ICYMI: GOP civil war spreads to Georgia runoff [POLITICO]


POLITICO: GOP civil war spreads to Georgia runoff
Republican factions squabble over strategy and whether Trump’s latest campaign will help or hurt Walker.
By Natalie Allison and Brittany Gibson
November 17, 2022

Key Points:

  • A GOP civil war is underway, and Republicans in Georgia are caught in the middle of the skirmish.
  • Dueling Republican factions are openly competing for relevance as a Dec. 6 Senate runoff approaches, arguing about which wing of the party is best positioned to help Herschel Walker.
  • Senate Republican infighting isn’t the only dispute affecting the Peach State race. Georgia GOP activists are worried about the potential effect of Donald Trump launching his 2024 run on Tuesday, an announcement that local party leaders fear could depress turnout among moderate Republicans — votes that Walker needs.
  • Despite even some of Trump’s own allies urging him to delay an announcement until after the runoff election, Trump declined to wait.
  • The hostility has been out in the open in recent days… A long-simmering, mostly private tension between [McConnell and Scott] and their allies came to a head this week as their respective political consultants resorted to publicly insulting each other, particularly over how each was approaching the upcoming Georgia election.
  • Georgia voters are familiar with national Republican infighting, having endured two months of GOP squabbling as Trump and top conservative voices cast doubt on the integrity of the 2020 election and debated whether the January 2021 runoff would be fair.
  • As a result, a critical mass of the Republican base sat out the runoff elections that decided control of the Senate last cycle, ultimately placing the narrow majority in Democrats’ hands. A similar cloud over the state’s upcoming runoff could threaten GOP turnout, Republican officials fear, a scenario that would cost the GOP the seat again.
  • “I think it’s going to hurt Walker’s chances,” Shepherd said of Trump’s campaign launch. “I really wish that he had waited until after this runoff was over before announcing. There’s really no reason he had to get out this early, especially with the focus being on Georgia.”
  • David Bergstein, a DSCC spokesperson who posted a photo of himself on Twitter Tuesday eating a bag of popcorn and laughing while his computer was open to a story about Scott challenging McConnell, described the Georgia runoff as “the latest front in Senate Republicans’ intra-party feud.”
  • “Their attention, resources and strategy are all wrapped up in their own petty, nasty infighting — and while they’re turning on each other, we’re focused on reaching every voter we need to win,” Bergstein said in a statement to POLITICO.
  • Kaaryn Walker, a Republican consultant in Atlanta and founder of Black Conservatives for Truth, said the focus ahead of the runoff is being “muddied” by the “blame-game.”


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