With Roy Blunt announcing his retirement today from the Senate in two years, the congressional reporter for Axios is suddenly writing about Republicans in the Senate who may be worried that Trumpian troublemakers could run and win the five Senate seats being vacated by establishment Republicans who are retiring in 2022.
Here’s the title: “Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers”
Well isn’t that provocative. Here’s how it reads…
Sen. Roy Blunt’s retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.
While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.
People with sharp rhetoric and outlandish style who see themselves as Trumpian figures — similar to Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert in the House — may be attracted to the Republican Senate races.
And there’s no question Donald Trump will want a say in each of the resulting primaries. The question: is the GOP more (Josh) Hawley than Blunt?
The departing Republicans also pose an internal problem for Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as he tries to retain control of his Senate caucus.
It’s hard to replace serious, smart and productive team players like Blunt, of Missouri, as well as Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Richard Shelby of Alabama and Richard Burr of North Carolina.
All five are fixtures in Republican politics, know how to get things done and aren’t afraid to play ball with Democrats to achieve their aims.
The author doesn’t quote any Republicans in this story or even mention that she spoke with any. But it does read like she spoke with some on background for this article, some who are scared to death about the effect Trump could have on the Senate in 2022 with so many retiring. I’d bet you dollars to donuts that’s what happened.
Or this could simply be her analysis.
Whichever is the case, I’m positive it’s safe to say that establishment Republicans like McConnell are very worried about this, especially given that so many seats are going to be up for grabs in 2022. We’ve seen how McConnell fought against conservatives in the past running against his establishment picks, and he fights nasty. Remember Mississippi, when Chris McDaniel ran against McConnell’s favorite Thad Cochran? You can expect more of the same if and when Trump starts endorsing candidates against McConnell’s establishment picks next year.