Sat. May 18th, 2024

A new ‘litmus test’ rises in GOP primaries: Ukraine aid

By 37ci3 Apr4,2024

Additional funding to help Ukraine in its war against Russia has divided Republicans on Capitol Hill, but it’s also dividing candidates and voters in the GOP primaries.

The latest example is outside of Indianapolis, where there is a storyteller An ad that recently aired in Indiana’s 5th District says: “Why does Viktoria Sparts put Ukraine first?” Chuck Goodrich will put America first.”

State legislator Goodrich’s ad bashes Spartz, a two-term congressman, for his support of aid to Ukraine and includes pictures of him. In the Oval Office After President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan measure to quickly deliver military equipment to Ukraine in 2022.

Although Spartz was born and raised in Ukraine, this is not a unique attack on him. Opponents of more funding for Ukraine have been featured in TV ads in Republican House and Senate primaries so far this year, according to ad tracking firm AdImpact. The attacks come as lawmakers seek to provide additional aid to Ukraine in the coming weeks.

Pete Seat, former executive director of the Indiana GOP and an alumnus of President George W. Bush’s administration, said the earliest 2024 contests show that support for aid to Ukraine has become a “litmus test” in GOP primaries. As Republican candidates race to appear the most aligned with former President Donald Trump, highlighting their differences over Ukraine aid has become a quick way to prove they have true “America First” beliefs.

“It is not necessary to ask whether you support Trump or not?” Are you simply asking “Do you support funding Ukraine or not?” you should ask the question”, said Seat.

Mixed results

Goodrich’s offense will be tested in Indiana’s May 7 primary. So far, such attacks have met with mixed success.

Barry Moore, GOP representative of Alabama’s 1st District, has aired numerous television ads opposing aid to Ukraine. He defeated fellow GOP Rep. Jerry Carl by 15 points in last month’s primary.

The School Freedom Foundation, an outside group affiliated with the conservative Caucus for Advancement, submitted two ads about Ukraine in the race, including saying a narrator“Ukraine treats America like its ATM” and describes Carl as “the guy in Alabama.”

In the Ohio GOP Senate primary, another fringe group affiliated with the Club for Growth launched Win It Back PAC. an advertisement against state senator Matt Dolan, suggesting that Dolan would be “Ukraine’s senator, not ours.” The club’s preferred candidate, businessman Bernie Moreno, defeated Dolan in a primary last month.

But last month, two anti-establishment calls using the attack failed. Former Illinois Sen. Darren Bailey highlighted GOP Rep. Mike Bost’s support for aid to Ukraine. an announcement As part of Trump’s failed campaign against Bost, who received support. An outside group called America First Priorities has launched in Mississippi an advertisement against GOP Sen. Roger Wicker on the issue, but Wicker easily won his primary.

Indiana’s primaries could be another test for anti-Ukraine aid messages, even if they don’t conflict with a specific candidate. Along with Goodrich, Indiana Republican Tim Smith, who is running in the ruby-red open 3rd District, recently launched a TV ad “Joe Biden cares more about Ukraine’s borders than America’s,” says Smith.

Goodrich, Sparts’ main rival, made this issue the centerpiece of his lawsuit against Sparts. canceled his decision retiring shortly before the state’s filing deadline.

“The latest false ad by Chuck Goodrich attacking Victoria Sparts shows that Chuck Goodrich cannot be trusted to tell the truth,” the Spartz campaign wrote in an email to supporters after the ad aired. The campaign called Goodrich a “lying corrupt RINO” or “Republican in Name Only” and noted that Sparts had called for an audit of Ukrainian funds and opposed a “blank check.”

Some Indiana Republicans said Goodrich’s attack was puzzling, given that Spartak has not been among the most vocal advocates for more aid to Ukraine. sharply criticized President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky.

“He’s very obviously Ukrainian and speaks with an accent,” said Indiana-based Republican strategist Cam Savage, who is not involved in the race, adding: “Maybe they just see a cheap opportunity and they’re willing to take one. . . . I feel like “.

Goodrich campaign spokesman Kyle Casting said in a statement, “Chuck Goodrich believes that instead of continuing to send blank checks to Ukraine, we should first build the wall and secure the border; “Victoria Sparts stood by President Biden and supported, among other things, a $40 billion bailout that funded Ukrainian pensions and the rescue of Ukrainian businesses.”

On Wednesday, Spartz hit back at Goodrich with its own attack ad — accusing him of being soft on China.

The changing GOP

The emergence of aid to Ukraine as a major issue reflects a broader shift in the Trump-led Republican Party toward a more isolationist foreign policy, and anxiety to cross that wing of the party.

The change made it harder for the GOP-controlled House to pass additional aid to Ukraine. Speaker Mike Johnson suggested The Chamber can resolve this issue when lawmakers return to the nation’s capital later this month, however, his speakership could be in jeopardy if he angers far-right Republicans.

Seat was confident the additional aid would pass, largely due to expected support from Democrats. But he was less optimistic that his party would abandon isolationist positions, noting that pro-Trump voters were “turned off” by Republicans like Utah Sen. Mitt Romney and former Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who have pushed for more Ukraine aid.

“Up to a messenger [speaks to] The base of the party, its base today, is out there saying, ‘This is important to us,’ it’s going to be really, really hard to get more Republican support,” Seat said.

And with congressional primaries held in only eight states so far, some GOP lawmakers may be considering the threat of an imminent attack on support for additional Ukraine aid.

“You’re in an election year now, aren’t you?” Savage said. “So how people vote on things is very much in line with how close they are to their primaries.”

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By 37ci3

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