Democrats’ strategy of spending millions to boost pro-Trump candidates in Republican primaries appeared to pay off Tuesday as the party ended the night with a clean sweep of the races in which it chose to meddle.
All six of the Republican candidates who seemingly benefited from the meddling in their primary victories fell to their Democratic opponents. Those races include a number of key House and gubernatorial races, as well as the New Hampshire Senate race.Democrats spent more than $40 million boosting those six GOP candidates, all of whom expressed support for former President Donald Trump as a leader of the Republican Party or were backed by him.
In New Hampshire, incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan easily defeated Republican and former Army General Don Bolduc, who was the Democrat-aligned Senate Majority PAC’s candidate of choice to face what many viewed as one of the more vulnerable Senate members.
The group, aligned with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, spent at least $3.5 million bashing moderate Republican state lawmaker Chuck Morse in an effort to boost Bolduc, who Democrats saw as the easier candidate to face Hassan.Also in New Hampshire, incumbent Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster defeated Republican Bob Burns in the state’s 2nd Congressional District. Burns reportedly benefited from $94,000 in spending by a new Democratic PAC called Democrats Serve in his primary race against a more moderate George Hansel.
In one of the more high-profile races this cycle, Democrat Hillary Scholten defeated Republican John Gibbs in the race for Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, a seat held by anti-Trump Republican Rep. Peter Meijer. Gibbs narrowly defeated Meijer in the August primary after being publicly backed by Trump in what was seen as a sharp backlash against Meijer’s vote to impeach the former president.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) spent $425,000 in advertising to boost Gibbs, described by many as a member of the “extreme” wing of the Republican Party, specifically running an ad highlighting his conservative credentials.
Democrats’ meddling touched three top gubernatorial races that all went in the party’s favor on Tuesday, including in Maryland in support of Republican Dan Cox, in Illinois for Republican Darren Bailey, and in Pennsylvania for Republican Doug Mastriano.
In July, the Democratic Governors’ Association (DGA) spent nearly $2 million running ads boosting Cox in his primary against former Maryland state lawmaker Kelly Schulz, who was backed by outgoing Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.
Three weeks prior to Cox’s victory, Bailey won his primary after also being supported by the DGA, as well as incumbent Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who spent $35 million combined to boost Bailey over moderate Republican Mayor Richard Irvin of Aurora, Illinois.
In May, Mastriano was boosted to victory in his primary with more than $840,000 in ads run by the campaign of his opponent, and now Democratic Pennsylvania Governor-elect Josh Shapiro.
Republicans appear likely to take control of the House of Representatives, however control of the Senate remains undecided.