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Primary Wrap: Kemp, Raffensperger survive Trump’s ire; Brooks makes Alabama U.S. Senate runoff
Texas Democratic U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar survives challenge from the left; George P. Bush gets blown out by Attorney General Ken Paxton
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
(CFP) — Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger have both survived Donald Trump’s crusade to drive them into political oblivion, winning renomination in Tuesday’s primary election.
Meanwhile, in Alabama, U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks – whom Trump initially endorsed but then unendorsed – made a runoff for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination, where he will face off against Katie Britt, a former top aide to retiring U.S. Senator Richard Shelby.
Trump had better luck in Arkansas, where his former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders won the Republican nomination for governor, and in the Georgia U.S. Senate race, where NFL football great Herschel Walker, who ran at Trump’s encouragement, easily won the Republican nomination to face Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock in the fall.
In Texas, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, the last pro-life Democrat left in the U.S. House, appears to have narrowly won his primary runoff over Jessica Cisneros, an immigration attorney who ran against him with support of major figures in the Democratic left.
With all of the precincts reporting, Cuellar had a 175-vote lead. He has declared victory, but Cisnersos is refusinng to concede.
The Bush family’s political dynasty also came to at least a temporary end Tuesday, as George P. Bush was badly beaten in a Republican primary runoff by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who won despite facing criminal charges and an active FBI investigation.
And in a Democratic primary between two U.S. House incumbents in Georgia. Lucy McBath easily dispatched colleague Carolyn Bourdeaux, who will leave Congress after a single term.
Republican legislators triggered the primary fight when they dismembered McBath’s former district in Atlanta’s northwest suburbs, prompting her to run against Bourdeaux in a district centered in Gwinnett County.
Both Kemp and Raffensperger ran afoul of Trump by refusing to go along with his efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s win in the Peach State in 2020.
Trump persuaded former U.S. Senator David Perdue to make the race against Kemp and pumped more than $2 million from his own campaign operation into the race. During the campaign, Perdue echoed Trump’s debunked claims about election fraud, and Trump campaigned on his behalf.
But Perdue’s campaign never caught fire, and, in the end, Kemp crushed him by 52 points.
Raffensperger, who as secretary of state oversaw the 2020 election, had a more difficult time, coming in at 53%. But that was enough to avoid a runoff against Trump’s endorsed candidate, U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, came in second at 33%.
The results in Alabama will present a predicament for Trump, who must now decide whether to sit out the race, wade into the race on behalf of Britt — who had strong ties to the Republican establishment he frequently castigates — or re-endorse Brooks.
Brooks was one of Trump’s strongest supporters in the House and led the charge against accepting the 2020 election results. But Trump withdrew his endorsement after Brooks urged Republicans to move on from 2020.
Given up for dead at that point, he surged in the last weeks of the race as the third-place candidate, Mike Durant, faded. But he’ll have to make up a 100,000-vote gap to defeat Britt in the June 21 runoff.
Cuellar narrowly kept his seat by defeating Cisneros, who made his opposition to legal abortion a centerpiece of her campaign, particularly after leak of a Supreme Court decision overturning Roe vs. Wade.
The House Democratic leadership stood behind Cuellar, despite intense pressure in the days before the primary from advocates of legal abortion.
His next battle will be to keep his seat in the fall against Republican Cassy Garcia, a former aide to U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. The Texas legislature made the district more Republican during redistricting, putting the seat on the list of GOP targets.
Bush, the son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, had served two terms as land commissioner before launching his run against Paxton, who is facing criminal charges for insider trading and is being investigated for bribery by the FBI, a probe started by allegations from his own subordinates.
Trump endorsed Paxton, although Bush, unlike some other members of his family, has embraced the former president. But in the end, he was crushed 2-to-1 by Paxton.
Perhaps the surprise of the night came in Alabama, where Republican Governor Kay Ivey — who consistently polls as one of the nation’s most popular governors — was kept to just 54% in a race where she was expected to roll to victory.
