tv Natl Republican Congressional Committee Chair Steve Stivers OH at... CSPAN September 7, 2018 2:53pm-3:56pm EDT
♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> earlier today former president barack obama received an award for ethics in government and delivered remarks at the university of illinois in urbana, we'll have it tonight at 8:00 ian on c-span. president trump was at a fundraiser in fargo, north dakota, for kevin cramer, who is challenging incumbent heidi hite camp for a senate seat, you can see that tonight at 9:00 p.m. on c-span, c-span toirg or listen with the free c-span radio app. >> representative steve stivers is chair of the national republican congressional committee. he took questions from reporters on the november mid-term elections. he was at a "christian science monitor" breakfast this morning to talk about bellwether races across the country. and president trump's impact on the november election.
>> it's 8:00, let's get started. i'm francine keifer, the congressional correspondent for "the christian science monofore," i'm filling in for linda feldman who is traveling with president trump. our guest today is representative steve stivers, chair of the national republican congressional committee. and this is his first appearance at a monitor breakfast. welcome, congressman stivers. >> thanks. >> now for a little bit of background. congressman stivers was born in cincinnati and earned his bachelors degree and m.b.a. from ohio state university. since 1985, he has served in the ohio army national guard. and holds the rank of brigadier general. in 2002, congressman stivers was
elected to the ohio senate and in 2004, he was called for active duty in operation iraqi freedom. serving in iraq, kuwait, qatar, and djibouti. received a bronze star for his service as battalion commander. congressman stivers is also an eagle scout. he has been a member of the house since 2011. and in 2017 congressman stivers took on the task of trying to preserve his party's house majority as chair of the nrcc. we are eager to hear him explain his strategy. now for the ground rules. we are on the record here. please, no live blogging or tweeting. in short, no filing of any kind
while the breakfast is under way. there is no embargo when the session ends at 9:00 a.m. we will email pictures from this breakfast to all the reporters here as soon as the breakfast ends. as you know if you'd like to ask a question, please send me a signal and i will call on as many of you as time permits. since this is my first time hosting the breakfast, please be forgiving if i can't put all names to organizations and faces. now congressman stivers -- i got that one. congressman stivers if you'd like to make brief opening remarks, the floor is yours. mr. stivers: sure. we're about 60 days from the election today and i feel pretty good about our chances to hold the house majority and let me
give you some of the reasons. we have brought peace and prosperity to america. economic growth is undeniable. the atlanta federal reserve recently estimated that in the fourth quarter economic growth will hit 4.6%. unemployment is below 4%. economic growth has been above 4%. wages are starting to grow. consumer confidence is at the highest level in a long time. i don't know if you saw, yesterdayic it was, the jobless claims were at the lowest level in i believe 49 years. i hope i got that right. you know, the economy is undoubtedly roaring. we've also brought peace and safety and security to america through funding the military, through making sure we look out for things like funding our border security. and we've got more work to do there but we've done what it takes to bring safety and security to america as well as
prosperity. i think that contrasts with the democratic message that is moving further and further left. you saw that again this week in massachusetts on tuesday. that the energy on the democratic party is all about abolishing i.c.e., it's all about you know, socialized medicine, government-run health care plans that would cost $3 trillion a year either doubling your taxes or bankrupting medicare on day one or both. and their agenda is also to cancel the tax and regulatory policies that have given us this economic growth. this is -- peace and prosperity versus, you know, i guess poverty and insecurity. which i think it's pretty good matchup for us. so i feel good, we have the right candidates, our recruiting
has been phenomenal. elise stefanik has done a great job recruiting candidates. she recruited 120 female candidates across the country. we have great matchups for us. we have more retirements than i would have liked but we have great recruits. we raised a lot of money, a record amount of money and we have already warmed up our campaign machine in nine special elections. we have won eight of them. i'm sure there'll be questions about that. i feel good about our victories. i'm happy to congratulation the dccc on their moral victory bus last time i checked, moral victories don't get a vote on the house floor. i feel good about that. we warmed up our machine, know how to turn out voters, we've done it in suburban district, we've done it in rural districts, we've done it in almost every kind of geography and dell graphic to give us great tests for the fall and going into the last 60 days, i feel really confident with our plan and where things are.
