Former President Trump is leading the Republican Party’s candidate selection as the party heads into the final stretch of the midterm election campaign. They (the Democrats) are overjoyed.
Some candidates backed by Trump that went on to compete in the Republican primaries ultimately lost. But the former president’s supporters are running under the Republican banner in general election contests for the House, the Senate, and the governorships from coast to coast. There is chaos galore with less than three months to go until the election. Senate and gubernatorial races in pivotal swing states have been seized by the Democrats, who have been aided by the fact that some Republican nominees have been plagued by weak campaign operations on top of whatever challenges they face with voters.
“We are just beginning to communicate about the deep flaws that their roster of candidates brings to these races,” said David Bergstein, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. In the upcoming months, “their personal and political vulnerabilities will remain at the forefront of these Senate campaigns.”
To counter this argument, National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Chris Hartline said, “We have great candidates running across the country who are well-positioned to beat fatally flawed Democrats who’ve supported a historically unpopular president 100% of the time.” This was in reference to President Joe Biden’s historically low job approval ratings.
“Despite the bed wetting from D.C. pundits who haven’t set foot outside of Washington in the last decade,” Hartline said, “Republican candidates are getting out, talking to voters, and presenting a strong contrast with Democrats and their agenda that’s hurting families across the country.”
Democrats are running a test of their message for 2024 two years ahead of schedule while Trump is in the spotlight.
Republican Senate nominees in both Georgia (Herschel Walker) and Ohio (J.D. Vance) have had rough starts. In polls, Walker has lagged behind Democratic Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock because of concerns about his qualifications for the job. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) is significantly outraising Vance, casting doubt on what Republicans thought would be an easy win in a state Trump won easily twice.
The Republican establishment is particularly concerned about the states of Arizona and Pennsylvania.
Four potentially winnable races are at risk if the Democratic tickets in Arizona (gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake and Senate nominee Blake Masters) and Pennsylvania (gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano and Senate nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz) lose on November 8. At least in their campaigns against Katie Hobbs, secretary of state of Arizona, and Mark Kelly, a senator from Arizona, Lake and Masters are demonstrating signs of competitiveness (D-AZ).
Mastriano and Oz have not been successful in Pennsylvania against state Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Lt. Governor John Fetterman. Republicans are keeping their fingers crossed that the energetic Oz will be able to catch and pass Fetterman, who has been absent from campaigning since May after suffering a stroke. They think there’s no chance for Mastriano at all.
A seasoned Republican strategist, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said, “It’s a mixed bag.” According to one expert, “the biggest problem he has created in primaries is that his focus on 2020 has no messaging upside, and the kabuki theater that he demands for the pursuit of his endorsement, or nonendorsement, is a massive time and energy suck on every primary campaign.”
This week, Trump added two more candidates to his army of endorsed 2022 candidates: Joe Kent defeated incumbent Republican Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, and Tim Michels won the Republican nomination for governor in Wisconsin. By doing so, Kent got rid of a Republican who had supported impeaching the outgoing president in the final days of his term for his alleged involvement in the Capitol robbery on January 6, 2021.
Trump’s “mixed bag” of general election candidates has obvious drawbacks.
Among them are Darren Bailey, the Republican nominee for governor in Illinois, and Dan Cox, the Republican nominee for governor in Maryland. Both men are outspoken supporters of Trump’s baseless stolen election claims. Given the current political climate, which favors the Republican Party, and Vice President Biden’s low approval ratings, neither of these nominees has a prayer of winning in November.
Nonetheless, Trump supported them instead of moderate Republicans who could have given the GOP a better shot at unexpected victories.
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In a few specific races, however, Trump backed candidates who were widely regarded as the most qualified available Republicans and who had the support of the party’s establishment. Michels, Tudor Dixon, the Republican nominee for governor of Michigan, and Adam Laxalt, the Republican nominee for the Senate seat in Nevada are all on the list. To the relief of jittery GOP insiders everywhere, Trump also didn’t back disgraced ex-Gov. Eric Greitens in Missouri. Instead, he backed a rival candidate named “Eric.”
Republican Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has a strong chance of being elected to the Senate this fall. For the Democrats to have been competitive in Missouri this fall, they would have needed someone like Greitens, who made a strong play for Trump’s support by backing his stolen election claims and vowing to oppose Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
The Examiner of Washington Elections in 2022, Donald Trump, Arizona, and News Videos
Dr. David M. Drucker
Trump’s endorsed candidates have a rough start, giving Democrats reason to be optimistic about November.
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