Some people never learn. This includes election-denying Republican candidates who were roundly beaten in 2024. A number of them want to run again in 2024. In an effort to prevent a repeat of having "candidate quality" ruin winnable Senate races, NRSC Chairman Steve Daines (R-MT) has said he will interfere in primaries to block hopeless candidates. Of course, that type of candidate is generally running on a platform of "to hell with the establishment" and might advertise the NRSC's opposition as a reason to vote for them. It can also backfire if some of the crazy candidates win, despite establishment opposition. Then, as senators, they will be a loose cannons and will not be controllable. Threatening these people with loss of committee seats won't work because they didn't run for the purpose of legislating. They ran to burn the place down.
One state that makes Daines nervous is Arizona. Both Blake Masters, who ran for the Senate in 2022, and Kari Lake, who ran for governor in 2022, are eyeing a Senate run in 2024. The last thing Daines wants is a knock-down, drag-out fight between these two and then for one of them to get the nomination and end up splitting the Republican vote with Sen. Kyrsten (I-AZ), thus allowing a Democrat to win. But how can he stop them? Maybe by inducing former governor Doug Ducey (R) to run, but Ducey could have run in 2022 and decided not to, so that is not likely to work. Plus, Donald Trump hates Ducey and would do everything possible to tear the former governor down.
Failed candidates are also talking about running in other states. Tudor Dixon, who was crushed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) in 2022, is thinking about running for the open Senate seat there. Doug Mastriano is thinking about running against Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA). These are just some of the big names. There might also be some small-time losers trying again.
Daines isn't the only one who wants the Party to intervene in primaries. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said: "You can't stop people who want to run. It's a free country. Part of it [winning] is recruiting good candidates, too, and not just leaving yourself with the luck of the draw." But not all Republicans want to intervene in primaries. Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said: "The quality of candidates matters a great deal, and we should be interested in it as a conference and as a party. However, that the decision should be made locally by the people who are qualified to vote in that particular election." So Daines may get some pushback if he tries to pick winners and losers. And again, if the NRSC backs one candidate in some race and Donald Trump backs a different one, the NRSC's interference may actually hurt Daines' preferred candidate.
The situation in the House is different. There, Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), chairman of the NRCC, does not want to pick winners and losers, even though "candidate quality" cost the GOP at least half a dozen very winnable House seats. In the House, the Democrats did a fair bit of ratf**king in 2022 and it worked most of the time. If the NRCC does not intervene in Republican primaries, then the DCCC will have a clear field to do it again.
As in the Senate, Trumpy candidates who lost in 2022 are trying again. These include Joe Kent in Washington, Bo Hines in North Carolina, and probably J.R. Majewski in Ohio. There will most likely be more. Will the voters who picked them last time desert them now? The NRCC can't count on that.
Another problem in the House is the power of the Freedom Caucus. If Hudson were to start intervening in primaries to block potential new FC members, Chairman Scott Perry (R-PA) would probably have a little man-to-man chat with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). In that chat he would strongly suggest that McCarthy call Hudson on the carpet and tell him to cut it out. If McCarthy refused, Perry would say: "Your decision, but tomorrow morning I am introducing a motion to vacate the chair. Have a good day." Daines doesn't have this problem. The Freedom Caucus does not have a chapter in the Senate. (V)