i'm mape to -- one last thing i'm sure somebody will ask about the playing field. matt can give you, matt gorman is here from the nrcc and he can get you details on this, but if you want to know how big the playing field is, look how they're spending. they're spending in tossup races and even some democratic races. to ccc spent $1.8 million protect tom o'halloran in arizona 1 which is clearly a lean democrat seat in every prognosticator but there's enough risk there they desaied to spend there. and another is barbara comstock, there are reports abher getting cut off, in the last poll she's winning. i'm not going to cut off somebody who is winning. i feel good about her prospects. i think that race is going i think that race will be hard
fought. i think that barbara comstock will not only stay funded, she will win the race. to y don't we open up questions? >> i would be remiss if i didn't ask about the news of the week. the woodward book and the anonymous op-ed of "the new york times" have caused a tempest in washington about a resistance, resistance, in quotes, to the president within the administration. my question is, how do you think this will play outside the beltway? we are all in knots in washington. what about outside the beltway? mr. stivers: i am from the swingiest swing states in the country. outside washington, people aren't talking about the cable news-type things. they aren't talking about the op-ed. they are not talking about the book. they're talking about what's
going on in the economy. you know, school just started a lot of places. they're talking about their kids and their dreams for their kids. they're talking about how the economy is helping them, their prospects are brighter. but they have some fears and concerns and we are' trying to address all those issues as well and -- but that's not what people out in the rest of the country are talking about. i know that it becomes this tempest in washington, but the rest of the country really is different and they're not talking about the same stuff. you might see it on cable news but it's not what people are talking about in the barbershop. it's not what people are talking about at their family tables. interestingly, barack obama will launch his mid term campaigning. mr. stivers: what's he running for? francine: the same thing that the president and vice president pence are playing.
my question is, how helpful will the former president be for democrats in their drive to retake the house? or does his campaigning actually help you? does president obama give republicans an easy foil to campaign against? mr. stivers: so i have a limited experience on this. my experience on that is 2010, 2012, 2014, so for three cycles, president obama fired up republicans like nobody and i'm happy if he wants to do it again. francine: ok. so far i have questions from chuck rush at "the st. louis stdispatch," rick kline at abc, john gizzy and then down here in the corner and then karen. so let's start with chuck. chuck: thank you, congressman, for doing this. ann wagner in suburban st.
louis was considered going into the cycle pretty safe but her opponent released a poll showing him ahead in that district. and there are public polls now showing president trump's approval ratings going down in missouri. i'm wondering, what are you them? mr. stivers: well, i was at dinner with ann wagner yesterday and she's a pro. she begged me not to spend in her race. she said she's got this. she showed me the polls. she showed me the problems in the poll. i know her internals. i feel really confident that this one-day p.r. stunt isn't going to change the fundamentals of that race and the fundamentals of that race are about the two candidates and ann wagner is known by her constituents. she's worked on human trafficking. she's led a life of service. she's been on tv, by the way,
for a couple weeks. her internal staffer is good shape. it's not the ann wagners of the world i am worried about. there are folks that might be surprised. my key is to identify who those potential surprises are before they become a surprise and make sure they're ready. i've been talking to our members in those more -- what used to likely be republican seats about a year now saying get ready, the environment is going for challenging for everybody and you have to raise enough money. ann wagner -- i can't remember exactly how much money she has in the bank but i think it starts with a four and has a million after it. feel pretty good about that. not everybody has four million bucks in the bank. but i told them they have to raise money. they have to be able to define themselves and define their opponent and the candidate's job is to really define
themselves. there are plenty of people that come help define the opponent. i feel confident at this point there aren't people that are going to be surprised, but i -- you know, we got to keep working. i feel pretty good we've warned everybody and people are listening. francine: max from "the hill." max: hi. up until this point we had two republican congressmen indicted in the past month or so. nd democrats seem very willing to seize the anti-corruption message. what are you telling voters to quell those fears? how are you pushing back against that? mr. stivers: i've never been shy to provide moral leadership and push people that need to be pushed. you know, i don't think either party has a monopoly on virtue or sin and, you know, the
democrats are quick to forget orrine brown, shaka fatah, ruben, who has serious allegations. elizabeth esty who covered things up and had to step aside. while neither party has a monopoly on virtue or sin, i am never going to be shy about providing moral leadership. we have gotten some of our folks that have more challenging issues be willing to step away. i will continue to make sure we provide moral leadership. that said, people in america, they're innocent until proven guilty. i want to use facts and not allegations. francine: rick kline, abc. rick: thanks for doing that, mr. chairman. within the last 12 hours or so, stories came about about the breakdown talks between your using d dccc about not
hacked material. why did that go south on it? what is the policy now 60 days if hacked material comes out, will the nrcc use it or encourage candidates to use it? mr. stivers: i feel bad those negotiations broke down. in the end, negotiations are about trust. at the very beginning, we said we wouldn't play this out in the media. and for a long time both of us were pretty true about that. at some point during the negotiations the other side threatened to go to the media which started to break down the trust. when the chair of the dccc talked to the media earlier this was, it was kind of the straw that broke the camel's back on trust and we decided to pull out of negotiations. but when we pulled out -- and you can see the statement we put out. we were really clear. we are not seeking stolen or hacked material. we don't want stolen or hacked material. we have no intention of using stolen or hacked material.
