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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, February 17, 2020

GOP Tong Warfare in Georgia Senate Race

In Defying the Odds, we discuss state and congressional elections as well as the presidential race. The update looks at political and demographic trends through the 2018 midterm.  Our next book will explain 2020.

In January, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp appointed wealthy Kelly Loeffler to fill the vacancy of Senator Johnny Isaakson, who resigned because of ill health.  But Rep. Doug Collins, a zealous defender of Trump on the Judiciary Committee, wanted the job, and Trumpworld supported him  He is now challenging her in the November 3 special election, which will trigger a January 3 runoff if nobody wins a majority. At WP, Paul Kane reports on the resulting warfare:
After years of producing hamstrung nominees from contested primaries, the National Republican Senatorial Committee announced in 2013 that it would not allow any dollars to go toward firms that worked for GOP challengers to incumbents. Only one GOP incumbent has lost a primary challenge since then.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has no such rule, so consultants for Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) face no blowback in his challenge to Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.).\

McConnell’s team offers no apology for its tactics. Its blacklist policy is well-known to every Republican consulting firm, as is its well-honed image of being willing to be the toughest kid in the political sandbox.

“With this emotional, ill-informed decision, Doug Collins has united conservatives in opposition to his candidacy, and Senator Loeffler has quickly assembled more Republican support in Georgia than Collins ever knew existed,” said NRSC spokesman Jesse Hunt, calling the four-term congressman “a swamp creature."
...
 Soon after Isakson announced his retirement plans in August, Collins began considering the Senate race. In early October, his campaign paid almost $30,000 to John McLaughlin, a well-known Republican pollster. With impeachment looming, Collins signed Convergence Media onto his House campaign account to boost his online fundraising presence.
Convergence has close ties to Kevin McCarthy and is on retainer to NRCC,.
The three GOP leaders — McConnell, [Kevin] McCarthy and [RNC Chair Ronna Romney] McDaniel — never spoke to one another about the feud, according to their advisers. But the messages were sent at the highest staff levels.
NRSC officials complained to top advisers of McDaniel, who employs Shields’s wife, Katie Walsh, as a consultant. And McConnell’s world made their displeasure clear to McCarthy’s orbit.
 ...In a roughly 10-day span after Collins entered the race, Convergence Media declined to work on his Senate race, followed by a direct-mail firm and John McLaughlin, the GOP pollster.