Historically, there’s been a strong correlation between the sitting president’s approval rating and the number of seats the president’s party loses in midterm elections. But in 2018 the political climate is far from ordinary, and analysts are looking at other factors that make this year’s midterms difficult to predict. Though Americans may be relatively dissatisfied with President Trump’s job performance, they are altogether satisfied with the state of the economy. Americans have not usually expressed dissatisfaction with a president presiding over a strong economy in the past. Republicans will also need to rely on factors like party enthusiasm, independent voters, and the popularity of their major bills and accomplishments this year, such as the tax law and confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh. Views of the ACA, which has been gaining popularity and whether Republicans can convince voters of their alternative healthcare efforts, will also be a determinant. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is hoping to again serve as House Speaker, and she has made a strong effort to do so this fundraising cycle. As she continues her east-coast campaign trip, Pelosi announced that she has raised over $34 million for Democrats during the recent fundraising quarter, putting her at $122 million for the midterm cycle. Her fundraising has consisted of 250 events in 29 different cities in Pennsylvania to Florida. Over the weekend, Pelosi campaigned with women in Pennsylvania, where Democrats are hoping to make congressional gains. In a recent interview, she even shared her plans for a Democratic majority in the House including legislation on campaign finance and health care, signaling high confidence throughout the party. However, some Democrats have distanced themselves from Pelosi, or even indicated that they would not support her in a vote for Speaker. For now, she remains the biggest source of funding for House Democrats and candidates.
The Democrats are certainly making waves in fundraising, out-raising 92 Republican House incumbents over the last 3 months. Democratic challengers are also leading with available cash; no Democratic member currently lags their opponent in cash on hand. The Democratic fundraising surge is a product of the voter base’s enthusiasm that has been building for some time leading up to November. In competitive districts, Democrats began advertisement campaigns back in August, earlier than ever, with their extra cash. They anticipated the wave of money Republicans would gain from super PACs, and the advertisement attacks that would follow. The Republican super PAC Congressional Leadership Fund has cut off certain candidates who continue to trail behind their opponents, and it has poured money into other competitive races, such as Florida’s 27th District where Republican Maria Salazar is polling surprisingly well against Democrat Donna Shalala. Candidates who were fortunate enough to raise excess funds are now figuring out what to do with it all.
Meanwhile, at a time when early voting is becoming increasingly popular throughout the nation, some states are reducing polling locations ahead of Election Day. In North Carolina, more than 60% of voters cast an early ballot in the 2016 election. Yet a new law passed by the state’s legislature will result in 20% fewer places to cast votes before November. Democrats argue that this move will disproportionately target certain groups, who utilize early voting and generally back the Democrats. But the law also requires that polling sites stay open from 7 am to 7 pm; previously, administrating counties had freedom to set the number of hours an early voting site would stay open. Despite this benefit, rural counties with smaller election budgets will have a harder time, now that many polling sites will be eliminated. Research suggests that the farther away a polling place is from a voter, the less likely that voter will participate. Constituents will have to grapple with this law over the next few weeks, before they decide to cast their votes.
Did you know...
...HUPAC has been producing new materials to promote the PAC and help bring in new contributors. We are currently at about 13 percent of members contributing to HUPAC and we need to grow the base to grow the PAC! View our PAC toolbox with materials like our update HUPAC by the Numbers flyer, and updated member contribution benefit level chart. Also don't forget you can be rewarded for recruiting new members to contribute to HUPAC. Check out the full rules on the Top Recruiter Program. There are now more ways than ever to participate in growing HUPAC! Help your industry by growing the influence of your PAC on Capitol Hill to protect the role of agents and brokers in our health care system and don't forget to make your annual contribution today!