Yesterday, Quinnipiac released a new poll of Georgia registered voters showing the that vulnerable Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock has now opened a 10 point lead (54-44%) over pitifully flawed Trump candidate Herschel Walker and that the gubernatorial rematch between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp is in an exact 48-48% dead-heat.
The poll shows independents breaking for the Democrats in both races— 62% to 33% for Warnock and 52% to 42% for Abrams. And these are the net favorable ratings for the 4 candidates:
Walker— minus 5 points
Looking at the Senate candidates personal traits augurs badly for Walker
54 - 33% that Warnock is honest;
56 - 34% that Warnock has good leadership skills;
59 - 33% that Warnock cares about average Georgians.
When it comes to Walker's personal traits, voters say:
43 - 39% that Walker is not honest;
43 - 37% that Walker does not have good leadership skills;
44 - 42% that Walker cares about average Georgians.
The situation in Missouri is very different. First of all, while Georgia has been moving from red to purple, Missouri has been moving from purple to red. Georgia is a swing state that gave Biden a narrow win in 2020. Missouri, once a bellwether state, is now a deep red state that gave Trump a hefty 15 point win. This cycle, though, Missouri Republicans are testing the limits as they prepare to nominate scandal-racked extremist Eric Greitens for the open Senate seat while the Democrats are on the verge of nominating the best candidate they’ve run in many decades, progressive populist and former Marine officer Lucas Kunce.
The Republican establishment is so concerned that Greitens can only win a MAGA-primary but not a general election that mainstream conservatives are gravitating towards the candidacy of establishment Republican John Wood, who announced his candidacy today as a Mitch McConnell-supporting independent. Writing for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this morning, Jack Suntrup reported that Wood assumes Greitens will win the nomination and that voters deserve an alternative.
“Wood’s entry,” asserted Suntrup, “will represent a seismic shift in the Senate race— if he can generate the financial backing and grassroots support necessary to mount a serious campaign to fill retiring Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt’s seat. To make the Nov. 8 ballot, Wood needs to turn in 10,000 signatures to the secretary of state’s office by Aug. 1. ‘I am not looking to be a spoiler. I’m in this race to win it,’ Wood told the Post-Dispatch. ‘I think that there is a coalition of common-sense voters that can be put together.’ Wood said he aims to win support from Republicans, independents and conservative and moderate Democrats.”
The former governor has alienated many in the party over the years. In March, his second ex-wife, Sheena Greitens, accused him of domestic abuse under oath in court documents, saying the former governor caused one of their two sons to lose a tooth.
Most recently, Greitens drew nationwide criticism for pretending to go on a hunt for RINOs, or “Republicans in Name Only,” in a campaign video.
“This RINO-hunting business has become a national story and I think that that advertisement is an embarrassment to our state, and it’s dangerous,” Wood said. “I think Eric Greitens is a danger to women, he’s a danger to children, and he’s a danger to our democracy.”
Another Republican Greitens has alienated: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom Greitens has said he would vote against as party leader.
But Wood said he would support the Kentucky senator, and that he would welcome McConnell’s backing.
“I would (like McConnell’s support),” Wood said. “And, if I’m elected, I will support Mitch McConnell for Senate majority leader, and Eric Greitens will not.”
Former U.S. Sen. John Danforth, who predicted in February an independent would run, said he would back Wood.
Danforth said Tuesday he had a Super PAC, Missouri Stands United. “And my Super PAC would support him if he becomes a candidate, which I think he will.”
Wood described himself as a “lifelong Republican and I continue to be a Republican to this day,” but that “probably both parties’ primaries are becoming a race to the bottom to see who can be the most divisive and the most extreme.”
…Wood said he would have voted in favor of the gun safety law President Joe Biden signed into law last week, which earned support from 15 Republican senators, including McConnell and Blunt.
“I support Second Amendment rights,” Wood said. “But I applaud Senator Blunt for being part of a bipartisan effort to take guns out of the hands of the most dangerous people.”
