Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel predicts the GOP has a "50-50" shot at maintaining control of the House of Representatives in November's midterm elections as the party ramps up for the fall campaign.
"We know the historical trends: 30 seats lost in that first midterm when you hold the White House. Obama lost 60 seats and usually you lose seats in the Senate," McDaniel said. "So, the Senate map, we are talking about picking up seats, which is unprecedented in a midterm of a first-term president. So that's something that everyone should be looking at."
As for the House, the RNC chief acknowledged that a spate of retirements of GOP representatives has left the party with an uphill climb, leaving "a lot of seats on the margin."
"Right now I'd say [our odds are] 50-50. We are out everyday working. The RNC has raised to date $250 million. We've put 549 staff on the ground. We've trained 20,000 field organizers. That's four times more than we did in 2016. So our infrastructure to turn out our vote to engage with our voters to talk to them about these results is the best it has ever been in the midterms," she added.
McDaniel argued that President Trump is a "great asset" for the party heading into the elections, citing high approval ratings among members of his own party.
"We have seen on the ground — as we bring the president into these races, like Montana, where he was this week — the candidates' numbers rise. We saw it with Matt Rosendale. We saw in Ohio when Balderston was in a very tough race. We brought the president into Delaware County and we saw him help propel that Election Day vote to victory," McDaniel said. "So the president is a great asset for us. And remember, in the midterms it's the party that's turning out their base."
Mr. Trump is expected to stump for one-time campaign foe Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas next month. McDaniel was confident the Republican stronghold would re-elect Cruz over Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke.
"We're not going to lose Texas," said McDaniel. "Anybody who watched Ted Cruz this week in these Judiciary hearings with Judge Kavanaugh — hearing him talk about the importance of rule of law, hearing him talk about the importance of what Judge Kavanaugh would bring to the bench, caring about the Constitution — knows that Ted Cruz is an excellent representative for Texas and he is going to win that seat."
McDaniel cautioned, however, that "candidates matter" going into November, a strategy that means that every race will be unique.
"We need these candidates to talk about their local issues, go out there. They have to work as hard as they've ever worked. Candidates who think that they're in safe districts, they're going to have to give everything and we're going to be there backing it up at the RNC," McDaniel said