Thursday, August 04, 2016

Huelskamp Was Revenge For Cantor-- Will Ryan Be Revenge For Huelskamp?


Huelskamp hoped that his constituents wouldn't recognize him if he grew a satanic goatee

Kansas hasn't been Trumpanzee Country so far this year. Not only did Ted Cruz double his vote at the state's Republican caucuses 35,207 (48.2%) to 17,,062 (23.3%), Bernie outpolled him as well-- with 26,450 votes. Tuesday, Trump was wise not to stick his nose into the congressional primary in Kansas' first congressional district, a giant district stretching most of the way across the state from the Colorado border to the exuburbs west of Topeka. There are no cities and it is the reddest district, by far, in the state. Obama only took 28% of the vote in the district (while he won 38% statewide). Kansas' entire congressional delegation is Republican but the most extreme right-wing member of that delegation, Tim Huelskamp, was defeated by a more conventional Republican on Tuesday. It ws the reverse of what happened in Virginia when Eric Cantor was defeated by far right lunatic Dave Brat.

It was a bad night for the GOP extremists in Kansas with at least 11 allies of Governor Sam Brownback losing their seats to mainstream conservatives, including Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce, a vicious and detested radical right pile of excrement he is refusing to talk with the press today. But the biggest news was Huelskamp's stunning 58,808 (57%) to 45,312 (44%) loss to Roger Marshall.

As of the July 13 FEC reporting deadline Marshall had outraised (and outspent) Huelskamp $889,056 to $718,383 but Huelskamp had a big war-chest and he went into the final 2 weeks of the campaign with $393,664 to Marshall's $42,552. Outside groups, however, made all the difference. An anti-Tea Party PAC, the Ending Spending Action Fund (Ricketts family), put $773,093 into anti-Huelskamp ads and another $378,283 in favor of Marshall. The Chamber of Commerce spent $401,907, about half shredding Huelskamp and half extolling Marshall. Another ad hoc anti-Huelskamp PAC, Strong Leadership For America jumped in with $206,812 against Huelskamp and $81,672 for Marshall. Meanwhile extremist groups like Club for Growth spent $364,814 smearing Marshall and another $55,017 trying to save the sinking Huelskamp; the House Liberty Caucus smeared up Marshall with a $202,795 ad buy and FreedomWorks jumped in with $89,383 in positive ads to help Huelskamp. In all, outside groups spent $1,893,018 on the Marshall side and $867,279 on the Huelskamp side.

Wednesday morning the head of the far right Freedom Caucus, Jim Jordan, seemed to declare war on the House GOP establishment in response to the Huelskamp defeat. Many of the Caucus members blamed Paul Ryan for the demise of Huelskamp. Jordan:
In an ugly and dishonest campaign, Tim’s record was attacked and misrepresented by big money special interest groups who wanted to exact their revenge. Republicans need to be unified behind conservative principles to stop the Obama/Clinton agenda. The House Republican leadership’s opposition to Tim Huelskamp significantly damaged the ability of House Republicans to do that.
Boehner had kicked Huelskamp off the Agriculture Committee, basically all that matters in KS-01 and Ryan had refused to reinstate him. This was one of the biggest and most effective weapons Marshall used against him-- that his ideological rigidity resulted in a loss of influence for the district.

Now Freedom Caucus members are whispering about helping Paul Nehlen defeat Ryan next Tuesday in his Wisconsin primary. No one on Capitol Hill thinks the whispering will amount to anything and one staffer told me that the only way to defeat Ryan is if people catch on to the idea DWT has been pushing, namely to get anti-TPP Democrats in Janesville, Kenosha and Racine to take advantage of Wisconsin's open primary, pull Republican ballots and vote for Nehlen. It would throw the House Republicans into turmoil and kill any chance of the TPP passing. "Ryan recalled fucked Huelskamp with that Agriculture Committee non-statement statement," my source told me last night. "The Tea Party guys were flipping out today but none of them has the cajones to go up against Ryan. They're all afraid Ryan and the Chamber can do to them what they just did to Tim... As you said on your blog a couple days ago, if only the DCCC had a brain, they could get rid of Ryan Tuesday. But they don't-- and they won't."

After the Trumpanzee's completely silly and childish refusal to endorse Ryan-- and his bold-faced lie about Ryan begging him for the endorsement-- Mike Pence, who apparently wants to have a career in Republican politics are the Trumpanzee crashes and burns, endorsed Ryan yesterday, in an act of defiance against the Trumpanzee, although the Trump campaign claims Trump didn't care and even encouraged Pence to do it.
The flirtation with Mr. Ryan’s challenger has infuriated Wisconsin’s leading Republicans. Gov. Scott Walker and Senator Ron Johnson both indicated that they would not join Mr. Trump at a scheduled appearance in Green Bay this week. And Mr. Walker on Wednesday posted a picture of himself with Mr. Ryan on Twitter, writing: “We stand with Paul Ryan!”

Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee and a Wisconsin native, is also said to be livid over Mr. Trump’s remarks about Mr. Ryan and is considering several options to show his public support for the Wisconsin congressman.

Mr. Priebus is debating the best way to demonstrate solidarity with Mr. Ryan, from a formal endorsement to an email publicly stating his support, said three people with knowledge of Mr. Priebus’s internal discussions. A public announcement could come as early as Wednesday.

Mr. Priebus has not yet had a direct conversation with Mr. Trump, according to people close to him. But he has been in contact with some of Mr. Trump’s children.

...Party officials are hamstrung-- there is no mechanism for removing Mr. Trump as the party’s candidate; he would have to step down himself. Nonetheless, party leaders are said to be furious at the controversies involving the Republican nominee.

There are now active discussions among high-ranking Republican officials about how much longer the party can wait before recasting their focus away from Mr. Trump and toward down-ballot nominees. One veteran strategist close to Mr. Priebus indicated that, much as the party did when Bob Dole’s presidential campaign was flagging in 1996, officials may have to turn their attention to congressional and governors’ races as early as next month.

Some Republican strategists, however, have little sympathy for the party committee, noting that it smoothed the way for Mr. Trump’s nomination in Cleveland by aggressively putting down efforts to let delegates vote their conscience.

And, many in the party note, Mr. Priebus can hardly act surprised now about Mr. Trump’s erratic behavior, given his string of inflammatory comments since entering the race.

“You would have to have had your eyes wide shut for the last year to think he would act differently in the general than he did in the primary,” said Josh Holmes, a top adviser to Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader.

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