The Corner

The NRSC Conundrum

As David Catanese explains, the National Republican Senatorial Committee thought they had it all figured out: Pick (supposedly) strong, establishment candidates early and often, then just wait for the wins to roll in. GOP primary voters don’t seem to care about the NRSC’s strategy:

Polls show at least four candidates favored by the National Republican Senatorial Committee would lose their primaries if the elections were held today. And five other committee-preferred candidates are entangled in competitive contests that are far from sure bets . . . top-tier talent like Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, former Connecticut Rep. Rob Simmons, Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina in California appeared to be huge wins for the party, not to mention shrewd political plays.

With the “shoo-ins” now scrambling, it’s time for the NRSC to take a hard look at what’s happening in GOP primaries. Yes, voters are frustrated with the Obama agenda. They’re also frustrated with all of Washington; especially committees of the party establishment that hand pick candidates. Being so bully, so early for known quantities may have worked in previous cycles. This year, and perhaps in the future, it’s a losing strategy. The NRSC, despite its best efforts, has become a problem, wading into states and giving grassroots groups an easy, often unnecessary foe. While pledges of early support help to draw in high-profile candidates, those candidates are far from sure bets.

Instead of using its money and endorsements as carrots for Republicans who wouldn’t run without such things, an increased focus on helping nominees, not primary favorites, might be apt.

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