Recently the New York Times reported that the National Republican Senate Committee is stepping in to run Senator Pat Roberts’ failing Senate campaign in Kansas. This race should be a lay-up for the NRSC after Roberts defeated Milton Wolfe in the primary in August. However, it appears that the head of the NRSC, Kansas’ other Senator, Jerry Moran, and team are about to dribble the ball of their foot as they head towards the hoop.
Who knows, maybe they already have.
Today’s Public Policy Polling’s poll showed Roberts down 7 points with only 29% of Kansans approving of Roberts’ job performance. In other words, he is headed the wrong way with just six weeks to go.
This news comes upon the heels of Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, having to step down as his role in the Iowa Caucus scandal becomes more apparent and McConnell locked in a tight re-election campaign in a state Mitt Romney won by 23 points.
In Arkansas, Tom Cotton should be running away with the Senate race against Democrat incumbent Mark Pryor. He is not and in Louisiana, recent polls show Democrat Mary Landrieu still leading in a must win Senate race for the Republican Party. Yesterday, it became very apparent that the National Republican Senate Committee is starting to lose its stuff publicly as it whined in Politico that one of the outside groups it has tried to delegitimize all year, our friends over at the Senate Conservatives Fund, wasn’t helping them as much as they should in Iowa.
We know that in politics things change overnight, but what is currently happening is not the narrative that the NRSC was hoping for at this stage in the game.
2014 was supposed to be their election cycle. The election cycle that would make Mitch McConnell majority leader and now, post-Labor Day, their narrative is about to whisp away in a cloud of smoke as a 2016 Senate map that favors the Democrats looms.
So what is going on out there? Is it possible that the general populace of voters is ready for something new and incumbents deep into their 70s and 80s don’t excite them?
In the case of Roberts and Cochran, the NRSC clearly thought better to go with the dependable votes for Mitch McConnell, not the young, fresh faced conservative challengers in Milton Wolfe and Chris McDaniel.
As a whole, this is part of the bigger problem the GOP Establishment faces as it clings to power: nothing they have done motivates voters and on the flip side of this equation is the fact that their scorched earth tactics to win primaries in 2014 has left a disaffected conservative base (prompting stories like this one from the LA Times).
There has always been the question of who needs who more in this marriage of convenience-conservatives or the GOP Establishment.
We think this election cycle is about to provide an answer.
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