Steve Bannon: “Any candidate who wants to win in Pennsylvania in 2022 must be full Trump MAGA”

With Sen. Pat Toomey retiring, and the GOP split between Trumpism and traditional conservatism, the 2022 Republican senate primary is going to be a war. There are several potential MAGA candidates for the GOP nomination, including Guy Reschenthaler, Doug Mastriano, and Mike Kelly. Pennsylvania also has a long history of electing moderate Republicans. Ryan Costello (see below) and Charlie Dent (who is all over CNN these days) are possible moderate candidates.

Holly Otterbein offers a preview today at Politico:

Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey isn’t running for reelection in 2022. But his vote to convict former President Donald Trump is already rocking the race to succeed him.

County parties have censured Toomey, prompting backlash from centrists and even some Trump supporters who think the efforts will hurt the GOP in upcoming elections. Former Rep. Ryan Costello, a moderate Republican eyeing a bid for the Senate, has publicly come to Toomey’s defense in the wake of his vote. Former Trump aides, in turn, are making plans to torpedo Costello before he announces a campaign.

The turmoil is the latest evidence that Trump’s departure from office has not at all diminished his role in the GOP — in Pennsylvania, in fact, the primary is likely to be a proxy fight between Trump loyalists and those who believe the former president damaged the party’s ability to compete here.

“Any candidate who wants to win in Pennsylvania in 2022 must be full Trump MAGA,” said Steve Bannon, a former White House chief strategist to Trump.

The back-and-forth over Toomey’s vote is also exacerbating party fissures in a state where Republicans lost Senate and gubernatorial contests in 2018 and the presidential contest in 2020. The intraparty tensions could damage Republican prospects in 2022, when control of both the House and the Senate will be up for grabs.

The Pennsylvania Senate race in 2022 is a must-win seat for Republicans, and there will be a critical gubernatorial election that year in the state as well.

Read the rest here.

The election Wikipedia page lists other potential candidates.

How is Pennsylvania senator Pat Toomey faring after voting to convict Trump?

Many of my fellow Pennsylvanians are not happy with Pat Toomey. Here is The Philadelphia Inquirer:

Republican state party chairman Lawrence Tabas has advised committee members that he will soon call a meeting to “address and consider actions related to the impeachment vote.” Though the notice didn’t specifically mention Toomey, four party insiders said Monday that there’s growing momentum behind a push to censure the senator.

County parties across the state are already doing so.

“The York County Republican Committee condemns, in the strongest terms, the actions of United States Senator Patrick Joseph Toomey, Jr. for his failure to defend the Constitution and the freedoms it guarantees,” read one censure resolution, passed Saturday before Toomey even voted to convict Trump.

It was approved because Toomey voted to proceed with the trial in the first place, with many Republicans arguing it’s unconstitutional to try a former president.

“It was overwhelming. There was no debate,” said Jeff Piccola, the York County Republican chairman and a former state senator. “They were cheering when they were voting and when the resolution was being read. It bubbled up from beneath, it wasn’t my idea.”

Similar resolutions have been approved or are expected far and wide, including in Cambria, Lancaster, Centre, and Northampton Counties. Even in Chester County — where Joe Biden defeated Trump by 17 percentage points — the local GOP is considering voting to censure Toomey at its meeting on Tuesday. “Senator Toomey has violated the trust of his voters, failed to fulfill, and represent a very large majority of motivated Pennsylvania voters, and neglected his duty to represent the party and the will of the people who elected him to represent them,” reads a draft resolution.

Read the entire piece here.

I appreciate the courage of my Senators–Pat Toomey and Bob Casey. Thank you for your votes on Saturday. I only wish Toomey would have cast a similar vote in Trump’s first impeachment.

The seven GOP Senators who voted to convict Trump were unafraid of political retribution

Here is Catie Edmundson at The New York Times:

…the senators were united by a common thread: Each of them, for their own reasons, was unafraid of political retribution from Mr. Trump or his supporters.

“Two are retiring, and three are not up until 2026, and who knows what the world will look like five years from now,” said Whit Ayres, a veteran Republican pollster. “It looked pretty different five years ago than it did today. All seven of them have a measure of independence that those who have to run in 2022 in a closed Republican primary just don’t have.”

Read the rest here.

My breakdown:

Ben Sasse (NE): Just got re-elected for another six year term, thus freeing-up his conscience again.

