But the Democratic impeachment drive is delivering a much-needed jolt to their efforts to retake the chamber.
Once-wary potential candidates are preparing to come off the sidelines, according to party recruiters, and the GOP’s small-dollar donor base is stepping up to help the party compete against Democrats who are practically awash in money, according to nearly a dozen interviews with Republican Party officials and some prospective contenders themselves.
“It certainly sparks something in you when you see this bombardment against our president,” said Dale Crafts, a former state representative and paraplegic businessman who plans to launch a run this week against Democratic Rep. Jared Golden of Maine.
Seizing on impeachment and seeking to protect President Donald Trump, GOP outside groups over the past week have launched a seven-figure TV ad blitz in targeted districts and rolled out fundraising initiatives to help bankroll the eventual Republican nominee in some 20 Trump-won seats. They’re also cranking up efforts aimed at building donor lists.