Yesterday, the Washington Post ran a piece on then myriad problems the GOP is facing up to in Senate midterms that were supposed be much easier for them. The report, Candidate Challenges, Primary Scars Have GOP Worried About Senate Chances by Michael Scherer, Colby Itkowitz and Josh Dawsey, features a photo of this cycle’s most absurd candidate, Trump crony Herschel Walker. Walker was described this morning by Bess Levin as a candidate without an electoral leg to stand on. “There are,” she wrote, “many reasons why Herschel Walker, who is running against Georgia’s Raphael Warnock for Senate, should not be elected to higher office. His suggestion that the jury is still out on evolution, for one. His admitted history of domestic violence, for another. His answer to the question ‘Do you support any new gun laws in the wake of this Texas shooting,’ which was ‘What I like to do is see it and everything and stuff,’ for yet another. And truly, those three on their own are really enough. But on Thursday, an additional reason arose not to vote for the GOP nominee, and it’s that he’s ‘a pathological liar’— according to his own campaign!”
The trio of Post reporters makes it clear that Walker isn’t the GOP’s only headache. “Republicans,” they wrote, “are struggling in several of the marquee Senate races because of candidate challenges and campaigns still recovering from brutal Republican primaries, putting control of the upper chamber of Congress in 2023 up for grabs… Although Republicans are increasingly fretting about their Senate candidates, Democrats remain nervous about the overall political climate. Inflation, rising crime and persistently high gas prices on Democrats’ watch have put their own nominees in serious peril, forcing them on the defensive in many places. Come the fall, operatives in both parties acknowledge, if anger over these issues remains high, even weaker GOP Senate contenders could prevail… But behind the scenes, Republicans operatives are growing increasingly nervous. One GOP strategist watching the Senate race closely, who like others interviewed for this article requested anonymity to speak more openly about internal deliberations, said that ‘there are massive problems on the candidate front.’ The Republican likened the situation to 2010 and 2012, when the party fell short of winning the Senate majority because of undisciplined and polarizing candidates such as Sharron Angle in Nevada, Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana.”
It’s not just political novices who are struggling. In Wisconsin, GOP Sen. Ron Johnson is roughly even with three of his four potential Democratic rivals in a Marquette University poll last month, taken before new disclosures that his office had attempted to play a role in pushing an alternate slate of electors for the 2020 election. Johnson was viewed favorably by 37 percent of the state’s registered voters in that poll and unfavorably by 46 percent.
Mehmet Oz, the Republican nominee for Senate in Pennsylvania, is also polling slightly behind his Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, following a brutal Republican primary that flooded the state’s airwaves with attack ads against the retired surgeon and television personality.
Democrats have also been pointing to recent reporting on J.D. Vance, the GOP senate nominee in Ohio, comparing abortion and slavery in an interview last year with a Catholic podcast. In Arizona, where the primary is next month, they have gone after Blake Masters, a Donald Trump-backed candidate for the Republican Senate nomination who has promoted the false claim that the former president won the 2020 election and has espoused hard-line immigration views.
But the cycle’s likely most interesting and definitely exciting Senate race— at least outside the confines of the Beltway— is in Missouri, a race not even mentioned by the 3 senior Post political reporters. No doubt that’s because all the Beltway pundits forecast a GOP lock on the state. After all, Trump won in a walk— 1,718,736 (56.8%) to 1,253,014 (41.4%), taking 111 of the state’s 114 counties. But that doesn’t take the extraordinary grassroots candidate who has virtually ignored the Democratic establishment and the partisan bickering between the two parties and captured the imagination of Missouri voters. I’m talking about Lucas Kunce, the kind of game changer that makes voters thing “hmmmm politics idon’thave to be such a grubby dead-end game perpetually rigged against us.”