i think we're pretty clear on that. rick: what did you think was a nonstarter? mr. stivers: we were in close on the language. it was about sort of -- trying to use the press for leverage, on timing, other stuff i just felt like was a breach of what we agreed to at the beginning to not play this out in the press. i tried to be true to my word and many of you asked me about it over the months of doing this and i said to everybody and anybody that asked me will know, i said, i wouldn't play this out in the press, i am not going to play this out in the press and that's what i was hoping ben would say, too. i think that's -- we need to be true to our word. that's how we build trust and get agreements but i think our policy's clear. francine: john from "news max." john: thank you very much. thanks for having this. r. chairman, what do you say when members or republican
candidates run away from president trump and distance themselves, publicly criticize his language and behavior and just simply say they're going to be independent from him, what is your answer to that and what do you tell them? mr. stivers: well, as you probably know, parties are not a monolith, especially members of congress have to represent their districts first and we have a diverse set of districts that we hold. when you're in the majority you do. we have 23 districts that represent districts that hillary clinton won and we have republican members of congress. that said, most of them have supported the president on policy and important policy matters or we wouldn't have been able to pass our agenda. so i try not to micromanage the policy opinions of our candidates. i try to give them the best advice i can and that starts
with do what's right for your district and your people and do what's right for the country. i think our policies are working. i think there's proof of that in the numbers that come out every day on the economy and what you're seeing on people's feelings about safety and security. and so while i am not going to dictate policies to our candidates, i am happy to give them personal advice and sometimes they ask and when they ask i always give them the best advice i can give them. francine: karen from "the washington post." karen: you mentioned you won i think you said eight out of nine special elections. mr. stivers: yes. karen: another thing that seems to be the case in all those, democrats are very much overperforming where they were in those same districts. all the polls seem to show a lot of enthusiasm and sort of lopsided on the democratic side. could you talk about that and
about turnout and sort of, what is it, you know, beyond trying to stick with an economic message? what is going to gin up your base? is it talking about impeachment? is it talking about nancy pelosi? what brings them out? mr. stivers: so there's a lot of things that bring out our base, and we have gotten a lot of practice on that. as you said, democrats are excited. we're not denying democrats are excited. they've overperformed the index on -- in every special -- in almost every special election. frankly, in utah they underperformed and there was another they underperformed but they've been pretty excited. i don't deny that. it's not my job to cover the spread. this isn't las vegas. my job is to win and their job is to win and they have to decide if they're going to invest to win. there is no good prize for second place. i found that out in 2008 when i lost. you either win or you lose. i don't need to cover the spread. i don't need to spend enough to have our guys win by the
margin. they just have to win and when i've spent enough for our guys to win, guess what we do? we stop spending because we don't want to waste money. so i feel like that's something we can be proud of, not be ashamed of because i am not wasting any money in these special elections but i'm doing what it takes to win and we know how to get our voters out and there are a plethora of messages. you mentioned some of them that get our voters out and excited. and we are using all of them. frankly, we used the president in a lot of special elections. i am convinced we know how to use the president in any district in america and we've sent him to districts like georgia six where he only won by 1% and the way we used him and we did everything else, karen handel won by 4% approximately by rounding up. that shows we know how to do what it takes to use the president to win and he's part of getting the base out and we
will use him. it doesn't necessarily mean a big rally. it means, might mean a robo call in some districts. it might mean direct mail in some districts. there are lots of ways to use a surrogate. it doesn't necessarily mean he's visiting every place and he can't visit, you know, 230 districts anyway. karen: and the idea of impeachment is around the corner if democrats took over? mr. stivers: you know, every time tom stire runs an ad about impeachment it gets a few democrats excited but it gets a few republicans excited too. i'd say if you want to compare this year to any year, just look back in history. the best year to compare this to is 1998. so 1998, we had a pretty good economy. not as good as we have now, by the way, but a pretty good economy. we had a president with approval ratings in the mid 40's. we had an opposition party that was hyper focused on a radical
agenda of impeaching the president and hardcore stuff. now, that happened to be republicans back then so some of my colleagues will be really proud i said that. but that's the year that i would compare -- if we were going to compare it to a year, that's a year i would compare this do. does anybody know what happened in 1998? >> lost seats but retained -- >> for the democrat -- mr. stivers: it actually gained seats, i think. they defied history and we just have to keep from losing 23. and given where the playing field is and where the spending is right now, i feel really good about our chances because the other way the democrats can win 23 seats if they break into those lean republican, likely republican seats and look where the median spending is right now. that's not where we have to spend because it's not where the dccc and the house majority p.a.c. is spending. they haven't been able to put
our incumbents away. they can't win the majority without doing it. francine: cameron from talking points memo. cameron: in june, the nrcc took $50,000 from business partners, years in jail for conspiracy. do you plan on using the money to use it for the cycle? mr. stivers: i don't know. i don't know who that was. i'll look into it. cameron: i did reach out to jesse. mr. stivers: i'll follow-up with you. i got here in 2011. so that's a new name for me. i'll check it out and i'll personally get back to you. i'll have matt or i get back to you today. cameron: thank you. also wondering, if you had to pick three seats you knew he had the majority or -- mr. stivers: can i do four? cameron: go for it. mr. stivers: the benchmark and bell weather for this cycle is
minnesota one, minnesota eight, and the paulsen and lewis incumbent seats. sew minnesota one is the walz seat. he is running for governor. it's our plus five seat, one of the most republican seats held by a democrat. jim is our candidate. minnesota eight is pete up in the iron range. nolan retired rather than running against pete. and pete is like straight out of central casting for northern minnesota. played professional hockey. he was a deputy shot in the line of duty. so he's got a law enforcement background. his wife is an air force veteran who served in the gulf war. they are -- the family is very well-known in the iron range. just yesterday the mines got turned back on which has been pete's biggest issue. it's an issue that plays really well for our side and allows a lot of the labor guys to feel comfortable with pete.
