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Candidate Quality Really Does Matter

clockwise: Salazar, Taddeo, Chavez-Deremer, McLeod-Skinner

Yesterday, Gail Collins’ column in the NY Times, Whoops! Behold the Republican Trove of Truly Terrible Candidates, pointed out the terrible candidate who are in the headlines all the time and who everyone knows a hot mess: Trump Senate picks and MAGA freaks like Herschel Walker, Don Bolduc and Blake Masters. She left out the MAGA gubernatorial candidates, especially high profile nutjobs like Tudor Dixon in Michigan, Sarah Huckabee Sanders in Arkansas, Dan Cox in Maryland, Paul LePage in Maine, Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania, Tim Michels in Wisconsin, Joe Lombardo in Nevada, Geoff Diehl in Massachusetts— not to mention odious incumbents like Brian Kemp (GA), Ron DeSantis (FL), Kristi Norm (SD), Bill Lee (TN), Kevin State (OK), and Greg Abbott (TX).

And I almost forgot one of the very worst of the Trumpist gubernatorial candidates— one who could very much win— Arizona lunatic fringe Republican Kari Lake, who Alex Isenstadt described this morning as an example of “how aversion to old ways of doing business within the Republican Party is animating a new class of candidates after Trump’s presidency. Lake is looking to extend the GOP’s 14-year hold on the Arizona governorship, but her campaign has little in common with the Republicans that ran before her… After soundly defeating a better-funded primary opponent who had the backing of the sitting governor, Lake is in a neck-and-neck race with the incumbent Democratic secretary of state, Katie Hobbs. The guerrilla-style approach provides a window into the role Lake would embrace in the party should she win, and the style of candidate Republican voters are increasingly gravitating toward. With senior Republicans increasingly viewing her as a rising figure, Lake is— much like Trump, who backed her in the primary— breaking the norms of politics and establishing herself as a firebrand outsider driven by the sheer force of personality and celebrity.”

And then there are the House candidates. Most of them Trumpists and anti-democracy election deniers. For example, outside of Oregon, you don’t hear much about Republican candidate Lori Chavez-Deremer, the gated community Republican running against Jamie McLeod-Skinner. This morning McLeod-Skinner, a progressive who defeated Republican-lite Blue Dog Kurt Schrader in the primary, told me this morning that Chavez-Deremer “is too extreme for Oregon. She opposes government-funded healthcare and supports efforts to criminalize abortion before a woman knows she’s pregnant. Any candidate who was ‘encouraged’ to see Roe v. Wade overturned is out of touch with how serious removing access to reproductive care is for women across the country.”

Again, outside of Miami, we’re not hearing enough about Annette Taddeo’s race to replace knee-jerk Trumpist María Salazar. I doubt she’s onGail Collins’ radar. She should be, not just because of how awful she is but because this D+1 partisan lean district is exactly where the Democrats will win or lose the majority in November. This morning I spoke with Annette and she told me that “María Elvira Salazar is a MAGA extremist who is now, after I got in the race, cosplaying as a moderate. She constantly talks about freedom in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua and then fails to defend our democracy right here at home. She’s been so out of touch that even the former chair of the Florida Republican Party crossed party lines for the first time in 40 years to endorse our campaign.”

I urge you as a DWT reader to consider contributing to Annette’s and Jamie’s campaigns today. It could make all the difference in the world. And you can contribute to both of them on this page… or by clicking on the thermometer on the right. Believe me, these midterms are not just about the Senate. This House races are crucial, especially when we’re talking about a progressive running against a reactionary. Neither the OR-05 contest nor the FL-27 contest is a lesser of two evils race. These women are proven progressive champions and their opponents are absolutely horrible and don’t belong in Congress. It's still not too late to make a difference. In fact, yesterday the prognosticators at the Cook Report moved 7 Democratic congressional races in a bluer direction, including Annette's. Both races are polling neck and neck.

And as Walter Shapiro wrote this morning for the New Republic, "And if you care about the effectiveness of your donation, ignore the high-profile Senate races that are dominating the news. You will get far more bang for your buck by investing in House races and down-ballot statewide contests for attorney general and secretary of state."

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