Elder isn’t within 20 points of Newsom – it’s only the weird rules of the California recall that split the decision between whether to recall the Governor and who should replace him that is creating the danger of Elder taking the office.
But I do agree that Cillizza’s analysis is less than insightful (as is par for the course). Nobody cares about carpetbagging – and he has more connection to Georgia than Hillary Clinton did to New York when she ran for Senate. Allegations of “troubling behavior” buried in boring legal documents won’t hurt him unless something voters can react to viscerally comes out – e.g. a photo of a bruised girlfriend, a recording of a desperate 911 call, etc.
His biggest handicap is that he’s untested as a candidate. Even Trump had run for President before. There’s a lot that a candidate has to learn about how to communicate his message and how not to fall into rhetorical traps. Just ask Christine “I’m not a witch” O’Donnell.
It is fun though watching Mitch try to figure out how he can drive in the shiv without having his fingerprints all over it.
Getting back to the Senate, I assume after Labor Day we will get a definite reelection decision from Ron Johnson. My WAG is that he doesn’t run, he’s been pretty far out there pandering to anti vaxxers and doesn’t seem to be trying to play moderate.
I wouldn’t take a “failure to moderate” as a sign that Johnson plans to retire. First because he’s Ron Freakin’ Johnson and he couldn’t moderate if he tried (and if he did, no one would believe him).
Moreover, moderating would probably hurt his reelection chances. Every early sign is that 2022 is shaping up to be the typical first midterm election for a Democratic President – i.e. Republican turnout way up, Democratic turnout down, and Independents breaking against the President’s party. He needs to keep Republicans energized, and nothing gooses the faithful right now like coronavirus conspiracy theories.
That’s not much of a gotcha. Progressives have been clamoring for her and Pelosi to retire for years now. And even moderates were slightly sweating Newsom’s recent recall election in fear of an apocalyptic scenario where he lost and Feinstein then promptly croaked in office and was replaced by a short-term Republican governor.
It’s his life, but I’m not terribly keen on Biden running at 82 myself. He can do what he wants of course and if he’s the best of bad options in 2024…well…fine, I guess. But all things being equal I’d rather he just retire and let someone else take the reins.
Mitch McConnel is “warming” to Herschel Walker’s Senate bid in Georgia – i.e. he realizes he doesn’t have the juice to stop it, so he’s making the best of the situation. Give Mitch this much credit, he is as ruthlessly realistic and pragmatic a politician as they come.