Conservatives have a lot to worry about in the upcoming midterms, especially if recent special election results are any indication. But some politicians — both incumbents and challengers — face even more daunting tasks than they may realize when it comes to winning in November.
Here are four conservative politicians who are in major trouble in their local races:
1. Kelli Ward
Tea Party-backed Ward is scrambling hard to try to win a GOP primary against Arizona Rep. Martha McSally — both of whom want to replace retiring Republican Jeff Flake as Senator in 2018. With such strong competition, Ward needs every advantage she can find, which is why having the endorsement of the Arizona Monitor was such good news. Or it was, until it turned out to be “fake news.”
It looked as if Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward had scored a big endorsement: On Oct. 28, she posted a link on her campaign website and blasted out a Facebook post, quoting extensively from a column in the Arizona Monitor.
There was just one problem: Despite its reputable sounding name, the Arizona Monitor is not a real news site. It is an anonymous, pro-Ward blog that has referred to her primary opponent Martha McSally as “Shifty McSally,” frequently blasted Flake and, at the top of its home page, proclaims its mission as “Striking Fear into the Heart of the Establishment.” The site launched just a few weeks before publishing the endorsement, and its domain registration is hidden, masking the identity of its owner. On its Facebook page, it is classified as a news site, but scant other information is offered.
Too be fair though, it’s probably no less legitimate than Breitbart.
2. Marsha Blackburn
In Arizona, Republicans are trying to decide which GOP candidate will have the best chance of keeping Flake’s seat red. But Tennessee Republicans have given up on winning with a new candidate; instead, they’re begging retiring Senator Bob Corker to reconsider his decision and run for one more term.
And that’s exceptionally bad news for Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who was considered the likely GOP primary winner. Vox reports:
Corker is reportedly “listening” to some Republican colleagues encouraging him to run for reelection, according to Politico, amid concern that the party’s leading candidate, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn, could lose the Tennessee Senate seat to a Democrat in the 2018 midterms. Blackburn, who launched her bid for Corker’s seat last October with a clear conservative message against congressional Republican leadership, fell behind former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen in a hypothetical matchup poll. The internal poll, conducted by Glen Bolger of the Republican research firm Public Opinion Strategies and obtained by Politico, showed Bredesen up 47 to 45.
President Donald Trump, meanwhile, remains solidly team Blackburn. The question is whether that’s good news for her.
3. Dan Lipinkski
Not every conservative politician in danger right now is in the Republican party, either. In Chicago, Representative Dan Lipinski is one of the last remaining conservative Democrats — a pro-life, anti-union, anti-living wage congressman being challenged by a far more progressive Marie Newman.
Now, Newman is bringing in big money for her race, and left-leaning organizations are dropping their Lipinski endorsements, opting to back her instead. The Intercept reports:
Newman has the backing of NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Human Rights Campaign, immigrant rights groups, and a host of national progressive organizations. Lipinski has traditionally had the backing of the state machine and its labor unions, but cracks in that wall may be forming. The Illinois Federation of Teachers plans to make its endorsement decision this weekend and the national AFT will follow the locals lead, a spokesperson said. That it is even an open question given Lipinski’s longtime relationship with labor suggests Newman has a real chance of winning the endorsement. EMILY’s List announced Friday it is endorsing Newman.
The endorsement came after news that the SEIU, which has thousands of members in the district, was breaking with Lipinski, who recently came out against the union’s signature $15 per hour minimum wage.
4. Kevin Nicholson
And then there is Kevin Nicholson, the GOP’s best hope to take out Democratic Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin. Still he’s struggling for support — including from his own family.
“One way for your parents to show they disapprove of your political aspirations is to donate — to your opponent. That’s exactly what the parents of Wisconsin GOP Senate hopeful Kevin Nicholson did, maxing out donations to his Democratic opponent, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, according to Federal Election Commission records,” ABC News reports.
Lucky for him, Nicholson has lots of super PAC backing to help make up for the fact that his parents actually prefer Baldwin’s politics to their own son’s platform.