- The Washington Times - Monday, October 29, 2018

President Trump is laying his Republican Party leadership on the line in the midterm elections, scheduling a blitz of rallies in the final week of the campaign and launching a $6 million TV ad buy for GOP candidates nationwide.

The president will hold 11 more fundraisers and rallies through Nov. 6, working to make the closing argument for Republicans in Florida, Missouri, Indiana, West Virginia, Ohio, Montana, Tennessee and Georgia.

The campaign appearances will be a combination of getting Republicans out to vote and talking about “our booming economy, free market solutions for health care and the need for a border wall to stem the tide of illegal immigrants,” said Michael Glassner, the Trump campaign’s chief operating officer.

Mr. Trump’s cross-country sprint to Election Day adds up to 53 rallies in 23 states for Republicans in this two-year election cycle — 30 of them after Labor Day. In 2010, President Obama held 27 rallies and fundraisers for Democrats for the midterm elections.

Of the president’s 30 campaign rallies this fall, 11 are in competitive House districts and 19 are in competitive senatorial and gubernatorial races.

The president wanted to “set a record pace that would eclipse his predecessors. He has done just that,” said a person familiar with Mr. Trump’s thinking.

Beyond the fall schedule, the president’s effort has been picking up steadily since late spring, another person in the Trump camp said.

“Unlike most presidents, his midterm effort and focus began months ago,” the person said on the condition of anonymity.

By Election Day, Mr. Trump will have held 70 fundraising events for Republican Party committees and candidates in the two-year cycle.

Mr. Trump’s full-bore effort means he will get either the credit or the blame, depending on election results. The president’s party typically loses congressional seats in the midterm elections, and Democrats need to gain a net of 23 seats to capture the House majority.

In the Senate, most analysts say, Republicans will hold on to its majority and might even gain seats.

The ambitious schedule comes at a politically delicate moment for Mr. Trump. Many on the left, including the media, blame the president’s rhetoric for inciting a supporter who has been charged with mailing pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and a Pittsburgh man charged with killing 11 people at a synagogue on Saturday. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the accusations “outrageous” Monday and said the president will continue campaigning for his agenda.

“The president is going to continue to draw contrasts, particularly as we go into the final days of an election, the differences between the two parties, particularly on policy differences,” she said.

Asked whether the election is a referendum on the president, Mrs. Sanders said Mr. Trump naturally “wants to see more people who support his policies elected than not.”

“The president has an incredible story to tell. He’s delivered on the promises he’s made,” she told reporters.

The Trump campaign announced one of its biggest expenditures of the year Monday, paying for a 60-second TV ad arguing that the country can’t afford to turn back from economic progress.

The ad features a working suburban mother who decides to vote Republican because the nation has emerged from tough times and she feels optimistic for her family’s future. She notes in the ad “how far we’ve come” now that “things are starting to change,” but warns that “the future worth fighting for is not guaranteed.”

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said the ad “makes the closing sale to the American people to support GOP candidates in the midterm election.”

“The message conveys optimism in the direction of our country and offers a vivid warning that only by electing Republicans on Nov. 6 can we ‘choose the right future’ for our children,” Mr. Parscale said. “It speaks to all Americans to get out and vote for the GOP so President Trump’s booming economy and inspirational changes for hardworking American families can continue in the long run.”

After visiting Pittsburgh on Tuesday to mourn the victims of the synagogue shooting, Mr. Trump will go back to campaigning Wednesday with a trip to Florida’s Gulf Coast for Senate candidate Rick Scott and Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis. The campaign stop will be typical of his focus in the final week, concentrating on Senate and governor’s races after stumping for many House candidates in recent weeks.

Mr. Scott trails Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson by 2.5 percentage points in the Real Clear Politics average of polls, although a CBS News survey last week showed them in a tie. Mr. DeSantis, a House lawmaker, trails Democrat Andrew Gillum by 3.2 percentage points in the average of polling.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump will return to Missouri to campaign for Republican Senate candidate Josh Hawley, the state attorney general who holds a 2-point lead over Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

On Friday, the president will make another in a series of campaign trips to West Virginia for Republican Senate candidate and state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who is trailing Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III by an average of 12 points. He also will visit Indianapolis for Republican Senate candidate Mike Braun, who is challenging Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly, a race that is essentially tied.

The president will fly Saturday to Boseman, Montana, to campaign for Republican Senate candidate Matt Rosendale, who is trailing narrowly in his race to unseat Democratic Sen. Jon Tester. Mr. Trump will end the day with another rally in Pensacola, Florida.

On Sunday, Mr. Trump will be in Macon, Georgia, campaigning for Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, the secretary of state who holds a slim lead in polls over Democrat Stacey Abrams. The president also will campaign in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who has been pulling away in polls from former Gov. Phil Bredesen in their contest for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Bob Corker.

On Monday, Mr. Trump will hit three states. He will stop in Cleveland to stump for Ohio Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine, who is trailing slightly in polls against Democrat Richard Cordray, a former head of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau who left in 2017 while feuding with Mr. Trump over the agency’s authority and role.

The president will hold his final two campaign stops Monday in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Cape Girardeau, Missouri, emphasizing the importance of the tight Senate races in holding the Republican majority in the chamber.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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