GOP Senate race holdouts get hard sell after Virginia flips red

Blue-state Democrats lost the Virginia governorship, and almost lost in New Jersey. The margin of victory for Phil Murphy was razor thin. Republicans intensified their efforts to expand Senate maps by persuading several top-tier Senate prospects to run for office in 2022. The recruitment pitch included a new set of data from the off-year elections.
The National Republican Senatorial Chair, Senator Rick Scott (Fla.), said Wednesday that we have many great candidates in our races. Because they see a way, I'm sure there will be more people who want to join.

Hogan is among three GOP governors who are at the top of the party's wishlist, alongside New Hampshire Governor. Chris Sununu, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. They have all been the subject of long-standing efforts to persuade them to vote for Democratic senators in 2022.

Sen. John Thune (S.D. The second-highest ranking Republican, John Thune (S.D.

Sununu said that he is still considering a decision about running for Senate. However, it is widely believed that he will announce his intention to challenge Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan. Ducey stated earlier this year that he did not plan to run. However, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated publicly that both Sununu and Ducey would be his preferred candidates.

Hogan, however, suggested to Hugh Hewitt, a conservative radio host, that he had also heard from Scott and McConnell about running. Hogan and Ducey have a limited term.

I believe Gov. Dirk Haire of the Maryland Republican Party, stated that Hogan is an unusual political force and would do extremely well in a Senate race. If he ran, I believe he would win. I am aware that my views are widely shared by all political leaders.

Hogan has been a prominent Republican critic in the past, blaming Trump over issues such as his pandemic response or his refusal to concede the 2020 election. This raised his national profile.

According to a Goucher College poll, President Joe Biden's 33-point victory margin in Maryland last year was significantly higher than it was in Arizona and New Hampshire. However, Hogan is more popular in his blue state now than the Democratic president.

According to the survey, Hogan has a Maryland approval rating of 68 percent, while Biden's is 53 percent.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan addresses a joint session of the legislature at Annapolis, Md. in his annual State of the State address in 2018. | (Steve Ruark/AP Photo)

Sununu, Hogan, and Ducey's advisers downplayed the possibility that Tuesday's elections might alter governors' thinking or make them more likely to run. They said the unexpected results are unlikely to significantly influence governors decisions.

Scott, the ex-Florida governor, stated that the governors have still time to run for Senate seats. He noted that he did not do so until April 2018, ahead of his election in the fall.

Republican Glenn Youngkins' path to victory in Virginia was to keep Donald Trump at arms length and remain in his good graces. Ducey and Hogan have not yet crossed paths with Trump. This balancing trick will not be easy for them. Trump's loyalty and their strained relationship raise questions about Trump's willingness to go to stop any governor running for the Senate.

Scott tried patiently for months to get Trump to accept the idea of a Ducey campaign in many meetings. But the former president is not having it. According to three sources who were briefed or who are aware of the discussions, Scott is refusing to give up on Trump. Trump has been publicly criticizing Arizona governor Scott for almost a year about Ducey's refusal to accept false election fraud conspiracyacies.

Scott arrives at his Trump meetings armed with a three-ring binder and tabs for each race. According to sources, Trump is adamant when Ducey is brought up.

Trump doesn't like Ducey. One source said that Trump also does not like Sen. Scott.

Sources claim Trump had discussed privately with Ducey the possibility of supporting one of the Republican candidates for the Arizona Senate. However, those who know Trump's thinking believe he is just venting.

Ducey was elected to the state of Arizona three times. He was first elected as state treasurer in 2010, and then he was elected to succeeding gubernatorial campaigns in 2014-2018.

Kirk Adams, former chief of staff to the governor, said that although the win in Virginia is significant for Republicans, Youngkin was simply copying an Arizona approach that had worked in the past.

Adams stated that Youngkin was following the Ducey playbook. He was referring to Ducey's 2018 reelection campaign which focused on education and employment.

HighGround, a Republican-leaning consulting firm in Phoenix, conducted a statewide survey last month. It found that Ducey's approval rating was at 42 percent across the state, which is roughly equal to that of Democratic Senator Mark Kelly (Ariz.), who seeks his first term after winning a 2020 Special Election. Just 65 percent of GOP voters approved of Ducey.

There are many candidates running for Trumps endorsement in Arizona, so it is likely that Ducey will be attacked by the right for not being more supportive of Trumps legacy.

According to Chuck Coughlin (an Arizona Republican strategist), it is already a circular firing squad. It would only take a few paces more.

This report was contributed by Marc Caputo, Burgess Everett and others.