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Republicans Identify Vulnerable Members for 2018

NRCC announces initial round of Patriot Program

Minnesota freshman Rep. Jason Lewis is part of the NRCC’s initial Patriot Program. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Minnesota freshman Rep. Jason Lewis is part of the NRCC’s initial Patriot Program. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee has named 10 members to its Patriot Program for incumbents who are expected to face tough re-election races in 2018.

“Our Patriots are a group of battle-tested members who won hard-fought races in 2016 and are ready to win once again,” Rep. Steve Stivers, the NRCC chairman, said in a statement Wednesday. 

“The NRCC stands squarely behind each of them and will work tirelessly on their behalf to ensure their important voices continue to represent their constituents,” the Ohio Republican said.

Patriot status usually comes with fundraising and organizational assistance. Stivers is a previous chairman of the program, which is now helmed by Pennsylvania Rep. Ryan A. Costello.  

This cycle’s initial Patriots include five members elected in 2016, three members of the class of 2014, one member of the class of 2012, and one long-term congressman, California Rep. Darrell Issa, who had a closer-than-expected re-election last fall and is already facing a rematch from his 2016 Democratic challenger. All 10 members are on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s initial target list

Here’s the full NRCC list: 

California Rep. David Valadao

Elected in 2012, Valadao represents a seat that’s 74 percent Hispanic. Hillary Clinton won the 21st District by 15 points, according to calculations by Daily Kos Elections, while the three-term congressman won it by 14 points. 

California Rep. Steve Knight

The two-term congressman represents a district that’s nearly 40 percent Hispanic. Clinton carried the 25th District by about 7 points, while Knight won re-election by 6 points.

California Rep. Darrell Issa

The nine-term lawmaker became a late Democratic target last cycle, and he barely prevailed in November, winning by around 1,600 votes. The Associated Press didn’t call the election in his favor until three weeks after Election Day. Clinton carried his 49th District by about 8 points.

Florida Rep. Brian Mast

A freshman, Mast won the toss-up 18th District race by about 11 points, defeating a flawed Democratic candidate. Donald Trump carried this district by 9 points. 

Minnesota Rep. Jason Lewis

The former radio talk show host and first-time candidate, who didn’t start out the primary with much establishment support, narrowly won his 2nd District race by 2 points last fall. Trump barely won here, carrying the district by 1 point.

New York Rep. John J. Faso

A freshman, Faso won the seat held by outgoing moderate Republican Rep. Chris Gibson. He defeated progressive Democrat Zephyr Teachout by 8 points in the 19th District, while Trump won by 7 points.

New York Rep. Claudia Tenney

Another Empire State freshman, Tenney won the 22nd District seat held by the man she once challenged in a primary, former GOP Rep. Richard Hanna — the only Republican member who endorsed Clinton. But Trump did well here, winning by about 16 points. Tenney won by slimmer 5-point margin. 

Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick

The freshman congressman won the suburban Philadelphia seat formerly held by his brother by 9 points. Trump carried the 8th District by less than a point. 

Texas Rep. Will Hurd

The two-term Republican won a rematch with his Democratic predecessor by 1 point. But Clinton carried the 23rd District by 3 points, and Hurd has already distanced himself from Trump in this 68 percent Hispanic district by coming out against the border wall with Mexico. 

Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock

The two-term congresswoman won re-election last fall by 6 points, but she represents the affluent and highly-educated suburban 10th District that Clinton carried by 10 points. She’s already broken with Trump on his government hiring freeze. 

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