Senate Brief: 3 Weeks | GOP Recruitment Failures

Week of Monday, October 15.

IN BRIEF: Three weeks out from Election Day, the GOP’s sloppy recruiting is coming back to bite them. A cycle of lukewarm performances in must-win states has proven that even with a favorable Senate map, recruitment matters. 

This morning the Washington Post highlighted candidates in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan who have fallen far short of the party’s expectations. We agree.

  • But even beyond the states where Dems are running well ahead of their GOP opponents, candidates thought to be rock-solid have betrayed serious weaknesses.
  • In Missouri, the “GOP golden boy” Josh Hawley got off to a rough start by pissing off local Republicans with his entitlement and laziness. Now, he’s struggling to overcome a baked-in narrative about his burning desire to rid Americans of their health insurance.
  • In Indiana, “outsider” Mike Braun never really got off the ground. Just last month, Hoosier Republicans were marveling at Braun’s tepid performance. This month, we learned that his campaign is staying afloat mainly thanks to some million-dollar loans from friends.
  • And in Montana, “conservative rancher” Matt Rosendale proved to be all hat, no cattle — a Maryland transplant who thought he could pull one over on Montanans with the addition of a cowboy hat and folksy accent.

THREE TO WATCH:

  • Kevin Cramer is famous for his no-filter approach to politics. And last month, Inforum reports, Cramer’s comments “almost derailed” sensitive trade negotiations with Canada. With a trade war devastating North Dakota farmers, you’d think Cramer would tread more carefully.
  • Josh Hawley abruptly cancelled a campaign event with a pastor last week after the Kansas City Star asked him about the pastor’s homophobic comments. But Hawley’s excuse that the comments were news to him doesn’t quite pass muster, writes the Kansas City Star editorial board — Hawley has appeared with the pastor twice before.
  • Marsha Blackburn raised eyebrows last week at the Tennessee Senate debate when she answered nearly every question with “Hillary Clinton.” The Daily Beast writes, “is Marsha Blackburn running against Phil Bredesen or Hillary Clinton?” Don’t miss the highlight reel.

ONE FOR THE ROAD, FALL EDITION: “‘Tis Autumn,” by Nat King Cole (1949).

AND HAPPY MONDAY from American Bridge. Follow us at @AmeliaPenniman@EmmaBeckerman1