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Tipsheet

New Senate GOP Campaign Czar: We're Going to Get More Involved in Elections

Tom Williams, Pool via AP

Suffice it to say that the 2022 midterms were a disaster for the Republican Party. Ignore the noise from the establishment that inhabits the DC Beltway—this was a missed opportunity of epic proportions. I'm not complaining because I'm a die-hard New York Giants fan, but the Republican Party's whiff this cycle was almost as bad as Scott Norwood's "wide right" kick in Super Bowl XXV. Everything was there for Republicans to win, but they outright missed the window to retake the Senate and establish a sizeable majority in the House, given the high inflation, struggling economy, and Americans' general disgust with the country's direction. The GOP put many things on autopilot, costing them down the stretch. We barely won the majority in the House, to the point where there could be shenanigans when the vote comes to pick the next Speaker of the House.

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The appalling underperformance from the GOP in a year where the sitting president and his party are mostly viewed as to blame for the economic woes is a segue to make the argument about "candidate quality," something that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) alluded to in his defeatist observations in August. I don't care for that debate since the candidates who are pegged as awful won their primaries. You must respect the people and their votes. What was unacceptable was the torpid response from the national party in helping their candidates. 

The National Senatorial Campaign Committee under the tenure of Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) was a disaster. How he allocated the fundraising hauls has raised eyebrows for months, including those of McConnell, with the Florida Republican seemingly using the NRSC position to boost his profile more than the Republican Party. As the man tasked with retaking the Senate, Scott failed—not only did the Democrats retain control, but they gained a seat. 

The new chair, Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), promises to get to business and do whatever it takes to win. It is the exact opposite of Scott's philosophy, who put things under cruise control, vacationing on a luxury yacht in Italy during crucial summer weeks as the sprint to the finish line begins after Labor Day. Yet, I can see how the NRSC becoming more hands-on in the primaries could receive a lukewarm reception from conservative base voters, especially if the NRSC is pushing soft, Mitt Romney-like candidates. On the other side, Daines' relationship with Trump could give the establishment wing heartburn (via Fox News):

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Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, the incoming chair of the Senate Republicans’ campaign committee, says he will do "whatever it takes to make sure we have a Republican majority" as he aims to win back control of the chamber in the 2024 election cycle. 

That appears to include having the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) get involved in contested GOP primaries, which would mark a significant change from his predecessor at the committee. 

"I will tell you this. If I have heard one thing since the last election, a little over a month ago, Republicans are sick of losing, and we're gonna do whatever it takes to win. We want to make sure we have candidates that can win general elections," Daines replied when asked if the NRSC would dip into Republican primary races. 

"There's too much at stake in the '24 election. This is for the future of Supreme Court, the circuit courts, tax cuts, spending, border policies. We're gonna do whatever it takes to make sure we have a Republican majority," Daines emphasized in an exclusive interview with Fox News. 

[…] 

Daines told Fox News that, "it's no secret I have a good relationship with President Trump. As the chairman of the NRSC, my singular focus will be to elect Republicans to the Senate. I'll be working with President Trump and many Republican leaders to do that." And Daines highlighted that Trump "helped our party raise a lot of money. He energized our base." 

It's part of the ironies of politics: GOP voters are appalled at the losses and want the national committees to do more, which they should, but frequently don't like the candidates they endorse in the primaries. Let's pray that things work out and that Daines rights the ship. On its face, the 2024 Senate map is a political killing field for Democrats. If the Republican Party cannot retake the majority in the Senate next year, it should consider retiring from the business. No more excuses—win some damn elections.

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