The investigation to impeach President Donald Trump by the Democratic-controlled House is fueling Republican efforts to recruit candidates in key battleground districts in hopes of retaking the chamber in next year's election.
"It certainly sparks something in you when you see this bombardment against our president," Dale Crafts, a former GOP state representative, told Politico for a Wednesday report.
Crafts cited the impeachment announcement last month by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in his plans to challenge Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, this week — though Golden has yet to support the investigation, Politico reports.
Potential Republican candidates who were once reluctant were now working to come off the sidelines — and the party's small-dollar donors are working to raise money against Democrats who are "practically awash in money," Politico reports, citing nearly a dozen interviews with GOP operatives and some prospective candidates.
Trump won 31 districts in 2016 that are now held by Democrats — and the National Republican Congressional Committee is fielding calls from possible candidates in such key states as Michigan, Wisconsin, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
In the last week, GOP outside groups have run a seven-figure television ad blitz in specific districts and have initiated fundraising campaigns to support eventual Republican nominees in 20 Trump-won districts, Politico reports.
The Republican National Committee is also spending $2 million on TV ads in a dozen flipped districts, according to the report, including those held by Reps. Elaine Luria, Va.; Angie Craig, Minn.; and Matt Cartwright, Pa.
On the fundraising side, the RNC began a fundraising initiative last month that included an email blast in which supporters could split a donation between President Trump and a fund for the eventual challenger to Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., a freshman in a district that the president carried by 7 points.
The effort has so far raised $250,000 for the Slotkin fund, RNC officials told Politico, and Michigan Board of Education member Nikki Snyder entered the race last week.
The RNC has since tweeted digital ads with links to similar funds in 20 other flipped districts.
"Over the next few months, they're going to be sending emails and tweets and doing marketing and advertising to fill them up," Gerrit Lansing, the president of WinRed, which collects the donations, told Politico.
"It's a just a question of how much money they want to put in and attention they focus to it, but they certainly have the ability to raise millions of dollars in each of those."
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