Most politicos know that candidates tend to move further left or right during primary season, and then a bit back to center for the general election. 

But several Republican candidates, some in some key races, seem to be forgetting to “dance with the one that brung them.”

The Washington Post found that as many as nine Republican candidates have scrubbed mentions of abortion or former President Donald Trump from their websites, or moderated their positions significantly.

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No Pro-Life Or Trump References

In Arizona, GOP Senate candidate Blake Masters’ website no longer states that he supports a “federal personhood law,” and gone is his statement that “Trump would be sitting in the Oval Office” right now.

Virginia congressional candidate Yesli Vega no longer states she is a “Trump appointee” in her Twitter bio.

North Carolina congressional candidate Bo Hines website removed statements about being “100 percent pro-life,” and “100 percent pro-Trump.”

Colorado congressional candidate Barbara Kirkmeyer’s website no longer states her support for “the sanctity of life” and has removed all mentions of abortion.

Again, it’s not unusual to move to the center – but it does appear rather unusual to hide from the leader of the party, and scrub references to a position conservatives have campaigned on for 50 years.

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What Are Republicans Campaigning On?

According to The Week, GOP strategists believe Republicans lose by “litigating abortion” and win by making the election about the Biden administration. GOP strategists advising milquetoast centrism is certainly nothing new, for anyone who has worked in politics.

However, they may only be half right.

Republicans should absolutely put Joe Biden on the ballot by campaigning on 40-year high inflation, soaring crime rates across the country, energy troubles, and the border crisis. But the GOP ought to be able to do a bit of multi-tasking, and unequivocally state what they believe.

The Supreme Court ruling in June overturning Roe v. Wade has given Democrats a bit of momentum, campaigning on the idea that Republicans are taking away women’s rights.

Contra the GOP strategists, Mallory Carroll of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America says do the opposite: “Our position hasn’t changed and how we are advising candidates after Kansas remains the same and that is: You have to go on offense and define your opponent’s positions rather than let them define you.”

Carroll also added her thoughts on why some candidates may be relaxing their abortion stances. “There are always going to be a class of political consultant that are not true believers on this issue, that advise candidates not to go on offense, to cross their fingers and hope that this issue doesn’t come up. That is not only morally wrong, it is politically stupid.”

It seems like there are at least nine Republicans who aren’t taking her advice.

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Distancing From Trump At Their Peril

Whether GOP candidates have been endorsed by Donald Trump or not, the majority of the party continues to rally behind him. That momentum seemed to be strengthened by the FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate several weeks ago.

What candidates should also keep in mind is that Trump’s track record for candidate endorsement during the primary season was pretty good. Roughly 180 Trump endorsed candidates won their primaries, less than 20 lost.

Former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway challenged her fellow Republicans who are advocating that the party move away from Trump during an appearance on “America’s Newsroom” Tuesday:

“Those who want to move on from Trump, you go first. People are so obsessed with him, they don’t spend a minute learning what the 74 million Trump-Pence voters want in these midterm elections. That’s what I study every single day, but they’re so obsessed with Donald Trump. Anybody who wants the party to move on from Trump. I dare you, go first, and any time the Democrats tell you which Republicans should be your nominee, run in the other direction because they know that they’re fixing to make that person unpalatable.”

We’ll see if any of these candidates takes Kellyanne up on her offer.

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