Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Hush money verdict tests Senate candidates’ approach to Trump

By 37ci3 Jun4,2024

Donald Trump’s guilty verdict in the New York hush money case is becoming one of the first major tests for Senate candidates trying to navigate the confusion of running alongside the polarizing former president.

Republican candidates in the Senate battlegrounds have since rallied around Trump A New York jury found him guilty of all 34 counts last week Many falsified business records, criticizing the case as “election interference,” “fraud,” “forgery” and “political harassment.”

However, as Republicans rush to embrace Trump, many Democrats want to focus on their home states and other issues rather than cooking up a guilty verdict, given the uncertain political landscape and the knowledge that they will need the support of Trump voters. they are also in the main competitions.

At least two Republican candidates released new ads Monday to capitalize on the ruling in their races.

Republican Tim Sheehy took over a new place His likely opponent, Democratic Sen. John Tester of Montana, said that “Joe Biden has supported the witch hunt every step of the way.” The ad will air on television, according to a source familiar with the strategy.

Republican Bernie Moreno in Ohio introduced digital advertising he criticizes Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown for “refusing to condemn Biden’s politically motivated witch hunt.”

It’s no coincidence that Moreno and Sheehy are leaning toward the ruling to fire Trump supporters in Ohio and Montana. After an open seat in West Virginia, both states are among Republicans’ best chances to flip Senate seats this year — Trump carried Montana by 16 points and Ohio by 8 points in 2020. The GOP needs a net gain of two seats to take control. house (or one seat if Trump wins the White House, since the vice president casts tie-breaking votes in the Senate).

Tester and Brown gave similar, muted responses to last week’s verdict.

“I’m not a lawyer or a judge, but I’ve said from the beginning that no one is above the law,” Brown said. “Ultimately, it’s up to the legal system to decide and the American people to decide in November.”

“Senator Tester respects the judicial process and believes that everyone should be treated fairly before the courts and that voters will have the opportunity to make their voices heard at the ballot box in November,” the spokesperson said. This was reported to the Montana Free Press.

The Democrats have suppressed Trump

Republicans were quick to criticize the Democrats’ responses.

“Senate Democrats have a choice: They can spend the next six months defending their party’s efforts to imprison Donald Trump, or they can withdraw their endorsement of Joe Biden and call for an end to this unfair political persecution,” National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Philip Letsow told NBC News. said in his statement. “John Tester and Sherrod Brown’s attempts to bury their heads in the sand will not work.”

Democrats’ reactions the ruling underscores the difficult balancing act these candidates face: They must turn out as many Democrats as possible, but also win over some Trump voters as their states shift to the right. To do this, they focus on local issues and prioritize their work on bipartisan policies veteran health and the opioid epidemic.

“We have a ton of Senate candidates who want to run on their state, not on partisan antics in Washington,” said one Democratic strategist involved in Senate races.

“It’s going to get harder every time Trump comes back into the news,” the strategist added. “But it was a pre- or post-judgment phenomenon.”

Other Democratic Senate candidates also issued brief statements after the verdict emphasizing support for a broader justice system.

“I respect our justice system and the rule of law. The process happened, and we must always hold our elected leaders accountable,” Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego Arizona Posted in X. Gallego also raised money from the sentencing by sending an email to supporters Thursday evening titled “Don’t let a convicted felon win in Arizona.”

“The former president had his day in court before a jury of citizens because we all deserved it, and this sentence reflects that,” Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, said in a statement.

But the top Senate candidate, Representative Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, went a step further, describing Trump as a “convicted felon.” Partial write in X“Presidents are supposed to be the leaders we expect; now one of them is a convicted felon convicted by a jury of his peers. Nothing to celebrate.”

Democratic strategist Rich Luchette suggested that Addressing Trump more directly could be a winning strategy.

“Don’t be afraid. Voters value candidates who tell it like it is,” Luchette said. “Democrats, regardless of audience, should feel comfortable talking about the serious charges against Donald Trump and the importance of protecting our democracy. At the same time, we must focus on the issues that matter most to working men and women: access to health care, protecting abortion, and growing the economy from the bottom up and the middle.

But Republican strategist Brad Todd said the ruling was a “missed opportunity” for these Democratic candidates to distance themselves from the national party.

“Ultimately, Tester, Sherrod Brown and Bob Casey are not going to win unless they convert some of the people who voted for Donald Trump,” Todd said. “If they were smart, they would criticize this indictment and say that only the voters should be in charge of Donald Trump in November, not a Manhattan grand jury.”

Embrace Trump

And the Republican candidates in the Senate are largely on the same page. Along with Sheehy and Moreno, GOP candidates in swing states also condemned the ruling.

Former GOP Rep. Mike Rogers, a top Michigan Senate candidate, said: “It’s clear from the start that these charges are politically motivated, and thankfully our justice system doesn’t hand over all power to rabid partisan district attorneys. , this sham trial and the un-American prosecution of President Trump are an indelible stain on our nation.”

Republicans have also used the energy surrounding Trump’s ruling to boost their campaign accounts. The NRSC reported its best online fundraising day since the verdict was announced last week, saying it brought in $360,000.

Only former Maryland governor Larry Hogan, who is running for Senate in his deep blue state, did not condemn the ruling. Place in X before the announcement, “Regardless of the outcome, I urge all Americans to respect the verdict and the legal process.”

The dangers of such an approach quickly became apparent. Trump’s senior adviser Chris LaCivita he answered“You just finished your campaign.”

Continueusly eEmbracing Trump is a significant shift from 2016, when Senate candidates tried to distance themselves from their controversial standard-bearers on the battlefields. After eight years of Trump’s evolution in the party in 2024, Republicans do not hesitate to connect with Trump and appear at his rallies in their states.

Some Democrats were skeptical that embracing Trump would embolden Republicans, especially after last week’s verdict.

David Bergstein, communications director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said: “The outcome of the Senate races will be determined by the quality and disqualifying defects of the Republican candidates. they are.”

It’s unclear whether Trump’s legal troubles will have a bigger impact on the ballot, with voters citing other issues such as the economy, immigration, democracy and abortion as their top concerns.

A Democratic strategist involved in Senate races suspected the ruling would cause swing voters to change their vote for the Senate. The strategist also noted that major tensions remain in the Senate races, as Republicans seek to lock Democrats into the presidential race, while Democrats try to keep the focus in their home states.

“This nationalization has always been a key point of the Republican argument, and this court has not changed that,” the strategist said.

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By 37ci3

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