In Pennsylvania, the vote to retire GOP Senator Pat Toomey to condemn Trump has already pitted county parties against Republican moderates like ex-MP Ryan Costello, who seeks an offer to replace Toomey. In more sensible times for the GOP, Costello could be the type of nationwide candidate with crossover appeal that the Mitch McConnell wing of the party would advocate.
But Costello made the fatal mistake of defending Toomey’s voice against Trump. “”Former Trump aides are planning to torpedo Costello before he announces a campaign, “writes Politico.
Cue Trump-pardoned Grifter Steve Bannon. “Any candidate who wants to win in Pennsylvania in 2022 has to be Trump MAGA,” Bannon, a former member of the most corrupt White House cabal in American history, told Politico. Bannon also called Costello a “sell-out to globalists” in a separate statement.
Costello had the audacity to claim that the onslaught to reprimand Toomey would “hurt Republican candidates,” and even called a reprimand resolution drafted by his home country, Chester County Republicans, “amazingly stupid.”
A testimony from a GOP viral district official really summed up the Trump loyalty test and why the fallacy of his cultists is anathema to any sane voter. “We didn’t send him there to choose his conscience. We didn’t send him there to do the right thing, whatever he said, “Washington County Republican chairman Dave Ball told KDKA in Pittsburgh on Monday. “We sent him there to represent us and we have a strong feeling that he didn’t represent us.”
Of course, Toomey represents nearly 13 million voters, and a majority of Keystone State voters turned down Trump at the ballot box last November.
With Trump advisors promising to target Costello, the former congressman turned down the effort. “You can say what you want, I won’t mind,” he said. “It might help raise funds to be honest.” Costello has also discredited “Sloppy Steve” Bannon’s broadside because “he’s forever indebted for his forgiveness”.
So Pennsylvania got off to a great start, but North Carolina is no less fascinating. Much like Toomey, retired GOP state senator Richard Burr voted to condemn Trump. But Burr is clearing his place under the cloud of a trading scandal in which he dumped a ton of stocks just before the pandemic fired the market. While Trump lost Pennsylvania with around 80,000 votes, he just won North Carolina with around 74,000 votes.
But Burr’s condemnation vote forced Republicans to choose a side where almost everyone was behind Trump. According to CNN, the State party censored Burr, banned him from at least one county GOP headquarters, and any Republican who looked at his seat took Trump’s side. So much for moderation – whoever wins this elementary school will almost certainly be the trumpy of the group. And certainly the prospect that Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump might enter the race is already driving the GOP primaries to extremes.
The problem is not lost to GOP strategists in the state, who fear Trump’s brand had a huge hit following the Capitol uprising. But neither do they speak openly about it. “They’re all doing a play for elementary school,” a Republican strategist told CNN anonymously. “But I’m worried we’ll lose the seat because we’ll get the trumpiest guy in the group.”
On the other side of the equation, Trump’s influence already has Republican strategists worried he could ruin their chances in potential pick-up races. In particular, they fear that Trump’s tinfoil hat loyalists like Arizona GOP party leader Kelli Ward and Georgia MP Marjorie Taylor Greene could kill any chance of giving Democratic incumbent Sens. Mark Kelly from Arizona and Raphael Warnock from Georgia defeat.
These and other races are likely to offer Republicans a number of Trump-inspired surprises throughout the 2022 cycle.