I've spoken with more than a few candidates running for Democratic Party nominations for Congress in jungle primary states who have told me that they have made, or are in the process of making, agreements with other Democrats that they will drop out if another Democratic opponent looks to be the stronger contestant against the common Republican enemy. I'm not seeing anything like that among Republicans. Instead, what we're seeing in GOP primaries are increasingly savage attacks, party of a raging Republican Party civil war.
On the one hand, these brutally contested primaries, drum up a great deal of interest in the races, as opposed to purposefully sleepy Democratic primaries that drum up almost no interest at all. On the other hand, some of these Republican candidates are being damaged to the point where it may well hurt the winner in the general election, although Republicans are so wedded to the idea of a red wave, that they largely discount that notion. On the Senate side, we're seeing this in spades in open seat races in Pennsylvania, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio. This morning, Natalie Allison wrote at Politico that while Democrats are largely holding their fire, Republicans are stuck in the Thunderdome.
"GOP candidates," she reported, "are already pummeling each other in monthslong advertising free-for-alls, fights intensified by unprecedented television spending. The parties’ approaches in money spent and messaging could hardly be more different so far, as is the mere number of contested races: For Republicans, there are more than a dozen states where GOP candidates are attacking each other in bids for Senate nominations, while Democrats have unresolved primaries in just two key states-- neither of which have turned vicious yet."
The difference is especially pronounced in Pennsylvania. As the Democratic frontrunners Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Rep. Conor Lamb run ads arguing why they can win in one of the nation’s top battleground states, GOP candidates there have dropped a record-shattering $35 million on TV-- the vast majority coming from Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick, the leading Republicans, whose camps are framing the other as a “liberal RINO” and “Wall Street insider,” respectively.
“They’re doing what I want them to do, which is kick the crap out of each other,” said J.B. Poersch, president of the Senate Majority PAC, Senate Democrats’ flagship super PAC.
Oz and McCormick began spending millions of dollars in December on advertisements introducing themselves to voters. By January, the two camps were already running negative ads against each other for a May 17 primary-- to the glee of Democrats who are contesting Pennsylvania and other tightly divided states for control of the 50-50 Senate in November.
“Is that potentially problematic for Republicans? Absolutely,” Poersch said. “They are certainly running arguments that would work against the other in the general.”
...Senate Republican leadership’s failure to entice potential top-tier recruits such as Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu means the GOP will likely have nominees starting with lower name recognition-- an issue mitigated by the poor environment for Democrats, but still a risk when running against established incumbents.
“I think there is a lot of room for error for Republicans here-- as evidenced by the fact that the chairman of the [NRSC] can put together a plan that raises taxes and eliminates Social Security, and everyone says, ‘Oh it doesn’t matter, we’re going to win anyway,’” said a Republican strategist involved in Senate races, who was granted anonymity to discuss internal party dynamics.
The strategist was referring to provisions in Scott’s policy plan that would require all Americans to pay income taxes and would automatically sunset federal programs after five years.
...In Wisconsin, where several Democrats have lined up for a shot to run against Republican Sen. Ron Johnson in November, they’ve largely shied away from hitting each other in the process.
Alex Lasry, a self-funding Democrat who has already allocated $3 million for television ads, has so far avoided going after his top rival in the race, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, choosing instead to run positive spots about himself and to attack Johnson.
In Ohio, where Republican candidates and aligned super PACs are spending as much on TV as their counterparts in Pennsylvania-- much of it to attack each other-- Democrats have stayed off the air. The Ohio Democratic Party last month endorsed the primary frontrunner, Rep. Tim Ryan, further consolidating support behind him as his anti-establishment opponent, Morgan Harper, struggled to gain traction.
Similarly, the DSCC and the Florida Democratic establishment are so strongly behind centrist shill, Val Demings-- despite having virtually zero chance to beat Marco Rubio-- that Allsion didn't even feel a need to mention the primary there-- other than to falsely report Demings had cleared the field, the DSCC bullshit she bought into-- or that Demings, one of Congress' least accomplished members, has Alan Grayson as a primary opponent, and that as a member of the House, he was one of Congress' most accomplished members.
The DSCC strategy in Ohio is to ignore Morgan Harper and hope that Tim Ryan, their dull centrist candidate-- a sure loser with no reason to run beyond his own narcissism and careerism-- slips through in a race that no one even knows is happening. You can contribute to progressive candidates running for the Senate here.
Progressives John Fetterman in Pennsylvania and Lucas Kunce in Missouri are too far ahead in public polling for the DSCC to undermine them, although there has been an effort to get behind Conor Lamb, the worthless conservative in Pennsylvania, who is a top contender for "Kyrsten Sinema, 2022." Schumer managed to clear the field in North Carolina, where a totally unqualified, duller than dull conservative Democrat, Cheri Besley, will lose decisively to whomever the GOP puts up after their all-out war of a primary.
Allison noted that a "GOP operative familiar with Senate campaigns, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, pointed to ways Republicans have made it harder on themselves this cycle-- the recruiting losses, failing to clear primary fields, bickering over a party platform and attacking each other in top swing states while Democrats tell their own stories. But, the strategist continued, Republicans still have the most important factor of all on their side. 'It’s almost like The Godfather: Part III-- 'All the power on earth can’t change destiny,'" said the strategist. 'I don’t think we’re doing anything to help ourselves in these primaries, but if the environment holds as it is, I think we’ll win almost everywhere.'"
The DSCC seems to have the same defeatist vision and are not interested in giving it a shot by getting behind exciting progressive candidates with something to offer voters instead of the dull "safe" losers like Demings, Beasley, Ryan, etc. The dynamic is the same in House races, with the DCCC preparing to lose the midterms by getting behind dull, pointless candidates, while torpedoing progressives, incapable of learning that not any blue will do.
Pat McCrory goes for the jugular in his opposition to Trump-endorsed loser Ted Budd, expertly tying him to the hated Vladimir Putin in this brand new ad: