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ICYMI: Past criticism of Trump becomes potent weapon in GOP primaries [The Hill]

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The Hill: Past criticism of Trump becomes potent weapon in GOP primaries 
By Reid Wilson 
June 15, 2021

Key Points: 

  • As Republican candidates jockey for position in contests for open U.S. Senate seats, support from former President Trump has become the most coveted prize to be won.
  • By the same token, opposition researchers are discovering the most potent weapon against potential rivals: past comments critical of Trump, or acknowledgement that Trump lost to President Biden in the 2020 election.
  • The value of an opponent’s errant remark was apparent in North Carolina, where Trump offered a surprise endorsement to Rep. Ted Budd (R) while appearing at a state Republican Party fundraiser.
  • Trump wasn’t expected to announce an endorsement, but Budd allies worked quietly behind the scenes to make the former president aware of criticisms McCrory had leveled on his radio show and of Walker’s comments critical of Lara Trump, who used the appearance to say she would not run for Burr’s seat.
  • “Allegiance to Trump is the litmus test for Republican primary voters today” […] said one Republican strategist involved in the race, who asked for anonymity to be candid.  “Unwavering support for President Trump has become one of the bedrocks of the Republican primary electorate.”
  • In most states, Republican primaries have become crowded affairs in which each contender is vying for the substantial portion of the party’s base that sees Trump as a lodestar.
  • In Pennsylvania, real estate developer Jeff Bartos and 2020 congressional candidate Sean Parnell, the two most prominent Republicans seeking to replace retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), are already at each other’s throats.
  • The Bartos campaign shopped screenshots of Parnell’s old tweets, sent during the 2016 election, in which Parnell called on Trump to release his tax returns. Sources close to Parnell point to recent comments Bartos made urging an end to Trump’s baseless claims about fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
  • In Ohio, a super PAC backing former state Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) has run advertisements critical of author and venture capitalist J.D. Vance for deleting tweets critical of Trump. Mandel, who backed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in the 2016 presidential contest, deleted thousands of his own tweets and Facebook posts in 2019.
  • Conservative activists have rallied against Jane Timken, the former chairwoman of the Ohio Republican Party, for her own alleged failure to toe the Trump line. Timken initially defended Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R), one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in January, before reversing herself and calling on Gonzalez to resign.

See also: HuffPost: After Criticizing Trump, GOP Senate Candidates Now Desperate For His Endorsement; Roll Call: Trump could shake up key Senate races with endorsements; National Journal: Trump is sabotaging the GOP’s Senate prospects; Axios: Pro-McConnell PAC prepared to intervene in 2022 primaries; CNN Analysis: Mitch McConnell was asked about Trump and 2022. His answer is hilarious; Charlotte Observer (Opinion): Donald Trump just threw NC’s U.S. Senate race into chaos. Democrats should be delighted

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ICYMI: After Criticizing Trump, GOP Senate Candidates Now Desperate For His Endorsement [HuffPost]

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