GOP Senate Primaries Are Getting Nasty and Crowded

Two stories out this morning expose how weak Republican Senate candidate recruitment efforts are this cycle. Expensive, damaging primaries are starting to look inevitable as top-tier politicians stay on the sidelines and second-string candidates crowd the field.

Roll Call reports that devastating primary fights may be ahead in three must-win states for Senate Republicans as state attorneys general are weighing Senate bids.

  • In West Virginia, “the sparring is out in the open” with Rep. Evan Jenkins and A.G. Patrick Morrisey attacking each other almost daily.
  • In Missouri, “Some Republicans in Missouri are pushing Attorney General Josh Hawley to run for Senate” against GOP Rep. Ann Wagner, amid hand-wringing that Wagner’s long career as a D.C. insider may be a serious liability.
  • And in Indiana, Attorney General Curtis Hill is considering joining the nasty fray between Rep. Todd Rokita and Rep. Luke Messer. Hill, “who’s been peppering his Lincoln Day Dinner speeches with references to federal issues” would just add fuel to a dumpster fire that’s been burning brightly for months.

…Speaking of the GOP’s mess in Indiana, The Hill reports that in Indiana the “clash” between Reps. Messer and Rokita “could get nasty, “judging by the jousting between the two lawmakers before they have even entered the race.”

  • Indiana Republicans are nervous about how damaging this primary will be: “This seems to be heading toward an opposition air war.”
  • Rokita blasted Messer in an email to supporters last month, accusing the congressman of planting the “nasty, false attacks.”
  • The Associated Press reported that an Indiana city has paid Messer’s wife more than half a million dollars for consulting. Rokita’s camp has raised questions about whether the report could also bring up residency concerns for Messer, since his wife initially listed a Virginia address as her home.

Read the Hill’s devastating deep dive into the nasty Indiana GOP primary here.