Republican politicians are worried that some of the ultra-Trumpy candidates who ran in 2022 and were crushed are coming back for more punishment in 2024. The politicians know that the electorate is probably going to be even less favorable to them in 2024 than it was in 2022 and are fearing the worst.
Their biggest worry is that Kari Lake, who still thinks she is governor of Arizona, will run for the GOP nomination to challenge Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), who is probably going to face Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ). In a three-way race, Lake might well cause enough Republicans to vote for Sinema, thus pulling her total below Gallego's. Since Arizona doesn't have run-offs, this could elect Gallego. With a less controversial candidate, the Republicans have a much better chance of flipping the seat.
Another Senate race Republicans are worried about is that of Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA). Doug Mastriano, a super Trumper who was crushed by now-Gov. Josh Shapiro (D-PA), is consulting God and his wife and, if they approve, is likely to challenge Casey. If he does, he is very likely to get the GOP nomination. If Mastriano couldn't win an open seat election, he is almost certainly going to be crushed by the three-term incumbent senator. This race is less devastating than the Arizona one because Arizona is potentially winnable with the right candidate. Pennsylvania will be a steep climb even with an ideal candidate. Popular incumbent Democrats are tough to beat in presidential election years no matter who their opponents are.
But wait, there is more. Joe Kent is going to run again against Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA), who beat him in November for an open seat. Now that she is an incumbent, she is in a stronger position than she was last year. In Ohio, J.R. Majewski is likely to challenge Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) again. He was felled in 2022 by his pulling a nano-Santos and lying about his military service. We doubt that Kaptur has thrown out all the ads she used against him last time. Reusing them will just save her some money. In North Carolina, Bo Hines, a former football player, ran in NC-13 last year and was beaten solidly by Rep, Wiley Nickel (D-NC). If the map stays the same as it was—and it might not because the current state Supreme Court might reinstate a gerrymandered map that the previous state Supreme Court threw out—he will probably lose again. But if the map makes NC-13 redder, he might have a chance. These are only a few of the defeated Trumpists who are champing at the bit to run again. There are others as well. If Trump supports them in the primaries, they are likely to become the nominees again, and in most cases go down again.
One difference with last year is how the Republican election committees will proceed. The NRCC will not interfere in primaries, so wacko House candidates may well be able to win again. However, the NRSC will put its thumb on the scale in an attempt to prevent candidates like Herschel Walker, Blake Masters, and Mehmet Oz from getting Senate nominations. Of course, if Trump actively supports them on all of the social media networks he now has access to, the NRSC's efforts may come to naught. (V)