will have the cash to play offense.

“They’ve got the president to go haul in the cash, but they’ve got the president around their neck when it comes to voters,” Walden said. “They’re going to need more money.”

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  • Sally

    Has he been shooting up with Karl Rove? Not sure who he is talking to, but people I know are fed up with GOP policies that are hurting teachers, school systems, job creation, and everything else. Dream on, Mr. Walden.

  • docb

    Just like they predicted a wave in 2012..and repented with an autopsy in 2013 that they have yet to follow…Rove is so proud of the BS comng from the deluded of his gaggle!

  • FollowtheDough

    Sally, democrats never do well in midterms, the turnout is horrible. Expect a seat loss, sadly, that’s how it works.

  • erick

    The republican party hates you and hates your way of life. The republican motto is “tough love”. Love the privileged few and tough for everybody else.

  • ta111

    Liberalism is a mental disorder. These people live in the land of delusion. Maybe the dumbest people are earth. Just give people free stuff and everything will be OK. Or as the idiot pelosi said-we have to pass the law to find out what is in it. What a fool.

  • magic1114

    Hopefully, after the midterms they’ll get down to the pleasurable business of impeachment! What I REALLY want to see is the Obozo prep walked into a courtroom!

  • magic1114

    Hopefully, after the midterms they’ll get down to the pleasurable business of impeachment! What I REALLY want to see is the Obozo prep walked into a courtroom!

  • magic1114

    Hopefully, after the midterms they’ll get down to the pleasurable business of impeachment! What I REALLY want to see is the Obozo prep walked into a courtroom!

  • erick

    As a so called long term unemployed, I have found that no one wants to give you anything unless you are in the financial class. The financial class gets bailouts at taxpayers expense, and tax breaks for outsourcing jobs overseas. I usually work in the heavy industrial construction field. I should be building industrial facilities that would generate millions of dollars per day, but we do not do that here anymore. The financial class makes their money from stock swindles, drug money laundering, and pension skimming.

  • andrewp111

    11 House seats is a stretch, but what do you expect the team captain to say? I say a net GOP pickup of 4 in both the House and the Senate. And that ain’t no wave. A wave is defined as an election cycle with lots of surprise victories that are all on one side.

  • ihazconservative

    “Republican thinks Republicans are going to win big” – what an exclusive!

  • ihazconservative

    I’d take your complaints about “free stuff” more seriously if you talked about tobacco, sugar and oil subsidies instead of focusing on the relative pittance that poor people receive. Sugar alone cost US taxpayers $280 million in 2013.

  • Bob Smetters

    Thanks to Rand Paul, my family gets paid to not grow tobacco on our land….

  • Bob Smetters

    Might be best for dems… Two years of playing offense instead of defense should be enough to swing the pendulum back the other way.

  • Bob Smetters

    Don’t blame me, Im not stooped. I voted for Bush/ Cheney twice, then McCain/ Palin…….Any moron knows there are no republicans on gobmint programs….ROTF

  • erick

    With a new republican majority in power the CLASS WAR can finally be won. The financial class will succeed in reducing the working class to the status of 3rd world peasants. The republican program of imposing austerity and poverty on the 99% will begin. With the technology in place for a turn key Nazi police state in place any opposition to their genocidal plans can be crushed with massive police power.

  • daddyoyo

    Exclusive: independent pollsters who aren’t paid political hacks predict there will be no wave for Republicans this year.

  • ComradeAnon

    You interviewed Dick Morris.Not Greg Walden.

  • ComradeAnon

    Just like Morris did?

  • brickman

    Today’s Fox News generic poll shows the Dems +2. The same poll for this day in 2010 had Republicans +11. No wave this time.

  • brickman

    They picked up 31 seats in 2006. A midterm election, genius They also had some of the biggest midterm victories in 1974 and 1982. What you mean is that they didn’t do well in 2010 and four years ago is as far as your knowledge of history goes.

  • Alice Boxstrom

    Once dependent upon centralized authority, the tendency is toward more centralized planning, requiring more central control and on and on.

  • Raymond Edwards

    A wave when the wind is in your favor (number of each party up for re-election, gerrymandered districts in their favor) is not a surprise. The tide turns in 2016 however, when the perfect storm of POTUS election, GOP up for re-election, & a demographic swing in traditional Red States bring a potential tsunami.

  • Sally

    I agree that historically we don’t do well, but after the 2010 debacle (I recall every Republican ran on “JOBS!”, and every one has voted against jobs, the people, and especially, women) that we will not sit this one out. There is too much at stake.

  • Sally

    You mean like Cantor losing? I want many more of those surprises!!

  • Sally

    As soon as they find one instance of law breaking, they will. But since they are all lawyers, and not one can name anything specific that President Obama has done that is against any law (president while black is not illegal…sorry!) it will not happen. They would do well to actually pass a law that helps voters (VA, JOBS, minimum wage) instead of instilling fear and hate all the time. Why anyone votes GOP is beyond me.

  • Sally

    Two years of Dems creating jobs will certainly show the country who actually cares about people not corporations.

  • FollowtheDough

    Uh, look at the odds of that happening again. Bush was in the whitehouse, that isn’t going to happen. ALEC will make sure it doesn’t. The turnout will likely be dismal. There is no reason to be so snippy and insulting, although you do have a photo of triumph the insult comic dog as an avi.

  • brickman

    It just ticks me off when people make pronouncements that they think are based on history but don’t know enough history in the first place. I wasn’t being snippy, I was correcting your inaccuracies. Your correct response would have been to tell me that you learned something. 2010 wasn’t the typical midterm election that you think it was.

  • Peter Quill

    Since innovations resulting from freedom of action tend to be just as useful as those arising from intellectual freedom, it seems clear that liberty’s value does not depend upon the intellectual merit of what it makes possible.

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