i think those two races, we're on offense. the two, paulsen and lewis, are tough races. i think both of those are real, real races. if you want to belle weather to see whether -- belweather to see whether we control the house, if we win those races, we will be in the majority. if we win one of the incumbent races and one of the challenger races we're probably in the majority. if we lose both the incumbent races and win none of the challenger races, we are probably in the minority. and that's something that's in the central time zone so you don't have to wait too long to find out. it's great. if any of you are traveling and you have limited travel budgets -- somebody asked about that the other way -- go into minnesota. fly into minneapolis. you can get a real feel for what's going on the ground and, you know, paulsen and lewis have suburbs so i know a lot of
people want to go to the suburbs. and the walz and the nolan seats are rural and lean more our way. if you have limited resources i'd go to min minnesota. that was off the top of my head. if we lose both incurveents it's going to be a long night for sure. if one of the incumbents win and we win at least one of the challenger races, we're in the majority for sure. if we win one of the incumbents and neither challengers win we're probably still in the majority but it's a longer night. the only way i would see us losing the majority is both, say, paulsen and -- this, again, this is a bellwether. you will have seen most of the east coast races and you'll have a lot better picture what the night's going to look like. francine: ok.
rebecca from cnn. rebecca: thank you. suggesting that the justice department should have taken political considerations under colin and on when -- duncan hunter, do you agree with the suggestions? mr. stivers: i don't think they were targeted because they were republicans, i will say personally. but i do -- i will say that the f.b.i. lost a lot of credibility with the american people when it looked very political in 2016. it doesn't matter if you're republican or democrat. what jim comey did, where he was on again, off again in the very late stages of the presidential primary -- presidential general election clearly allowed the f.b.i. to be seen as a political football. and those -- the investigation of hillary clinton to be seen as a political football. and i think that's a bad idea for america. i think we need to keep that in mind as we move forward,
especially in the last 60 days, but i don't think that, you know -- i don't think that they have to do that, you know, all the time. but when you're in the late stages, like the last 60 days here, if there were to be, you know, weird things from the justice department in the last 60 days, that's bad for america and bad for the trust that people have in our justice system. so you can't let that be seen as a political football. i don't see it that way on collins or on duncan hunter. but i want to be clear that it can be used that way and i want to make sure it's not because that would be bad for america. rebecca: you don't think the justice department should have waited? mr. stivers: i don't think on those two they should have waited. if there's something else going on that i don't know about, i think when you're in the last few months of something, then that's different. those investigations have been going on for a while, too, by
the way, apparently, i'm told. rebecca: why do you think the president tweeted that? mr. stivers: i don't like to comment on what people do because i don't have insight into any of your souls or brains. [inaudible] mr. stivers: anybody. i know my wife pretty well but i try not to speak for her either. [laughter] francine: david of "the washington examiner." david: i want to explore this idea how confident you are about the election. just looking back at some of the mid terms that we saw the president's party in a lot of trouble. at least recently but even going back a little further. in 1982, republicans lost a lot of seats. the reagan turn-around had not taken hold. in 1998, the economy was going really well, so the president's party picked up seats. in 2002, the president's party
picked up seats but it was reflective how people felt about the president. mr. stivers: in america. david: look, we saw what happened in 2006 and 2008. if you look at 2010 and 2014, there were still a lot of angst out there. and the president's party suffered. and you have 4% growth. you have -- i don't know -- maybe it's gone down even lower but 3.9% unemployment. mr. stivers: definitely going to stay under 4%. david: you guys are still -- if we look at all of the data, you could retain the majority but you're having to fight tooth and nail and you're having to pend a lot of money and c.l.f. will probably have been responsible spending close to $100 million. th an economy this good, why is it beyond you control everything in washington if people are going to be so happy
with everything republicans are doing in washington, are you having to work so hard to hold on to the majority? mr. stivers: so i think america's gotten more partisan. i can't even look back as far as 1982 because america was not this partisan in 1982. i think if you look beyond 2006, it's will be you can't look beyond -- much beyond 2006 because of how partisan america's gotten. the only reason i go back to 1998 is because the narrative is very similar. but the rise in partisanship is driven by social media. it's driven by cable news where people get to pick their news based on what they already believe. there's a whole bunch of factors there that make it hard for us to grow beyond -- you really can't grow much beyond your face. you fight for the unaffiliated, unaligned voters at the end.
