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The Most Valued Primary Endorsements

Updated: Feb 13, 2022

"Locked And Loaded" by Nancy Ohanian

A new poll from CNN that was released this morning was bad news for Democrats. Among registered voters enthusiasm for GOP candidates was one point higher than for Democratic candidates. That's the first time CNN found that-- in over the course of 20 polls-- GOP enthusiasm was higher than Democrats. For example, in February, 2018, it was Democrats 54%, Republicans 38%. This poll shows 44% GOP, 43% Democrats. CNN further reported that "24% of voters said they were extremely enthusiastic about voting in this year's midterms, identical to the enthusiasm levels in February 2018. But in a reversal from four years ago, it's the GOP that now leads in enthusiasm-- 30% of Republican and Republican-leaning voters were already expressing extreme enthusiasm, compared with 22% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters... By a 10-point margin, 42% to 32%, voters said they preferred a congressional candidate who opposes President Joe Biden to one who supports him, with the rest saying they didn't have a preference. By a wider 17-point margin, 44% to 27%, voters also said they preferred a candidate who opposes former President Donald Trump rather than one who backs him. Two-thirds of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters saw a candidate's support for Biden as an asset (68%), while a more modest 53% of Republican and Republican-leaning voters said the same of Trump."

Tomorrow, AOC will be in San Antonio at a high profile public event campaigning with Greg Casar and Jessica Cisneros, two progressive congressional candidates in Texas' March primary. Their seats are safely blue and the Democratic primary will determine who goes to Congress next year. A YouGov poll this week shows that among Democrats (nationwide) AOC's favorable rating is 65% (with 15% unfavorable). I can't imagine a Democrat asking Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema to endorse them, let along campaign for them, Manchin's favorability among Democrats is 15% and 58% have an unfavorable view of him. Sinema is even more toxic. Just 12% of Democrats like her; 55% dislike her. Liz Cheney (48%), Adam Kinzinger (37%) and Mitt Romney (33%) are much better liked than Sinema and Manchin.

Biden (80%) and Harris (74%) are also very popular with registered voters, Pelosi (69%) and Schumer (59%) less so. Democrats would be best off with Obama endorsing them though. His favorability is 86%. Among Republicans, Trump is tops-- 76% have a positive view while just 19% have an unfavorable view.

Among Republican voters Kevin McCarthy's endorsement would be no great shakes. His popularity is just 42% as opposed to 27% who don't like him. Almost a third of Republicans don't know enough about him to have an opinion. McConnell would be absolutely toxic to bring into a campaign. Only 34% of registered Republicans have a favorable view of him, while 57% have an unfavorable view.

Marjorie Traitor Greene was included this week, but she was a few weeks ago. A large plurality of registered Republicans (41% either never heard of her and her Gazpacho Police or don't know enough about her got have an opinion. But these were the numbers (just among Republicans)

  • Very favorable- 22%

  • Somewhat favorable- 19%

  • Simnewhat unfavorable- 9%

  • Very unfavorable- 9%

So logically, she's no substitute for Trump. Still she's better known than other would-be Trump-whisperers. 59% don't know who Lauren Boebert is and, despite the lurid headlines of his sex scandal, 47% of Republicans either don't know him or don't know him well enough to have an opinion. This morning, the Daily Beast dubbed Traitor Greene a "queen bee" when it comes to GOP primary endorsements. The called her endorsement the next best thing to Trump's.

Asawin Suebsaeng and Sam Brody wrote that Traitor Greene, "the COVID vaccine-hating, conspiracy theory-spewing freshman congresswoman who came to national prominence as a far-right QAnon promoter, is increasingly in demand. This is due in large part to her direct line to former President Trump, and her vast network of small, grassroots donors. According to four longtime Republican operatives working at senior levels on a variety of competitive GOP primaries across the nation, Greene’s endorsement in competitive 2022 Republican House and Senate primaries is not only considered as welcome, but also as one that should be actively courted-- particularly in races where the nominee is likely to be decided by which candidate most animates the ultra-Trumpist grassroots.

