Several senior Republicans said that in recent weeks, the Senate majority leader has been so worried that the Republicans have lost control of the Senate, so much so that he sent a signal to the fragile Republican senators in a difficult campaign, if they think it is necessary, they You can keep your distance from the president. Including sources close to McConnell.
Although this may give some senators the flexibility to distinguish themselves from the president, it also forces them to walk a tightrope. Trump is still very popular among the Republican bases, and any attempt to weaken him may alienate those voters.
A senior Republican on Capitol Hill said: “These fragile senators are powerless to explicitly deny Trump.” “They just need to prove that they are independent of important issues in their state.”
Despite this, Trump continued to provide Republican senators with ways to make it easier to break up with him.
The Republican Party currently has a three-seat majority, with at least six current senators, and they face serious Democratic challengers. Senior Republicans say that the most vulnerable are Senator Martha McSally of Arizona, Tom Tillis of North Carolina and Corey Gardner of Colorado. Although opinion polls show racial tensions in Maine, Republican sources have been more optimistic about Senator Susan Collins in recent weeks, who has long been a target of Democratic and liberal interest groups.
Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa and Senator Steve Daines of Montana also expressed concern. Although some Republicans believe they are all in good shape, other Republican sources told CNN that these races are very tense, and the fate of the two candidates may ultimately depend on Trump’s performance on election days in two states. Senior Capitol Republicans even expressed caution to Senator Dan Sullivan, otherwise the first Alaskan Republican would be considered relatively safe.
However, for the Republican Party, the size of the net failure is crucial. Even if they lose control of the majority, Senate Republicans can effectively defend democratic legislation with a sufficient minority and a small number of moderate Democratic defectors. However, if the Republican Party in the Senate loses too much, then their ability to use the power of congressmen to force the majority of people to vote through legislation will become meaningless.
“Even if we lose the majority, 49 seats are important,” said the senior Republican on Hill. “If we have 45 seats, we can’t stop. Every seat is important.”
The trajectory of the presidential campaign-Joe Biden leads Trump by 14 points nationwide in a recent CNN poll-The continuity of the coronavirus pandemic makes it possible to protect the fringe of the Republican Party The project is more urgent.
Fred Zidman, a Republican donor from Texas, said: “The major Republican donors are reinvesting money in the Senate campaign.” “The Senate is a firewall. No matter who is elected president, we must ensure that we have the Senate. .”
Early signs of distance
Zidman said: “They are elected to represent a country, so they should have the freedom to represent the people they voted for.” “If this means that the position taken is not fully endorsed by the White House or aligned with the White House, it is democracy. system.”
However, being re-elected as a Republican in 2020 is mainly to change Trump’s position and his response to the pandemic.
Republican senators who are on the brink of extinction have turned to touting their own positive behavior, from the various items in the first pandemic economic stimulus bills to the extra effort to solve the problems of testing in their country. Tillis’s campaign points to a letter written by North Carolina Republicans to Vice President Mike Pence in March asking for more coronavirus tests. In this year’s first campaign advertisement, Gardner focused on local news reports, introducing his successful efforts to import masks and Covid test kits from East Asia to Colorado.
Republican strategist Liam Donovan said that the endangered Republican senator’s negotiations in the stimulus bill “tell you everything you need to know” about the state of the election and Trump’s failure Expectations.
Donovan said: “Vulnerable members urgently need to do something, and their ambitious security seat colleagues will be written off in 2020, and thinking about what they are doing, the situation described now will appear in 2024.”
For other candidates, the distance between themselves and Trump is not even an option. Republican agents said that in places like North Carolina and Arizona, the fate of current Republican senators will be irreversibly linked to Trump.
This puts the Republican senator in a precarious situation in a difficult position. Republicans have no incentive to fight against the president and may lose the support of their base, which is an important part of the Republican coalition. But any contrast with the president, at least in Covid, opens the door to swing voters who will vote against Trump or otherwise oppose the president’s nonpartisan allies.
McSally has fallen behind Democratic challenger Mark Kelly in every recent poll, and she finds herself in a difficult position.
Both McSally and Tillis’ campaigns stated that their focus will be to draw a contrast between themselves and the Democratic opposition, which party is most likely to reignite the economy. But their overall focus is not on Trump-a strong indication that the alliance with the president has not yielded much.
Follow the money
At the same time, the National Republican Senate committee spent between $4 and $6 million in North Carolina, Colorado, and Iowa in the first half of this year, while in Maine during the same period (except for the Super PAC, both parties Have spent a lot of money) and Arizona.
This can be traced back to where the super PACs of both parties prioritized their spending in recent weeks. According to data from Kantar Media, TV and digital ad spending for the Senate contest in July was highest in North Carolina, Iowa, and Colorado (compared to Kansas, which competed in the Senate election in August) Advantage).
Some people in Washington are less worried about the Republican situation. Scott Reed, a senior Republican strategist in charge of the political affairs of the Chamber of Commerce, made a note of hope, demonstrating that the first Republican senators such as Gardner and Tillis are capable Complete the transaction after re-election.
Reid said: “The presidential election will be stepped up, and the 2014 Senate campaign will become sharp, strong, and proficient to win.” Reid said, like other Republicans, he provided Corinth with four vulnerable Republican senators. The best chance for re-election.
A senior Republican who spoke to CNN was concerned about where Trump placed the party less than 100 days before the election. The Republican said: “Where can we attack? Zero.” “Where is he defending? Everything he doesn’t have to worry about.”
CNN’s David Wright contributed to this story.