Monday, February 15, 2021


This was bizarre:
"The biggest winner of this whole impeachment trial is Lara Trump," [Senator Lindsey] Graham said on "Fox News Sunday." "My dear friend Richard Burr, who I like and have been friends to a long time, just made Lara Trump almost the certain nominee for the Senate seat in North Carolina to replace him if she runs, and I certainly will be behind her because she represents the future of the Republican Party.”

Burr, a Republican who is retiring, voted to convict former President Trump on Saturday on the sole article of inciting an insurrection on the U.S. Capitol earlier this year.
Apart from the obvious -- that Graham is "sucking up across the generations," as Charlie Pierce says -- what is Graham asking us to believe here? Is he saying Republican voters are so pro-Trump that they'll now pick Trump's daughter-in-law in the primary to replace Burr, but they wouldn't have been pro-Trump enough to pick her if Burr had voted to acquit? If that's the case, they seem a bit deficient in MAGA values, wouldn't you say?

In fact, Lara Trump was already the front-runner in this race, or at least tied for the lead, as we learned in December.
President Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, is currently the favorite among North Carolina voters to succeed in the 2022 Republican primary for the seat of retiring Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), according to a BUSR/UNLV Lee Business School poll released Monday.

The poll found that Lara Trump, who is reportedly considering a Senate run, leads former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) 24 percent to 23 percent, though this is within the poll’s 7-point margin of error.

The leads by Lara Trump and McCrory far surpass support for Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), the only major candidate so far to launch a campaign for the Senate seat. The congressman polled at 7 percent among North Carolina Republicans surveyed.
McCrory is a formidable candidate who's seriously considering a Senate run. He'd own the establishment lane. But Trump fans would regard that as the RINO lane or the Uniparty lane. I assume Lara would beat him. I suppose it depends on whether January 6 and the second impeachment truly damaged the Trump brand in the eyes of most Republican voters -- I think the damage was minimal and transitory, and Trump's polling will bounce back among Republicans by spring. I suppose it also depends on Donald Trump's legal troubles -- but I'm betting that any trials will grind on slowly, and will be denounced as a witch hunt by MAGA Nation.

North Carolina is pretty good at vote suppression, and will probably get better at it in the next two years. So I suspect that whoever wins the Republican nomination will win the seat -- it won't be a done deal, but it will be an uphill fight for the Democrats. And yes, Mitch McConnell will abandon the principles everyone thinks he has now and offer his unqualified support for Lara.

This, on the other hand, won't end well for the potential candidate.
Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is the only Republican senator who voted to convict former President Donald Trump and will face reelection next year. Her decision to cross party lines could lure a primary challenge from Sarah Palin....

In September, Palin threatened to unseat Murkowski in the 2022 elections if she [didn't] support Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

"We sure hope that you have it within you to do the right thing this time," the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice-presidential nominee told Murkowski in a video shared to social media. "So, you should walk back. We'll forgive you."
Murkowski voted to confirm Barrett, but in 2018, when the senator voted against Brett Kavanaugh, Palin also threatened her with a primary challenge. But polling at the time showed that Palin wasn't well liked in Alaska.
In a poll of likely Alaska midterm voters conducted by Alaska Survey Research, Palin was viewed negatively by just over half of voters (51 percent) while a far lower amount (31 percent) said they had a favorable view of the ex-governor.

The poll was taken in the days following Palin's tweet at Murkowski....
In November, Alaska voters approved a change to the state's elections that could be seen as the Lisa Murkowski Protection Act. Ballotpedia explains how it works:
Under Ballot Measure 2, candidates run in a single primary election, regardless of a candidate's party affiliation. The four candidates that receive the most votes advance to the general election....

At the general election, voters elect state and federal candidates using ranked-choice voting.... If no candidate wins a simple majority of the vote, the candidate with the fewest votes would be eliminated. People who voted for that candidate as their first choice would have their votes redistributed to their second choice. The tabulation process would continue as rounds until there are two candidates remaining, and the candidate with the greatest number of votes would be declared the winner.
So Murkowski will run in a jungle primary, not a Republican primary -- and four candidates will survive that, which means she's all but certain to make the general-election ballot. There won't be a repeat of 2010, when Murkowski lost the Republican primary to a Tea Party candidate named Joe Miller, who was backed by Palin. Miller was a MAGA candidate before there was MAGA -- at one campaign event, supporters marched while openly carrying assault weapons; he also supported building a wall on the Mexican border, and had security guards known to intimidate reporters. But Murkowski won the general election as a write-in candidate, beating Miller and the Democratic nominee, Scott McAdams. Then, in 2016, Murkowski won a four-way race against Miller (running as a Libertarian), an Independent candidate named Margaret Stock, and Democrat Ray Metcalfe. Miller was her strongest challenger -- she beat him 44%-29%.

So we can assume that she's counting on supporters of other candidates who are horrified by Palin/Miller/Tea Party/MAGAism to rank her #2 on their ballots in order to prevent Palin or Miller from being elected. And I bet that will work out for her. Her vote on Saturday wasn't as brave as it seemed, and Palin's threat is probably nothing to worry about.

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