Lindy Blanchard, a former Trump ambassador who reportedly left the Senate race at his urging to run for governor, came in second at 19%.
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Tuesday’s Southern primaries will test Donald Trump’s continuing grip on Republican Party
Trump’s effort to get rid of Georgia Governor Brian Kemp likely to go up in flames, but Sarah Huckabee Sanders takes step toward Arkansas governor’s mansion
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
(CFP) — Donald Trump’s continuing grip on the Republican Party will be front and center in Tuesday’s Southern primaries, as GOP voters in Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas decide whether to punish some of Trump’s top nemeses and support candidates he anointed.
Trump appears likely to fail in his quest to defeat Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who angered him by refusing entreaties to overturn his 2020 election loss in the Peach State.
And in Alabama, the U.S. Senate candidate he endorsed and then unendorsed, U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, has risen from the dead and may snag a spot in the runoff, which could create a tricky predicament for the former president.
Meanwhile, Trump’s former press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is expected to be nominated for Arkansas governor Tuesday, and Herschel Walker, whom Trump recruited, is expected to win the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in Georgia.
Also, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who led the legal charge to overturn Trump’s 2020 loss, is in a tight primary runoff with Bush family scion George P. Bush, son of Trump nemesis Jeb Bush. Trump endorsed Paxton, who is seeking a third term while facing criminal charges and an FBI investigation.
Here is a look at the key Trump-involved races on Tuesday’s ballots:
Polls show Kemp will likely crush former U.S. Senator David Perdue, who was encouraged to challenge Kemp by Trump in his quest to take down the governor.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who likewise earned Trump’s wrath by refusing to intervene in the 2020 election, also faces a Trump-backed challenger, U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, in his quest for a second term. With four candidates in the race, a runoff is likely, which would give Trump an additional venue to try to take down Raffensperger.
In the U.S. Senate race, Walker – whom Trump encouraged to run and endorsed – appears likely to win the GOP primary, despite questions about his thin political resume and past personal behavior.
To the frustration of his Republican primary opponents, Walker has run a stealth campaign, skipping primary debates, avoiding the media, and making a few carefully crafted public appearances. While that lack of exposure seems to have served him well in the primary, the question will be whether it will work in the fall against Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, who possesses significant political skills.
Trump initially endorsed Brooks, one of his strongest supporters in the House who led the charge in disputing the 2020 election results. But after Brooks’s poll numbers sank and he urged Republicans to move on from 2020, Trump pulled the endorsement, which was seen at the time as the death knell for Brooks.
However, recent polling indicates a surge of support for Brooks, mostly at the expense of political newcomer Mike Durant, which could propel him into the June 21 runoff against Katie Britt, a former top aide to retiring U.S. Senator Richard Shelby.
Both Britt and Durant have been angling for Trump’s endorsement, to no avail. A Britt-vs-Brooks runoff would put him in the awkward position of either re-endorsing Brooks or supporting Britt, who is backed by Republican establishment figures of whom Trump has been critical. Or he could stay out of the race.
Republican Governor Kay Ivey is facing a gaggle of primary challengers, including Lindy Blanchard, a former Trump ambassador whom he reportedly encouraged to leave the Senate race challenge Ivey. Trump was reportedly miffed at the governor over cancellation of one of his rallies at a state park in Mobile, even though she did not make the decision.
However, Trump has not directly endorsed Blanchard, and Ivey – who consistently polls as one of the nation’s most popular governors – is expected to easily see off her primary foes.
Sanders is expected to win the governor’s primary after bigfooting both Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge out of the race. Neither could get any political oxygen after Trump went all in for Sanders and are now running instead for each other’s current offices.
Republican U.S. Senator John Boozman is facing three primary challengers, including Jake Bequette, a former Arkansas Razorbacks star and NFL player who has criticized Boozman as insufficiently supportive of the MAGA agenda. However, Trump endorsed Boozman, who has been highlighting the endorsement in his advertising.
