Building a Bigger Senate Conservative Farm Team

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito
National Journal
Scott Bland
See more stories about...
Scott Bland
May 9, 2014, 7:37 a.m.

Next Tues­day, most of the at­ten­tion will go to Neb­raska‘s fas­cin­at­ing, late-break­ing GOP Sen­ate primary, which doubles as con­ser­vat­ive out­side groups’ best chance to snare a Sen­ate seat in 2014. Keep an eye on WV-02, too, one of the places where Sen­ate Con­ser­vat­ives Fund and oth­ers are try­ing to build a farm team to give them­selves more op­por­tun­it­ies in the fu­ture.

— Es­pe­cially with state Mis­sis­sippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) suf­fer­ing from rev­el­a­tions of old ra­dio com­ments, Neb­raska’s Ben Sas­se (R) is the greatest re­main­ing hope for groups like SCF after set­backs across the map this year. With banker Sid Dinsdale (R) mak­ing a late self-fun­ded charge after fron­trun­ners Sas­se and Shane Os­born (R) beat each oth­er up, the stakes are very high for a few out­side groups look­ing for wins next Tues­day.

— Mean­while, in WV-02, SCF and friends have fo­cused on the state’s open House dis­trict after fail­ing to pre­vent its cur­rent oc­cu­pant, Rep. Shel­ley Moore Capito (R), from breez­ing to the party’s Sen­ate nom­in­a­tion. Groups like the SCF, the Club for Growth and oth­er gnashed their teeth over Capito’s Sen­ate run in late 2012—but they couldn’t de­rail it. By sup­port­ing Alex Mooney (R) in WV-02 and House can­did­ates in a few oth­er states this year, SCF and oth­er en­dors­ers are look­ing to seed the House with fu­ture Sen­ate con­tenders to pre­vent the scen­ario from re­peat­ing.

— Mooney has out­spent the field to put him­self in po­s­i­tion, but that strength high­lights something else: The former Mary­land GOP chair, who was a state sen­at­or there and con­sidered run­ning for MD-06 in 2012, is get­ting al­most com­pletely fun­ded from out of state. He brought in less than $10,000 in item­ized dona­tions from West Vir­gin­ia in 2013, and the pace hasn’t picked up much: His pre-primary FEC re­port shows just three West Vir­gin­ia in­di­vidu­al donors.

It’s not that there’s no loc­al money to be had: In neigh­bor­ing WV-03, Evan Jen­kins (R) has raised well over a quarter-mil­lion dol­lars in item­ized dona­tions from West Vir­gini­ans. There’s simply a lot of out­side in­terest in what hap­pens to WV-02 this year.

What We're Following See More »
Former Sen. Bob Bennett Dies at 82
6 hours ago

Former Utah Republican Sen. Bob Bennett died of pancreatic cancer on Wednesday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Bennett was defeated in a primary in 2010 by Tea Party–backed Mike Lee.

Libertarians Getting a Second Look?
12 hours ago
Trump Floats Gingrich, Kasich as Running Mates
13 hours ago

Newt Gringrich is actively positioning himself as a possible VP nominee for Donald Trump, according to National Review. After a New York Times piece mentioned him as a possible running mate, he said, "It is an honor to be mentioned. We need a new Contract with America to outline a 100-day plan to take back Washington from the lobbyists, bureaucrats, unions, and leftists. After helping in 1980 with Reagan and 1995 as speaker I know we have to move boldly and decisively before the election results wear off and the establishment starts fighting us. That is my focus." Meanwhile, Trump told CNN he'd be "interested in vetting" John Kasich as well.

House Dems Push on Puerto Rico, Citing Zika
14 hours ago

"House Democrats are stepping up pressure on Republicans to advance legislation addressing Puerto Rico’s worsening debt crisis by issuing a report arguing that austerity cuts can’t be sustained and have made the island more vulnerable to the mosquito-borne Zika virus." Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee released a report yesterday that argued "further sharp reductions in government spending can’t be a part of a legislative solution"—especially with a rainy season boosting the mosquito population and stressing an island health system already struggling to deal with the Zika virus.

Trump to Name VP Search Committee
15 hours ago

"Donald J. Trump said on Wednesday that he expected to reveal his vice presidential pick sometime in July—before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland—but added that he would soon announce a committee to handle the selection process, which would include Dr. Ben Carson." He said he's inclined to name a traditional political figure, unlike himself.