Embattled Congresswoman Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) used her keynote address at the California GOP convention to deliver a stark warning to her fellow Republicans: Democrats are working hard to flip Republican seats in November.
Her speech was an attempt to inspire and energize Republicans, but some in the room noted a tepid response from the audience.
“The Democrats think there’s no stopping them this time,” Walters said to the room full of Republicans. “They’re not just coming for any one of us, they’re coming for all of us.”
In a state where Democrats hold every statewide elected office and a majority in both state legislative chambers, Walters conveyed a blunt assessment about her party’s chances in November.
“We may not win every difficult race,” Walters admitted as her audience sat “stone-faced,” according to one report.
After setting the stage, Walters attempted to rouse Republicans for the fight ahead. She ended her speech with, “I’m ready for the fight. Who’s with me?”
“The response was more golf clap than rallying cry,” reports the L.A. Times.
Walters’ worry that Republicans may not win every race is reflected in polling. Democrats are targeting 10 of the 14 Republican-held seats, seven of which defend districts that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Polls show Walters in danger of losing her own seat, even as outside groups prepare to spend huge amounts of money to influence the election.
When speaking about doubt, Walters may have been drawing from personal experience. After her speech, Walters was candid with reporters, saying, “You see an energy and an enthusiasm on the left that I have not seen as a 22-year elected official.”
Several Democrats are vying for the chance to oust Walters, and raising quite a bit of cash to do so. According to the most recent fundraising reports, four Democrats raised a combined $3.7 million so far this cycle, outpacing Walters roughly $1.5 million.
Walters struck a somber tone at the Republican convention. The tepid response amplifies the main concern of Orange County Republican Shawn Steel: “My worry is this: enthusiasm,” Steel told the L.A. Times. “Are the Democrats hungrier than we are? That’s the number one concern.”
The first test of enthusiasm will be the June 5 primary, followed by the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 6.