According to a report from the New York Times' Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin, Republican lawmakers are already at each other's throats over Donald Trump re-election loss -- and the loss of control of the Senate -- with some GOP officials worried the internal war could spill out from behind closed doors and impact the 2022 midterm.
At issue are Republicans who are still loyal to the ousted Trump and those who want to put the past four years behind them after it culminated in the loss of the Senate and the White House to the Democrats.
The report notes that fans of the president who are still in office are working at ousting colleagues they feel were not loyal to Trump both after his election loss and then again after he was accused of inciting a riot at the Capitol that led to five deaths on January 6th.
According to the report, at the president's urging, pro-Trump lawmakers are attempting to undercut leadership Republicans including Sen. John Thune (SD) and Rep. Liz Cheney (WY) and may encourage primaries against the two among others.
"In Washington, Republicans are particularly concerned about a handful of extreme-right House members who could run for Senate in swing states, potentially tarnishing the party in some of the most politically important areas of the country," the report states. "The highest-profile tests of Mr. Trump's clout may come in two sparsely populated Western states, South Dakota and Wyoming, where the president has targeted a pair of G.O.P. leaders: John Thune, the second-ranking Senate Republican, and Liz Cheney, the third-ranking House Republican."
Those seats, along with others held by Republicans in the House who voted for impeachment have some Republican officials worried a bruising primary could leave them with a candidate who is too extreme for the district, allowing the seat to flip to the Democrats.
"If Ms. Cheney is deposed, it could encourage primary challenges against other Republicans who supported impeachment or censure, including more moderate lawmakers like Representatives Peter Meijer and Fred Upton of Michigan and John Katko of New York, whose districts could slip away from Republicans if they nominated hard-line Trump loyalists," the Times reports. "But in a sign that Mr. Trump can't expect to fully dictate party affairs, Mr. McCarthy has indicated that he opposes calls to remove her from leadership"
Additionally, Republicans are worried about overly ambitious newly elected far-right lawmakers who may decide to run for higher office seats held by their Republican colleagues.
"Privately, Republican officials are concerned about possible campaigns for higher office by some of the high-profile backbenchers in the House who have railed against the election results and propagated fringe conspiracy theories. Among those figures are Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Andy Biggs of Arizona. All three states have Senate seats and governorships up for election in 2022," the report states.
According to Scott Reed, the former chief political strategist for the Chamber of Commerce, "In 2022, we'll be faced with the Trump pitchfork crowd, and there will need to be an effort to beat them back," he said before adding, "Hopefully they'll create multicandidate races where their influence will be diluted."
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'Bitter infighting' over Trump has Republicans worried they'll lose even more seats in 2022: report
January 16, 2021