Former President Donald Trump has been a major recruitment tool to get Republicans running for office and through GOP primaries. There's just one problem, his candidates might be celebrities, but they're not ones that voters appear to care for.
Axios wrote about the GOP dilemma Sunday, explaining that candidates like NFL star Herschel Walker in Georgia, Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, best-selling author J.D. Vance in Ohio and now venture capitalist Blake Masters in Arizona, are eliminating the Republican likelihood of taking back the U.S. Senate.
The top senate races should have delivered the Republican Party's opportunity to take over the U.S. Senate, but the public simply isn't behind them for various different reasons. When Trump appeared in Pennsylvania before the primary elections in the spring, he celebrated Oz by saying that the reason he was going to win was that he was on television. Presumably, the same logic was applied to Vance because he was a best-selling author.
On Sunday, even Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee chief Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) implied that the GOP candidates may not be his first choice, but they're what the Republican Party primary voters cast their ballot for.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told Bret Baier with the Fox network that his expectations of winning have evolved from a blowout to a "close" senate.
"I think when this Senate race smoke clears, we’re likely to have a very, very close Senate still, with us up slightly or the Democrats up slightly," he said.
Speaking to Punchbowl news in March, McConnell compared the GOP Senate candidates as similar to the tea party candidates of 2011 and 2012.
"How do you screw this up?" McConnell asked rhetorically. "I'm gonna mention four names, some of which you may actually remember: Christine O'Donnell, Sharron Angle, Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock."
Video of O'Donnell surfaced showing her admitting that she "dabbled into witchcraft."
"I never joined a coven. But I did, I did. I dabbled into witchcraft. I hung around people who were doing these things. I'm not making this stuff up. I know what they told me they do," she explained on Politically Incorrect, a television show from the 1990s and early 2000s. "One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar, and I didn't know it. I mean, there's a little blood there and stuff like that. We went to a movie and then had a midnight picnic on a satanic altar."
Todd Akin infamously announced that a woman couldn't get pregnant from a rape because "the body just shuts that whole thing down."
Sharron Angle infamously advocated for “Second Amendment remedies,” attacked the unemployed as “spoiled,” and told a group of Latino students that they look Asian to her, recalled Amanda Marcotte in 2010.
Richard Mourdock, like Akin, got stuck talking about how there shouldn't be exceptions for rape in abortion cases, a concept that has become mainstream in the Republican Party in 2022. According to Mourdock, however, when a woman is impregnated during a rape “it’s something God intended.”
A number of states are moving to ban abortion even the cases of rape, incest and the life and health of the person carrying the fetus. It has forced several to drive or fly to other states out of desperation because the fetus inside their body has died or is dying but can't be removed until she is dying.
For example, over the weekend, Indiana passed a near ban on abortion in the state, which will force women to carry a dying or dead fetus. Republican Rep. John Jacob made it clear that the inside of a woman's body doesn't belong to them. Such issues are effectively the same issue that didn't work for the GOP for Mourdock or Akin, yet ten years later, they're back and voters still don't approve.
McConnell, Axios said, generally prefers candidates who stay on message and spout the party line. That isn't what gets Republican voters to the polls in a primary anymore, however.