Senate Brief: GOP Gone Wild

Week of Monday, May 21

IN BRIEF: Dysfunction reigns supreme across Republican Senate campaigns. From lackluster performances by party leadership’s hand-picked candidates to infighting still plaguing GOP ranks, the prospect of a strong Senate map isn’t looking so assured for national Republicans.

A week after the Pennsylvania Senate primary, GOP candidate Rep. Lou Barletta’s campaign came under fire – from fellow Republicans –  as “lackadaisical” and “disorganized.”

According to the Washington Examiner, senior Republicans raised red flags about Barletta, even after he won the GOP primary with the last minute addition of a robocall from President Trump.
One Republican strategist said of Barletta: “the sense is, nobody knows what the fuck he’s doing.”

Meanwhile, Nevada’s Dean Heller just can’t seem to do anything right.

Reporting from the Nevada Independent found that in spite of bragging about the bacon he’d bring home to Nevada as chairman of two Senate subcommittees, Heller never convened a single […]

Read more after the jump.

QUICK CLIP: Nicholson & Vukmir Scandals Overshadow Wisconsin GOP Convention

The Republican Party of Wisconsin held their annual convention this weekend, ostensibly to bestow a candidate for U.S. Senate with the party’s endorsement. But what should have been a moment for party unity turned nasty under the shadow of scandals plaguing the two Senate frontrunners.

Milwaukee’s WITI was on the scene as Leah Vukmir won the party’s endorsement with 72% of the vote. But Vukmir’s victory was short lived as the controversy over a campaign release in which she compared U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin to a terrorist persisted. Meanwhile, Kevin Nicholson’s shameful attacks on veterans took the air out of his campaign’s feigned apathy about his convention defeat.

Rather than heading into the remainder of the primary united, Wisconsin Republicans will be increasingly forced to reckon with an uninspiring slate of Senate candidates. U.S. Senator Ron Johnson said it best: “I’m just pointing out the history — where we’ve had a knock-down drag-out primary, […]

Read more after the jump.

Senate Brief: Wisconsin Republicans’ Race to the Bottom Reaches New Lows

Week of Monday, May 14

IN BRIEF: What the hell is going on in Wisconsin? Leah Vukmir officially received her party’s endorsement for U.S. Senate this weekend at the Wisconsin Republican Convention, but this primary is far from over — and both candidates are increasingly embroiled in controversies of their own making.

Losing the party’s endorsement must have been the cherry on top of a horrible week for Kevin Nicholson.

It was a landslide: Vukmir took the convention by 72%.
Grassroots Wisconsin Republicans rallied behind Vukmir, while “Nicholson remains powered by millions of dollars in spending from groups and individuals outside Wisconsin.”

Nicholson continues to face backlash on all sides after nearly two weeks of attacks against veterans, during which he’s refused to back down on questioning the “cognitive thought process” of veterans who vote for Democrats.

Here’s a handy highlight reel of Nicholson’s anti-veterans media […]

Read more after the jump.

🚮: Leah Vukmir Stands by News Release Picturing Tammy Baldwin As Member of “Team Terrorists”

“After Kevin Nicholson’s week of attacking veterans, Leah Vukmir apparently decided she needed to step up her game,” said American Bridge spokesperson Amelia Penniman. “Vukmir’s outrageous release labeling Tammy Baldwin a member of ‘Team Terrorists’ has firmly solidified the Wisconsin Republican Senate primary as a race to the bottom. Both candidates are in a tailspin of their own making, and even Wisconsin’s Republican leaders are taking notice.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Leah Vukmir stands by news release picturing Tammy Baldwin as member of ‘Team Terrorists’
By Bill Glauber | May 10, 2018

“Leah Vukmir isn’t backing down from a news release issued this week by her campaign that labeled Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin as a member of ‘Team Terrorists.’”
“The news release included pictures of Vukmir and CIA nominee Gina Haspel as members of ‘Team America’ while Baldwin was labeled a member of ‘Team Terrorists.’ Baldwin’s photo was paired with an image of Khalid […]

Read more after the jump.

Senate Brief: GOP Primary Candidates Are Taking Off The Gloves Ahead of May’s Primaries

Week of Monday, April 30

IN BRIEF:  As the first GOP Senate primaries and conventions approach, Republican candidates are taking off the gloves and irreparably damaging their opponents.

In West Virginia, Republican candidates are tearing each other down, with Attorney General Patrick Morrisey attacking Rep. Evan Jenkins for switching parties, while Jenkins is hammering Morrisey as a New Jersey carpetbagger.

But don’t forget: before this primary, Morrisey, Jenkins, and disgraced coal baron Don Blankenship were thick as thieves, supporting one another’s causes.

In Wisconsin, a debate between Kevin Nicholson and state Sen. Leah Vukmir “turned caustic” as Vukmir questioned Nicholson’s conservative credentials and demanded an apology from Nicholson for his attacks against her. “We know more about Kevin’s track record as a Democrat than we do about his track record as a Republican,” Vukmir said.

This debate was hosted by American for Prosperity, so was supposed to be a risk-free zone for the candidates: […]

Read more after the jump.

QUICK CLIP: GOP #WISEN Candidates Are “Trading Barbs” As “Hardly Any Voters Know Who They Are”

After a Marquette University poll of Wisconsin’s Republican U.S. Senate primary came out yesterday on Kevin Nicholson and Leah Vukmir showing that “more than 80% of voters are unable to provide a favorability rating for either candidate,” the gloves are coming off in this race-to-the bottom.

New audio of Leah Vukmir has emerged, in which she trashes Nicholson — despite signing a “Unity Pledge” earlier in the campaign. Vukmir called Nicholson a “DC candidate” which led Nicholson’s campaign to fight back and call Vukmir a “consummate insider.”

Watch the full clip here.

Read more after the jump.