Tags: Donald Trump | Ann Wagner | McCaskill | Senate | GOP

Republicans Pass on Key Senate Races in 2018

Image: Republicans Pass on Key Senate Races in 2018
Rep. Ann Wagner (AP)

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Monday, 10 Jul 2017 08:52 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Last week Rep. Ann Wagner stunned her fellow Missouri Republicans by announcing she would not challenge Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill for her Senate seat in 2018.

Wagner, a three-term lawmaker and past state party chair, had been exploring the race for several months, and was encouraged to run by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and actually led McCaskill in several polls. Wagner told the Washington Examiner that she would instead run for re-election in the House of Representatives.

Coming in a year when 23 of the 34 Senate seats up for election are in Democratic hands, such announcements suggest Republicans are worried about being linked to an unpopular president and to a Republican-ruled Congress in which healthcare and tax reform are stymied.

“I have to believe that Republicans are bracing for a bad year in 2018,” political scientist Norman Ornstein of the Brookings Institution told Newsmax. “We have the usual problems for the party of the president and midterms combined with the heavy onus that comes with Donald Trump and an utterly dysfunctional Congress. What usually happens in cases like this is candidates reconsider and often decide that it is a good time to spend more time with their families.”

Montana’s most popular Republican, State Attorney General Tim Fox, announced last month that he would not challenge Democratic Sen. Jon Testor. In Michigan, efforts to recruit veteran Rep. Fred Upton for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination failed. Now five Republicans are vying to oppose Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, their common denominator seemingly is that all are unknown statewide.

In Wisconsin, when she won a narrow upset over former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson in 2012, Democrat Tammy Baldwin made history as the first identified lesbian to be elected U.S. senator anywhere. In 2018, she seemed a prime target for a strong Republican challenger but so far, none has stepped forward. Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, either of whom would be formidable GOP challengers to Baldwin, have signaled they will seek third terms to their respective offices.

Pennsylvania Republicans are waiting to see if Wilkes-Barre Rep. Lou Barletta will run against Democratic Sen. Bob Casey. Of the current field of GOP hopefuls, Lowman Henry of the conservative Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research told me, “Montgomery County businessman Jeff Bartos is impressing a lot of people. And then we have two state representatives, and a Delaware County businessman named Paul Addis who feels Trump is an embarrassment.”

But, he concluded, “at this point, I think everything hinges on what Lou decides to do.”

Republicans still do have hopes of increasing their 52-seat majority in the Senate next year. So far, however, the heavyweight contenders are not climbing into the ring.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 
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Last week Rep. Ann Wagner stunned her fellow Missouri Republicans by announcing she would not challenge Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill for her Senate seat in 2018.
Ann Wagner, McCaskill, Senate, GOP
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2017-52-10
Monday, 10 Jul 2017 08:52 AM
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