Blaming moderates for the current state of Republican politics might be convenient to fit a desired media narrative, but that doesn’t make it accurate.
The Republican Main Street Partnership exists to promote traditional GOP ideals in Congress and to help promote the enactment of the kinds of policies that made Main Street America great.
In holding true to that core tenet of our party, the Defending Main Street Super PAC knew better than to throw good money after bad. Any student of the rhythms of Washington knew damn well Republicans were headed for a beating in the 2018 midterms.
We believe in fiscal responsibility, and we exercise it.
Rather than dump our donors’ hard-earned money into the trash can, we respected their wishes. Supporting the political consulting cottage industry on ever more expensive races drives certainly benefits consultants, but it doesn’t necessarily yield wins on Election Day.
Our Super PAC made a decision to go deep, not wide.
We targeted seven House races in 2018 where we knew we were supporting effective Republicans with Main Street values who could win and continue doing meaningful work in Congress. Five of those seven won, including: Rodney Davis of Illinois, Fred Upton of Michigan, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, and David Joyce and Troy Balderson of Ohio.
Our Super PAC spent $5.1 million on those races, and 68 percent of it went to hard-fought victories. And, I’ll add, 91 cents of every dollar raised into the Super PAC goes directly to support for our candidates.
Contrast that with the National Republican Congressional Committee, which spent only a quarter of its expenditures on wins. Also in 2018, the Congressional Leadership Fund didn’t do much better with 32 percent of its money going to victories, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
And some of our donors asked us to keep some dollars in the bank around for 2020, when our prospects in the House of Representatives could brighten.
We may have colleagues and associates who disagree with this strategy, even as successful as it was. They are entitled to broadcast those opinions however they choose. However, to suggest we did something wrong in our execution of the chosen strategy is nothing more than sour grapes.
An anonymously sourced report last week is beneath the standards we’ve come to expect from NPR.
I’ve worked with Sarah Chamberlain, the leader of the Republican Main Street Partnership, for 20 years. The procedures used in 2018 are the same that had been in place since its inception. There’s never been a hint of doubt about the integrity and quality of her performance.
A governance review completed earlier this year found the partnership to be in “substantial compliance with District of Columbia statutory recordkeeping requirements for nonprofit corporations,” with the sole exception of imprecise board meeting minutes. (Oops. My bad. I’ll do better with the minutes next time.)
Similarly, a financial audit found our accounting practices are impeccable.
Contrary to the NPR report, we did indeed share these audits with Members of Congress.
Most of all, I am appalled that a handful of white male Washington insiders are taking aim anonymously at Sarah’s newest effort to empower women in suburban areas: Women2Women.
A major reason our party struggled in 2018 and may struggle again is because suburban women are leaving the GOP in droves. It is way past time to start to reconnect with women all over the country to understand what motivates them and what issues are most concerning to them, so that we can recalibrate our efforts as a party while staying true to our values.
At some point soon, my former colleagues will have to accept the obvious truth that there is no governing Republican majority without the support of suburban women voters.