- The Washington Times - Monday, May 16, 2016

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said on Monday it’s “very difficult” to win Senate races without doing well at the top of the ticket, and hinted that a joint fundraising agreement between the RNC and presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump’s presidential campaign could soon be announced.

Mr. Priebus had been asked about his confidence level in seven U.S. Senate races that figure to be competitive this year, which include seats Republicans are defending in New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Arizona, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, as well as the seat of retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid that the GOP is trying to win in Nevada.

The chairman told radio host Hugh Hewitt the RNC is “heavily invested” in the “infrastructure and plumbing” of all those races and that the RNC is far ahead of where they were four years ago in areas such as ground game and data.

“And we’re going to be committed in those states,” Mr. Priebus said.

He said Arizona typically is not a battleground state, but that all the other races are going to be overlapping into the presidential race.

“So you not only have the work on the ground in the Senate race, but you’ve got [the] work on top in the presidential,” he said. “And as the presidential goes, so goes the Senate races.

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“It’s very difficult to win Senate races if you’re not doing well at the top of the ticket,” Mr. Priebus said. “That’s why for people out there, you know, it’s an all or nothing deal. I mean, [you’ve] got to be in for the whole ticket, because it’s very, you cannot just leap over the top of the top of the ticket. So it really is a team effort up and down the ballot.”

Republicans currently hold an effective 54-46 majority in the U.S. Senate, but are defending about twice as many seats as Democrats this year. A handful of races involving GOP-held seats are also taking place in states that President Obama carried twice.

Some Democrats in the competitive races are already working to tie their opponents to Mr. Trump, as Republicans ponder trying to thread a needle between actively cheerleading for Mr. Trump and refusing outright to support their party’s nominee.

For example, the campaign of Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a New Hampshire Republican facing re-election this year, has said Ms. Ayotte plans to support the GOP nominee but does not plan to endorse anyone.

Mr. Priebus also predicted that the RNC and Mr. Trump’s campaign could soon be out with a joint fundraising agreement akin to what the party has used with past nominees.

“He’s committed to raising the money,” Mr. Priebus said. “We’re going to be probably having a joint fundraising agreement out very shortly where the Republican National Committee and the Donald Trump campaign combine their efforts into a joint fundraising agreement much like we did [with] Romney victory and McCain victory … Trump victory, Bush victory.”

“That’s the program that combines all the different buckets that you can put together, and then you go across the country and you raise the money that you need to put together the ground operation,” he said.

Organizers of a new pro-Trump super PAC called the Committee for American Sovereignty also announced recently that the group expects to raise $20 million before the GOP convention in July, and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson recently announced his support for Mr. Trump’s candidacy.

“And so I think that Trump is going to have the money. And certainly, our folks are committed to raising the money across the country not just for the presidential race, but for the targeted Senate and House races that we need,” Mr. Priebus said.

“And nobody [has] raised more money than the Republican National Committee in Washington,” he said. “The DNC is not even close. We’ve set records on low-dollar fundraising, online fundraising and major donor fundraising for the past six years. So we know how to raise money.”

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