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Republicans try out failed Democratic tactic from 2010

Paul Ryan answering questions at a podium with other GOP House leaders
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) (3rd L) answers reporters' questions during a news conference with other House GOP leaders. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

Republicans are banking on hyper-local messages in 2018 to keep control of the House, The Washington Post's James Hohmann reports.

Why it matters: Returning to a localized message — which Dems tried to do in 2010 and failed — could also be impossible in the Trump era when lawmakers and candidates are forced to answer for every national controversy coming out of Washington.

What they're saying:

  • GOP candidates are cracking down on opioids in Syracuse, New York, and they're focused on a salmon hatchery in Seattle.
  • In the Central Valley of California, Republicans will push repeal of the gas tax. In the Philly suburbs, they're talking about cleaning contaminated water wells.
  • Houston-area voters will be reminded of when Rep. John Culberson urged Congress to approve Hurricane Harvey relief funds.
  • This strategy worked for Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who talked about algae blooms when campaigning in Toledo, WashPost notes, instead of talking about the “Access Hollywood” tape. Portman won the state by 21 points.

The bottom line: Republicans are targeting 34 districts with tailored messages — all of which are crucial in determining whether Dems pick up the 23 seats they need to flip the House.

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