Trump’s frontrunner status is scaring some potential candidates: With Donald Trump way ahead in the Republican presidential contest, some Republicans are nervous about getting into down-ballot races.
Scary Donald Trump
Donald Trump is under indictment in one case, and possibly facing charges in three others, in addition to the recent civil trial in which he was found to have sexually abused and defamed a woman.
At the same time, he is the clear frontrunner in the Republican presidential contest for 2024.
And this, according to a new report, indicates that many Republicans are reluctant to share a ticket with him.
Politico reported Monday that candidates in some swing states are showing hesitation about getting into races for Congress and the Senate if it means sharing a ticket with Trump and possibly answering questions about him on a near-daily basis.
Joe O’Dea is a former Senate candidate in Colorado who the GOP is trying to persuade to run for Congress in 2024. But according to Politico’s sources, O’Dea is concerned about “what it would mean to share a ballot with Donald Trump.”
This is true of many candidates in swing states, according to what the site refers to as a “dozen recruiters, operatives and congressional hopefuls” who spoke to Politico anonymously.
“Few Republicans publicly worry the former president will seriously damage their bench in either chamber, and they maintain that many of the candidates on the fence will ultimately decide to run,” Politico said. “But Trump’s resurgence has notably chilled recruitment across the country. And because only a handful of seats separate both parties in the House and Senate, any one flop could narrow the path to a majority.”
This dynamic is shaping up after the 2022 midterms, in which Trump-backed candidates lost Senate races in several key swing states, helping the Democrats maintain control of the Senate, while Republicans ended up with a much smaller House majority than they had hoped for.
“Some people have asked me, ‘Should I run next year?’ If you’re in a swing district, I said, ‘No,’” former Rep. Barbara Comstock of Virginia, a Republican who lost a race for re-election in 2018, told the site. “If he’s going to be the nominee, you are better to wait and run after he washes out. Because you won’t have a prayer of winning.”
David McCormick, who ran for Senate in Pennsylvania in 2022 and is being recruited by Republicans to run again for the state’s other seat, is worried about Trump as well, Politico said.
According to the latest Morning Consult tracking poll, released Tuesday, Trump currently leads the GOP field with 58 percent support, placing him 38 points ahead of Ron DeSantis, on the eve of DeSantis’ official entrance into the presidential race. Former Vice President Mike Pence, who is not yet officially in the race, has 6 percent, while declared candidates Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy each have 4 percent, while Rep. Liz Cheney (who has not announced that she’s running) and Sen. Tim Scott each hold 2 percent.
Trump’s number is actually down slightly from the 60 percent he held a week earlier.
“DeSantis trails Trump by 38 percentage points (20% to 58%) among potential GOP primary voters, a mild improvement from a 44-point deficit clocked in Morning Consult surveys conducted in mid-May. Nearly 7 in 10 (67%) potential primary voters have heard something about DeSantis over the past week, marking his highest level of buzz since tracking began in late November,” The Morning Consult poll said.
Trump Himself Should Be Scared
Meanwhile, a judge ruled Tuesday that Trump’s criminal trial, in the New York trial in which he is accused of falsifying business records, has been set for March 25, 2024. That will place the trial right in the middle of the primary season, while also raising the possibility that the former chief executive could be convicted of a crime while he’s in the middle of running for president.
Trump has pled not guilty to all 34 counts in that indictment.
Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.