EDITOR OF REDSTATE
The Challengers Under Attack
The truth may hurt, but is not mean, as my friend Andrew Breitbart would say. The truth is the major challengers to incumbent Republican Senators — Matt Bevin in Kentucky, Milton Wolf in Kansas, and Chris McDaniel in Mississippi — are behind.
This is not to say they cannot win. I believe they can. But, this is to say that for them to win, their campaigns and our efforts must be kicked into high gear.
Matt Bevin, Milton Wolf, and Chris McDaniel are the best men for the Senate in their respective states. They are competent. They are conservative. They can beat the Democrats in the general election in their states. The establishment was never going to go away without a fight. The establishment would never go easy. In fact, the establishment is proving yet again it’d rather be in the minority than be out of power all together.
There is no use complaining about the unfairness of it all. Candidates do what it takes to win and the establishment candidates are pulling out all the stops.
Right now, the establishment and their hired guns are firing at a level the challengers are not and cannot due to funding and less experience in politics (an asset that will ultimately benefit them). K Street is pouring money into these races in a way the grassroots have never fundraised. The establishment intends to cling to their precious.
Matt Bevin fell early to a barrage of negative attacks defining him before he could define himself. He is far down with a month to go. While he benefits from a wave of conservative grassroots support, including my own here at RedState, he has much ground to make up and little time to do it. Short of a non-stop very positive media campaign re-defining himself, Bevin is not going to win.
The voters in Kentucky may not care for Mitch McConnell. Conservative activists around the country may not care for McConnell. But Bevin has failed thus far to present a compelling, positive narrative of himself and why he should be the guy to replace Mitch McConnell. With early voting approaching, he has less than one month to do that.
In Kansas, Milton Wolf has done a masterful job shifting the narrative against Pat Roberts. Roberts does not live in Kansas, has more limited ties to Kansas than most realize these days, and is deeply vulnerable on that. But Wolf has not done what he needs to do to present himself as the serious, credible alternative. Only at the very grassroots level has he done so. He has time to do with the general populace of primary voters and needs to get to it.
Of all the Senate Republican incumbents, Cochran is most likely to be beaten. Chris McDaniel is a solid choice to beat Cochran. That said, McDaniel is a grassroots campaign that needs to start acting like an established, polished campaign. McDaniel, in other words, needs to give the grassroots strategy a bit of a rest and start raising a hell of a lot of money. He’s going to be outspent and he risks being defined quickly and negatively. We need to help him raise as much as we can.
If the grassroots, conservative activists, and tea parties are going to change Washington, they must change the GOP. To change the GOP, its incumbent faces must be changed. These are the three incumbent races that matter most. Right now, the grassroots are behind. They have to make up ground. It is doable, but it will take prayer, money, and boots on the ground.
Time is short, but the trajectories can be changed.