In Texas, the Republican primary for attorney general has become a contentious battle between Paxton and Bush, pitting Trump’s endorsed champion against the state’s most famous and successful political family.
Unlike other members of his family, George P. Bush has embraced Trump and has been hitting Paxton on his sea of legal troubles – he’s facing criminal charges for insider trading and is being investigated for bribery by the FBI, a probe started by allegations from his own subordinates.
Still, it is worth remembering that Paxton won re-election in 2018 while facing those same criminal charges – and the Bush name may not have the magic it once did among conservatives in the Lone Star State.
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Texas Primary: Attorney General Ken Paxton forced into runoff with George P. Bush
Republican Governor Greg Abbott and Democrat Beto O’Rourke win big in governor primaries, setting up November clash
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
AUSTIN (CFP) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, facing criminal charges and an FBI investigation triggered by his own former aides, will now also have to survive a Republican runoff to keep his job after failing to capture a majority in Tuesday’s primary in his bid for a third term.
His opponent in the May runoff will be Land Commissioner George P. Bush, setting up a high-voltage contest between one of Donald Trump’s most vocal supporters and a scion of a Texas political family known for holding the former president in minimum high regard.
Tuesday’s primary also set up, as expected, a high-profile November match-up between Republican Governor Greg Abbott and Democrat Beto O’Rourke, both of whom easily won their party’s primaries.
Republican Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller also survived a primary challenge, defeating State Rep. James White with 59% of the vote, enough to avoid a runoff.
Miller had run into political headwinds after a series of battles with state legislators and the indictment of a former campaign consultant on bribery charges related to hemp licenses overseen by his office.
Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick also won renomination and will now face the winner of a Democratic runoff between Mike Collier, a former oil company executive from Georgetown who lost to Patrick by 5 points in 2018, and State Rep. Michelle Beckley from Carrollton.
Despite his legal and ethical problems, Paxton finished first among Republicans, buoyed by the endorsement of Donald Trump; Paxton had been a vocal supporter of Trump’s legal fights to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.
Paxton received 42% of the primary vote, compared to 22% for Bush, the son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and nephew of former Texas governor and President George W. Bush. Former state Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman came in third at 18%.
Tuesday’s primary ended, for the moment, the political career of U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, the controversial pro-Trump conservative voice who gave up his safe House seat to parachute into the attorney general’s race, where he got just 17% of the vote.
Paxton is under indictment for securities fraud and is also under investigation by the FBI after former top aides in his office accused him of bribery. They are also suing him after he fired them.
Trump, who has endorsed Paxton, has had a frosty relationship with the Bush family, particularly George P. Bush’s father, Jeb Bush, whom he defeated in the 2016 Republican presidential race.
However, George P. Bush has taken a different line from much of his family, casting himself as a Trump supporter in an effort to avoid fallout from his family name.
Democrats will also have a runoff for attorney general between Rochelle Garza, an immigration lawyer and former ACLU staff attorney from Brownsville, and former Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski.
Paxton’s primary opponents have argued that given the ethical clouds that surround him, his nomination would risk losing the seat to Democrats in November.
No Democrat has won a statewide office in Texas since 1994.
In the governor’s race, Abbott will be seeking a third term against O’Rourke, a former congressman from El Paso who lost a close race for U.S. Senate in 2018 and then made an early exit from the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination after failing to gain traction.
Abbott had been challenged from the right by former State Senator Don Huffines and Allen West, who resigned as state GOP chair to run for governor. Both had criticized Abbott for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Trump’s early endorsement of the governor took the wind out of their anti-establishment campaigns.
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Texas kicks off 2022 midterms with primaries featuring battles for attorney general, U.S. House
Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton and Democratic U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar trying to hang on amid FBI investigations
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
AUSTIN (CFP) — Voters in Texas kick off the 2022 midterm elections with the nation’s first party primary Tuesday, featuring a pitched battle among Republicans for attorney general, the last pro-life Democratic in the U.S. House trying to hang on to his South Texas seat, and two House Republicans facing primary challenges for not being sufficiently pro-Trump.
