A story in the Phil Anschutz-owned Washington Examiner today, widely considered a bellwether conservative mouthpiece, makes no attempt to contain the growing frustration from high-ranking Republican donors over the failure by the GOP-dominated federal government to accomplish any of their agenda items since President Donald Trump took office:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is holding off a revolt by his loyal campaign contributors for now, even as other donors angry about Republican failures in Congress reject pleas for cash to support the party’s 2018 campaign.
McConnell, attempting to rebound from stinging defeats on Capitol Hill and the campaign trail, has generally maintained buy-in from his “roster of several hundred committed donors” cultivated since the 2010 election cycle, especially high rollers that write seven-figure checks to the Kentuckian’s super PAC, Senate Leadership Fund…
“It seems like McConnell’s star is fading and Bannon’s is rising,” said Eberhart, who runs an investment firm. This disenchantment has impacted the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Republican Senate campaign committee run by Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado but overseen by McConnell.
The NRSC, which unlike McConnell’s super PAC and affiliated political nonprofit, One Nation, has donations capped by federal limits, raised a scant $4 million in July and August, less than the $4.8 million the organization collected in June, as the Senate GOP’s effort to repeal Obamacare ground to a halt. [Pols emphasis]
Donations to Mitch McConnell’s SuperPAC aren’t subject to the same limits as donations to Sen. Cory Gardner’s National Republican Senatorial Committee, so it’s logical that money would continue to flow to the Senate Leadership Fund. The significant falloff in support for the NRSC can be explained by a number of factors, not least being that organization’s responsibility to support Republican incumbents–even in the face of primary challengers who could leave the “official” campaign organ of Senate Republicans on the wrong side of GOP primary voters.
Which is exactly what happened in Alabama as NRSC-supported Sen. Luther Strange fell to Stephen Bannon-supported Roy Moore. The possibility of “throwing good money after bad” in other upcoming GOP primaries is a very good reason to exercise caution before writing checks to the NRSC.
Needless to say, that’s very bad for Gardner, whose nominally powerful position as the Senate GOP’s campaign chief is rapidly being undermined by Bannon’s insurgency. The one-two punch of losing primaries, followed by having to back fringe nominees, puts Gardner in a horrible position going into an election where Democrats are increasingly hopeful about their still-long shot chances of retaking the U.S. Senate majority.
But like Gardner should have learned when the “Tea Party” propelled him to Congress in 2010, you dance with the one who brought you.