GOP Will Take House but May End Up Beholden to Tea Party

Tuesday, 02 Sep 2014 08:33 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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The GOP remains on track to see a net gain in the House in November but Politico reports that several factors may wrest a Republican wave and instead expand the majority by perhaps just a half-dozen seats, a position that could ultimately obligate leadership to the tea party.

“A small gain would again leave Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) largely beholden to the tea party wing of the party, with little room to maneuver on a governing agenda,” according to Politico, which interviewed more than a dozen key strategists from both parties.

Explanations for what was once predicted to be a “blowout” election cycle for Republicans to a now small increase in House members range from “tepid fundraising, underperforming candidates and a lousy party brand,” Politico reports.

Though President Barack Obama’s has dismal favorability ratings and Obamacare has been followed by a number of foreign policy missteps, Democrats have out-fundraised their Republican counterparts by $27 million. They plan to spend that money plastering television screens to the tune of $43.5 million in ads booked in 36 House districts. By comparison, the National Republican Congressional Committee has reserved $30 million in 26 districts.

According to Politico, GOP strategists blame the deficit on “donor fatigue” and “the intense battle on the Senate.”

“It’s not a question of if we’ll be outspent,” a Republican strategist told Politico. “It’s a question of by how much.”

There’s also the issue of the tea party causing a fissure within the GOP. Tea party-affiliated groups are targeting both Democrats as well as Republicans they believe have compromised their conservative principles negotiating with Democrats, according to Fox News.

Rep. Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican., opted for retirement rather than wage a fight against the tea party, Fox News reported last year.

South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham fended off a hard-fought challenge against the tea party, something that other moderate Republicans are looking to learn from.

“The 2014 race for the House is shaping up to be a fight between Democrat money and a Republican environment,” said Brian Walsh, heads of the Congressional Leadership Fund. “The battlefield, solid candidates and a strong political environment have the makings for what could be a very good year for House Republicans, but the current cash deficit is substantial and impacts our ability to maximize the environment and win seats for future cycles. We’d always rather have a wind at our backs than a cash advantage, but this deficit is a real problem.”

But despite some Democratic momentum, the party will consider it a victory to lose six seats, according to Politico. Republicans would love a sweeping gain of 11 to 17 seats, seen as a possibility not so long ago, but will settle for the half-dozen that are considered in the bag, according to Politico.

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