Congressional map may lead to ‘loser’s tax’ for candidates

This swing district House race may be one of the most expensive in 2022, GOP candidate says | AP Photo/Alex Brandon Congressional map may lead to ‘loser’s tax’ for candidates

If Republicans are able to put a competitive district back into their fold in Washington state’s 1st Congressional District, it could lead to the largest batch of House races nationally ever pitched, according to Democrat Dan McCready, who’s hoping to unseat Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in a district that Donald Trump carried in 2016.

“They always want to try to put a swing district into their basket,” McCready told reporters on Thursday at the “Senators for Election Protection,” a coalition of Democratic senators. “One of the things that people don’t realize is because these districts are competitive, the two parties typically end up having to put a lot of money into those races to compete.

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“Republicans almost always try to buy races in swing districts because they’re sort of the sacrificial lambs that they’re willing to do. So they end up having to pour a lot of money into these races to give them a shot to win. And when the reward that they get for being competitive is a real loser’s tax — which is essentially having to compete in a few key races, rather than competing across the country — you’re going to end up with more expensive contests.”

On Friday, McCready said that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had confirmed that this is one of the most competitive races to be served on the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Red to Blue” list, which targets vulnerable incumbents. According to spokesman Rohit Kumar, “Red to Blue” districts are always competitive.

The nastiest fight ahead is likely to come in 2020, with the unique nature of Washington’s congressional districts feeding into what’s shaping up to be one of the most expensive races in the country that year. But McCready says he can deal with spending as it comes as long as he can put cash back into his district — without having to sell his house.

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