and you see who does a better job turning out their base and who does a better job in the unaligned voters and that's what campaigns have become. you know, that's kind of what's going on. obviously, things are economically good, but there are people that feel very upset and most of them are democrats but there are some independents but there are people that feel really excited. it's our job to tell our story. the thing that's going to make this election cycle work for us is what i started talking about at the beginning. this election is a choice. and the energy in the democratic party is on the very progressive left toward the socialist end of the democratic party and that is going to be a hard thing to sell in the suburbs which is why the majority runs through and i think they're going to have a hard time swallowing 178 million people getting kicked
off their private insurance, doubling your taxes, bankrupting medicare on day one, abolishing i.c.e. that has saved us from illegal drugs, human trafficking. 100 democrats voted against this -- was it bitmap on monday -- tuesday we voted on that has -- i can say in an unclassified setting has identified hundreds of terrorists and potential terrorists that tried to enter this country before they came in. 100 democrats voted against that. that idea that they would come after the safety and security of america does not play well in the suburbs. the radical left agenda is helping us. so that's why i think we're going to win ultimately, is the choice. america has gotten more partisan. that's why we haven't been able to make this a laydown election. it's going to be a hard fight. david: don't your comments suggest the economy is rather
irrelevant especially given where the president spends his time in terms of how he talks? he doesn't focus nearly as much on the economy as he does on all of the issues you just discussed which means that it's not really the driver that's going to do it for you. mr. stivers: so i don't think it's irrelevant because when talk to people and you make it a choice between economic growth and opportunity and killing off that economic growth and opportunity and that is the choice, the democrats have pledged they will cancel the tax cuts and bring back the regulation that we right sized that allows this economy to grow, i think it is a choice that will be front and center on people's minds. but we have to make sure we put it there, and if you see our ads in the fall, you'll know it's one of the centerpieces of our campaign. but i feel confident it's one of the things. we can't ignore the records of both our incumbents and the great things nevada' done. barbara comstock, all her work on transit.
what jeff denham and david valadao have done for water in the central valley of california. what carlos curbelo has done on immigration. we have great incumbents who've done great things. they have candidates that we're going to make sure the voters know about their records too, you've seen in special elections. we are not going to ignore the individual candidates and their positions on issues that are relevant to voters but the economic message is important for us and i think it is one of the centerpieces of our campaign because it is a choice. francine: terrence from cnn. terrence: so we're 60 days from the mid terms. if you were sitting in front of the president, just the two of you right now, the final 60 days, what would you ask of him? wish list? e your mr. stivers: the president has been nothing but helpful. in nine special elections he's done everything we've asked.
he's helped us fundraise. he's help us prop up candidates. he's help us turn out our base. i would, you know, ask him help us continue to fundraise. i got 60 more days to raise as much money i can. i have some races i'd love to fund that i haven't funded today. i'd ask him to help us with turnout in especially a bunch of districts where we want to make sure our voters turn out. and then there's a few districts that, you know, i hope he absolutely travels to soon that we would ask for and have asked for. terrence: is there something you would politely not suggest? mr. stivers: i'm always happy to make plight suggestions and there are -- polite suggestions and there are some things. francine: we're going on to jennifer with "the l.a. times." where did she go?
ok. thanks. inaudible] mr. stivers: so you want to talk about orange county because those are pretty expensive? there are four in orange county. you know, dana rohrabacher, mimi walters, and the two open seats. one that was held by ed royce, california 39, and one held by darrell issa in california 49. we have two great recruits thing. young kim would be the first korean american elected to congress. i think she's the first korean american female elected to congress is what they tell me now. i'll go what wikipedia says. [inaudible] >> went to jail. mr. stivers: that's not a good history. and then i feel really good about those races.
