Dem-Boosted Republican Nominees Get Wiped Out

Dem-Boosted Republican Nominees Get Wiped Out
J.B. Pritzker (Image: YouTube screen grab)

By Michael Ginsberg

Six Republican nominees in congressional and state races who received support in their primaries from Democratic Party-aligned groups lost their election bids.

As part of a strategy to increase their chances in key midterm races, Democrats spent more than $53 million in 14 House, Senate, and gubernatorial primaries. They ran ads highlighting the conservative bona fides of candidates who claimed that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election.

Of the 14 candidates Democrats promoted, four gubernatorial, two House, and one Senate won their primary races. Six lost on Tuesday, with Nevada GOP gubernatorial candidate Joe Lombardo’s race still too close to call. In almost all cases, Democrat-aligned groups spent more money than the GOP candidates themselves.

The Democratic Governors Association and incumbent Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker spent more than $34 million promoting the candidacy of Republican state Sen. Darren Bailey, the most of any Republican candidate. Bailey ultimately defeated Aurora, Illinois Mayor Richard Irvin in the state’s GOP gubernatorial primary. Pritzker beat him in Tuesday’s general election by more than 11 points.

Congressional candidates Bob Burns in New Hampshire’s Second District and John Gibbs in Michigan’s Third District were both heavily outspent by primary opponents George Hansel and Rep. Peter Meijer. Spending from the National Education Association and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was more than enough to help Burns and Gibbs close their gaps, however. Incumbent Democratic Rep. Ann Kuster defeated Burns by 14 points, and Gibbs fell to Democrat Hillary Scholten by 13.

Republican Don Bolduc, a retired general who served in Afghanistan, benefited in his primary from more than $3 million in Democrat-bought ads criticizing his opponent, Chuck Morse. He lost to incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, 54-44. (RELATED: Psaki Says Democrats Funding ‘Extremist’ Republicans Is A Good Thing, Actually)

Many Democrats criticized the effort, which the DCCC and chairman Sean Patrick Maloney of New York spearheaded. Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips tweeted that he was “disgusted” by the strategy, while Colorado Rep. Jason Crow described the gambit as “very dangerous.”

“No race is worth compromising your values in that way,” outgoing Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy said

Maloney lost his reelection bid to Republican challenger Mike Lawler, but the strategy is likely to continue given its initial successes.

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