Republican Primaries Risk Repeat Misfires in Senate Majority Bid – Bloomberg

14
Aug

Republican Primaries Risk Repeat Misfires in Senate Majority Bid – Bloomberg

In Georgia, the Republican primary is jammed with seven candidates, pitting one wing of the party against the other — as is the case in the other states. Meanwhile, Democrats are unifying behind one candidate.

The infighting has raised Democratic expectations that they can keep control of the chamber and perhaps capture seats in Republican-leaning states. They did that in Indiana and Missouri in 2012 against inexperienced candidates backed by the small-government Tea Party branch of the party.

Kentucky, Wyoming and South Carolina should be easy wins for incumbent Republicans trying to regain the U.S. Senate majority in 2014.

Instead, the primary challenges they face threaten to drain resources, sharpen campaign trail rhetoric and build division for a party struggling to find its way after a demoralizing 2012 election.

In Georgia, the Republican primary is jammed with seven candidates, pitting one wing of the party against the other — as is the case in the other states. Meanwhile, Democrats are unifying behind one candidate.

The infighting has raised Democratic expectations that they can keep control of the chamber and perhaps capture seats in Republican-leaning states. They did that in Indiana and Missouri in 2012 against inexperienced candidates backed by the small-government Tea Party branch of the party.

Democrats control 54 Senate seats, compared with 46 held by their partisan adversaries. Republicans need a net gain of six seats to win the 100-member chamber, because Democratic Vice President Joe Biden also serves as president of the Senate, and Democrats are defending seven seats in states won by Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election: Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.

“It’s those primary challenges that shot down the Republican effort to win the Senate in the last two elections,” said David Redlawsk, a political science professor at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. “The Tea Party brought in what turned out to be very weak candidates.”

RNC Meeting

The intramural bickering is the environment that confronts Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus as he meets with state party leaders this week in Boston to discuss how best to turn around the party’s electoral course.

During the four-day meeting, RNC members will also hear privately from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, and Newt Gingrich, a former House speaker and a 2012 presidential candidate.

Georgia Race

The Republican field to replace retiring Senator Saxby Chambliss includes three U.S. House members — Paul Broun, Jack Kingston and Phil Gingrey.

Also running is former secretary of state Karen Handel, who resigned in 2012 as an executive at the Susan G. Komen foundation, a breast cancer charity, amid controversy over pulling funding from Planned Parenthood, which provides women’s health screenings and abortions.

Broun, trained as a physician, could face difficulties in a general election because of his comments about evolution.

“All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell,” he told an audience in October 2012. “It’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior. You see, there are a lot of scientific data that I found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I don’t believe that the Earth is but about 9,000 years old. I believe that it was created in six days as we know them.”

Run-Off Contest

A runoff election will be held in Georgia if none of the candidates wins more than 50 percent of the primary vote. That could drain additional Republican resources for the general election battle against Democrat Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn.

Earlier this year, Republican strategist Karl Rove helped form a new political action committee, the Conservative Victory Project, that plans to back candidates in primaries that it deems to be the most electable in a general election. The Georgia race is one that the group is monitoring, according to a person familiar with their strategy who wasn’t authorized to talk publicly about it.

via Republican Primaries Risk Repeat Misfires in Senate Majority Bid – Bloomberg.

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