As 2022 gets closer, most Republicans know that Donald Trump plans to be an integral part of the campaign by endorsing candidates. But he may have some competition regarding which candidates have a better chance of beating Democrats.
The Senate Leadership Fund is aligned closely with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
While they are only on the opposite side of Trump in one race so far, (SLF has endorsed Lisa Murkowski) that could quickly change as the campaigns get under way.
Whose assessment will have more bite, the McConnell wing or the Trump wing?
Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell, once portrayed by the media as working partners while Trump was in office, have exploded that narrative.
After McConnell blamed Trump for the Jan 6 protest at the Capitol, it became clear that a bigger crack up was in the works.
This sets up a possible interesting but risky state of affairs for the GOP.
With a 50-50 split in the Senate, and several key retirements taking place in five states, three of which might be described as fairly reliable red, Republicans want nothing left to chance with selecting candidates.
Jack Pandol, communications director for the Senate Leadership Fund stated, “As has long been SLF’s policy, we reserve the right to intervene in cases where a candidate is a clear threat to lose a seat in a general election and to protect our Republican incumbents.”
Mitch McConnell stated early on what his goal for 2022 was, to get Republicans elected.
Back in February he said, “My goal is, in every way possible, to have nominees representing the Republican Party who can win in November. Some of them may be people the former president likes. Some of them may not be. The only thing I care about is electability.”
Is McConnell seeing to it that those seen as “establishment” Republicans get re-elected?
Getting Republicans elected is good, but Mitch McConnell obviously has a personal stake in the outcome of the 2022 midterms. A victory puts him back in charge of the Senate.
Murkowski, no fan of President Trump, was one of seven GOP Senators who voted to convict Trump during his impeachment trial after the Jan. 6 protest.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee says that the NRSC will not get involved in open primaries. NRSC’s communications director Chris Hartline said that, “The NRSC has no interest spending any time or money attacking other Republicans. We started Day 1 defining Democrats across the country as the ultra-liberal, big-spending, open borders radicals that they are.”
But there’s at least one set of circumstances, Axios points out, that SLF and NRSC may not be able to resist, such as the race in Missouri for the seat held currently by Roy Blunt.
Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who resigned following a sex scandal in 2018, is a candidate for the soon-to-be-open seat being vacated by Blunt. It is candidates like Greitens that McConnell and the establishment are concerned could get an endorsement from Donald Trump.
That might be a hefty endorsement in a state Trump won last time by 15 points.
Since Axios initially published their report, the president of SLF, Steven Law, claimed that the Trump vs. McConnell angle was wrong.
Time will tell when the endorsements and donations start rolling out.
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