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ICYMI: Key Republican recruits hesitate to jump in if Trump is the nominee [POLITICO]

On the heels of previous reporting that Senate Republicans are “beginning to worry” they’re “again facing the risk of problematic candidates,” “looming primary wars,” and “intraparty fights,” new reporting from POLITICO details that Trump’s candidacy has “spooked” Republican “recruiters, operatives and congressional hopefuls” who see him as a “liability” and are “wary of running alongside [him].” 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

POLITICO: Key Republican recruits hesitate to jump in if Trump is the nominee

By Ally Mutnick and Holly Otterbein

May 22, 2023

Key points:

  • The current GOP presidential primary, and Trump’s early dominance, has spooked some potential down-ballot candidates, according to a dozen recruiters, operatives and congressional hopefuls who were granted anonymity to speak candidly with POLITICO about the recruitment process.

  • Many of their prospective recruits are wary of running alongside Trump, who dominates the spotlight, repels crucial independent voters and forces his fellow Republicans to answer for his unpredictable statements.

  • It’s a dynamic that candidates don’t relish, and it has only come into sharper focus since Trump’s CNN town hall, when he spent 70 minutes on primetime television this month unleashing a torrent of incendiary remarks. Trump’s resurgence has notably chilled recruitment across the country. 
  • GOP strategists are not sensing that eagerness from some key potential recruits.
  • The prospect of running alongside Trump — and all that entails — is among the things that [David] McCormick and his team are weighing as he decides whether to run.
  • McCormick and Trump have history that could prove tricky for both of them if they share a ticket. When McCormick ran unsuccessfully for the Senate last year, Trump endorsed his GOP primary opponent and bashed McCormick as a “liberal Wall Street Republican.”

  • Later, McCormick revealed a private conversation in his book in which Trump told him that he had to falsely claim that the 2020 election was stolen to win. “I made it clear to him that I couldn’t do that,” McCormick wrote.

  • In [Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona and Nevada], many GOP strategists have watched the party underperform in three straight elections with Trump either in the White House or in control of the Republican Party — now they see Trump as a liability.

See also: ICYMI: GOP’s stormy 2024 outlook [Axios]; ICYMI: GOP Senate Prospects In 2024 Battlegrounds Rush To Trump’s Defense [NBC News]; ICYMI: Republicans’ Pennsylvania Senate Primary Dynamics Are Getting Messier By The Day

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