Troy Jones takes the SDGOP spin blog mic and calls for primary challenges against Senators Capito, Collins, Flake, Lee, and Paul for their opposition to the GOP Senate bill:
From this day forward, they are Obamacare Republicans, liberal co-conspirators, and deserving of being aggressively opposed in primaries. I support the rumored Trump recruitment of primary opponents [Troy Jones, “‘If It Looks Like a Rat…,” Dakota War College, 2017.07.19].
Troy’s going to have a long wait: only Flake is up in 2018. Capito and Collins are up in 2020 (by which year Ladbrokes says there is a 48% chance that there will be no President Trump on whose coattails primary insurgents could ride); Lee and Paul are up in 2022.
Troy oddly omits Senator Moran, who tandemed with Senator Lee Monday evening in killing the Senate bill and who sounded far more Obamacary than Lee, who opposed the Senate bill because it didn’t go far enough in repealing Obamacare taxes and regulations. Similarly, Rand Paul balked because he supports clean and complete ACA repeal, the thing Republicans have promised in every election since 2010. We can call Lee and Paul a lot of things, but they are not “Obamacare Republicans.”
Troy is also risking his loyal Republican Party member card by advocating primaries against incumbents. Consider NPR’s discussion of Trump’s push to primary Flake:
CORNISH: And then the other Arizona senator, Republican Jeff Flake, is also in the news today for different reasons. Politico reported that the White House has met with potential Republican primary challengers to run against Flake next year. How unusual is this?
DAVIS: It is highly unusual, and I can tell you Mitch McConnell does not support this kind of infighting. You know, a couple – earlier this year, a Trump-aligned super PAC also planned to target Nevada Republican Senator Dean Heller with an ad campaign. He’s undecided on the health care bill. And that made Senate Republicans very unhappy. At a meeting at the White House last month, they personally appealed to the president not to use these kind of hardball tactics. The group eventually did announce they weren’t going to run the ads.
I think you can expect a similar pushback in Flake’s defense. It is the official policy of the Senate Republican Campaign Committee to back incumbents in primaries. There are no exceptions to this rule. But I think with Flake, it’s also a bit personal. It’s not just about health care. As you recall, he was a very frequent critic of the president during the campaign [Audie Cornish and Susan Davis, “Sen. McCain’s Recovery from Blood Clot Surgery Threatens GOP Health Care Vote,” NPR: All Things Considered, 2017.07.17].
Rule #11 of the Republican National Committee prohibits the RNC from giving any support to any candidate in a primary. I’ll be interested to see if Troy’s comments draw any response from the Republican Senator who sponsors that blog and is required by his own rules to oppose any such call for a primary against an incumbent colleague.