Voters will pick party nominees for statewide offices, including governor and lieutenant governor, as well as races for 38 U.S. House seats and the state legislature, which are being fought under newly drawn maps.
No U.S. Senate seat is up this year in the Lone Star State.
Polls for in-person voting open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m., in both the Central and Mountain time zones.
Republican Governor Greg Abbott is expected to easily dispatch seven primary challengers, on his way to a November match-up with Democratic former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a prohibitive favorite in the Democratic primary.
Seven Republicans holding statewide executive offices are running for re-election, with two facing fierce primary challenges to keep their posts.
Attorney General Ken Paxton – who is being investigated by the FBI and sued by former staffers in his office while facing a criminal trial for securities fraud – is facing three primary challengers, including Land Commissioner George P. Bush, the third generation of his famous family involved in Texas politics; U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, who gave up his House seat to take a last-minute plunge into the race; and Eva Guzman, who left the state Supreme Court to run against Paxton.
Pre-election polls indicated that Paxton, who has been endorsed by Donald Trump, will likely face a runoff against Bush, setting up a MAGA-vs.-Establishment free-for-all in the May 24 contest.
Five Democrats are waiting in the wings for the Republican primary winner, with hopes of winning the party’s first statewide race in 28 years, particularly if Paxton prevails.
Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is also facing a tight battle with two Republican challengers, amid ongoing battles with state legislators and the indictment of a campaign consultant on bribery charges related to hemp licenses overseen by his office.
State Rep. James White from Hillister, the only black Republican in the Texas House, has scooped up endorsements from 20 fellow lawmakers in his bid to unseat Miller. Also in the race is Carey Counsil, a rancher and real estate developer from Brenham.
In U.S. House District 28 in South Texas, moderate Democratic U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar from Laredo – the last pro-life Democrat left in the House – is facing Jessica Cisneros, a Laredo immigration lawyer who has the backing of key figures in the Democratic left, including Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and New York U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Cisneros came within 3,000 votes of unseating Cuellar in 2020. The district has since been redrawn, and Cuellar is also running under the shadow of a January FBI raid on his home and office, related to an investigation of donations connected to Azerbaijan. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Republicans in the Texas legislature made the majority-Hispanic district more Republican, and it will be a top GOP target in the fall. Joe Biden would have carried it by just four points.
In U.S. House District 3 in suburban Dallas, U.S. Rep. Van Taylor is facing four Republican challengers who are hitting him for voting to certify President Joe Biden’s Electoral College win and supporting a congressional investigation into the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol.
In U.S. House District 2 in suburban Houston, U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL who has been seen as a rising Republican star since his election in 2018, is also facing three primary challengers after criticizing Trump for his actions on January 6th and opposing efforts to thwart Biden’s victory.
Two other open U.S. House seats have triggered primary battles, one in each party, for seats where the primary will likely decide the November winner.
In heavily Republican District 8 in suburban Houston, where U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady is retiring, the primary race has turned into a proxy battle between the Republican establishment and hard-right MAGA luminaries in the House Freedom Caucus.
Morgan Luttrell, a Navy veteran and former adviser in the U.S. Department of Energy, is running with the backing of Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, former governor Rick Perry, and U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, one of Trump’s most vocal critics.
Luttrell served with Kinzinger in the military and has said he considers him a friend and “not a traitor to his country.” But pressed by his opponents over their relationship, Luttrell said he returned a campaign donation from Kinzinger and doesn’t “agree with anything Adam says politically anymore.”
On the other side, conservative political consultant and podcaster Christian Collins is backed by U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, U.S. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Madison Cawthorn and My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell.
In District 30 in Dallas, where veteran Democratic U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson is retiring, nine Democrats are competing for the nomination to represent the majority-minority district. Johnson endorsed State Rep. Jasmine Crockett as her successor.
In District 15, a seat that Democratic U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez gave up to seek re-election in a neighboring district, six Democrats and eight Republicans are vying for their party’s nomination.
