WASHINGTON — Donald Trump is not going to cost Republicans a significant number of seats in the House, Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the House GOP's campaign arm, repeatedly told reporters on Friday.
“There is this narrative coming out of the (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) that all they have to do is put up an image of one of our candidates up against an image of our presidential nominee, and the race is over,” Walden said at a breakfast organized by the Christian Science Monitor. “I hope that’s their entire game plan. We see no data, no evidence at this time, and we’ve done a lot of surveys, that indicate that that strategy works.”
"I have great faith in American voters. They know how to differentiate between one person and another," he said.
The Oregon Republican received several questions about the effect the party's presumptive nominee could have on House races and the strategy of distancing themselves from Trump that some vulnerable incumbents are already using, including not attending the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this month.
Walden said he didn't "know the exact numbers" of House Republicans going, "but it's significant" and also went on to argue that the Democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton could be much more toxic for down-ballot Democratic candidates.
"It is easier to tie a Democrat to Hillary Clinton than it is to tie a Republican to Donald Trump for a couple of reasons. First of all, I think we all have to admit, Donald Trump is his own brand. He has not shied away from that... It's not like Mrs. Clinton is a brand new candidate with no record. There is enormous record."
"What we now know looking at the data is that Hillary Clinton is bigger drag in our competitive seats than is Donald Trump. Now somebody could probably find some district where that's not the case. But we looked overall, and this is what we're seeing. They're either equal or she is less popular."
Tarini Parti is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Tarini Parti at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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