Proof positive of that growing sentiment was how J.D. Vance, the once anti-Trump author turned high-profile MAGA candidate for U.S. Senate in Ohio, played Greene’s endorsement. In January-- just as Vance’s own internal polling showed him badly behind with the GOP base-- he rolled out Greene’s backing like a victory lap, complete with her accompanying him to campaign stops.
“Honored to have Marjorie’s endorsement,” Vance wrote on Twitter. “We’re going to win this thing and take the country back from the scumbags.”
Greene, commonly known just as “MTG” to fans and detractors alike, may seem to the casual observer like a bizarre choice for an in-demand endorsement, even for a political party that seems determined to wed itself to its own anti-democratic extremes and conspiracist indulgences.
Over the past year, she has emerged as a recurring public-relations headache for House Republican leadership and her less zealous colleagues. It’s been a year since she was stripped of her House committee assignments for, among other things, endorsing violence against Nancy Pelosi and conspiracy theories about Sept. 11. And she has the unique baggage—a glaring standout even among the race-baiting, MAGA-cultish right wing-- of being associated with antisemitic lies about Jewish space lasers and, most recently, warnings of Pelosi’s “Gazpacho” secret police.
At the dawn of the Biden era, Greene was viewed as potentially toxic, or at least an unbridled nuisance, by a host of Republican lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill. Privately, that view has not exactly disappeared. But as the national media attention and controversy over her committee assignments swelled early last year, Greene started seeing her popularity and positive polling on the right conspicuously increase as Joe Biden’s presidency unfolded.
Her continued rise in the conservative movement and in the party this election year underscores just how far the Republican Party’s mainstream is going to tolerate, if not wholeheartedly embrace, its far-right luminaries and policies-- even if they’re to the hard right of Trump himself.
“If you can’t get Donald Trump, you are going to want to have MTG in your back pocket,” another one of the four operatives, who professed zero personal admiration for Greene, conceded, in discussing the most desired 2022 endorsements today.
Nick Dyer, a spokesman for Greene, said she is a “direct reflection of the grassroots across the country” and declared she has “become one of the most popular Republicans nationwide.”
“Every GOP candidate who is in a competitive primary wants Congresswoman Greene’s endorsement because she went to Washington, did what she said she was going to do, and earned the trust of conservative voters everywhere,” Dyer said.
So far, at least seven GOP candidates have landed that coveted nod from the freshman Georgia congresswoman, from the loudly pro-Trump Rep. Mo Brooks, running for U.S. Senate in Alabama, to the conservative personality Robby Starbuck, running for U.S. House in Tennessee.
At least one familiar Greene-approved candidate has no real shot at elected office, however: the Islamophobic provocateur Laura Loomer, who is repeating a quixotic campaign to defeat a Democrat in a safely blue Florida district.
In general, however, Greene is said to be very deliberate with her endorsements, according to another source familiar with the matter, with an eye toward which candidate can actually win a race.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all that, for a part of the electorate, Marjorie Taylor Greene has become an in-demand endorsement,” Doug Heye, a veteran Republican strategist and former senior official at the Republican National Committee, said on Thursday. “It’s not that everyone is trying to get her endorsement, but…if you’re running on ‘Let’s own the libs,’ and ‘Let’s be culture warriors,’ that’s where you go. One of the things we’ve seen over the past decade-plus now, but that Donald Trump really drove home, is that politics is performance art.”
The congresswoman has been especially vocal in backing challengers to Republicans who have been deemed disloyal to Trump, either by impeaching him or criticizing him faintly, or even by working with Democrats. Last year, Greene vowed to fundraise for candidates challenging Republicans who voted in favor of a bipartisan infrastructure bill championed by President Joe Biden.
Greene has also found opportunities to needle some of her many nemeses in the House GOP through her endorsements. Greene is soon slated to headline a rally in favor of Christian Collins, a conservative operative running in a heated primary in Texas’ 8th District against a candidate, Morgan Luttrell, who is championed by Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX). Greene and Crenshaw have feuded extensively in recent months.
But in at least one case, Greene and Trump have offered competing endorsements. In Tennessee’s 5th District, near Nashville, Trump offered his support for Morgan Ortagus, a State Department spokesperson during his presidency, even before she made her run official. Trump is already facing blowback from the grassroots for his choice-- largely because Ortagus backed Jeb Bush in 2016, Politico reported. Days after Trump publicly prodded Ortagus to run, Greene announced her endorsement of Starbuck.
Some of Greene’s picks have already flamed out, however. In South Carolina’s 7th District, she backed Graham Allen, one of 10 GOP candidates vying to unseat Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.), who voted to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 insurrection. In January, just a few months after he got Greene’s endorsement, Allen dropped out of the race.
Since taking office in January 2021, Greene has raised over $7 million, making her one of the most prolific fundraisers in the entire House. That largesse has not yet extended to the candidates she’s backing. According to federal campaign finance filings, Greene’s campaign has made only one contribution to another campaign committee: a $150,000 check to a joint fundraising committee she shares with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).

Another far right icon/crackpot who Republican candidates want endorsements from is Tucker Carlson. Sure, JD Vance was endorsed by Traitor Greene but the ad Vance's sleazy SuperPAC is running pretends Carlson endorsed him, which he didn't do and likely never will.

I asked some of the Blue America-endorsed House candidates to name just one person they would like to get an endorsement from:

  • Daniel Lee (CA)- AOC

  • Cristina Garcia (CA)- AOC

  • Christine Olivo (FL)- Cori Bush

  • Mike Ortega (CA)- Katie Porter

  • Jason Call (WA)- Rashida Tlaib

  • Steven Holden (NY)- Ted Lieu

  • Melanie D'Arrigo (NY)- Pramila Jayapal

  • Shervin Aazami (CA)- Cori Bush

  • Brittany DeBarros (NY)- Cori Bush

  • Neal Walia (CO)- AOC

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