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Media Hand-Wringing Over GOP Senate Recruits Ignores Past Timelines

Politico wrote that Senate GOP leaders are “rattled” by 2018 recruitment efforts, but numerous winning GOP senators started much later in 2014…

Cory Gardner

Ever desperate for a compelling storyline, political reporters have increasingly started focusing on Senate GOP recruitment efforts for the 2018 midterms. Numerous Democrats are up for re-election in states won by Trump last year, and the GOP is hoping to expand its 52-seat majority in the upper chamber.

As the story goes, however, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is butting heads with the Trump White House, according to Politico:

Republican officials say they expected some turbulence as they learned to coexist with a president who is, at heart, a political newcomer who is relatively unfamiliar with congressional politics. But even so, the wild unpredictability of the Trump White House has led to considerable consternation and rattled a GOP firmament that views next year’s Senate election landscape as a golden opportunity to expand the majority.

NRSC communications director Katie Martin pushed back on this narrative, pointing out that, using past cycles as a guide, Republicans have little to worry about.

“Chairman [Cory] Gardner, who didn’t get into his Senate race until March of 2014, knows firsthand that candidates do not need to announce early in a cycle to win,” Martin said.

In addition to Gardner, who won a Senate race in Colorado in 2014, it’s widely recognized that Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) did not appear on the national radar until she released her “Squeal” ad in March 2014, as well.

Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) did not become the Republican nominee in his Senate race until July, defeating Democrat Michelle Nunn, who had announced her candidacy a full year earlier in July 2013.

Early entries do not always translate to political success, and any narrative that argues otherwise ignores historical data.