Senate

Republicans Worry About The “Shitshow” U.S. Senate Primaries

According to a new report from The Hill, “Republican frustrations are growing as multiple GOP Senate primaries have descended into infighting, threatening the party’s chances of retaking the upper chamber in November.

In Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, and North Carolina, Republican operatives believe that the chaotic and divisive races — where candidates have wasted tens of millions of dollars in attack ads — will give Democrats a greater advantage in the general election. 

  • In Pennsylvania, out-of-staters Mehmet Oz and David McCormick have helped to ensure that Republicans have already spent more than $40 million clowning each other with (largely negative) ad spending.
  • In Ohio, personal attacks are flying amongst Josh Mandel, Mike Gibbons, J.D. Vance, and Jane Timken — and nearly led to a fistfight at a recent candidate forum. 
  • In Missouri, the latest Eric Greitens scandal has caused candidates to call for his withdrawal from the race. Meanwhile, Billy Long has accused Vicky Hartzler of cozying up to Mitch McConnell and hammered Eric Schmitt for his shady dealings with China. Hartzler, in turn, says Long is just upset because he’s failed to accomplish anything during his decade in office.
  • In North Carolina, outside groups are spending millions in an effort to prop up Ted Budd and slam his primary opponent Pat McCrory. McCrory has countered with his own attack ads hitting Budd for his Pro-Putin comments following the invasion of Ukraine. 

The Hill: GOP headaches grow as infighting roils Senate primaries

By: Julia Manchester | March 29, 2022

Key Points

  • “Republican frustrations are growing as multiple GOP Senate primaries have descended into infighting, threatening the party’s chances of retaking the upper chamber in November.”
  • “In recent weeks, Senate primaries in Missouri and Ohio have turned volatile. In Missouri, the ex-wife of Senate candidate Eric Greitens (R) has accused him of abusing her and their children during the marriage. Multiple GOP candidates running in that race have since called on Greitens, the state’s former governor, to drop out.”
  • “Meanwhile, in Ohio, a candidate forum nearly came to blows when former state Treasurer Josh Mandel and businessman Mike Gibbons got into each other’s faces over work experience. Other states like Pennsylvania are also experiencing rocky primaries.”
  • “The turbulence has raised concerns that the winners of these primaries could come out bruised, giving Democrats an advantage in the general election. ‘Who knows what the shitshow this week will be,’ said one Ohio-based Republican strategist, referring to the state’s Senate primary.”
  • “The fallout in that race comes after Gibbons accused Mandel of ‘never having worked in the private sector.’ That led Mandel to walk over to a standing Gibbons and shout in his face: ‘Two tours in Iraq, don’t tell me I haven’t worked!’”
  • “Meanwhile, former Ohio GOP Chair Jane Timken has accused Gibbons of sexism, citing comments in which he said she had ‘barely worked’ before she became chair of the Stark County Republican Party.”
  • “Hartzler, the only woman running in the [Missouri] primary, called on Greitens to drop out and seek ‘immediate professional help’ in a statement last week. She has already gone on the offensive against Greitens, with her first ad of the race including a reference to 2018 allegations that he had an affair with his hairdresser.”
  • “Depending on whether Greitens drops out, the allegations stand to have ramifications not only in Missouri but across the country.” 
  • “‘It’s not just a Missouri problem, it’s a national problem because if Greitens were to win, the nominee in Ohio, the nominee in Arizona, the nominee in Pennsylvania for Republicans is going to have answer a lot of questions about him,’ the GOP strategist said. ‘That’s the real danger.’” 
  • “Regardless, Democrats say the contentious primaries are playing into their hands, providing a contrasting image going into the general election.”
  • “‘What we have is Democratic candidates and incumbents who are talking to voters about lowering costs, about the issues that voters care about, while the Republican side is having this slug fest,’ one Democratic strategist told The Hill. ‘The longer this infighting happens, the more bruised their candidates will be on the other side.’”

Read the full report here

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