GOP picks Ohio Rep. for campaign post

U.S. Rep Steve Stivers, R-Upper Arlington.

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U.S. Rep Steve Stivers, R-Upper Arlington.

House Republicans Tuesday tapped Rep. Steve Stivers to head up their campaign arm, giving an Ohioan a bit of political juice ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

During a closed-door meeting of House Republicans, Stivers, who won a fourth term to represent his central Ohio district last week, beat out Rep. Roger Williams of Texas to head the National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign arm for House Republicans.

He takes the job one week after Republicans held onto their House majority. The Senate and the White House will also be in Republican hands heading into 2017.

He was elected on the same day Republicans unanimously backed House Speaker Paul Ryan for a second term as speaker. On the other side of the aisle, Democrats Tuesday decided to delay their leadership elections until Nov. 30 — a sign of party discontent in the wake of Democratic losses last week.

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, whose office confirmed yesterday is considering challenging House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, has not yet decided to run, his spokesman confirmed Tuesday. But his main goal — to delay the leadership elections so that the party could assess how to move forward — has been met, the spokesman, Michael Zetts, said.

Stivers, an Upper Arlington Republican, quietly gathered support from his colleagues in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 8 election, campaigning on a platform of helping incumbents survive potential primary challenges. As redistricting has made most House seats safer, incumbents increasingly worry more about primary challenges than they do general election challenges.

His campaign platform included the creation of a program to help Republican incumbents with intraparty challenges. He also wants to create a member services office to help engage House Republicans.

Williams, meanwhile, campaigned on a platform of lowering dues for NRCC members, complaining that membership dues had increased precipitously in the last few years, turning NRCC members into fundraisers at the expense of getting their message out.

In an interview after the vote Tuesday, Stivers said he is hoping to make the NRCC more responsive to dues paying members.

He said he was prepared for the reality that past NRCC chairmen have faced — losing seats during the midterm of a new presidency. His goal, he said, was to “defy history.”

“I am going to work to defy history and gain seats because we’re going to get things done and pass policies the American people support,” he said.

His new role, he said will “give me a seat at the leadership table and gives me a bigger megaphone to talk about issues that matter to central Ohio, to the whole state of Ohio and to the Midwest.”

“It’s really more influence for my district and our state, which is great,” he said.

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