“The rise of Trump and Cruz – and the subsequent normalization of inflammatory rhetoric in the conversation within the Republican Party – has invited new scrutiny on House Republican incumbents who have themselves made offensive statements that echo Trump and Cruz’s divisive comments,” says the report, titled “Down-Ballot Damage: How Trump and Cruz will Cost House Republicans Seats.”
House Democrats’ campaign arm released the report prior to its retreat in Baltimore, arguing Trump and Cruz are putting members between a rock and a hard place, forcing them to choose between extreme policies like banning Muslim immigrants, denying the Supreme Court ruling legalized gay marriage and attacking Planned Parenthood — or distancing themselves from their party.
“If House Republicans are ‘frightened’ by the prospect of either Trump or Cruz atop their ticket, they should be downright terrified of the damage already done to their party. The fact is that the Presidential frontrunners have already imperiled several House Republicans’ chances at reelection – well before the first votes are cast in the nominating contest,” the report reads.
Even with what they view as this lucky break, House Democrats face an uphill battle in recapturing the House majority. Republicans currently hold a 246 to 188 seat edge in the House, and Democrats would need a net of 30 seats to retake the majority. The Senate, however, is a much closer battle, with several blue-state Republicans up for reelection in 2016.
But many congressional Republicans are concerned that a Trump a Cruz nomination would not be helpful, though there is debate about which one would be worse.
And Democrats are simply piling on. The DCCC report singles out more than a dozen vulnerable Republicans, including Reps. Mike Coffman, (R-Colo.), Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) and Bob Dold (R-Ill.), who are already facing tough races and could be fatally harmed by Trump or Cruz at the top of the ticket.
The report picks out specific instances when the 13 most vulnerable House Republicans made statements or cast votes that could be used to prove each one is out-of-touch with voters. The comments also tie House Republicans to other presidential candidates, including Chris Christie: Democrats point out, for instance, that Comstock stated “Fed-Ex can track packages coming in here all of the time, we can track people who are coming into the country and we can do that right,” mirroring a comment made by Christie.