you know, if you look at the ads that are already out there in the rohrabacher seat, the opposition research book on dana's opponent is really thick. think that is going to leave a mark. mimi walters is a pro. i think she's another candidate who's asked me not spend in her race. she says she's got it. i'm confident. she knows what she's doing. she's connected deeply with her community and what she's done on human trafficking, what she's done on other issues is making a difference for californians every day and i feel confident she's going to win and she tells me, you know, don't buy in my race. so that's ok. jennifer: not spending money? mr. stivers: i'm not saying i definitely won't but she asked
me not to. both 39 and 49 are absolutely winnable. they're both ahead today. we need to make sure they finish strong and i feel really good about those races. another expensive race is steve knight who got 53% in the primary with another republican on the ballot. it's a jungle primary. all voters. he got 53%. he's going to win that race. but it's going to be expensive. we're going to be in there all the way to the end. francine: ok. melissa burke from "the detroit news." [inaudible] melissa: some folks have described michigan state's district also a bellwether where congressman bishop has been outraised in a red district by a pretty moderate democrat who doesn't -- she's not talking about -- she's not talking about abolishing i.c.e. or medicare for all or any of that stuff. i'm just curious if he asked
you not to spend there? mr. stivers: he's not. funny about that. melissa: what is your counsel to folks who are looking pretty vulnerable at this point and what you think of the other competitive districts in michigan. mr. stivers: my advice to folks is have enough money to define yourself especially and to help start define your opponent and we'll come to help define your opponent and don't take anything for granted. mike bishop, while he's been outraised, he's raised record amounts of money for himself horseshoes use the and hand grenades phrase, he's got enough. as long as you are in the same zip code and mike bishop is going to be close enough to get his own message out and he's already got a great image among the voters, if you saw what happened last term in his race, everybody always thinks that mike bishop is this teddy bear,
warm and fuzzy guy and i assume laura engel thought -- what's her real name? prairie."use on the melissa gilbert -- i knew her tv name -- she had no drop out it was so bad. -- to drop out it was so bad. mike is a good campaigner. he works hard. he's going to win that race. that's not to take anything away. the candidate has raised a lot of money. i feel confident in his abilities. we've been paying attention in michigan 11. lena is a good candidate. dave trott unfortunately decided to retire there. lena is going to be a strong candidate. i feel confident that we've got a good -- in good position there to hold that seat.
you know, those are the two that are kind of online. they've been unable to really make the fred upton race a race. they've been able to make the jack bergman race a race. we're paying attention to that. if it turns out they need help i'll be there for him. but right now they look strong. nichole: in the virginia seven race between congressman brat and abigail, the congressional leadership fund is using information for an ad that was contained in a form that should protected under the privacy act. mistakenly released by the postal service and requested back. is that appropriate? do you support that information being used? a form that's used by people who are applying for clearance? mr. stivers: fs-81. i filled one out many times. it's supposed to be protected. sorey 86. i filled them out.
they are supposed to be protected. but i will say i'm sure the congressional leadership fund had no idea that they weren't upposed to get it. from what i read in the paper, this was done by a postal employee who sent it rather an, you know, it was not a nefarious or some type of conclusion, like the spamburger campaign tried to make it. it was an accident. and i think we need to make sure that our federal employees and folks at the postal service doesn't make those kind of accidents in the future and we need to hold those people accountable for the accidents they make. i wish that wouldn't have happened, but i don't think the congressional leadership fund did anything wrong or had any reason to know that they
shouldn't have had that. until it came out. so -- and then the spamburger campaign has put it on -- put it out in the press more than c.l.f. at least originally. they were the ones talking most about it. c.l.f. continues to use it, i understand, but now it's all out in the press and it's public information. i don't like the way they got it. i -- it's probably worth some examination, but it's public information now. nicole: the ad came out after the postal service said they mistakenly put it out. so -- mr. stivers: it came out after? so that probably deserves some examination.
wonder what they're doing to help incumbents to spep -- step is it up? mr. stivers: the statement -- although i don't issue my statements through the press, i have been saying the same thing to candidates for about a year, that they need to raise enough money to define themselves and help define their opponents and we have identified folks who have been underperforming and working with them to pull together a plan because not it's just about criticizing people. you have to help them succeed and that's what we're working to do. you know, there are people that have different strengths and where people have weakness we try to help them develop their skills. it doesn't always happen overnight but we're working with folks to get better and there are certainly some that are underperforming and you've probably seen a list every quarter. the good news is that list changes a little bit. there's people that come off that list every quarter and have listened and learned and
developed their skill a little better and doing better. but they're still way more than i like that's not doing enough. it's ok to get outraised one quarter. it's ok to get outraised a little bit if you are in the same -- if somebody gets outraised by $30,000, $50,000, $100,000. not big deal. when you get doubled up or tripled up that's a problem. that's the ones we're working with and trying to make sure it doesn't happen again. francine: natalie, "the wall street journal." natalie: historically a year after the white house changes power, the lawmakers retire haven't done so well. those seats haven't done so well. which republicans running in open seats are you, like, most excited about from those seats that retired? mr. stivers: young kim i already talked about. she's a great candidate. she's working super hard, doing everything right. i said earlier before things
