Fight For The Republican Senate Nomination Starts In Earnest

Posted on Nov 9, 2023

With the votes for Issues 1 and 2 behind us, it’s time to turn attention to the next election.  Berni Moreno let no time going to waste in doing just that.  He’s out with a $2 Million ad buy for an ad titled “Just Like Trump.”  Perhaps not surprisingly, Moreno says he’s just like trump:  an outsider businessman who will build the wall.

In a race that already seemed to be focused on the former President, this goes on to further cement Trump’s dominance in the minds of these campaigns.

I would note that this ad includes nothing negative about Moreno’s opponents.  This tells me a few things.  1) It is likely that internal polling is showing that his name ID is not where it needs to be so he has to get that and his own positive numbers up.  2) It also tells me that Moreno is likely listening to his staff/consultants.  They would for sure tell him that going negative before you establish your own numbers is a good way to make sure you drive your own negatives up.  It also tells me that he’s not just like Trump for the very fact that he is listening to his advisors.

There could also be some fear about blowback as well.  While LaRose’s history with Trump is well known, Moreno’s isn’t.  Despite it coming up in the last Senate primary, I really don’t think Moreno’s own never Trump past is well known.  Here’s how NBC described it:

Moreno, according to emails obtained by NBC News, bashed Trump as a “lunatic” and a “maniac” in correspondence with a national Republican fundraising consultant who was seeking donations. Moreno said he would, in a coming meeting with the pope, ask “for a convention miracle” in which Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, then the speaker of the House, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida would “emerge as the saviors of the Republican Party.”

And he suggested that he would stop donating to the national party if Trump became its leader.

“I am a hard core true believer in the party! But … If Donald Trump is nominated, I will consider that a hostile take over and no longer associate myself with THAT, new GOP,” Moreno wrote in an exchange in March 2016, responding to a request that he meet with the chairman of the Republican National Committee at the time, Reince Priebus, during a visit to Cleveland. Moreno said he would be out of state.

“I completely get the position Reince is in and he is doing the best he can with a lunatic invading the party,” Moreno added. “In retrospect, more could/should have been done early, but I don’t blame anyone for that. Hindsight is always 20/20.”

Moreno closed the email prophetically: “The worst part for me,” he wrote, “I think trump can beat Hillary!”

A month later, as Trump tightened his grip on the nomination in a field that had started with 17 candidates, the fundraising consultant followed up with Moreno and acknowledged concerns “about the situation at the presidential level” and wondered whether Moreno might contribute to a separate fund for Senate candidates.

“Given that I see a future where trump is the leader of what used to be my party, I’ve sidelined myself,” Moreno replied. “I will support individual candidates, but can’t support a party led by that maniac.”

There is certainly a lot in there for someone else to put money behind if they wanted to.  Keeping it clean for now may just be in Moreno’s best interest.