EXCLUSIVE — With Republicans aiming to win back the majority in the House of Representatives next year, the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) says he’s seeing a surge in the number of GOP candidates filing to run in the 2022 midterm elections.
Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, who’s headed the House GOP reelection arm since 2019, says that 431 candidates running for the House of Representatives as Republicans have already filed campaign committees. The NRCC says that’s 100 more candidates than at the same point in the 2020 election cycle.
“Compare this to 10 years ago at this time. It’s more than double,” Emmer said during an exclusive interview with Fox News as the NRCC’s three-day spring retreat with members and donors, which was getting underway Saturday at a resort in Key Biscayne, Florida. “It’s incredible.”
And he highlighted that “99 women are running, 70-80 candidates from minority communities are running and 100 veterans.”
The GOP controlled the House for eight years before losing the majority in the chamber in the 2018 midterms amid a wave by House Democrats. But Republicans defied expectations and took a big bite out of the Democrats’ majority in November’s elections and currently only need to flip five seats in 2022 to regain control of the chamber.
The chairman said that the 2022 playbook is “basically building off the game plan that we had last cycle. You win campaigns with great candidates, the right message and with enough resources to make sure that message can stick.”
Emmer spoke with Fox News a couple of days after U.S. Census Bureau released initial numbers from the 2020 Census. According to the once-in-a-decade congressional apportionment, GOP-controlled states such as Texas and Florida will gain House seats while California and New York, where Democrats control the levers of government, are losing seats.
Census data to be released later this year will determine the redistricting process, which is expected to generally favor Republicans over Democrats.
While some pundits say that the GOP might be able to win back the House majority just from the apportionment and redistricting process, Emmer isn’t jumping for joy.
“I’ve told our members from day one that you should never look at redistricting as the way to take back the majority. We’re going to have to fight for every single seat,” he said.
But he acknowledged that “certainly the fact that you’re picking up a couple of seats in Texas, you’re picking up a seat in Florida, you’re picking up a seat in North Carolina, you’re going to have some changes in the northeast. There are going to be opportunities for us as long as [the] redistricting process is fair and transparent.”
With former President Donald Trump — who remains very popular with GOP voters and retains immense influence over Republican politicians as he vows to play a kingmaker’s role during the 2022 midterms — just an hour away at his residence at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, Emmer was asked if he’d planned to meet with Trump this weekend.
He said no but noted that “I’d have no problem with that.”
“This weekend is all about our members,” he added.