Thursday, May 30, 2024

McConnell Faces GOP Revolt over Refusal to Back MAGA Candidates

'The very people responsible for losing the Senate last cycle' are 'trash-talking our Republican candidates... '

(Joshua Paladino, Headline USA) Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has closed off the Republican Party’s coffers from two America-First Senate candidates, J.D. Vance of Ohio and Blake Masters of Arizona.

The influential establishment Senate Leadership Fund announced that it has cut the scheduled campaign advertisements for Masters in half—from a $16 million ad campaign that would begin in late September to an $8 million ad campaign that will begin in October, The Federalist reported.

In Arizona, incumbent Democrat Mark Kelly has a financial advantage.

SLF President Steven Law refrained from criticizing Masters and instead defended the change as a strategic decision to “move additional resources to other offensive opportunities that have become increasingly competitive.”

“We think the fundamentals of this election strongly favor Republicans, we see multiple paths to winning the majority, and we are going to invest heavily and strategically to achieve that goal,” Law said.

In Ohio, McConnell financially distanced himself from Vance right after the primary, the Washington Post reported.

After Vance won the primary, McConnell called his major financier, Peter Thiel, and asked him to continue funding Vance through the general election.

Anonymous sources said that Thiel refused the request, but McConnell apparently believes that he will pick up the tab rather than watch his preferred candidates sink. Thiel also backed Masters, so McConnell may be attempting the same withdrawal strategy in Arizona.

America-First Republicans, however, have argued that McConnell does not want to support Masters or Vance—not because he wants Thiel to cover their campaigns—but because he does not want the anti-establishment candidates to challenge his hold on the Senate.

Masters and Vance represent a generational and ideological shift in the Republican Party toward social conservatism, nationalism, protectionism and foreign policy restraint. Their leadership could subvert McConnell’s liberal-internationalist reign.

National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Rick Scott, R-Fla., said that he has a  “strategic disagreement” with McConnell, according to The Hill.

Scott supports Masters and Vance, arguing that “the very people responsible for losing the Senate last cycle” are “trash-talking our Republican candidates.”

“If you want to talk about the need to raise more money to promote our candidates versus the Democrats’ terrible candidates, I agree. If you want to trash-talk our candidates to help the Democrats, pipe down,” Scott wrote in the Washington Examiner.

Scott’s reference was to McConnell’s underhanded comment about the quality of the Republican Party’s Senate candidates.

“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate,” McConnell said last month at an event in Kentucky. “Senate races are just different. They’re statewide, candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.”

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