LIMA — “Are (Republicans) going to keep the House?”
It was the second question Rep. Bob Latta fielded during his visit to the Allen County Republican Party Friday lunch, and roughly 30 days before the 2018 mid-term elections, it’s a source of concern for Republican leadership, especially those concerned with national and state elections.
The first concerned the fate of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, whose confirmation hearings have sparked a national conversation.
“Yeah, (Rep. Jim Jordan) and I can win. Our local offices and state representatives, state senators can win. But our statewides are going to lose,” Latta said. “We have to win the western side of Ohio big to carry our statewides.”
To give historical perspective to concerns of a liberal takeover, Latta pointed to Ronald Reagan’s first midterm, when 26 seats switched from red to blue. Today, President Donald Trump’s approval rating hovers close to Reagan’s at the same time according to FiveThirtyEight, and many national commentators are predicting a “blue wave” that could hurt some of the gains made in 2016 by conservatives.
“If we all do our job and keep working. We’re under five weeks; I think we can hold the House,” Latta said.
During Latta’s visit to Allen County, he spent much of his time at the podium lauding the strong national economy, which he said was caused by Republican leadership.
“Hearing from people when I go into factories, businesses and schools — you name it — what I used to hear all the time was this; it was about taxes and it was about regulations. And you know what they’re saying today? What their number one issue is? We can’t find people to work. And why is that? What Republicans have been able to accomplish (when) this president has been in office, we have seen the number of people on unemployment drop.”
The latest figures by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, released Friday morning, puts the national unemployment rate at 3.7 percent.
“You think the other side wants to talk about this? Absolutely not,” Latta said. “You remember what (former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) said about the tax cuts? They’re crumbs. Crumbs. Well, I’ll tell you what, those crumbs look pretty good in our area.”
Latta is up for re-election this November against first-time challenger Michael Galbraith for U.S. Representative of the 5th Congressional District, which makes up much of northwest region of Ohio. Latta has held the seat since 2007.
“I believe we can hold the House, but we got to do our work,” Latta said. “I want to make sure we do everything we can. I’m doing everything I possibly can, and so we got to make sure.”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.