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What They’re Saying: Loss of Wagner Deals “Blow To The Republican Party”

Politico: “Wagner is the latest of several Republican House members…who have nevertheless opted against challenging Democratic senators”

These headlines and stories tell you everything you need to know about Senate Republicans’ epic recruitment failures — and how toxic the GOP agenda will be on the campaign trail.

Washington Examiner: “Wagner’s surprise move, finalized over the weekend, is a blow to the Republican Party. She was the leadership’s prized Senate recruit in Missouri and viewed as the answer to McCaskill.”

Politico: “Wagner is the latest of several Republican House members from states President Donald Trump carried last year who have nevertheless opted against challenging Democratic senators in 2018. Former Rep. Ryan Zinke had been courted to challenge Montana Sen. Jon Tester, but opted to become Interior Secretary instead. Rep. Sean Duffy decided not to run in Wisconsin. And Rep. Pat Tiberi passed on challenging Sen. Sherrod Brown in Ohio, while Rep. Pat Meehan said no to a bid against Bob Casey in Pennsylvania.”

The Hill: “Missouri Republican Rep. Ann Wagner has decided not to run for Senate in 2018 in a decision that deals a huge blow to the party’s chances of flipping the vulnerable seat… the reversal is notable considering the climate where Democrats so far sport a strong lead on generic ballots and have posted stronger-than expected performances in red-leaning House special elections.”

Washington Post: “Rep. Ann Wagner has decided not to challenge Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri next year. Look for a lot of announcements like that — potentially strong Republican candidates deciding that it’s better to sit this election out and wait for a more favorable year.”

Scripps Media: “Wagner, who was the GOP’s prized recruit to go up against McCaskill, a Democrat, has told the Washington Examiner she’ll instead run for reelection to Congress.”

St. Louis Post Dispatch: “Wagner had sent clear signals that she was running for the Senate. She had hired a full-time staffer to get campaign efforts underway. Interns were brought on to help with that process, and Wagner and surrogates had begun lining up county chairs for her campaign, a source close to Wagner said.”

Associated Press: “Republican U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri on Monday said she’s not running for Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s seat in 2018, leaving the GOP field open for what likely will be a highly competitive race.”

Across the map, top-tier Republican Senate candidates are refusing to run:

  • Washington Post: Do Senate Republicans have a Trump recruiting problem?“Here’s another potential warning sign for Senate Republicans that Trump’s shadow could undermine their position of strength: Some top potential Senate candidates are turning down the opportunity to challenge vulnerable Senate Democrats.”
  • Associated Press: Senate GOP struggles to find challengers for some Democrats.“ Republicans…have struggled to recruit well-known GOP challengers in several states.”
  • Real Clear Politics: Slow Pace of 2018 Senate Bids a Growing GOP Concern. “Some Republicans are growing concerned about their recruitment progress, anxious that potential GOP challengers aren’t stepping up to run in top-tier races.”
  • Politico“Potential GOP candidates whom party leaders want to recruit are afraid of walking into a buzz saw”
  • New York Times: “The gloomy environment has hampered their recruiting in a number of Democratic-held Senate seats, alarming the Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.”
  • Washington Post Right Turn“Republican candidate recruitment has fizzled.”
  • National Journal“The lack of com­par­able re­cruit­ing is glar­ingly slow… “The en­vir­on­ment is really bad for Re­pub­lic­ans right now, and that will weigh heav­ily for any­one con­sid­er­ing any race,” said one seni­or Re­pub­lic­an strategist. “The one thing that Re­pub­lic­ans can con­trol is the qual­ity of their can­did­ates and qual­ity of cam­paigns be­ing run. Right now, neither are ad­equate.”

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DSCC Statement on Congresswoman Wagner’s Refusal To Run

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