Other than how red Missouri is and how hollowed the imaginations of the Beltway political reporters are, the race fits the Post thesis: a bitter primary with the likely emergence of the worst and most unelectable GOP candidate. Former Governor Eric Greitens (R) spent his short time in office fighting two catastrophically losing battles: a tawdry sex scandal plus botched coverup and a personal mental health breakdown, still unfolding and manifesting itself in testimony about the gun-crazed Greitens beating his wife and child. Trump, of course, loves him and is dying to endorse him.
Kunce isn’t fighting culture wars; he’s fighting for the radical and fundamental economic change it will take to give the working class a shot at a decent life. This is what voters find on the front page of his website if they’re looking for where he stands on the issues:
The GOP is trying to provoke fights over transgender children using bathrooms. Kunce is explaining to voters that “Over the last 40 years, career politicians have allowed a handful of massive corporations to dominate our industries and rig the system against working people. Free markets, the bedrock of our democratic and economic system, are no longer free. Today, three giant companies dominate broadband, one company handles 60% of all internet searches, one company sets the prices for most of the nation’s seed corn, and a handful of companies now control the pharmaceutical industry. Corporate monopoly power has destroyed family farms, increased the cost of health care, suppressed wages, made it impossible for small businesses to compete, and shipped countless jobs overseas. It’s made Wall Street and corporate wealth the focus of our politics, not the well-being of working families who’ve been left behind. Lucas joined the nonprofit American Economic Liberties Project to fight corporate monopoly power— from Big Tech and Big Agriculture to Big Pharma and defense monopolies. In the U.S. Senate, he’ll continue that fight.”
His campaign in great part is about breaking up corporate monopolies and he wrote that “that starts by breaking up massive corporations so that small innovative businesses can rise up in there marketplace. SO fair competition and innovation drive our economy. So that companies are incentivized to spend money on research and development to stay ahead of their competitors, rather than spending it on lobbying. We also need to revive our antitrust laws, increase Congressional oversight, and repeal or revise laws like Section 230 that shield these companies so everyday people have the power to compete in our economy, demand fair treatment in the workplace, and hold corporations accountable for abuse."
His website goes on to make the case about what he's offering hard-pressed Missouri voters:
Lucas believes that as politicians wage economic warfare against everyday Americans, we should call it what it is: Treason. That’s what happened when politicians in Missouri greenlit a Chinese corporate invasion of our farmland that’s left family farmers devastated. In the U.S. Senate, he’ll introduce legislation at the federal level that will not only ban foreign ownership of American agricultural land but also force the sale of any farmland currently owned by foreign entities back into the hands of American farmers. The legislation would also guarantee that land goes to real American farmers, not Big Ag.
The cost of insulin isn’t determined by supply and demand. It’s really just 3 companies setting a price based on how many deaths and amputations the market will bear until people start rioting. That’s not a “free market”— that’s a drug cartel. So when a politician from either party says we have to accept a world where people die from rationing their medications, here’s the compelling economic evidence they’re relying on: Big Pharma is paying them to say it. That’s why Lucas is rejecting contributions not only from corporate PACs, but also the Pharma executives destroying our communities. In this U.S. Senate, he’ll fight to do more than just break up Big Pharma— he’ll fight to prosecute them.
The Democratic establishment has some absurd self-funding heiress from a billionaire family challenging him, one that doesn't debate or even campaign, just runs ads... and talks with other rich people about herself at cocktail parties. The highlight of the 2022 nmidterms will be Lucas Kunce debating Eric Greitens. Who knows... it may even wake up the Beltway pundit class. Meanwhile, Lucas is funding his campaign through grassroots contributions, not through a bulging family bank account or by selling out to corporate interests. Please consider helping his campaign out with a contribution by clicking here or on the Blue America 2022 Senate thermometer on the left.
One more thing about the Senate races-- one you can probably ignore: Ohio. A Kunce-like race there could beat the Trumpist baboon but Tim Ryan is running a disjointed consultant-heavy campaign that will discourage his base and get nowhere with the Republicans he's trying to appeal to with this new ad released this morning strictly for Fox News. (Believe me, you won't find Tim Ryan by clicking on the Blue America Senate thermometer.)