Bill Cassidy (LA): Just got re-elected for another six year term, thus freeing-up his conscience.

Susan Collins (ME): Just got re-elected for another six year term, thus freeing-up her conscience again.

Lisa Murkowski (AK): Is facing re-election in 2022. She voted out of conscience and conviction. She has everything to lose. Some reports say she may face a primary challenge from Sarah Palin.

Richard Burr (NC): Is retiring.

Pat Toomey (PA): Is retiring.

Mitt Romney (UT): Up for re-election in 2024. He voted out of conscience and conviction.

I realize that I am being somewhat cynical here. I am sure that moral conviction informed the votes of Ben Sasse, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Richard Burr, and Pat Toomey. But it is a lot easier to vote your conscience when you don’t have to face voters again until 2026.

The court evangelicals are now linked to yet another “national embarrassment”

Trump and his crack legal team are still claiming election fraud. On Saturday, U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann wrote, “One might expect that when seeking a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption…that’s not what happened.” Brann dismissed the case with prejudice. This means that the Trump campaign cannot resubmit the case. Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey called Brann “a longtime conservative Republican whom I know to be a fair and unbiased jurist.”

Trump adviser and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie called Trump’s legal team, which includes Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and former Colorado Christian University professor and current Liberty University spokesperson Jenna Ellis, a “national embarrassment.

Trump still refuses to admit defeat and is not cooperating with Joe Biden on a peaceful transition of power. Most sitting GOP members of Congress are unwilling to admit that Trump lost the election and refuse to call Joe Biden “president-elect.” A national embarrassment indeed.

The court evangelicals are another group of Trump supporters clinging to hopes of an election reversal. While a few of Trump’s evangelical advisers have gone silent, a few are still praying for a miracle. Let’s check in on them:

Jack Graham is still not sure “truth” and “transparency” has prevailed:


I think we all understand Paula:

Eric Metaxas is still holding “election integrity” prayer meetings. He held one last night. James Dobson was involved. So is Jim Garlow:

Metaxas is also promoting this Newsmax video. On Parler, Metaxas promoted a video in which Alan Dershowitz predicts Trump will win the aforementioned Pennsylvania case.

A tweeter mocked Biden’s stutter. Court evangelical journalist David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) retweeted him:

Liberty University spokesperson Charlie Kirk is still fighting the “good” fight:

Lance Wallnau:

Liberty University’s Falkirk Center believes we are in a spiritual battle:

Jonathan Falwell’s says if Liberty ever “goes liberal” he will “light the match” that burns the school to the ground.

Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey thinks Trump should start cooperating with the Biden transition

Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey was silent during the Trump impeachment trial, but now that he is not running for re-election he is starting to come around. Here is a taste of Bob Mayo’s piece at the website of WTAE Pittsburgh:

“We’re on a path it looks likely Joe Biden is going to be the next president of the United States. It’s not 100% certain but it is quite likely. So I think a transition process ought to begin,” Toomey told Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 reporter Bob Mayo in an interview Monday via Zoom.

Toomey indicated he doesn’t see his statement as giving up on Donald Trump getting a second term as president.

“And you know, if it turns out that the unlikely scenario actually comes about and it turns out President Trump is determined to have won this election after all, then the transition, of course, becomes moot, and it expires and it evaporates,” Toomey said. “But I think that’s not the likely outcome, so I think it (the transition) should begin.”

Toomey did not refer to Biden as president-elect during the Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 interview.

Read the rest here.

Senator Pat Toomey will not run for reelection or for governor of Pennsylvania in 2022

Today we have some local news with national implications. Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey appears to be leaving politics. Here is the Philadelphia Inquirer:

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey has decided not to run for reelection or for governor of Pennsylvania in 2022, according to two people familiar with his plans, a surprise decision by the Republican with significant implications for the state’s next elections.

He is planning to serve out his current Senate term but won’t run for either of those offices, seemingly ending his career in elected office, at least for now. A formal announcement is expected Monday.

Toomey’s office on Sunday neither confirmed nor denied the senator’s plans. The people familiar with his plans spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

As the only Republican holding statewide office other than judges, Toomey was widely seen as the likely Republican favorite for governor in 2022. His decision not to run for that office or for Senate could create two wide-open contests on the Republican side, while depriving the party of running its most established current political figure in Pennsylvania.

Read the rest here.