- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 21, 2019

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel sees a “distinct advantage” for the GOP in 2020 despite the Ukraine controversy engulfing President Trump, citing record fundraising, a Democratic presidential slate lurching to the left and an uptick in small-donor giving even as the House pursues impeachment.

“The impeachment has actually ramped that up,” Mrs. McDaniel told reporters Thursday at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

“It has not pulled anyone away,” she added. “The investment has been as strong as ever, which shows this is partisan.”

And no, she doesn’t plan to get between Mr. Trump and her famous uncle — Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah — as the senator criticizes Mr. Trump amid an inquiry that pivots on whether the president sought political favors from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in exchange for military aid and a White House visit.

“I’ve said these are two grown men, very capable — they can work out their differences,” Mrs. McDaniel said.

Mrs. McDaniel also said she’s not worried about recent GOP losses in statewide races. She said Mr. Trump will still win in Louisiana, Kentucky and Mississippi in 2020 and that the candidates there did better than they would have without the president’s help

“Democrats are energized, Republicans are energized. The difference is we’re organized heading into 2020,” she said.

Mrs. McDaniel said that 90% of her time is spent fundraising and that Mr. Trump has been the “MVP” of bringing in money that has trickle-down benefits for other GOP candidates.

The RNC raised $25 million in October alone, raising its year-to-date haul to $194 million compared to $75 million for the Democratic National Committee, according to the chairwoman.

She said Democrats’ coffers will be drained by a grueling campaign season, while the GOP can hit the ground running with vast resources.

The GOP is also on track to field 2 million campaign volunteers in the 2020 cycle, compared to 750,000 in 2016.

“We want to take back the House and obviously reelect Donald Trump,” she said.

Mrs. McDaniel also sized up the Democratic presidential field after Wednesday’s debate in Atlanta. She said Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax would be unwieldy and catastrophic and suggested that Joseph R. Biden is not up to the task, saying the former vice president fumbled his responses from the stage.

“Nothing I saw last night concerned me,” Mrs. McDaniel said. “I thought Joe Biden struggled with some questions.”

The RNC chairwoman said she’s not sure what to make of Pete Buttigieg, the young mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who leads polls in Iowa.

“I don’t think anybody can say definitively what’s going to happen,” she said. “I think it does show that Biden has faded.”

Mr. Biden is at the center of an impeachment probe alleging Mr. Trump wanted Ukrainian officials to announce investigations into the Democratic 2020 front-runner and his son, Hunter Biden, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company while the then-vice president dealt with the Eastern European country.

Mr. Trump brought up the Bidens with Mr. Zelensky during a July 25 phone call.
Mrs. McDaniel said internal polling shows the American people want to know more about the Bidens’ actions in Ukraine.

Mrs. McDaniel also argued there was no “quid pro quo” in Mr. Trump’s decision to postpone aid to Ukraine.

Looking ahead, Mrs. McDaniel dismissed concerns that Mr. Trump’s outsized role in the party will hurt candidates down the ballot, saying that by building a massive get-out-the-vote mission, “you’re actually helping the whole ticket.”

Mrs. McDaniel said the GOP developed its Win Red fundraising technology after facing big enthusiasm on the Democratic side, which romped to victory in the 2018 mid-terms.

“We needed to build a competitor to Act Blue,” she said, referring to money-raising software Democrats have used for over a decade.

She also revealed another secret weapon for the party.

“I take my kids to knock doors,” she said. “People are also nicer to you when you take your children.”

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