In the race for the open Missouri Senate seat, almost all the fascists have endorsed disgraced former governor Eric Greitens: Michael Flynn, Sebastian Gorka, Rudy Giuliani, Kimberley Guilfoyle, Dennis Prager, Joseph diFenova and Victoria Toensing, Bernard Kerik, Ryan Zinke... But not Trump. Almost all the polls show Greitens leading in the GOP primary, albeit with increasingly smaller numbers. The most recent poll, by Remington in late October, has him up over Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmidt 27-25%, with Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler in their place (19%) and Congressman Billy Long a distant 4th place with 8%. Other than being the most likely member of Congress to win the Jabba the Hutt role in a Broadway adaptation of Return of the Jedi, Long isn't known for much and no one thinks he has much of a chance to win the nomination, let alone the Senate seat.
After flunking out of college, Long became a certified auctioneer but also cobbled together a living as a local hate talk radio host, a professional poker player and as a real estate agent selling homes in Springfield. After over a decade in Congress, Long has no legislative accomplishments but is remembered as the asshole who defended Brett Kavanaugh's sexual assaults as a "kiss on the forehead."
This morning, Politico published a closer look by Burgess Everett at his pointless Senate run, basically pointing out that Missouri Republicans will vote for whomever Trump endorses. Long has been trying to con Trump into endorsing him but Trump thinks he's too ugly to win a statewide race and has refused... so far. "Long's Trump-OG approach," wrote Everett, "is emblematic of the former president’s singular influence in Republican primaries, where entire campaigns are predicated on landing one man’s endorsement. It’s a new dynamic in American politics, where a man in Trump's position usually keeps his head low and lets things in his party play out." Long pays Kellyanne Conway to help him lobby Trump. So far the Orange Menace hasn't budged.
Missouri's Republican Senate race is an absolute mad dash to win Trump’s favor. Long voted against certifying Trump's loss on Jan. 6, but so did Rep. Vicky Hartzler, now one of his Senate primary opponents. Hartzler’s campaign cites 538 numbers showing she voted with Trump slightly more than Long did.
Then there’s Eric Greitens, who resigned as governor amid a torrent of ethical troubles and is now running as the guy who would toss Mitch McConnell out of the Senate GOP's top spot-- harmonizing directly directly with Trump’s repeated attacks on McConnell. Yet another GOP candidate, state Attorney General Eric Schmitt, just traveled to the Mexico border. Not to mention Mark McCloskey, who followed his guilty plea on charges stemming from waving guns at Missouri protesters by going to Kenosha, Wis., to attend the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse.
With a March filing deadline, Rep. Jason Smith [a closet case] could also still enter the race; like Long, he’s got a close relationship with Trump.
“Every Republican in the Missouri Senate race believes they have a path to [former] President Trump’s endorsement. And a couple of them actually do,” said Gregg Keller, a Republican strategist in the state. Keller sees Schmitt, Long and Smith as having the best chances.
With the primary more than eight months away in August, things are already getting ugly. Summing up the field, Long says his opponents should be “writing revisionist history textbooks, because they're all revising their history with Trump.” He hits Hartzler as inauthentic and insufficiently conservative; her campaign manager responded by citing Long’s campaign spending: “Billy is not focused on fighting for Missouri, he’s just looking for his next big meal.”
Long calls Greitens “Chuck Schumer’s candidate,” a reference to GOP fears that his sex scandal will be a general-election liability. A Greitens spokesperson said that “Billy Long is a much better comedian than he is a Senate candidate.”
Still, Long draws the line somewhere as he competes for Trump’s favor. He won’t call for McConnell's ouster from leadership, dubbing Greitens’ push for that a “talking point." Long alleges “irregularities” in the way states conducted the 2020 election but also attended Biden’s inauguration, concluding that "he’s the president.”
A former talk radio host, Long is not on Fox News every chance he gets, eschewing a frequent tactic by Republicans who speak to Trump over the airways. Long estimates he’s been on cable news only about three times in his career. Though he proudly recounts conversations with Trump going back a decade when he was a first-term lawmaker in Congress, Long is also wary of smacking of desperation.
Long is smart enough to know the cameras hate him and that he's better off out of sight and on the radio. Trump doesn't like physically grotesque candidates-- nor candidates who, like Long, who are unable raise big bucks-- even if he does appreciate Long's long-time, dog-like loyalty. Long would be no match for populist Democrat Lucas Kunce. One of Everett's colleagues, Natalie Allison, did a piece today that approaches the Trump kiss of death in Senate races from a national perspective. She points out that even if Trump still has an iron grip on the Republican Party, the limits of his powers are being exposed in 2022 Senate primaries. A number of his preferred Senate candidates-- in Alabama, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Alaska-- "are discovering that the former president’s endorsement is no guarantee of success in a crowded primary, leaving Trump to decide just how much political capital to further expend on their behalf."
Insurrectionist and Nazi congressman Mo Brooks hasn't been able to leverage Trump's endorsement into adequate fundraising and in recent polls he's running neck-and-neck with a more establishment candidate, Katie Britt, former chief of staff to retiring GOP Sen. Richard Shelby.
In Alaska, despite Trump's endorsement of a bona fide sociopath, Kelly Tshibaka, Trump bête noire Lisa Murkowski is lead of her by 20 points in early polling and has ten times more cash on hand.
Last month, 52% of North Carolina Republicans polled by Public Opinion Strategies said that Trump's endorsement of fascist Tedd Budd would make no difference in who they support. Budd is trailing in both the polling and the money race.
[T]he apparent lack of extensive vetting of some of the endorsed candidates could get in the way-- in either the primary or the general. Walker has faced allegations of domestic violence; Sean Parnell, Trump’s pick in Pennsylvania, was also accused of abuse by his estranged wife before suspending his campaign on Monday after a judge ruled he would lose legal custody of his children.
Trump endorsed Parnell, who lost a 2020 bid for Congress, at the urging of his son, Donald Trump Jr., and without awareness of the domestic violence allegations made against him, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.
“If he spent a little more time and resources vetting and researching where he can have an impact and a little bit less time shit-posting, he could actually help his own legacy and move the ball forward,” said one Republican strategist.
Prior to Parnell’s departure from the race, Trump’s endorsement failed to scare off many potential GOP candidates. One of them, Jeff Bartos, made the protective orders taken out by Parnell’s wife a news story by publicly discussing them immediately after Trump announced his pick.
...A GOP operative familiar with the dynamics in Pennsylvania noted that while Parnell’s child custody situation was unique, it proved that a Trump endorsement still doesn’t translate to “complete victory” for a flawed candidate-- and other candidates believed it was worthwhile to remain in the race, despite Trump’s involvement.
“You’ve got to just fight the fight for the candidate you want to win,” the operative said. “It’s not like when Trump endorsed Sean Parnell we all packed up our bags and went home.”