The Republicans succeeded in avoiding a catastrophe on Tuesday in West Virginia when Don Blankenship lost the state's GOP Senate executive to a candidate with less luggage, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
But a blankenship loss does not mean the GOP Establishment has won the war against its party's primary candidates.
The anti-establishment undercurrents who helped elect President Trump also helped Blankenship, an ex-con, who broadcast racist charges against Senator Republican and Roy Moore in Alabama, who lost a lucrative Senate seat last year who faces sexual misconduct allegations. In other words, they are still very much in the election cycle. And so are some candidates who could benefit from it.
That means that if they try to hold on to their narrow majority, the Republican Senate leaders will be forced to play again in larger primaries like Arizona, making sure that extreme candidates who could lose a general election do not have more viable numbers win. Even moderate candidates try to flex their Trumpian muscles by promoting a version of the dog-whistle policy that drew Blankenship so much attention. (See this racist-tainted ad about immigration recently released by a Republican candidate in Montana's crowded Senate executive committee.
Fighting with his own party is a potentially scary proposition for Republicans right now Efforts to suppress this type of candidate have not always been successful: in 2010 and 2012, some of them were nominated just to lose potentially profitable seats.
Recently, the establishment's involvement may have only helped the person who Moore won the nomination of his party despite the support of the entire Republican leadership, and then refused to appear in Washington despite allegations against him, except for Trump, who asked him to leave and then a Senate race for the party in Alabama lost After that d Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), So Strong That Blankenship Had To Lose (Blankenship did nothing to alleviate that feeling when he attacked McConnell's ethnicity) that McConnell allies PAC built more than $ 1 million to sink it in recent days.
It worked, but Blankenship's candidacy came too close for convenience, rambling nerves still unsettled by the loss of the party in Alabama The primaries on Tuesday underscored how inept are in politics. Businessman and former state representative Mike Brown won the GOP Senate nomination in Indiana by beating two conservative members of Congress.
In North Carolina, a member of the congress – GOP Rep. Robert Pittenger – lost his primary re-election to a former pastor, Mark Harris
None of these outsider candidates suggests the controversy that Blankenship had in West Virginia, but their victories The Republicans underlined that summing up to be an outsider is now politically powerful.
And candidates like Blankenship have found eye-catching ways to take it. Blankenship tried to excel in a busy Primary by attacking McConnell in a highly personal manner. Moore even went so far as to wonder if McConnell was tougher than Democrats accused of sexual misconduct.
Unlike in Alabama, the GOP leadership of the Senate and Trump were on the same side as the view that West Virginia's candidate had to lose. That may not be the case for an Arizona Senate open poll, where ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio (recently pardoned by Trump for violating the court's contempt) and Kelli Ward (a controversial Senate candidate) are against The establishment selection is approaching Republican Martha McSally in the primaries.
Both Arpaio and Ward have received a nod from Trump and his allies in the past. Sometimes really recent past: Vice President Pence (R) praised Arpaio as a "tireless advocate of strong borders and the rule of law" in Arizona last week.
Democrats have their own primary battles Warning Those who are heavily involved can fail. This spring, Democratic campaigners attacked a Democratic candidate in a highly competitive Texas race. She made it into the top two and will participate in a run later this month. In Colorado, a Democrat secretly took up his conversation with a leader of the Democratic Party House of Representatives, praising the first interference and spreading it to the media.
But the Republicans are the ones more at stake here. They try to defend their endangered majority in the House of Representatives and a narrow majority in the Senate. To achieve this, they must nominate strong candidates who can depose the Senate Democrats in Trump states.
At a time when a candidate like Moore can win a primary stake against all odds and Trump becomes president, even though the GOP establishment makes the best effort, even the loss of a Blankenschaft does not prove that they have found a formula to inflame controversial candidates before it's too late.