The GOP thought it was sitting pretty when it came to the 2022 midterm election. They were prepared to gain seats in the Senate and retake control of the upper chamber, making Mitch McConnell (R-KY) majority leader once again and giving Republicans a legislative veto over nearly everything President Joe Biden might try to do.
Now, however, with preparations for 2022 underway for both the GOP and Democrats, a lack of good candidates on the Republican side is threatening to derail McConnell’s plans, according to The New York Times:
“Swing-state Democratic incumbents, like Senators Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Mark Kelly of Arizona, restocked their war chests with multimillion-dollar sums ($7.2 million and $6 million, respectively), according to new financial filings this week. That gives them an early financial head start in two key states where Republicans’ disagreements over former President Donald J. Trump’s refusal to accept his loss in 2020 are threatening to distract and fracture the party.”
Even though the party in power normally loses seats in Congress in a president’s first midterm election, that may not be true this time, with Trump possibly hurting Republican candidates or causing the Republican establishment to favor one contender while Trump chooses another, weakening both as they head into a showdown with a well-financed Democrat:
Of the seven contests that political handicappers consider most competitive in 2022, all but one are in states that Mr. “Biden carried last year.
“’We’re running in Biden country,’ said Matt Canter, a Democratic pollster involved in Senate races. ‘That doesn’t make any of these races easy. But we’re running in Biden country.'”
No state is more emblematic of the possible chaos facing Republicans than Missouri, which has even split members of the Trump family from the former president:
“The biggest name in Missouri is Eric Greitens, the former governor who resigned after accusations of abuse by a woman with whom he had an extramarital affair. He raised less than $450,000. Among his fund-raisers is Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., and his campaign also made payments to Mar-a-Lago.
“Some national Republican strategists are worried that if Mr. Greitens survives a crowded primary, he could prove toxic even in a heavily Republican state.”
The main problem the GOP faces as it tries to retake the Senate, however, lies in its bizarre love-hate relationship with Trump, who looms over the Republican Party like a menacing cloud. They need his voters, but realize that a full-scale embrace of the ex-president could scare off independent voters and energize Democrats to turn out in record numbers.
Alex Conant, a Republican strategist who has worked on GOP Senate races in the past, says the GOP is in a quandary:
“The only way we win these races is with top-notch candidates. Are Republicans able to recruit top-notch candidates in the Trump era?”
Featured Image Via NBC News