'Most incompetent, least electable': Columnist says GOP is running one bad Senate candidate after another

'Most incompetent, least electable': Columnist says GOP is running one bad Senate candidate after another
Dr. Mehmet Oz in 2015 (Wikimedia Commons)

Although Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is still confident that Republicans will retake the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2022 midterms, he isn’t nearly as bullish on the GOP’s chances of flipping the U.S. Senate. McConnell cited “candidate quality” as a problem for Republicans in the Senate, essentially acknowledging that some of the Donald Trump-backed Republicans being nominated in key Senate races may lose to Democrats.

McConnell, at a Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce gathering in Florence, Kentucky, told attendees, “I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate. Senate races are just different; they're statewide. Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome. Right now, we have a 50-50 Senate and a 50-50 country, but I think when all is said and done this fall, we’re likely to have an extremely close Senate, either our side up slightly or their side up slightly.”

The Senate minority leader didn’t mention any names when he discussed “candidate quality,” but liberal Washington Post opinion columnist Eugene Robinson certainly does in a biting August 22 column — stressing that “the race for the title of most incompetent, least electable Republican candidate for the Senate has become a real competition.” And he does on to cite Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, Ohio’s J.D. Vance and Georgia’s Herschel Walker as some of the worst offenders.

READ MORE: Donald Trump privately admitting that Mehmet Oz will lose Senate race

“Former football star Herschel Walker, whom Trump muscled his party into nominating against Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael G. Warnock in Georgia, had an early lead in the contest for hands-down-worst Republican standard-bearer,” Robinson argues. “His across-the-board incoherence remains unmatched. But while Walker trails in the polls, he is actually doing better than some of his Trump-endorsed counterparts in other states.”

Robinson continues, “Take Mehmet Oz, who trails Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman by 7½ points in the RealClearPolitics polling average in the battle for retiring GOP Sen. Patrick J. Toomey’s Pennsylvania seat. It makes sense that Trump, a former reality television star, backed a reality television physician. But Oz’s supposed media savvy hasn’t made up for his other problems — chief among them, a lack of connection to the state he wants to represent. Oz, a longtime New Jersey resident, only moved to Pennsylvania two years ago. Fetterman’s campaign has made gleeful, social-media-friendly hay from that fact, pushing for Oz to be nominated to the New Jersey Hall of Fame and spotlighting the number of Oz’s residences.”

Another “incompetent” Republican U.S. Senate candidate Robinson mentions is Arizona’s ultra-MAGA Blake Masters.

“In Arizona, Republicans had high hopes of defeating incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, who looked vulnerable,” Robinson explains. “But Trump pushed the GOP to nominate Masters, a venture capitalist and political novice who has disturbing support from far-right extremists, and who backs Trump’s false claims about the purported illegitimacy of the 2020 presidential election. Masters has also attacked McConnell as being ‘not good at’ legislating and has called for him to be replaced as GOP leader in the Senate. While Kelly’s political skills are seen by Democratic strategists as less than dazzling, a Fox News poll last week found him leading Masters by eight points, 50 percent to 42 percent.”

READ MORE: Ohio Republicans 'can't find J.D. Vance with a search warrant': conservative radio host

Robinson adds, “In Ohio, the GOP ought to have had a lock on retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s seat; Trump won the state by eight points in 2020. But a mid-August poll by Emerson College showed Republican J.D. Vance ahead of Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan by a mere three points, and a string of earlier polls by the nonpartisan Center Street PAC consistently showed Ryan in the lead…. Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, a MAGA true-believer, trails Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes by four points, 50 percent to 46 percent, in a recent Fox News poll.”

Robinson wraps up his column by stressing that if the GOP “falls short in the Senate” in November, Trump “will be to blame.”

“Could Democrats even keep their majority in the House? Still unlikely,” Robinson writes. “But watch this space, because it looks impossible to overestimate the damage Trump can do to his own party.”

READ MORE: 'Pathological liar' Herschel Walker is a 'campaign's worst nightmare': report

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