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Republicans devise plan to prop up 10 vulnerable House districts with extra cash

Rick Childress and David Lightman, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in News & Features

Other than demographics, some of the Republicans on the list are also viewed as less staunch conservative than most of their colleagues.

Last month, for instance, Fitzpatrick and Katko were among the few Republicans co-sponsoring the Equality Act, which expanded protection against discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity. They, along with Hurd, were among eight Republicans who joined 228 Democrats to pass the measure in the House, while 173 Republicans voted against it.

Fitzpatrick and Katko have histories of being among the least conservative Republicans.

The American Conservative Union rates lawmakers on their fealty to conservative causes, and the Republican House average in the last Congress was 77, with 48 GOP members scoring between 90 and 100.

Hurd's lifetime rating is 70.3. His district is considered vulnerable because of its large Hispanic population. It also includes areas outside of El Paso and San Antonio.

Katko, who represents an upstate New York district, has a lifetime rating of 37.6. Fitzpatrick, who represents the Philadelphia suburbs, has a 44.36 lifetime rating. But his 24 score last year tied him for lowest on the conservative scale among Republicans with former Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.

Fitzpatrick won his district last year with 51.3 percent, and Clinton won in 2016 by 2 percentage points. It's a district that includes working class areas and upscale suburban Philadelphia.

"He has to be very careful," said Terry Madonna, director of the Lancaster, Pa.-based Franklin & Marshall College Poll.


What could hurt Fitzpatrick is straight-ticket voting, Madonna said. If Democrats are fired up and eager to punish Republicans, they could simply vote for everyone from the party on the ballot. But the drama over investigations of the Trump administration is not likely to be the biggest issue in the election, Madonna said. Health care and other day-to-day concerns are more likely to drive the vote.

Fitzpatrick and Katko's offices did not respond to requests for comment.

Katko has "distanced himself to a certain degree from Trump," said Don Levy, director of the Siena College Research Institute in New York. "He has succeeded in saying, 'You're voting for me,' and he's well enough known."

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