CONWAY: ‘There are a number of candidates who seemed allergic to the president on the Republican side…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) The Democratic Party took control of the U.S. House in yesterday’s midterm elections, and President Donald blamed vulnerable Republicans who refused to embrace his agenda.
Democrats won 28 House seats, taking back the majority. Several Republican incumbents were ousted, including Reps. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Dave Brat (R-Va.), Kevin Yoder (R-Kansas) and 14 others. Trump — though he hailed the night as a GOP victory for its gains in the Senate — blamed Republican candidates who refused to work with him during their campaigns.
Those that worked with me in this incredible Midterm Election, embracing certain policies and principles, did very well. Those that did not, say goodbye! Yesterday was such a very Big Win, and all under the pressure of a Nasty and Hostile Media!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2018
Kellyanne Conway agreed with this conclusion and told Fox News that the candidates who rejected Trump’s campaigning efforts ended up losing the election.
“There are a number of candidates who seemed allergic to the president on the Republican side, they didn’t want him to campaign for them — they lost last night,” Conway said. “The president’s engagement on the ground — 53 rallies since he took office, 30 just in the past two months — led to huge pick-ups. The strength of the president, packed rallies, overflowed crowds — there’s just no substitute for his engagement.”
Conway cited Republican Josh Hawley’s victory in Missouri as an example of Trump’s influence. Hawley defeated Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill in one of the most contested races in the nation.
“Tonight the people of Missouri have said that our way of life and our values are going to renew this country and that is what we are about, and that is what we are for,” Hawley said to a crowd of supporters after winning the election.
Trump threw his weight behind Hawley’s campaign, visiting the state twice in the last week to rally on the Republican’s behalf. Hawley initially kept his distance from the president, but relied on him heavily in his campaign’s final months.
“Thank you, Mr. President, for your leadership,” Hawley said. “Thank you for believing in Missouri.”
Among the Republican congressional race losers who avoided Trump were Florida incumbent Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a moderate. Also, the Republican who defeated incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford in a Charleston-area seat in South Carolina, Katie Arrington, lost the seat to Democrat Joe Cunningham. The president did not get involved in that race until the final couple of days, when he recorded a robocall for Arrington.
In New Jersey, Republican Jay Webber competed against Democratic former prosecutor Mikie Sherrill for the state’s 11th District. Trump endorsed Webber, but he shied away from the president. In a poll released a few weeks before the election, 15 percent of voters said Trump’s endorsement would make them more likely to vote for Webber, which could be why the Republican candidate chose not to campaign with the president.
“It’s no surprise that Webber has not been trumpeting the president’s endorsement when you look at these poll numbers. Trump does not really help even though this is a Republican district,” Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said in a statement.
But despite the district’s “R+3” rating, Webber lost soundly to Sherrill.
On the other hand, two Republicans in Charlotte-area districts who were subject to a high-spending campaign assault by Democrats — incumbent Rep. Ted Budd and newcomer Mark Harris — both won their North Carolina races. The pair embraced visits by President Trump and his surrogates.
Republicans in ideologically divided districts suffered in last night’s election, but Conway said it was still a “historic” victory for Trump and the GOP.
“Even though [the Democrats] have won a few seats here and there, this President has made history yet again,” she told Fox News. “In the last 80 years, the party in power has picked up only eight Senate seats. But last night, with the president, through his power and leadership and engagement on the ground for these candidates, has produced at least three Senate seats, possibly five as the count goes on. That’s truly historic.”
Liberty Headlines editor Paul Chesser contributed.