GOP Looks to Governor Prospects for Senate Help

Republicans think well-positioned gubernatorial candidates might aid their states’ Senate candidates.

National Journal
Karyn Bruggeman and Andrea Drusch
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Karyn Bruggeman Andrea Drusch
July 16, 2014, 4:38 p.m.

Re­pub­lic­ans have long been bullish about their chances of tak­ing back the Sen­ate this year but are per­haps more ex­cited right now about their pro­spects in gubernat­ori­al races.

Phil Cox, ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of the Re­pub­lic­an Gov­ernors As­so­ci­ation, says Sen­ate can­did­ates across the map are be­ne­fit­ing from strong gubernat­ori­al can­did­ates in their states, and four may even get a boost from can­did­ates who are run­ning ahead of them.

“Of the 36 gov­ernors’ races, we have 25 U.S. Sen­ate races that over­lap,” Cox said Wed­nes­day. “Un­like in 2012, when can­did­ates were dis­tan­cing them­selves, the can­did­ates are re­in­for­cing each oth­er.”

Cox gushed about the RGA’s fun­drais­ing haul in the second quarter and the $70 mil­lion it has ready to de­ploy. He said the group plans to spend $100 mil­lion in the last 100 days be­fore the elec­tion.

“This cycle, there are four states where gov­ernors are run­ning ahead of Sen­ate can­did­ates and will help them — Iowa, Michigan, Geor­gia, and Arkan­sas,” Cox said.

Cox’s lo­gic is based on polling that shows Re­pub­lic­ans Terry Bran­stad, Rick Snyder, Nath­an Deal, and Asa Hutchin­son faring bet­ter with voters than Joni Ernst, Terri Lynn Land, Michelle Nunn’s two po­ten­tial chal­lengers in Geor­gia, and Tom Cot­ton.

Ernst has long owed some cred­it for her po­s­i­tion to the help of Bran­stad, who has in­ves­ted in mak­ing her the state’s first wo­man elec­ted to na­tion­al of­fice. And Land, who has been drag­ging in the polls, could po­ten­tially be­ne­fit from Snyder, who looks com­par­at­ively more as­sured in his race for reelec­tion against Demo­crat Mark Schauer.

Deal and Hutchin­son may poll ahead of the re­spect­ive Sen­ate can­did­ates, but the high-pro­file races in the battle for con­trol of the up­per cham­ber will more likely be­ne­fit the gov­ernors.

Non­ethe­less, it’s a unique situ­ation that of­fers both sides a chance to be­ne­fit from an­oth­er strong can­did­ate. These races in­clude some of Re­pub­lic­ans’ top re­cruits, who still need all the help they can get.

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