Chamber of Commerce strikes back

Well, the Chamber of Commerce faction of the Republican party has wisely gotten it’s act together and declared no more Sharron Angle’s, Richard Murdouck’s, and Todd “legitimate rape” Akin Tea Party types are going to lose them winnable US Senate seats.  Nice piece on this in 538:

Over the past few years, conservative outsiders, many of whom were members of the tea party, ran over the establishment in a number of key Republican primaries for the U.S. Senate. In 2010, tea-party-aligned candidates won in Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Nevada, Wisconsin and Utah. In doing so, they almost certainly cost Republicans the Senate seat in Delaware, and probably in Colorado and Nevada. Two years later, the process was repeated in Indiana and Missouri.

In choosing less presentable candidates for the general electorate, the GOP may have forfeited Senate control…

But, just as we would expect, the pattern doesn’t seem to be happening. Establishment Republicans look to be in good shape in many states where a more conservative candidate could cost the party a seat.

[bunch of different state analyses]

The races noted above could change, though in most of them, the movement has been toward the establishment or static. It’s also important to mention that being endorsed by the establishment doesn’t necessarily mean a candidate is more moderate, but the two often go hand in hand. It tends to mean that a candidate is considered to be more electable.

The point is, Republican voters don’t appear to be making the same choices they did in 2010. They seem to be following historical precedence and becoming more pragmatic. That suggests that the normal political rules are holding, which might increase the GOP’s chances of taking the Senate in November.

We’re seeing this right here in NC where the Chamber is running adds for Thom Tillis–easily the most electable on November– and the Republican Governor just gave his endorsement:

 — In a highly unusual move for a sitting governor, Gov. Pat McCrory on Tuesday offered a ringing endorsement of state House Speaker Thom Tillis in next week’s Republican primary for the U.S. Senate.

The governor delivered his endorsement at a campaign event at which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also endorsed Tillis…

Tillis is backed by GOP strategist Karl Rove and his group American Crossroads, as well as by Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. But despite their support, he has struggled until recently to break out of a crowded primary field. Seven other GOP candidates are vying for the nomination.

Two recent polls, however, show Tillis reaching the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a primary runoff. National Republicans are hoping to avoid that scenario, fearing it could weaken the eventual winner in the November contest against incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan…

NC State political science professor Steven Greene said McCrory’s move may signal “a new era that reflects the divisions in the Republican Party.”

“After some clearly bad outcomes for them in Senate races in other states,” like Indiana and Missouri, Greene said, “the Chamber of Commerce types in the GOP appear to be increasingly unwilling to leave things to chance and allow a Tea Party candidate with far worse general election prospects to be nominated.”

If I were Kay Hagan’s campaign, I’d put all my money into Greg Brannon, but the best evidence is that, with the help of the business establishment, Tillis is pulling away.



About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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