GOP governors confident they will dominate Democrats in 2022, but some will face challenges from within first

republican governors
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, left, speaks to reporters while Governor-elect Glen Youngkin of Virginia Govs. Greg Abbott, from Texas, and Kim Reynolds and Pete Ricketts, from Nebraska listen to the Republican Governors Association meeting in Phoenix on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.

Jonathan J. Cooper / AP

After a big win in Virginia and better-than-expected performance in New Jersey, Republican governors are confident about their 2022 midterm prospects against the Democrats, but they will have an extra wrinkle heading into this year’s general election. next: challenges within their own party.

“We intend to protect our incumbents and keep our red states red, but we have also shown that we can win in any state in the country,” Republican Governors Association president Doug told reporters. Ducey. “I think we’ve seen the road map in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

As the leader of the RGA, Ducey will have to navigate a multitude of races across the major battlefield states, including the race to replace him in Arizona, while trying to expand the map of governor-controlled mansions. republicans. When the timeline moves to 2022, his organization will have more money left than in any other midterm election cycle.

As Republicans feel good about their outlook against Democrats next year and the money flows freely, the RGA has a new challenge to meet in 2022: Several GOP incumbents face primary opponents.

“We have never been in a situation where our outgoing governors were faced with primaries. Even in the height of the Tea Party primaries when the guys in the House and Senate were primary, the governors never really had this experience because you only run for re-election once, ”said RGA Executive Director Dave Rexrode. “We will, where appropriate and necessary, financially support our outgoing governors in the primaries. This is something we are new to.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has main challengers to his right, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine faces former Rep. Jim Renacci, and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp will attempt to defend against ex-Rep. State of Georgia Vernon Jones, who was once a Democrat but changed parties.

But Kemp’s biggest challenge could come from former Sen. David Perdue, who is also reportedly considering running against Kemp. Perdue broke a nine-month Twitter silence on Wednesday for shoot Georgia Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan and said on a radio show in Georgia that he and his wife “prayed for our state”.

“I am concerned about the state of our state,” Perdue said. “We have a divided party in Georgia right now. Forget me. It is divided. And a lot of people feel like the people in power didn’t fight for them and gave in to a lot of things in 2020 that have not done must be done. “

Ducey was quick to point out that the Perdue challenge is still “hypothetical,” but said if it does materialize, “of course the RGA’s mission is to support our incumbents and, ultimately, to elect. Republican governors “.

He said the RGA will make race-by-race decisions in terms of the use of its resources, including how it supports incumbents.

“We don’t fund losers. We don’t fund landslides,” Ducey said. “We are in competitive races, we are bringing this candidate to the finish line. Our position has always been to protect the starters.”

Ducey said Kansas, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin would be among the top targets Republicans are expected to return next year. Republicans are considering more than 10 seats held by Democrats, including bluer states such as Connecticut and Minnesota, for potential pickups, depending on national mood.

Democrats have 16 seats to defend next year, a mix of titular and open seats, and believe they will remain in Democrats’ hands. They say their incumbents will have strong records to tap into when it comes to education, infrastructure and voting rights.

“The DGA is ready for the fight – we haven’t lost a start since 2014, while the RGA has lost McCrory, Walker, Bevin and others,” Democratic Governors Association communications director David said. Turner, in a statement. “Democratic governors have stood in the breach for the past three years, and their records resonate with the issues that matter to voters.”

GOP governors at the RGA’s annual conference congratulated Virginia Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin on his victory earlier this month and said his victory demonstrated candidates need to focus on state issues in 2022 and could win in various states.

“Glenn Youngkin won in Virginia because he did something very fundamental in politics: he showed voters a contrast between the Republican candidacy for governor and his opponent’s left and progressive agenda,” said Abbott.

Panels of Republican governors presented an overview of the issues they will attack Democrats on, including the southern border, rising energy prices, vaccine needs for businesses, the COVID response, education and cost of life.

Youngkin said he won by “looking forward, not back”. The governor-elect said candidates will have to decide on the basis of their own race whether it is best to keep Mr. Trump at bay. He noted that his campaign “built a coalition in Virginia of all voters” and said “President Trump has served me well.”

His advice to Republicans is to keep hammering on issues like education.

“Throughout this election campaign, polls have told us repeatedly that education is the seventh, eighth or ninth most important problem,” Youngkin said. “Let me tell you, this is the main issue right now and Republicans across the country can make it their own. “

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