GOP Facing Candidate Recruitment Troubles
Already, we know that the Republican Party is facing the possibility of being able to pick up Senate seats in states like Iowa, West Virginia, and Montana thanks to retirements by long-serving Senators. So far, though, they seem to be facing a problem in getting strong candidates to run:
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republicans are struggling to recruit strong U.S. Senate candidates in states where the party has the best chances to reclaim the majority in Washington.
It’s a potentially troubling sign that the GOP’s post-2012 soul-searching could spill over into next year’s congressional elections.
The vote is more than 18 months away, so it’s early. But candidate recruitment efforts are well underway, and thus far Republicans have been unable to field a top-tier candidate in Iowa or Michigan.
In those two Mideast swing states, the GOP hopes to make a play for seats left open by the retirement of veteran Democrats.
The GOP is facing the prospect of contentious and expensive primaries in Georgia and perhaps West Virginia, Republican-leaning states where incumbents, one from each party, are not running again.
[S]o far there’s been a combination of no-thank-you’s from prospective Republican candidates in Iowa, slow movement among others in Michigan and lack of consensus elsewhere over a single contender.
All that has complicated the early goings of what historically would be the GOP’s moment to strike. In the sixth year of a presidency, the party out of power in the White House usually wins congressional seats.
Democrats, despite this historical disadvantage, are fighting to reclaim the majority in the U.S. House, where control will be decided by a couple of dozen swing states.
After embarrassing losses in GOP-leaning Indiana and Missouri last year, the new Republican Senate campaign leadership is responding by wading deep into the early stages of the 2014 races.
Strategists are conducting exhaustive research on would-be candidates, making hard pitches for those they prefer and discouraging those they don’t, to the point of advertising against them. The hope is to limit the number of divisive primaries that only stand to remind voters of their reservations about Republicans.
“It’s more about trying to get consensus and avoid a primary that would reopen those wounds, rather than the party struggling to find candidates,” said Greg Strimple, a pollster who and consultant to several 2012 Republican Senate campaigns.
It’s still early in the 2014 process, of course, but ideally candidates should be on the ground fundraising by at least this summer, especially in states that are likely to be high priority for both parties. It’s easy to understand why people might be reluctant to run, though, because it essentially involves giving up a years to 18 months of your life and putting aside anything resembling a normal life for that period of time, or longer if you win. Sometimes, I wonder why anyone wants to put themselves through it.