Donald Trump-style candidates are already causing headaches for Republican leaders ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
Hardline conservatives in Trump's mold are launching campaigns for the U.S. Senate with the pending retirements of some GOP veterans, raising concerns among Republican leaders about their electability outside a party primary, reported the Washington Post.
"You have candidates that want to keep re-litigating the past instead of litigating what Democrats are doing now — that is a very problematic approach for Republicans," said Jessica Taylor, who handicaps Senate races for the Cook Political Report. "You're running against a unified Democratic control with history on your side for winning back seats, and they could very well squander that."
Democrats are hopeful they can strengthen their razor-thin Senate majority by running against extreme Republican nominees and an unpopular GOP platform.
"You give Democrats an opportunity when you run candidates that are that divisive and that contentious," said J.B. Poersch, the president of the Senate Majority PAC. "The fact that this stuff is breeding in these [Republican] states tells you that there's a danger of it occurring across several states."
Solidly pro-Trump candidates such as Alabama's Mo Brooks, Missouri's Eric Greitens and Ohio's Josh Mandel are bringing lots of baggage to their campaigns, and conservative broadcaster Hugh Hewitt echoed the concerns of many Republicans when he questioned Greitens about sexual assault allegations that forced him to resign as governor.
"They're going to read into the record witness 1, 2, 3, and 4 in front of the Missouri legislature accusing you of 'half-rape,' of taking photographs -- they're going to do that," Hewitt said during a contentious interview. "How are you going to survive that? How are you not going to be Todd Akin?"
"Thus far," he added, "you're not overwhelming me with your response."