On abortion, Wood said: “I have the greatest respect for the dignity of women who are faced with an unwanted pregnancy, but I also believe that life begins at conception.
“And in the end I think that the interest in life should prevail, and so I am pro-life but believe there should be exceptions for rape, incest, life of the mother or serious health risks to the mother,” he said.
On the reversal of Roe v. Wade, which established the right to an abortion, and the resulting state-by-state approach to abortion laws, Wood said “it’s the legally correct place for the country to be in.”
“It’s a difficult spot for the country to be in because it’s such a divisive issue, and one where people on both sides are very emotional, but I think it is the correct interpretation of the Constitution.”
Asked whether he wanted the court to revisit other decisions it has made, such as legalizing same-sex marriage and the right to contraception, Wood said “largely a political consensus” has emerged around some court decisions.
“I don’t think that it would be good for the court to revisit all of those issues,” he said. “I don’t think it’s good to have the court overturn too many precedents too quickly.”
On the climate, Wood said, “I believe in limited government and free market principles, but I also believe that climate change is real and that human activity is contributing to it.”
He said the best way to help disadvantaged communities “is to create jobs and opportunity.”
Prior to becoming a lawyer, Wood worked on Danforth’s staff. He also clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and at the U.S. Court of Appeals.
He served as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri from 2007 to 2009, under former President George W. Bush. He also served as chief of staff to George W. Bush-era Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, deputy associate general counsel to Attorney General John Ashcroft, and in the White House under Bush at the Office of Management and Budget.
Wood was brought onto the Jan. 6 committee by the Republican co-chair, Rep. Liz Cheney. Before joining the committee, Wood worked as general counsel for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Greitens’ campaign, which is chaired by coke-freak and Trump Jr girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, has— at least publicly— laughed at the idea of a McConnell-supporting, Liz Cheney select committee hire establishment hack looking for Republican votes in Missouri.
Lucas Kunce isn’t too concerned about Wood either, noting that he’s “a GOP mega-lawyer who clerked for Clarence Thomas, is backed by GOP insiders, wants to keep abortion outlawed in Missouri, and promises to support Mitch McConnell. And he’s even saying the quiet part out loud: He’s running because he’s afraid of me, our movement, and our chances of beating Eric Greitens in November. I’ve got just one message for him: Go ahead— make my day.”
Kunce continued by pointing out that when he “entered this race over a year ago, nobody in the political class thought we had a chance. They hadn’t heard of this 13-year Marine veteran whose family went bankrupt trying to pay for medical bills. And when I said I was going to raise money the right way— without taking a single cent from Corporate PACs— they laughed. But here we are now. Our campaign has outraised every single candidate in this race and narrowed polling with Eric Greitens to a virtual tie. Our campaign received support from all 114 Missouri counties and the city of St. Louis. And our grassroots movement has put this U.S. Senate race on the map. Our message from the start has been clear: This is about fundamentally changing who has power in this country. Missouri deserves a warrior for working people— someone who is willing to stand up to the corrupt elites, criminal politicians, and billionaire families who’ve stripped our country for parts. And I’m ready to serve. Now, instead of just running against one Republican criminal, we’ll be up against a Republican criminal AND an anti-choice Republican mega-lawyer on the November ballot. We were already tied with Greitens in the polls, so trust me— I like those odds. The elites who’ve been destroying our communities for decades are terrified. They think they’re going to lose this U.S. Senate seat to a warrior for working people. But you know what they should be worrying about instead? What I’m gonna do to them when I get there— because we’re going to take this seat back for the people in November.”
Wood has already been whining about Kunce’s law and order talk, the kind of talk establishment politicians don’t like seeing aimed in their direction. Please consider contributing to Kunce’s all grassroots campaign by clicking this link or by clicking on the Blue America 2022 U.S. Senate thermometer above.