House Republicans will reel in their largest single fundraising haul of the 2018 midterm election cycle on Tuesday night, when President Donald Trump addresses donors at the National Republican Congressional Committee’s annual March dinner.
And Speaker Paul Ryan will deliver one key message in hopes of keeping that cash flowing to protect his majority this fall: mission accomplished — and now it’s time to sell the GOP’s success.
The Wisconsin Republican will tell donors that Republicans have delivered on campaign promises from passing tax reform to helping the administration scale back regulations and strengthen the military. According to excerpts of his prepared remarks shared with POLITICO, Ryan will argue that “we have up-ended the status quo and are actually improving things for our constituents.”
“A year ago, we came together and talked about all the great things that this new, unified, Republican government was going to be able to do on behalf of the American people,” Ryan will say. “Well, we got to work and we are delivering on that promise. As we advance our agenda and help more Americans reach new heights, you can feel a sense of pride and confidence working its way back into our country.”
That sums up Republicans’ 2018 campaign message: that Republicans are better for Americans’ bottom-line than Democrats. They’ll play up tax reform, which has slowly increased in popularity in recent months. And they’ll point to the economy and booming stock market to argue the economy is growing while also touting a recent influx in military spending aimed at protecting the nation.
At least on the fundraising circuit, it appears to be working for Ryan. He brought in $44 million last year and as of March 1 had transferred $38 million to the NRCC, a new record.
Of course, that’s not the full story of the GOP-led Congress. Republicans were unable to pass a repeal of Obamacare — something they campaigned on for years. And they’ve also struggled to deliver on Trump’s border wall with Mexico, though the latter was never a huge priority for most congressional Republicans. In order to deliver on their budget boost for the Pentagon, they’ve also have to fund Democratic priorities that will increase the national debt, not exactly the hallmark of conservative orthodoxy.
But Ryan who has raised more money for the NRCC than anyone else by a long shot will zero in on the boxes they’ve checked on Tuesday evening. And his campaign team has expressed confidence that focusing on their economic message is a winning strategy.
“We need to line up the choice for our constituents and make it clear for them: if you re-elect us, we’ll continue to push this economy higher, we’ll take control from Washington and return it to the states, and we’ll empower people with the freedom and ability to reach their full potential,” Ryan will say. “I know we can tell this story in our districts.”