“If we are to become the majority party – which I think we will – you have to accept that we are a big tent,” LaHood said, adding that Republicans in Peoria, Illinois are different from those in Florida, New York or California. “I have tried to adopt this philosophy and this attitude, this is how we become the majority party.”
He added, “I’m looking at our freshman class that just got in and we need to expand that diversity.”
MPs Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) And eight other House Republicans who broke with their party last month in support of Trump’s second impeachment have been reprimanded by their own ranks Representatives of the state party censored. The GOP embrace, or distance from Trump, has created a national schism for the party. But LaHood, who got Trump’s approval last fall but avoided criticizing his colleagues in the House, divided this up.
LaHood didn’t go directly into the divide over Trump within the party, but he admitted, “There’s a lot at stake.”
Republicans are just a handful of seats away from control of the House, and when asked if the NRCC would fund re-election campaigns for the 10 Republicans who voted for impeachment, LaHood said “absolutely”.
He said Kevin McCarthy, the minority chairman of the House of Representatives, and Tom Emmer, chairman of the NRCC, had asked him to take on the role. “I’m proud to work with both of you and the rest of our team, including [Reps.] Liz Cheney and Steve Scalise. “
Still, LaHood said he hadn’t spoken to Kinzinger – who launched a PAC to fight Trumpism in the GOP and has regularly denounced the former president since the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol – and largely avoided talking about it to discuss his Republican from Illinois. The NRCC has long had a policy of staying out of the primary and only supporting Republican voters who vote in the general election.
Taking on the NRCC appearance has another benefit for LaHood, the son of President Barack Obama’s first transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, a Republican: He hasn’t ruled out a possible run for the governor of Illinois.
But right now, he said, his focus is on raising money for the GOP. The Congressman is a seasoned fundraiser with more than $ 3.5 million in the bank – a sizable sum for a Republican in a deep blue state. He also hosted the 2019 NRCC Spring Dinner, the largest annual fundraiser for the organization.
“The fact that we haven’t lost an incumbent [in 2020] It’s pretty amazing to then take all the seats we made. Our job at the NRCC is to protect our incumbents and the money we raise goes to help, ”said LaHood.
The NRCC also appointed Rep. Carol Miller of West Virginia to lead the group’s recruiting efforts.
LaHood, a former federal attorney, views Trump as a friend. He served as co-chair of Trump’s re-election bid and ran as a delegate for him.
Earlier this week the NRCC released a list of 47 House Democrats they will hopefully pick up next year.
Emmer says the goal is to talk about what is important to regular voters, like reopening schools. He has opposed the Democratic strategy of associating the Republicans with the QAnon conspiracy theory and anything related to the Capitol riots.
Midterm elections have historically been a control for the party in power, and LaHood is betting on banking that “will be good news for us”.