While the race for the presidency in 2024 will steal most of the headlines going forward, it shouldn’t be forgotten that a major battle for the US Senate is also heating up. Candidates across multiple, very winnable states are teasing their runs, and retaking the upper chamber should be a priority for all Republicans.
Unfortunately, some members of the party are already working overtime to blow what is otherwise a golden opportunity. Candidates who have zero shot at victory in a general election are coming out with early announcements and gaining early support, and it should concern anyone who actually cares about winning.
Here are three prime examples of what I mean.
WaPo: "Doug Mastriano, a Republican who lost the governor’s race last year by 15 points, is expected to announce a Senate run soon."https://t.co/d5vhCDFuht
— Josh Kraushaar (@JoshKraushaar) April 10, 2023
Let's go! #OHSen pic.twitter.com/F8bZFVS4xU
— Andrew Surabian (@Surabees) April 12, 2023
Arizona has a fighter going for the Senate!! I know Sheriff Lamb personally and could not be more excited to call him Senator Lamb!! pic.twitter.com/Mu0Qdzl5LC
— 🇺🇸🎙Thug Army Patriots🎙🇺🇸 (@ImFiredUp2) April 12, 2023
Forget Donald Trump for a minute, because that’s inevitably where some are going to want to take the topic of electability in the coming election. Still, humor me, and let’s assume that the former president truly is unique and has a movement that can propel him to a general election win in 2024. I don’t necessarily buy that given what has occurred in the last two major election cycles, but let’s concede, for the sake of this article, that Trump will be the nominee.
Do you know who aren’t Donald Trump, aren’t unique, and don’t have a movement that can propel them to general election victory? Mark Lamb, Doug Mastriano, and Bernie Moreno. These are all absolutely terrible choices to win much-needed US Senate seats in 2024. Whether you are a Republican who likes more MAGA-style candidates, it is beyond dispute that general electorates do not. Get mad at them and call them stupid, but the Republican Party has to operate within the reality that actually exists.
Kimberly Yee, the current State Treasurer in Arizona, was the only state-wide GOP candidate to not only win in 2022, but she won by a large margin. She would be an easy layup for Republicans in 2024, and she’s also a rock-ribbed conservative. What are Republican primary voters losing by going with candidates who can actually win? The answer is nothing, and I’m not saying it has to be Yee in Arizona. What I’m saying is that in these swing states, you need candidates who have broad appeal, not with the GOP, but with the general electorate.
Some might say that Ohio is different because J.D. Vance won a Senate seat there in 2022. Understand, though, that he was running for an open seat vacated by another Republican. The 2024 race is against Sherrod Brown, a Democrat who has done a great job in that state of painting himself as a moderate. Republicans will need a stellar candidate to defeat him, and Bernie Moreno is not that.
And while Pennsylvania is likely a lost cause at this point (both regarding the Senate and presidency), certainly Doug Mastriano would be the absolute worst choice to run in 2024. He’s an awful candidate who can’t fundraise and connects with a general electorate as well as my son connects with broccoli. He is not Donald Trump, and continuing to believe that these subpar candidates can just slap a MAGA label on everything and win is foolish.
Trump, whatever you think of him, does not have coattails. He is like Barack Obama in that regard. His movement does not transfer to other candidates. Given that, Republicans must prioritize picking the best candidates possible in 2024. If they don’t, the party is going to blow the best Senate map in modern history, and that would be unforgivable at this point.
For the love of all that is holy, I am begging Republicans to take the easy wins in 2024. If you want Trump to be the nominee, fine. Vote for him, but don’t commit political suicide in these Senate races. You are going to need that backstop if Joe Biden wins a second term, and that’s a very real possibility.