The newly configured district, which stretches from San Antonio to the Rio Grande Valley, is expected to be a battleground between the two parties in the fall. Biden would have carried it by less than two points in 2020.
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Hot or not, in or out: Our forecast of 2022’s most interesting Southern political races
Trump’s sway will be key metric in outcome of midterm elections across region
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
(CFP) — 2022 has dawned, and with it a mid-term election year in which most Southern states will decide who gets to be their governor and congressional races across the region will play a key role in deciding which party controls Congress.
Of the eight Southern states with open races for governor this year, seven will feature incumbents seeking re-election, with the only open race in Arkansas, where former Donald Trump spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders appears on her way to victory.
Nine U.S. Senate seats will be up, with open races in Alabama and North Carolina and Georgia Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock battling for a full term after winning a special election runoff in 2020.
Here is a look at some of the hottest races, and likely biggest political stories, of the upcoming year.
The redrawing of new U.S. House maps after reapportionment has set up two Southern primary contests, one in each party, where incumbents will need to defeat a current colleague to stay in Congress.
In Georgia, Republican mapmakers have pitted Democratic U.S. Reps. Lucy McBath and Carolyn Bourdeaux against each other in Atlanta’s suburbs. McBath’s existing district in the northwest suburbs became too Republican for her to survive; Bourdeaux’s in the northeast suburbs actually became more Democratic with the addition of areas that had been in McBath’s orbit.
The two women — who campaigned with each other in 2018 and 2020 and differ little politically — will face off in what is likely to be an expensive primary. McBath has a stronger national profile and fundraising operation, but the district now centers on Gwinnett County, which Bourdeaux currently represents.
One caveat is that voting rights groups are suing the block the new map, which, if successful, could provide a wrinkle ahead of the March filing deadline.
In West Virginia, the loss of one of the state’s three U.S. House seats sets up a primary contest between Republican U.S. Reps. David McKinley and Alex Mooney for a new district that includes the northern half of the state.
However, this race will have more of an ideological flavor than the primary in Georgia. Mooney, a former Washington lobbyist who moved to the state in 2014 from Maryland to run for Congress, is a member of the ultra-conservative, anti-establishment Freedom Caucus. McKinley, a seventh-generation West Virginian and former state party chair, is more aligned with the Republican Party’s establishment wing.
Expect to hear a great deal in this race about McKinley’s vote in favor of establishing a bipartisan commission to investigation the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, which Mooney opposed.
The Power of Trump
The former president has already been active in offering endorsements and pursuing revenge, particularly against Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for refusing to indulge his claims of widespread fraud in the state’s 2020 vote.
Trump recruited former U.S. Senator David Perdue to run against Kemp, setting off what is likely to be a bare-knuckled brawl in the Republican primary ahead of a stiff challenge from Democrat Stacey Abrams. He also endorsed U.S. Rep. Jody Hice’s bid to unseat Raffensperger.
And in one of the strangest early developments of the 2020 campaign, Trump also reportedly encouraged his former ambassador to Slovenia, Lindy Blanchard, to drop out of the U.S. Senate race to run instead against the very popular Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, in a fit of pique over cancellation of a July 4th Trump rally (a decision Ivey did not actually make.)
Trump has also waded into the attorney general’s race in Texas with an endorsement of incumbent Ken Paxton, who has drawn a gaggle of primary challengers (including Bush family scion George P. Bush and stalwart pro-Trump U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert) after a criminal indictment and FBI bribery investigation.
Taking down Ivey would seem a long shot at this point; Kemp is holding his own against Perdue in early polls; and Paxton race seems likely to be headed to an unpredictable runoff in March. So it remains to be seen whether the Trump endorsement machine will produce results in 2022.
Trump has also endorsed in three U.S. Senate races. In Georgia, his nod put Herschel Walker on a glide path to the Republican nomination, but his chosen candidates in Alabama (U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks) and North Carolina (U.S. Rep. Ted Budd) are facing tough primary battles against more establishment candidates.
