Incumbent Republican governors in multiple states are facing primary challenges for being viewed as insufficiently extreme in the GOP's era of Donald Trump.
"Months away from their primary contests in this 2022 midterm election, a number of Republican governors nationwide are under siege," The Daily Beast reported Thursday. "Of the 15 GOP chief executives who are running for re-election, eight are facing at least one primary challenger running a real campaign. That number stands in stark contrast to the number of credible primary threats faced by the eight Democratic governors running for re-election: zero. It’s an unprecedented phenomenon for the party, Republican operatives say."
The report noted most challenges were against Republicans who responded to the coronavirus pandemic and those viewed as insufficiently loyal to Trump.
"The Republican governors who didn’t reject public health measures wholesale—and even some who did—faced intense backlash from their right, which grew over the last two years into serious primary threats," The Beast reported."
Covid restrictions are driving the campaign against Idaho Gov. Brad Little by Lt. Gov.Janice McGeachin and against Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine by former Rep. Jim Renacci.
"That is a testament to Trump’s ironclad hold on the GOP for a fourth election cycle. Indeed, his endorsement means as much as ever, and his singular ability to turn conservative darlings into enemies overnight is the wildcard in every Republican primary nationwide," the report noted. "The primary motivation for Trump to target GOP incumbents himself isn’t COVID, however, but his endless sense of grievance—particularly around the 2020 election."
In Georgia, the campaign against far-right Gov. Brian Kemp by former Sen. David Perdue is driven by the governor's refusal to overturn the 2020 election. The report noted the infighting could help Democrat Stacey Abrams win the seat in November.
"But even if the GOP’s primary bumper crop yields no flipped seats, the political impact could still be significant. If governors in safely red states are replaced with even more conservative and even more Trump-aligned Republicans, the party’s center of gravity in statehouses around the country will lurch further right. And in order to beat their challengers, incumbents will likely have to shift that way themselves.," The Beast explained.
Read the full report.