Let's Remember, Most Of Their House Candidates Are Even Worse
A new PPP poll of Wisconsin voters, released yesterday, shows that 55% of Wisconsinites are concerned (50% ‘very concerned’) about Sen. Ron Johnson’s role in trying to put fake elector documents from Wisconsin and Michigan into the former Vice President’s hands on January 6th, including 57% of independents. Will it play into the November election? I think so… and this kind of thing is hurting Republicans in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, Arizona… maybe even Florida.
It isn’t his first brain-dead comment since Trump persuaded him to run for a Georgia Senate seat but joke candidate Herschel Walker is in the news again with a head scratcher. On Sunday he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that “They continue to try to fool you that they are helping you out. But they’re not. Because a lot of money, it’s going to trees. Don’t we have enough trees around here?” It’s another example of what McConnell was talking about when he was bemoaning his party’s “candidate quality” last week. And it got reported just as another Trumpist candidate, Nevada’s Adam Laxalt got some bad news of his own. Democratic Catherine Cortez Masto, a very mediocre incumbent, is leading Laxalt in a new poll 45-38%.
“Cortez Masto's latest polling numbers ,” wrote Kenneth Tran, “are a significant voter swing in her favor. In April, in a hypothetical matchup prior to winning the Nevada Republican primary, Laxalt led Cortez Masto by 3 percentage points (43%-40%) according to a previous poll also conducted by Suffolk University and the Reno Gazette-Journal. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the Nevada Senate race as a toss-up election that could determine control of the Senate. The poll's findings come as eyebrows raise within the Republican Party over the quality and electability of GOP candidates in purple swing states.”
Much of the party has clearly gone off the rails. For example, in North Carolina, WRAL reported yesterday that the far right Lt. Gov., Mark Robinson is going to probably run for governor in 2 years. "And, if elected, he says he’d work to keep science and history out of some elementary school classrooms. He says he’d also seek to eliminate the State Board of Education, end abortion and work to prevent transgender people from serving in the military… 'In those grades, we don’t need to be teaching social studies,' he writes. 'We don’t need to be teaching science. We surely don’t need to be talking about equity and social justice.'"
Over the weekend, the ultra-conservative Wall Street Journal editorial board took McConnell’s side against Trump in this argument. “The biggest campaign story last week,” wrote the editors, “wasn’t Mitch McConnell’s warning that Republicans might not retake the Senate in November. That’s been clear since the party nominated so many candidates whose main advantage was support from Donald Trump. The big story was that those candidates are now calling on McConnell to come to their rescue.
Exhibit A is Ohio, where the Super Pac allied with McConnell, the Senate Leadership Fund, is committing $28 million to save GOP nominee J.D. Vance. The Hillbilly Elegy author won the primary in a divided field after Trump endorsed him. But Vance has struggled to raise money from the GOP donor network he disdained as he courted the populist right. That worked in the primary, but it may not be enough to win in November.
Ohio should be a layup for the GOP this year. The Senate seat is currently held by Rob Portman, who is retiring after two terms. The state has been trending right and Mr. Trump carried it by eight points. But Democrat Tim Ryan, a Member of the House, is portraying himself as a moderate despite a liberal voting record and has out-raised the Republican. Thus Vance’s S.O.S. to McConnell.
There’s no little irony in this appeal since Vance criticized Senate GOP leaders as he ran in the primary. In a podcast last September, Vance said he had “no idea who should be the majority leader of the Senate.”
But he added that “I think that McConnell has clearly shown that he’s sometimes a little out of touch with where the base is... I think that it’s time that we moved beyond the very old leadership class that’s dominated the Republican Party for a long time. And I think, it’s just, we’ve got to do it. We’ve got to bring some new blood in. We’ve got to get people that the base is actually excited about.” Apparently the “very old leadership class” has its uses when the “new blood” needs money.
Blake Masters, another Trump-backed nominee, is also counting on McConnell to save his campaign. “I think [McConnell will] come in and spend. Arizona’s gonna be competitive. It’s gonna be a close race, and I hope he does come in,” Mr. Masters told the Associated Press last week. Trailing Sen. Mark Kelly in the polls, Masters needs the Minority Leader’s help.
During the GOP primary, Masters called for McConnell to be replaced as leader. “I’ll tell Mitch this to his face,” Masters said during a GOP primary debate in June. “He’s not bad at everything. He’s good at judges. He’s good at blocking Democrats. You know what he’s not good at? Legislating.”
These better-call-Mitch appeals are happening at the same time Mr. Trump’s allies are attacking Mr. McConnell for telling the truth last week about GOP Senate prospects this year. The Minority Leader mentioned “candidate quality” as a factor in Senate campaigns, which is also true. Only the willfully blind can look at several of the Trump-endorsed nominees this year and claim they were the strongest candidates in the general election.
Arizona is a good example. Trump vowed to defeat the popular two-term GOP Gov. Doug Ducey if he ran for Senate because Ducey wouldn’t work to overturn Trump’s 2020 defeat in the state. Trump also trashed the capable Attorney General, Mark Brnovich, who ran and lost. The former President backed Masters, a political novice supported by financier Peter Thiel. But Trump’s support may hurt more than help in the general election, and he has been reluctant to share his financial campaign wealth with others.
Trump has shown he can help candidates win primaries with a plurality of the vote in a crowded field. What he hasn’t shown is that he can lift them to victory against Democrats in states that aren’t solidly Republican. He proved the opposite with his sabotage of the two GOP candidates in the January 2021 special elections in Georgia that cost Republicans control of the Senate.
That’s why the candidates he favors are now desperately seeking the help of McConnell, the leader Trump wants to replace.
And their House candidates? Many are emulating Marjorie Traitor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, even Madison Cawthorn, who was just thrown out of office by Republican voters in his first primary since becoming a congressman. The other day we highlighted Florida psychopath Luis Miguel, who’s running for a state House seat in St Augustine and who urged voters to shoot FBI and IRS agents. But don’t think the nuts just run for local office-- not in Florida. Tonight it’s likely that self-described “MAGA activist” Martin Hyde will be roundly defeated in his primary bid to oust incumbent Vern Buchanan (R). But Hyde isn’t going down without making a complete ass of himself— and his party. He has now removed a video he posted to YouTube in which he said that he wishes FBI agents would “turn up at my home 'cause they'd have gone home in a body bag.” Fortunately Ron Filipkowski saved the video on Twitter. Click and watch if you want to get a nice clear idea of the GOP base and where the Republican Party is now headed: