NEWSLETTER: Derek Dufresne on the Republican Wave

June 2, 2023

The 2010 midterm election was a phenomenal cycle for conservatives. It’s crazy to think it’s been almost 13 years since that massive red wave swept Republicans into office nationwide. It was also my first cycle working in politics in my home district of NH-01. That year, we successfully got Frank Guinta elected to Congress, and since that first campaign, I’ve always enjoyed working on House races.

Campaigns for House seats are the perfect balance of size and scope. They’re big enough that you are talking about national topics with a sizable electorate but not so large that local issues and retail politics can be put on the back burner. Whether it be a contentious primary in a safe seat or a competitive general election in a swing seat, winning them consistently takes a good candidate, a strong team, and smart tactics. Collectively, their victories also play a significant role in the direction of our country.

In 2020, I had that same perfect triad of campaign qualities in Florida’s 3rd District with Kat Cammack. In a 10-way primary, the former Deputy Chief of Staff for the outgoing congressman for the district stood out from the pack. She was intelligent, young, and energetic. Our messaging was researched, creative, and targeted. Sure, we were outspent, but we were never outsmarted or outworked. We handily won the primary and the general election, and Kat went on to be the youngest Republican woman in the 117th Congress.

Since then, Congresswoman Kat Cammack has been re-elected and has taken Washington by storm, making an incredible difference for the conservative cause. She’s significantly raised her state-wide and national prominence. She has quickly become one of the premier voices in the movement, earning titles such as “America’s Congresswoman” as a result of how hard she’s worked traveling the country and spreading our message over the past few years. I’ve been proud to continue working alongside Kat, serving as her general consultant and senior advisor through it all.

This cycle, in addition to serving on three congressional committees and keeping up a robust in-district presence, Kat is serving as the Recruitment Chair for the National Republican Congressional Committee. Growing our Republican majority in the House has always been a priority for her, so when she was asked to take on this crucial role, we knew it would be the perfect opportunity to make a real difference.

While we had hoped for a bigger Republican wave last cycle, for a myriad of reasons, 2022 was nothing like 2010. We took the House by a slim margin, winning 222 out of 435 seats after all the ballots were counted. To boil it down further, we only won control of the lower house by a collective 6,675 votes nationwide. If we are to retain the House in 2024 and grow our majority, we need a strong team who understands first-hand how to win elections and the need for significant donor investment. We are fortunate to have that this cycle at the NRCC, with exceptional leadership at both the elected official and staff level. They understand the importance of strong candidates and are building a solid infrastructure to back them up and ensure we achieve victory.

November 2024 might seem far away, but it really isn’t. Many races across the country are already ramping up, with candidates filing with the FEC, donations rolling in, and teams being put together. Sure, the presidential and targeted Senate races will dominate a majority of the media attention this cycle, but as Republicans, we cannot ignore the importance of defending our majority in the House. Frankly, it should be our biggest priority. When 6,675 votes are all that kept Democrats from currently controlling Washington last cycle, defending our Republican incumbents and aggressively going on offense in targeted Democrat seats is crucial.

It was going to be a good year for us regardless, but the Republican wave of 2010 didn’t just happen organically. There are always trends as well as domestic and international issues that play a significant role in the outcome of who wins control of the House. However, as I was once told, you cannot control the storm or the seas, but you can always control the quality of your boat. The time is now to be building solid boats in congressional districts all across the country. Only then can we withstand whatever weather we will face next year and ensure we not only defend the current House majority but also expand it.

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