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Midterm results: Conservatives join Trump in blaming moderates for House loss

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President Donald Trump was a dominant force in the midterm elections as attitudes toward him influenced the decisions of more than 6 in 10 voters. According to AP VoteCast, women voted considerably more in favor of Democratic candidates. (Nov. 6)
AP

WASHINGTON – Conservative Republicans joined the president in blaming the establishment wing of their party for losing control of the House Tuesday, pointing to the wipeout of centrist Republicans as proof that the GOP needs to move further right.

“The squishy members who lost their races were the ones that didn’t embrace that conservative agenda,” David McIntosh, the president of the conservative group Club for Growth, said at a press conference hosted by more than a half-dozen conservative leaders.

The press conference held near Capitol Hill came as President Donald Trump gave his version of an election-night recap at the White House. The president went after some of the lawmakers who had lost and said they were unsuccessful because they didn’t embrace him.

“Mia Love gave me no love and she lost, too bad,” Trump said, speaking of the incumbent representative from Utah.

Democrats wrested the House from Republican control Tuesday gaining at least the 23 seats needed to flip the chamber. Some additional races were still too close to call as of Wednesday afternoon. The purge hit suburban Republicans particularly hard, knocking off centrists across the country from the suburbs of Virginia to Utah to California.

“Republicans shed a lot of dead weight last night,” David Bozell president of ForAmerica, a conservative advocacy organization said.

But some some conservatives who embraced Trump lost, including Reps. Dave Brat of Virginia, Rod Blum of Iowa and Claudia Tenney of New York.

Because more-conservative members tend to be from safe Republican districts, most who ran for re-election will return to Congress next year. The GOP conference, though smaller, will be less centrist.

Conservatives say that means it is time for a new direction for their leadership. They’re calling on Republicans to elect Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, a co-founder of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, as minority leader. Jordan announced he was running for the post Tuesday morning. It is not clear that Jordan, who has angered many members of his own party, has the votes to win. He faces off against current House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who also announced Wednesday he would be running for the job. Retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has endorsed McCarthy. 

Former Republican Congressman Phil English, who represented Pennsylvania from 1995 to 2009, told USA TODAY that installing arch-conservatives into positions of leadership is not a winning plan for his party.

English said Republicans should instead focus on “better outreach to suburbanites, to women, to swing voters.

“I don’t think the Freedom Caucus approach has in any way been ratified by this election,” English said.

 

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/11/07/midterm-results-conservatives-join-trump-blaming-house-moderates/1922747002/

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