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.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2014, Congress, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mark Ivey says:

    Bring on the GOP Grifter´s who just wanna fleece republican rubes for $$…

  2. CSK says:

    If I thought that I had to kowtow to the Palin wing of the party, I wouldn’t run either.

  3. gVOR08 says:

    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.

    This is true, but this has long been true. Why are the Rs having more trouble finding candidates this cycle? I would suggest that some part of it is that good people don’t want to submit to a modern Republican primary.

  4. gVOR08 says:

    Several months ago, in response to some egregious bit of nonsense from a Republican, I commented, “Where do Republicans find these people? And why?” This drew a mild rebuke from Dr. Joyner to the effect that politics is a largely entrepreneurial activity and those people were finding the Party, not the other way around. I’ll take the opportunity to point out that the party always had the option of

    … 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.

  5. Sometimes, I wonder why anyone wants to put themselves through it.

    Let’s ask Ron Paul.

  6. walt moffett says:

    Seem to remember high school civics telling me the primary was created so folks could pick their candidates instead of letting the ward heelers and operators doing the picking. Like all things, it’s going away.

  7. Caj says:

    They will have to run Tea Party types. No half way sensible Republican would get a look in. Mind you, not that there are many of them out there to start with. It’s a party that’s has lost its way with only the mindless off the wall characters that have no clue about governing anyway.
    They think all they have to do is show up, vote no and go home!

  8. al-Ameda says:

    Speaking as a strong Democrat, I strongly support Sharron Angle’s prospective candidacy for yet another run at becoming the insane senator from Nevada.

  9. michael reynolds says:

    Hmmm, why don’t people want to sign up to join a homophobic, racist, woman-hating, immigrant-bashing organization devoted to discredited economic notions, bizarre conspiracy theories, and the oral servicing of billionaires? I can’t imagine.

  10. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’m from New England, and I don’t know any Republicans here who fit that description–certainly not in terms of homophobia, racism, sexism, or bizarre conspiracy theories.

    I should add that New England Republicans are regarded by the fundamentalist wing of the party as being further to the left than Karl Marx.

  11. matt bernius says:

    @CSK:
    And that remains one of the reasons why I think the Republican party could actual split if Congress vs the courts ends up being the ones who end up addressing Gay Marriage at the Federal level (which eventually will have to be done once it’s approved in enough states).

  12. CSK says:

    @matt bernius:

    There already is a split in the Republican party, between the sane element (aka RINO/commie/liberals) and what I think of as the GGGGs (God, guns, gays, and gynecology). Whatever they might say otherwise, the GGGGs really have no particular interest in, or knowledge of, fiscal policy or foreign policy. Their concern is with getting God back into the schools (and in public life in general), making sure everyone has sufficient arms to fight against the government, making sure gays go back into the closet, and ending abortion for any reason whatsoever. It’s important to remember that these folks already claim to have left the Republican party, because they see no ideological nor philosophical distinction between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.

    Yes, I know it sounds demented, but people who think that Richard Lugar is a communist are, frankly, demented.