Archive for Sunday, July 21, 2013

Jerry Moran, not a gambler, bets on taking back Senate for the GOP

July 21, 2013


— Jerry Moran has never been a big risk-taker. Known as a cautious, state-oriented legislator, the 59-year-old Republican senator from Kansas has been dogged by a reputation for indecisiveness over the years.

So when Moran volunteered to lead his party’s fight to take control of the U.S. Senate next year, his eagerness to tackle such a high-profile, high-pressure job ran against type.

Now, in his new role as the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Moran has stepped into the spotlight to make an uncharacteristic gamble: If the GOP can pick up six seats to regain the Senate majority for the first time since 2007, he’ll get credit for the victory. If Republicans fall short, he’ll take the brunt of the blame.

“I think it’s risky for anybody,” said Jennifer Duffy, a senior editor of The Cook Political Report in Washington. “I think it’s a hard, hard thing to do, and there are a lot of people who hope they figure it out after two cycles of losses.”

In 2010 and 2012, Republicans lost opportunities to gain Senate seats because of weak or poorly vetted candidates who’d won primaries by positioning themselves to the right of their competitors but couldn’t attract enough votes to win in the general election. More than once, impolitic remarks contributed to a candidate’s downfall, as when Todd Akin’s infamous comment about “legitimate rape” cost him the race against underdog incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

Moran said the party — and his committee — had learned from its mistakes.

“There is something that happens when you don’t win elections, and that is that you figure out how to win them the next time,” Moran said.

More Senate Democrats are up for re-election or are retiring in 2014, giving Republicans a competitive edge that November.

As senatorial committee chairman, Moran has the tricky task of navigating between a very conservative primary electorate and a party that desperately wants to win control of the Senate. That means he must recruit and fund candidates who have broad enough appeal to win statewide races without alienating his party’s activist base, which scorns any interference by Washington in local politics.

“We don’t intend to be that heavy hand that would be resented by some,” Moran said.

“Most Republicans would dislike being told who they’re for, and would particularly dislike being told who they’re for by somebody from Washington, D.C.,” he said. “So that’s not the way we operate. But to sit down and have a dialogue, to bring people together, to have them discuss what needs to happen in their state, to be helpful in getting Republicans elected, that’s very important.”

There are groups within the party that see things differently or have different priorities on certain issues, Moran said. But those divisions take a back seat to the big-picture goal of electing more Republicans to the Senate, he said.

“I think there’s been a growing maturity to this process, in which there’s a greater consensus or a greater desire to come together and nominate good candidates who are electable,” he added.

Reaching consensus in a divided party isn’t always possible, however.

Already, some of Moran’s candidate endorsements are at odds with conservative groups such as the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund, which have rejected the Senate candidacies of U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito in West Virginia and former Gov. Mike Rounds in South Dakota, complaining that the two politicians are “too liberal.” Rounds and Capito face conservative challengers.

On Tuesday, former Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter Liz complicated what would have been an uncontested primary in Wyoming by announcing that she’d run for the Republican nomination against incumbent Sen. Michael Enzi.

Moran said his committee would back Enzi.

“I have had no conversation with Ms. Cheney, but I would say ... our primary responsibility is to make certain that Republican incumbents are re-elected,” he said.

It's a hard issue for Moran because he will not want to anger Cheney, said Duffy, of The Cook Political Report. “On the other hand, he has an incumbent to protect.”

Sal Russo, a co-founder and the chief strategist of the Tea Party Express in Sacramento, Calif., said Moran was walking a fine line between pragmatism and meddling in the natural selection process of local politics.

“You want to encourage good candidates. ... You certainly do want to do that, and I think we should do that, but you want to be really careful not to get caught up in that Washington mentality that we know best,” Russo said. “Primaries know better.”

When Ronald Reagan ran for president in 1980, nobody in Washington thought that was a good idea, Russo said.

“He didn’t fit the model of what they thought they were looking for,” he said. “Just because you have a model doesn’t mean it works. These primaries and the battles in the states generally work out and the stronger and better candidate emerges, and you’re better off letting that happen.”

Regardless of the outcome of the primaries, anyone who receives the financial support of the Senate campaign committee must agree to be mentored by a current senator and attend candidate “boot camp,” where he or she will learn the latest political strategies and interview techniques, Moran said.

“In my own experience, I had to run for the House several times successfully, but a Senate race is different from a House race, so we have a number of House members who are and may be candidates,” Moran said. “We also have a number of folks who’ve never run for elective office and are or may be candidates, and we want to make sure they have the necessary training and skill sets to be great candidates.”


Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 11 months ago

I hope not. If this disaster occurs, it will be Rush Limbaugh Sharia style conservatism and the country will be thrown back 100 years.

overthemoon 4 years, 11 months ago

Those Tea Party wingnuts have a lot of control. Crazy but true.

tomatogrower 4 years, 11 months ago

And it's because the moderate Republicans have let them take over through apathy.

overthemoon 4 years, 11 months ago

Maybe they don't get the votes because people don't like what they do, who they are and what the represent.

oldexbeat 4 years, 11 months ago

US Senator Jerry Moran ran towards the right and threw himself off of the rignwing nut ledge to win his primary for senate. He is not an honest man. He did and will change his colors to match his owners -- now the Koch Brothers Ltd Tea Party branch of the GOP. He misstated repeated about the immigration bill -- almost was rational -- then voted no with the senile US Senator Pat Roberts, R (WMD in Iraq -- go to War Pat).

With Dr. Timmy ("I'm the brightest person in Fowler, Kansas") Huelskamp, Big First District, Kansas R, waiting for Pat Roberts to die, Moran will jump through more rightwing nut hoops to keep the Koch Brothers Tea Party happy. As I said, he has proven to be dishonest, and to take any position needed to keep his owners support.

average 4 years, 11 months ago

Yeah... I grew up in the First. I had nothing really bad to say about Moran until that Moran/Tiahrt primary (and I was planning to vote in the GOP primary, thinking he was much better than the alternative). Then, Moran filled my mailbox with gay-baiting immigrant-hating John Birchery. Sigh... same as the old boss.

Steve Jacob 4 years, 11 months ago

The presidents party usually gets crushed in the midterm of his 6th year, That being said, the Republicans have picked some loser candidates as of late. While any knucklehead can win a rigged district election, statewide elections require a candidate with some appeal from the center. And those candidates seem to get knocked out in the primaries by the tea party.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 11 months ago

Jerry Moran will vote at every opportunity to kill two of the best government insurance programs ever to come out of Washington D.C. Instead he will support moving OUR tax dollars into the bank accounts of his campaign supporters such as Wall Street and the medical insurance industry which are reckless managers of OUR money.

--- Killing Social Security Insurance Is Not An Option.

--- Killing Medicare Insurance is simply not an option.

While at the same time doing nothing to stop nor prevent home loan bank frauds. Of which this party has two big ones under their belts.

--- This GOP ENTITLEMENT - Bailing out The Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan Heist aka home loan scandal sent the economy out the window costing taxpayers many many billions and millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance.

--- This GOP ENTITLEMENT Bailing out the Bush/Cheney Home Loan Wall Street Bank Fraud cost consumers $ trillions, millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance. Exactly like the Reagan/Bush home loan scam. Déjà vu can we say. Yep seems to be a pattern.

--- This GOP ENTITLEMENT - Bush/Cheney implied many financial institutions were at risk instead of only 3? One of the biggest lies perpetrated to American citizens. Where did this money go? Why were some banks forced to take bail out money?

Michael LoBurgio 4 years, 11 months ago

Jerry turned into a sam brownback clone as soon as he became senator.

globehead 4 years, 11 months ago

Jerry Moron is the right guy for the job. With him at the helm, there's a great chance that the Senate will remain as is.

juma 4 years, 11 months ago

Jerry Moron will do anything for anybody without morals just to keep his seat and not have to work. He has years of practice from Western Kansas in doing nothing. He is the perfect example of why there should be term limits on Congress.

Mike Ford 4 years, 11 months ago

please go away Dudley do wrong. deny global warming as your part of the state dries up. drain the oglallah acquifer because you're dumb enough to let it happen. let coal plants go in because only a dimwit would think that there's enough water in western Kansas for agriculture, drinking water, and coal slurrying. keep Kansas dumb.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 11 months ago

Moran went from being a moderate republican to a right wing tea-bot. He changed his stripes as soon as it became necessary for him to get elected.

Agree with him or not, but it is evident that he lacks a moral and ethical base to his positions, which have changed with the prevailing ill winds in the Tea-OP.

Mike Ford 4 years, 11 months ago

fasteddy, why do I have to see faux news being quoted as fact? you should be chided the same way a college student is chided for using wikipedia as a source.

Mike Ford 4 years, 11 months ago

faux news is nonsense from the getgo.......that's the difference.

globehead 4 years, 11 months ago

The fact that MSNBC skews news in no way adds to the credibility of FOX. Reasonable people would accept neither. FOX is without question extremely biased whether MSNBC even exists or not. To deny that is to deny reality. Choosing has nothing to do with it.

Seth Peterson 4 years, 11 months ago

Your statements are not mutually exclusive. Faux News is laughably inaccurate and down right intentionally misleading - no matter what comment you make on other stations or sources of information do not change the facts about Faux News.

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