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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Primary Problems

At Politico, Jonathan Martin writes that Republicans are pondering how congressional and presidential primaries have hurt them, and what to do about it. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) says that the GOP should aggressively recruit good candidates up front, and push back when Democrats try to influence GOP primaries, as McCaskill did:
“If you catch wind of (Democrats playing in Republican primaries), it’s a tough decision but you’ve got to have the ability and flexibility to say, ‘OK guys, we’re headed down a track here, so is there a better candidate who has more appeal, can raise more money, is more representative of the state they’re in?’” said Portman.
Pragmatists want the Crossroads groups and other outside organizations to get more involved in Senate primaries.
In an interview in the Capitol, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the NRSC chairman in the past two elections and now the Senate’s second-ranking Republican, said, “I think you’re going to see more people involved in primaries,” right as he rounded a corner and nearly ran into Crossroads CEO Steven Law.
“Speaking of the devil and he appears,” joked Cornyn. “He said what’s going to happen in the primary process and I said well I think you’re going to see more people get involved. “
“Yeah, that’s right,” said Law, on cue. “More people are going to get involved.”
On the House side, pragmatists want to protect incumbents from challenges from the right. Former Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio), wants to help those interested in a grand bargain.
He’s taking over the Republican Main Street Partnership — the slimmed-down group of congressional GOP centrists — and is going to create a super PAC to serve as a counterbalance to the Club for Growth in House Republican primaries.
“When a center-right Republican is in a primary and is being targeted by some group as a RINO, we’re going to make sure we have their back,” said LaTourette. “Not just with speeches and press releases but with money.”
LaTourette said his initial goal for the group’s super PAC would be to raise $10 million and he had already gotten favorable responses when he brought up his plan with senior House Republicans on committees that make it easy to raise money.
At the presidential level, there is talk of process change:
And Romney’s political director, Rich Beeson, said in an interview for POLITICO’s ebook on the election that the primary, which stretched until mid-April partly because of the proportional distribution of delegates, cost the Republican nominee precious time in setting up his general election operation.
“It was probably worth 350,000 votes,” said Beeson.
A committee tasked by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus with assessing what went wrong in 2012 and how the GOP can rebound will consider changing the 2016 primary back to a winner-take-all format. But such a proposal is likely to run into serious resistance from RNC members who hail from states whose primaries and caucuses have typically taken place long after the nomination has been decided.
What’s more likely, according to one committee member, is an effort to take control of the debates, by which the RNC would have more say over the number and format of the forums.