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Some Republicans are expressing concern that pro-Trump candidates in blue states, where the party has typically found success with more moderate candidates, could hurt the chances of large GOP gains in Congress and statehouses this November.
“It can’t continue,” former Connecticut U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, a moderate Republican and Trump critic, told the Associated Press referring to the GOP choosing pro-Trump candidates. “One of the things that will happen is that a lot of the Trump candidates who won the primary will lose the general election. And there are a lot of unhappy Republicans who hold office now who believe that the Senate now is in jeopardy of staying Democratic.”
Republican voters nominated pro-Trump candidates in several blue states, including Maryland and Connecticut, where more “moderate” GOP candidates have typically found success.
Trump’s influence was on full display earlier this month when his last-minute endorsement helped propel Leora Levy, a member of the Republican National Committee, to a victory over former House Minority Leader Themis Klarides who has said she didn’t vote for the former president in 2020.
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“Sad day for CT …,” tweeted Brenda Kupchick, the Republican first selectwoman of Fairfield and a former state representative, after the Aug. 9 race was called for Levy. Days earlier, after Trump endorsed Levy on speakerphone at a GOP picnic, Kupchick tweeted, “How is that helpful in the general election in CT?”
Kupchick’s tweets sparked infighting within the GOP with Trump supporters accusing Klarides of not being a “true conservative” and Trump critics predicting that Levy’s nomination means an easy victory for incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal despite a Quinnipiac poll in May registering his lowest job approval since he took office in 2011.
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Ben Proto, chair of the Connecticut Republicans, dismissed any suggestion that the primary victory by Levy signaled a political evolution within the state GOP. Rather, he said, the party this year has “candidates across the board who hold different opinions on particular issues.”
In Maryland, Trump endorsed the eventual Republican gubernatorial primary winner Dan Cox over a candidate backed by outgoing Republican governor and Trump critic Larry Hogan. In Massachusetts, Republican voters casting ballots in the state’s Sept. 6 gubernatorial primary will choose between Geoff Diehl, a Trump-backed former state representative, and businessman Chris Doughty.
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“I will vote against anyone who seeks the support of Donald Trump because that tells me so much about their character and what they intend to do if elected. That’s the bottom line to me,” Shays, who lives in Maryland, told Associated Press.
Trump’s endorsement has catapulted several Republican candidates to primary wins across the country during the midterm cycle and he remains wildly popular with GOP voters but some Democrats and media outlets have claimed that putting him on the ballot in general elections gives Democrats a better chance of keeping control of Congress.
Blumenthal has already begun shifting the attention to Trump in his race against Levy.
A day after the primary, Blumenthal’s campaign sent out a fundraising message that warned, “The primary results are in, and I’m officially facing off against Trump’s hand-picked candidate in the general election — a radical Republican who will be nothing but a rubber stamp on Mitch McConnell’s disastrous agenda.”
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Levy shifted the attention to President Biden, who is less popular than Trump according to a Fox News poll last month, in a press release following her primary win.
“Dick Blumenthal wants this election to be a referendum on a President,” Levy said. “Donald Trump is not on the ballot in November, but Joe Biden is.”
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell raised doubts this week that Republicans will take control of the Senate and pointed to the “quality” of some of the candidates as the reason.
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“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate,” the minority leader anticipated. “Senate races are just different, they’re statewide. Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.”
Source URL: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/pro-trump-wins-blue-states-leaves-moderates-skeptical-red-wave