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Some Republicans are expressing concern that pro-Trump candidates in blue states, where the party has typically had success with more moderate candidates, could hurt the GOP’s chances for big gains in Congress and states this November.
“It can’t go on,” former Connecticut U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, a moderate Republican and Trump critic, told The Associated Press referring to the GOP electing pro-Trump candidates. “One of the things that’s going to happen is that a lot of Trump’s nominees who won the primaries are going to lose the general election. And there are a lot of unhappy Republicans in office now who believe the Senate is now in danger of remaining Democratic. . “
Republican voters nominated pro-Trump candidates in several blue states, including Maryland and Connecticut, where more “moderate” Republican candidates tend to succeed.
Trump’s influence was on full display earlier this month when his last-minute endorsement helped propel Republican National Committeewoman Leora Levy to a victory over former House Minority Leader Themis Klarides , who has said that he did not vote for the former president. in 2020.
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“Sad day for CT…” Brenda Kupchick, Fairfield’s Republican first selectman and former state representative, tweeted after the Aug. 9 race was called for Levy. Days earlier, after Trump endorsed Levy over the loudspeaker at a GOP picnic, Kupchick tweeted, “How is this useful in the general election in CT?”
Kupchick’s tweets sparked infighting within the GOP with Trump supporters accusing Klarides of not being a “true conservative” and Trump critics predicting that Levy’s nomination means an easy win for Democratic U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal even though a Quinnipiac poll in May recorded his lowest job approval. since taking office in 2011.
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Ben Proto, chairman of the Connecticut Republicans, dismissed any suggestion that Levy’s primary victory signaled a political evolution within the state GOP. Rather, he said, the party this year has “cross-cutting candidates who have different views on specific issues.”
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland with Republican Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska on August 10, 2022 in Omaha, Nebraska
(One America United)
In Maryland, Trump endorsed eventual Republican gubernatorial primary winner Dan Cox over a candidate backed by outgoing Republican governor and Trump critic Larry Hogan. In Massachusetts, Republican voters casting ballots in the state’s gubernatorial primary on Sept. 6 will choose between Geoff Diehl, a former Trump-backed state representative, and businessman Chris Doughty.
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“I’m going to vote against anyone who seeks Donald Trump’s endorsement because that tells me a lot about their character and what they intend to do if they’re elected. That’s the bottom line for me,” Shays, who lives in Maryland, said in Associated Press.
Trump’s endorsement has catapulted several Republican candidates into primaries across the country during the midterm cycle and remains popular among Republican voters, but some Democrats and the media have argued that putting him in the election generals gives Democrats a better chance to keep control. of Congress
Blumenthal has already begun shifting attention to Trump in his race against Levy.
A day after the primaries, Blumenthal’s campaign sent out a fundraising message warning: “The primary results are in and I’m officially running against Trump’s handpicked candidate in the general election: a Republican radical that will be nothing more than a rubber stamp on Mitch McConnell’s disastrous agenda.”
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Levy shifted focus to President Biden, who is less popular than Trump according to a Fox News poll last month, in a press release after his victory in the primaries.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on May 10, 2022
(Win McNamee/Getty Images)
“Dick Blumenthal wants this election to be a referendum on a president,” Levy said. “Donald Trump is not on the ballot in November, but Joe Biden is.”
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell raised doubts this week that Republicans will take control of the Senate, pointing to the “quality” of some of the candidates.
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“I think the House is probably more likely to meet than the Senate,” the minority leader anticipated. “Senate races are different, they’re statewide. The quality of the candidates has a lot to do with the outcome.”
Andrew Mark Miller is a writer for Fox News. Find him on Twitter @andymarkmiller and email tips to AndrewMark.Miller@Fox.com.