With the final primaries playing out on Tuesday, a look back at the primary season for 2022 reveals an unusual strategy by the incumbent party: Various Democratic groups have collectively spent at least $53 million to boost Republican candidates that the Left considers “far-right,” including those who are supportive of President Donald Trump.
The New York Post reports that the strategy spanned nine states, and saw the Democrats spend 30 times as much money as the GOP itself. The working theory is that Democrats, facing the likely possibility of losing the midterms due to the usual historical trend that disfavors the party in power, are propping up such conservative candidates as their rivals since they will allegedly be easier to defeat in the general election.
Democrats ultimately spent money to increase the profiles of conservative candidates in 13 different races throughout the nine states of California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The bulk of the spending went to television ads promoting the candidates in question, often highlighting their support for President Trump, their pledges to crack down on voter fraud, and their support for the pro-life movement.
Among the most prominent examples of conservatives backed by the Democrats who went on to win their nominations are gubernatorial nominees Darren Bailey in Illinois, Dan Cox in Maryland, and Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania. Perhaps the biggest example is John Gibbs, the Republican nominee for the 3rd congressional district of Michigan, who ultimately defeated incumbent Congressman Peter Meijer (R-Mich.); Meijer was one of the 10 Republicans in the House of Representatives who voted in favor of the second impeachment of President Trump. In all four of these cases, the candidates had also been endorsed by Trump ahead of their primaries.
However, some on the Left have criticized this strategy due to the gamble that is being taken since the Republicans could still end up winning, especially with the midterm environment giving a natural edge to Republican candidates. A USA Today op-ed shortly after Gibbs won his Michigan primary declared that Democrats “should hang their heads in shame” over their support for Gibbs. Congressman Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), slammed the strategy as “dishonorable,” “dangerous,” and “just damn wrong.”
The final three regular primaries are being held Tuesday night in the Northeastern states of New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Delaware. The most widely-watched state will be New Hampshire, which features a crowded Republican primary field vying to take on incumbent Senator Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.). In addition, both of the state’s congressional districts also have large Republican fields, and both seats are seen as possible tossups in November.
After Tuesday’s primaries, the only other state left is Louisiana, which holds its primaries on the same day as the general election, November 8th. Runoffs for Louisiana’s primaries, which are a blanket system with the top two candidates advancing regardless of party, will take place on December 10th, concluding the election cycle of 2022.