started that my favorite matchup in the country is a matchup where the index isn't very good for us, it's a d-plus-5 index in florida 27. our candidate is named maria. she won her primary last tuesday. she raised a bunch of money. got on the seat really late. former spanish language reporter for univision. won some emmys. cuban american. and she's running against donna who is 72 years old and does not speak -- 73 years old and doesn't speak -- sorry. 77 years old and does not speak spanish in a district that's 77% hispanic. and i think that is a great matchup for us. my understanding is maria has already agreed to translate in any of the debates for donna, which i appreciate. and i think maria san incredible candidate and that's -- is an incredible candidate and that's a race you should watch. when that seat became vacant,
democrats just assumed they were going to win it and now this matchup is a really good matchup for us. i get really excited about her. i likelya marquez peterson out in tucson. she's a great, great candidate. like dina rossi out in washington state. he's doing everything right. he's everywhere. he was almost elected governor. he was almost elected senator. he's won this district by double digits every time he's run in other seats. i feel really excited about him. you know, i like diane harky. i think she's a good recruit. in minnesota, i already told you about our two recruits. in nevada, in seats that democrats hold, nevada three and nevada four, we have great recruits. cresent hardy, who was the congressman from nevada for two years, is running against steve, the same person he beat, in a mid term cycle much like
the cycle he won in although slightly different climate but crescent is polling ahead. -- cersent is polling ahead. and danny in nevada three, that's jacky rosen's seat. there are some of our recruits. i could go all day. those are great recruits you should pay attention to. i don't know if they all win but they will all be close and they will all need -- democrats will need to spend big money in those races if they want to compete because we have great candidates ahead. >> when you mentioned so many of your favorite recruits here, at least half the names you mentioned were women, a number of women of color, but if you look at the republican party overall, at a time when women are flooding the ballot on the democratic side, it looks like
there will be fewer republican women in the house come january. mr. stivers: i don't think that's true. seven of our most recent young guns were women. we named 12 young guns, seven were women. we will have more republican women next cycle than this cycle. we have women leaving. five or six women leaving. i feel very confident that we're going to grow our women. we recruited 120 women to run for congress. we had a female recruiting chair. female deputy chair in mimi walters. >> so you're satisfied? mr. stivers: lr always more we can do. i think we've -- there are always more we can do. i think we've done a lot. we actively went out looking for talented republican women and we found a bunch of them and we are going to grow our number of female republicans. you never want to be -- you know, you don't get better when you're satisfied, but i'm working hard to make it better. >> mr. chairman, can you --
francine: sorry. we have about five or six more people to go through so we'll hold off on the follow-up. so rachel from "the dallas morning news." rachel: thank you, mr. chairman. we're seeing several incumbents in texas who are running more competitive races than anyone would have imagined a couple months ago. what are your plans for texas? is there anyone you are concerned about? mr. stivers: you know, i you feel good about our races in texas. we got great members. pete sessions is a pro. he understands -- he's in it off race. he's got a tough opponent. he understands how to define his opponent and how to define himself, how to build a relationship with his voters. pete sessions is going to win. hillary clinton carried it but pete will win. we will help. john culberson is in a tough -- the toughest race he's been in in probably his career. but he's doing everything
right. he's connecting with his voters. a lot of people affected by the hurricane. he had a lot of people that had to move out. so that was an issue all the way through his you primary in march. he was worried, will they come back and vote? more people are back in place because it's almost a year later. he has helped his community in ways that if you haven't been through something like that you don't appreciate having a great congressman like john culberson and that's how you make a bond with your voters and that's why he is going to win. obviously will hurd is a pro and he is doing everything right. he has a very special bond with his district and he's working really, really hard and i feel good about that race sbl and think will is going to be -- and i think will is going to pull it out. they'll have to spend a lot of money. but those are the real races that are on the playing field
right now. [inaudible] mr. stivers: all three of those candidates are on our patriot program and we are -- we are going to do everything we can to help them. francine: jackie from "the daily beast" at the back table. jackie: hi. i was going to talk about [inaudible] you mentioned the minnesota one candidate. mr. stivers: yes. jackie: and karen was talking about, you know, the women and you were talking about women recruiting. this is a candidate who called mary cantwell and patty murray being bimbos. he said a litany of misogynistic things. sometimes you have to dance -- the fact you would talk about this person -- i don't know what i should read into that? mr. stivers: actually, that's news to me. i'll go back and look at his blog. i know that he's our candidate. he won a primary. we had two great recruits. carla nelson and jim and his
dad was, i think, in congress in that seat. and -- but that's all news to me and i appreciate you bringing it to my attention. jackie: ok. have you talked -- how often have you talked about the -- to the president about not shutting down the government? mr. stivers: i talked to everybody about how terrible it would be about shutting down america. it's not about politics. it's about america. francine: ok. let's see. elena schneider from "politico." elena: so you were talking earlier about open seats and you mentioned at the top that you wish that there are more than maybe ideal in the cycle. we have a historic high of open seats. obviously not all of them are competitive, but half are. i would be curious if you could speak to how that affects resources and priorities in terms of the incumbents, do they fall down through the priority list as you're looking at the map?