Adding to the MAGA Squad
Trump’s election has led to the rise of a core group of MAGA-philes in the House – social media savvy, outspoken, and willing to pounce on fellow Republicans who display the slightest scrap of bipartisanship. Among this group are Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene, Florida’s Matt Gaetz, the aforementioned Gohmert and Brooks, and North Carolina’s Madison Cawthorn.
In 2022, they are hoping to add to their numbers by offering endorsements and fundraising help to like-minded candidates across the South and around the country, which will put them in position to be power brokers if Republicans take control of the House (a prospect likely to give House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy heartburn.)
Some of these candidates are little known and will face tough climbs against incumbent Republicans. But it is worth noting that both Greene and Cawthorn followed this same playbook successfully in 2020, going from unknowns to the halls of Congress with lightning speed.
Southern Black Woman in the U.S. Senate?
No black woman has ever been elected to represent a Southern state in the Senate. This year, Democrats are poised to pick two black women as their Senate nominees – U.S. Rep. Val Demings in Florida and Cheri Beasley in North Carolina.
Demings, the former police chief of Orlando who served on the first House impeachment committee that investigated Trump, faces an uphill climb against Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, particularly with his strong core of support among Hispanic voters in South Florida. But with her national profile, she has been posting strong fundraising numbers that could make the race competitive.
Beasley, the former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, may have better prospects in running for an open seat in a race where Republicans are slogging through a multi-candidate race in which Trump has intervened in favor of Budd.
A victory by either in November will make history.
Palmetto State “RINOs”
The most serious insult that can be hurled in Republican politics these days is to call someone a RINO – a Republican in Name Only.
Two incumbent U.S. House members in South Carolina have been branded with the RINO label by their critics – Nancy Mace in the Lowcountry and Tom Rice in the Pee Dee – and are each facing multiple challengers in their respective Republican primaries.
Mace was among the few Republican House members to offer criticism of Trump after the January 6th Capitol attack, although she did not vote to impeach him. Rice did, which got him censured by the state’s Republican Party, and he compounded his sin among the MAGA fervency by supporting the bipartisan commission to investigate the attacks.
As a result, Mace has four GOP challengers; Rice has 12. Trump has encouraged their challengers but has yet to announce a favorite. His blessing may be good enough to earn a runoff slot against the incumbent.
Thinking Outside The Box
After Warnock won a January special U.S. Senate election runoff in Georgia, he immediately become the Republicans’ primary 2022 target. Yet, no sitting U.S. House member ventured to take him on, nor did the three Republicans who ran against him in 2020.
Enter Herschel Walker, University of Georgia football hero and NFL standout. Though he carries significant personal baggage and has not a whiff of political experience, he does have the one accessory every Republican candidate wants in 2022 – Trump’s blessing.
Trump’s endorsement didn’t clear the primary field, but it did get Republican Senate leaders in Washgington behind Walker’s candidacy – taking a significant leap of faith in a race against a charismatic Democrat with Obama-level political skills.
Is this a gamble that will pay off or blow up? The answer may decide control of the Senate.
Beto O’Crist for Governor
The good people of Texas told Beto O’Rourke that they didn’t want him to be their senator in 2018, even after he spent $80 million trying to persuade them otherwise. The good people of Iowa and New Hampshire told him they didn’t want him to be their president in 2020, without nearly as much money going down the drain.
But not willing to take no and no for an answer, O’Rourke is back again, running this time for governor against incumbent Republican Greg Abbott. Only this time, he’s running in the gun-loving Lone Star State after telling a Democratic presidential debate audience that he was in favor of confiscating their assault weapons.
But lest you think Beto is the region’s most resolute embracer of questionable causes, he pales in comparison to Florida’s well-tanned political chameleon Charlie Crist, who is running for governor again this year after losing two statewide races in the past eight years and metamorphosing from a conservative Republican into an independent and then into a liberal Democrat.
Which begs the question: What part of “no” don’t you understand?