GOP to DeSantis: We owe you the House

Source: Hot Air

Lee Zeldin has gotten most of the attention for the narrow Republican success in the midterms this week, and for good reason. Despite attempting the quixotic quest of running as a Republican in a New York gubernatorial race, Zeldin made Kathy Hochul sweat. He did well enough to flip several Biden-supporting districts in a new congressional map imposed by the courts after Democrats gerrymandered their redistricting badly enough to force a judicial intervention in Republicans’ favor.

Ironically, Ron DeSantis fought his own party on redistricting, vetoing the legislature’s map and forcing them to accept his own. At the time, Florida Republicans criticized DeSantis, but this week, Republicans across the country are singing a different tune:

Republicans in Florida and nationally are now praising the governor for strong-arming his own party to approve his congressional maps, which netted Florida Republicans four additional congressional seats on Election Day and essentially helped the GOP win the tiny House majority.

“Republicans in Congress owe a big thank you to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose insistence on redrawing the state’s congressional districts led to a four-seat pickup in the U.S. House on Tuesday,” said Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Florida Republican who could serve as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee after Republicans assume control of the chamber in January. “Florida now has 20 Republican members of the House as a result of the governor’s insistence on his maps. Only one state has more Republicans in Congress.”

“The slim new Republican majority in the House would have been even smaller without Florida,” he added. …

“The gain in Florida and New York made a big difference for the majority,” said Congressional Leadership Fund President Dan Conston. “Florida’s new map helped quite a bit.”

My, how the tune has changed. And they’re correct in changing it, not just because DeSantis’ map helped secure the House majority but because DeSantis himself fought to deliver on the map. DeSantis only lost five counties on Tuesday on his way to a romp over Charlie Crist, winning by nearly twenty points and ensuring long coattails for other statewide elections. His big flip of Florida from marginally blue to ruby red in just four years gave the GOP a big boost that would have been at least noticeable for the House outcomes in either map.

One has to wonder, though, whether credit for the House majority is the point of this belated tune change. Politico notes the added context for this praise, which also has a Florida flavor to it:

The accolades help fuel the governor’s national ascent ahead of a likely 2024 presidential bid as some Republicans and big donors begin looking for an alternative to former President Donald Trump, who earlier this week jumped into the White House race.

Indeed. This seems like a proto-narrative in its first amorphous formation stage, and it’s not necessarily an incorrect or inaccurate argument. It will go like this:

  • Donald Trump recruited candidates that won primaries but shrunk the general-election map and cost Republicans winnable seats in the House and Senate.
  • Ron DeSantis expanded the map in Florida, fought for a maximalist map even against his own party’s establishment, and saved us in what should have been an easy midterm.
  • Ergo, DeSantis gives us the best chance of winning in 2024 by expanding the national map and winning those races we lost in 2022.

Again, this is a supportable argument anyway, especially given the disappointments seen in places like New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Arizona. Success is its own argument; failure is best shifted or buried. Trump has been trying to shift it since Election Day, while other GOP leaders are trying to shift it right back. The only Republicans not having to shift blame are governors like DeSantis, Greg Abbott, and Glenn Youngkin, all of whom may be part of the 2024 presidential-primary scene.

Based on that success, I’d guess that this narrative will stick since it closely reflects reality. I’d also bet that state GOP orgs will push that hard to get the party more focused on the future than the past over the next several months.

The latest episode of The Ed Morrissey Show podcast is now up! Today’s show features:

  • Will Republicans really get to 222 House seats? Will Nancy Pelosi really retire? Duane Patterson and I discuss both
  • What about the Twitter implosion that never happened? Will the mass exodus at Twitter — and the relative lack of impact — teach a lesson to other tech platforms?
  • TUSC Network’s Rob McNealy returns to explain what actually happened at FTX and where it’s going — and to remind us that crypto may not really be the issue here. It might just be old-fashioned corruption and con artistry.

The Ed Morrissey Show is now a fully downloadable and streamable show at  SpotifyApple Podcaststhe TEMS Podcast YouTube channel, and on Rumble and our own in-house portal at the #TEMS page!