By Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin
Nov. 7, 2018
“The message from Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House majority leader, was urgent and unsparing. In a meeting with Republican lawmakers before they left Washington for the August congressional recess, Mr. McCarthy warned that time was running short: Unless they intensified their campaign efforts and forcefully delivered a coherent message, he said, Republicans would suffer grievous losses in November.
Instead of arresting their political decline, House Republicans proved unable at every turn to stay ahead of their troubles — including many of their own making.
By Labor Day, Republicans were fatally unprepared for an onslaught of Democratic campaign spending that overwhelmed their candidates from South Florida to Seattle. Party leaders on Capitol Hill and in the White House soon turned on one another and against their candidates with growing intensity. Two key groups — the National Republican Congressional Committee, the party’s campaign arm in the House, and the Congressional Leadership Fund, a powerful Republican super PAC — plunged into all but open warfare over messaging and money.
Democrats, in turn, delivered a message about health care with the repetitive force of a jackhammer. They cracked congressional maps drawn to favor Republicans and seized an array of open seats, while also felling longtime incumbents who had grown complacent.”