October 25, 2021

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Retired GOP senators have yet to approve their successors in the primary – Roce Today

WASHINGTON – A handful of open Senate seats attracted a crowd of Republicans vying to replace outgoing GOP senators. Those senators are mostly neutral in the primary, at least for now.

Richard C. Shelby of Alabama is so far the only outgoing senator to line up in a primary, backing his former cabinet chief, Katie Britt. While others consider choosing a favorite, the primary fields have continued to grow. In some contests, Donald Trump’s vocal supporters battle each other to succeed senators who have openly criticized the former president or built a reputation as promoters of legislative deals.

Two of the outgoing senators, Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania and Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, voted to condemn Trump after his impeachment on charges of inciting an uprising on the Capitol on January 6. Burr said last week that he hasn’t planned on supporting a primary candidate in North Carolina, noting that traditionally he hasn’t.

Burr spoke positively about former Governor Pat McCrory, who is seeking the GOP nomination against Congressman Ted Budd, whom Trump endorsed, and former Congressman Mark Walker.

“I think my quote was ‘He’s the only candidate, looking at the polls, who can win a general election,'” Burr told Politico of his remarks in June. Asked last week if this amounted to approval, Burr said, “No.”

Thinking about it

While Burr remains out of the brawl within the party, Toomey and others are considering joining.

Toomey has not yet decided whether he will support a candidate in the Pennsylvania GOP primary. In a brief interview at the Capitol, he said he would make his decision “carefully weighing all factors” but left without elaborating.

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt said he currently has no plans to support the Republican primary, but he doesn’t rule it out.

“Almost everyone in the primary was helpful to me. And their supporters have almost all been helpful to me, “Blunt said.” And my current opinion is that I hope I don’t have to get involved in the primary. “

Blunt was mom about what might get him involved, saying he “will just have to see how it turns out.”

The GOP’s main camp in Missouri includes representatives Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long, State Attorney General Eric Schmitt, and attorney Mark McCloskey, who made headlines last year for brandishing a gun when Black Lives Matter protesters they were near his house. Another Senate candidate is former Governor Eric Greitens, who left office in 2018 amid multiple scandals, including allegations of sexual misconduct and blackmail, which he denied.

Asked if there was a concern about Greitens’ candidacy, Blunt said, “I didn’t say that. I said we’ll see how it turns out ”, before heading to the Senate chamber.

Even Ohio Senator Rob Portman has not yet decided whether he will support the GOP primary to succeed him.

“I want to make sure we have a candidate who can win the general election, both the primary and the general election, make sure we can keep Ohio in the red,” Portman said. “Ohio will be among the few states that will decide the future of the majority in the Senate and therefore the future of the country.”

Help or hurt?

Whether an approval would help or harm a candidate probably depends on the state and nature of the primary.

“I hope it helps her,” Shelby said of her decision to back Britt, whose main opponents include Trump-backed representative Mo Brooks. “But he has to run his race, and he will.”

Britt, who also has support from VIEW PAC, which supports GOP candidates, has proven to be a strong fundraiser.

He launched his campaign in June and had raised $ 2.2 million by the end of that month. Brooks, who announced his Senate candidacy in March, raised $ 1.1 million through June 30. Another Senate aspirant, Lynda Blanchard, who served as an ambassador to Slovenia under Trump, has lent her campaign more than $ 5 million, but recently indicated that she is considering running for governor instead.

Brooks could benefit from Trump’s endorsement as loyalty to the former president has become a major dynamic in the GOP primaries. This dynamic also raises the question of whether endorsements from senators who have criticized Trump would be useful in the 2022 primary.

Of the states with retired Republican senators, Trump lost Pennsylvania by 1 point while he won Alabama by 26 points, Missouri by 15 points, Ohio by 8 points and North Carolina by 1 point.

None of the Pennsylvania GOP Senate candidates responded to multiple requests for comment that they would welcome Toomey’s approval. In addition to voting to condemn Trump, Toomey also said he shouldn’t be the GOP presidential candidate in 2024.

Trump responded by saying in a statement, “The only reason Senator ‘Gloomy’ Pat Toomey isn’t running for the Senate in Pennsylvania is that I wouldn’t support him.” Toomey also said that candidates “should be based on ideas and principles, not on loyalty to a man”.

Although Portman is known for criticizing Trump, at least one Ohio Senate candidate said he would welcome his support.

Jane Timken, the former state GOP chairman, said in a statement, “I have great respect for Senator Portman and would appreciate his support. He has been a devoted public servant to the people of Ohio and his work on important issues. like the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act and the fight against the opioid epidemic was crucial for the state. But every day I focus on gaining the most important approval there is: the support of primary Ohio voters. “

Portman’s wife Jane was listed as one of two dozen supporters who organized a fundraiser for Timken on Wednesday. He also co-hosted a fundraiser for Timken in June.

Another contender, state Senator Matt Dolan, said in a statement that he was less concerned about the approvals than about “ensuring that the next Ohio senator continues the record of savvy, results-driven conservatism of Rob Portman.” Dolan said he was the only Republican on the ground to support the bipartisan infrastructure bill that Portman helped negotiate.

Other GOP Senate candidates in Ohio did not respond to requests for comment.


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