The GOP is currently fighting a number of critical battles in the war to regain control of the Senate. Two of those involve the battle to retain the Florida seat formerly held by the retired Mel Martinez, and the battle to unseat the increasingly unpopular Barbara Boxer. Both races feature a Republican primary pitting a “pragmatic moderate” against a more conservative candidate. In both races, the conservative candidate polls as well (or, in the case of Florida, better than) the moderate against the likely Democrat opponent. For reasons understandable to no one with any principles, the NRSC has undertaken to actively support the less electable moderate in both elections.
Naturally, the NRSC has come under fire for this from those who are loyal to the conservative candidates in California and Florida (Chuck DeVore and Marco Rubio, respectively). Both DeVore and Rubio are serious candidates who have shown fundraising ability despite total abandonment by the GOP establishment. Both poll well in general election matchups. These facts seem to strongly imply that John Cornyn is using the NRSC to push liberal Republicanism for the sake of liberal Republicanism, as opposed to doing so for the sake of electing Republicans in tough elections.
In a transparent attempt to quell this criticism, The Hill reports on the NRSC’s embarrassing attempt at covering this particular problem with a fig leaf:
Businessman Al Ramirez, an underdog candidate in the GOP primary to face Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), is launching his campaign today at NRSC headquarters.
Ramirez’s event could been seen as a retort to state Sen. Chuck DeVore’s contention that the committee has already chosen sides in the primary. DeVore has unleashed a series of attacks on the NRSC for allegedly choosing Carly Fiorina as its candidate.
The issue has also arisen in races in Kentucky and New Hampshire, where the NRSC has housed fundraisers for establishment-favored candidates, while their primary challengers looked on.
NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh says: “Al Ramirez is a Republican candidate, and we extend our facilities to Republican candidates. Barbara Boxer’s approval ratings are very low, and we’re excited about our prospects in California next year.”
Folks, it is technically true that Al Ramirez is running for the U.S. Senate Seat currently occupied by Barbara Boxer. And it is technically true that he was allowed to use NRSC office space to launch his campaign. However, the real truth is that he probably used NRSC facilities because his campaign cannot come close to affording its own.
You see, Al Ramirez announced his campaign on the same day as Chuck DeVore. According to FEC reports, since that day, Chuck DeVore has raised just over $700,000. Al Ramirez has raised $5,207 dollars (that is not a typo and there are no zeros missing), of which $5,107 was a loan to the campaign… from Al Ramirez. In other words, in the entirety of this campaign, Al Ramirez has raised $100 in cash. It sure is a good thing the NRSC hasn’t chosen sides so that Al Ramirez has a shot in this race!
A better sign of objectivity from the NRSC would be a refusal, from now until the day after the primary, to advertise in favor of one Republican candidate over another, and a refusal, from now until the day after the primary, to handicap the race by transferring cash to either candidate. Will the NRSC make such a commitment, or will they continue to argue, with a straight face, that allowing Al Ramirez to use their office space shows their lack of partiality?