can you speak a little bit about maybe why, if you have any theories, why we saw as many retirements and people decide to leave? mr. stivers: sure. i'll start with why so many people left. it's pretty simple. we have term limits for chairman. of the people that left, about 40% of them were chairman that were term limited. and that's kind of how it goes. when somebody's done their six years, do they really want to start over and be rank and file for a while and build their way up to be a chairman on another committee or back on the same committee which we've not done? we've not recycled anybody since term limits came in, i don't think. so it kind of is the culmination of a career. democrats don't have that so they don't see as many retirements. also, when you look at their leadership at the committee level and leadership level, it's almost on average 20 years older in the democratic party because they don't have term limits which means people just stay forever. so i still think it's the right policy. i -- it was an inconvenient
year to have so many retirements but not every retirement is equal, you know. there are a bunch of seats -- we had 37 pure retirements. then some people run for other offices or not run for -- sorry -- run for other offices. of those 37, i would say there's probably 10 or 15 that were competitive and probably closer to 10 at this point and competitive means even likely republican. so that's like we're going to win most of those. there are a few folks i tried to talk into staying that didn't stay. that's just -- it's unfortunate that they didn't stay. i don't think -- we don't really factor in whether somebody's an incumbent or a challenger or an open seat. what we want to do is build past 2018.
i will invest in races i will win the most. i won't invest in races i don't have a chance. maybe a better candidate, harder worker, that's where we'll invest. we'll go to 2018 and beyond. my job is to hold the majority. the minimum i need to get to is 218. that's how i define success as a majority and we'll invest in seats that breast for us and try to allocate resources where we have the best chance to win. so far democrats haven't been able to move the playing field at all because as i said, and matt can get you the spread sheed sheath, most of the spending is almost -- almost all the money is in tossup or lean democratic seats. not in the lean or likely republican seats. that's where they'd have to move to actually take the majority. francine: ok. we have a few minutes left, two or three. you'll probably be the last one, alan from reuters. alan: you talked about the
president talked about getting out [inaudible] is there anything you are doing specifically to try to harness make america great [inaudible] mr. stivers: we're trying to make sure our base comes out and we're doing a lot of stuff to communicate the base. the r.n.c. is doing a ton of it. the r.n.c. invested a lot of money in turnout operations that you'll start to see culminating in the next 60 days. and, you know, the r.n.c. is supposed to be a big part of getting our base out. i want to give credit to rhonda romney. she invested in it. i feel confident we will be able to get our base out to hold the house. alan: can you talk specifically about what you are doing? mr. stivers: i will not try to get too much into our specific tactics and strategies. i think if we give away too much the democrats can copy it or undermine it. but we are working to turn out
our base and we got practice in nine special elections and we turned out enough every time. special elections are hard. look through the history of special elections. we won more special elections in the modern era than anybody. you have to go back to the 1860's, i think, to find a time when there was more special elections than we've had and you haven't had a party that's been able to dominate them the way we had despite the fact we didn't cover the spread. again, that's not my job. my job is to win the race. but i feel good about what we've done. we've tested a lot of strategies and tactics for getting our base out, and despite the natural advantage to democrats, we've been able to turn out enough voters in every race that we feel comfortable we're going to win. that's what it takes and we know how to do it now. we have maybe not perfected it but we've had some great successes and know what works.
francine: great, thanks so much. mr. stivers: thanks for your time. francine: thank you for coming. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> earlier today, former president bra rack obama received an award for -- barack obama received an award for ethics for government. we'll have it for you tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span. president trump was at a fundraiser today in fargo, north dakota, for congressman kevin cramer who's challenging heidi heitkamp for senate seat. you can see that tonight at 9:00 eastern on c-span. also online at c-span.org or listen with the free c-span radio app. >> kids want your attention. they want to feel important and they want to understand what's going on in the world.
>> my worry is that they're intimidated and so they become the little mouse in the classroom and feel they don't have those dinner table conversations. therefore, they feel they can't throw their ideas out. >> hamilton, that's the rage. they love it. have a karaoke contest in class because they know the songs, they'll go on and on singing. i'm like, you know what, let's have a contest and talk about the issues in the song. when we make it relevant, they enjoy it, they engage and they learn. >> saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span -- meet the middle and high school civics teachers who participated in the c-span classroom annual educators conference. saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span, c-span.org, or on the free c-span radio app. >> sunday night on "afterwards," former obama
education secretary arne duncan on his book "how schools work." he's interviewed by former chancellor of the district of columbia public schools. >> i don't know if voters make the connection between what politicians do and what happens in schools and so how do we draw that line a little more clearly? >> we need voters to understand, if we want more access to pre-k, if we want to pay our teachers better, if we want to reduce dropout rates, have college more affordable, we have to get there and hold accountable our elected officials who we put in office. > watch "after words" on c-span2's book tv. >> next, testimony from the u.s. army corps of engineers on water resource projects and policy before the house transportation and infrastructure subcommittee on water resources and environment. members asked questions