On the eve of a neck-in-neck race for the New Hampshire Senate seat held by Democrat pro-abort Maggie Hassan, Mitch McConnell’s super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, has pulled all advertising money for Republican Dan Bolduc.
Bolduc started the race as a longshot and has since pulled within the margin of error of the incumbent based on his message’s strength and his campaign’s energy. So why would McConnell pass on a chance to add another GOP senator? According to The Federalist, it is because Bolduc is likely to be a pain in McConnell’s ample ass rather than the toadying sycophant that McConnell seems to promote.
On Friday, McConnell’s super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund (SLF), pulled $5.6 million from New Hampshire’s Republican Senate candidate Don Bolduc. The cash withdrawal came two days after Bolduc gave an interview with Politico, maintaining his opposition to McConnell for another term in leadership.
“I have said no to that question, and I’m not backing off,” Bolduc told the magazine about the prospect of voting for McConnell.
The question was presented after McConnell’s super PAC had pledged a $23 million investment in the toss-up Senate race against Democratic incumbent Maggie Hassan. But Bolduc, whom the Washington establishment opposed during the Republican primary, refused to kiss the ring of the incumbent minority leader. His campaign will now pay nearly $6 million for it in canceled spending from McConnell.
Bolduc isn’t the only victim of McConnell’s “I’d rather be Senate minority leader than have people disagree with me” strategy. In Arizona, the Senate Leadership Fund pulled advertising money from the campaign of Blake Masters after he criticized the national GOP establishment.
“Establishment Republicans tend to be a little bit too disconnected from the people. I see this especially in the Senate,” he said. “You stack a few six-year terms and suddenly you’re too disconnected from American life and what working class and middle class people are feeling. They live in a bubble, and the America first groundswell happened because establishment Republicans are out of touch.”
McConnell has campaigned for Masters in Arizona, but I think most people will see this for what it is: damage control. McConnell’s personal touch is not worth the $18 million that the Senate Leadership Fund pulled out of Arizona.
My colleague Mike Miller has just posted a story on how McConnell actively supports the campaign of quisling Lisa Murkowski against the Alaska GOP-endorsed nominee Kelly Tshibaka, see Alaska GOP Censures McConnell for ‘Divisive and Misleading Statements’ About Trump-Backed Senate Candidate.
Even though there is no known document that threatens candidates with loss of support if they are critical of McConnell’s leadership, it doesn’t take any great leap of imagination to see that linkage could exist.
Fortunately, McConnell’s super PAC prematurely pulling out of the NH and AZ races will have little impact as other PACs have stepped up to fill the gap. I even expect that McConnell’s meddling in Alaska will help Tshibaka more than Murkowski. None of that matters. What matters is that McConnell seems to have decided that a Senate majority doesn’t matter unless that majority toes McConnell’s line.