The political demise of flawed incumbent North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn was tough to watch. The guy has had a rough life and many challenges, yet ruined his career in Congress with some self-inflicted wounds. There are other candidates portraying themselves as MAGA who can’t use the cover of being pro-Trump to mask serious problems with their candidacy.
The U.S. House of Representatives is on the cusp of a Republican takeover. History is on the side of Republicans with both President’s Donald J. Trump and Obama suffering massive losses in the first midterms. The polling for President Biden is in the toilet with Rasmussen having him underwater by 18 points. Generic ballots, that usually trend for Democrats, are pointing to a Republican sweep. The American people are likely to look at high inflation numbers and remember the old Clinton adage ‘It is the Economy Stupid’ while voting against the incumbent party in Washington – the Democratic Party. With everything pointed towards a likely Republican takeover of the House, and possibly the Senate, why nominate any flawed candidates who might put that majority in danger?
A sad development in politics is that some bitter former Republicans blinded by hate for former President Trump are using the Cawthorn meltdown, and other troublesome candidates, to deny Republicans a majority in the House. They are angry, bitter people who have betrayed their lifelong work for the Republican Party because of a blinding hatred of Trump. Right now, things look great for Republicans, yet if they nominate bad candidates, that likely victory is in doubt and the Never Trumpers will pounce. In the Senate, the poster child for a Never Trump former Republican cynically campaigning for Senate to aid the Democratic Party is failed presidential candidate Evan McMullin who is running to unseat Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).
But some trouble for a potential Republican take-over of the House may come from within the MAGA movement by candidates who have adopted the title Ultra or Mega MAGA yet are flawed. There is a race in Florida that may be instructive in why promoting self-proclaimed MAGA candidates that have not been fully vetted may cause some problems for Republicans in the long term. Anna Paulina Luna who is running for Congress in Florida’s 13th district may be one of them. Luna has raised the most cash and was endorsed by President Trump back in September of last year putting her in a good position to win the primary later this year.
As this candidate has come under the media’s microscope, some potential problems have emerged. The Central Florida Post reported that “Anna Paulina Luna, whose real last name is Mayerhofer, has a clear and documented history of telling tall tales or just flat out lying. She has even gone as far as to claim the longtime Trump confidante and advisor Roger Stone, who first encouraged Donald Trump to run for President of the United States in the 1980’s, tried to poison her.” These allegations may prove not to be true, but if true they show that the Republican Party could put up a flawed candidate that may cost them a majority in the House.
The big picture problem is that well-funded candidates like Luna might crash and burn when they go head-to-head with a Democrat in a general election. Even with unproven allegations, it is likely that Democrats will seize on a potential flaw to take down the Republican. This is a cycle where Republicans need to nominate ‘Boy Scout’ and ‘Girl Scout’ candidates who don’t have any dirty laundry to air. Not to pick on Luna, she may end up winning the primary and the general election, yet why would Republicans take any risk in this, or other House races, when there are a number of other candidates who would likely sail to victory and restore a Republican to the House Speaker’s desk.
Party switcher Charlie Crist (D-FL) is now in the Florida 13 seat, yet it formerly being held by Republican David Jolly (yet another party switcher) proving that the seat is in play and will be one to watch this November. It will not be in play if Republicans nominate a candidate who can’t win. Republicans in North Carolina just made the tough decision to toss out incumbent Rep. Cawthorn because he was likely to give away a solid Republican seat and lose in a general election. Let’s see if the same happens in other races throughout the country.
It is time for Republicans to get smart and strategic when picking candidates to put up against a Democratic Party facing historic headwinds and an economy in the dumpster.