Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported that the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee (NRSC) had concerns about the impact of Donald Trump’s candidacy on the 2016 GOP Senatorial candidates. But, at the same time, the NRSC wants its 2016 Senate candidates to figure out how to capitalize on the “Trump phenomenon.” Turns out, one way the NRSC has chosen is to raise money from the Trump brand:
Republicans may be worried that Donald Trump as their presidential nominee could cost them the majority in the Senate, but that hasn’t kept them from fundraising off his front-runner status.
The political arm of Senate Republicans has been using the real estate mogul to attract small-dollar donors since May. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has been pushing supporters in emails to purchase Trump koozies, t-shirts, stickers, and other items that say “I’m with Trump.” The emails direct to the committee’s website for donations.
Those donations benefit the Senators running for reelection, including Mark Kirk (IL), Rob Portman (OH), Ron Johnson (WI), Pat Toomey (PA) and Kelly Ayotte (NH). Those funds will benefit candidates in Nevada, Colorado and Florida.
Just this week, Senator Ayotte “declined to criticize Trump directly when pressed by reporters.” No wonder. She’s benefitting from his brand.
Senator Toomey made news this week when it was announced he would not attend a Pennsylvania GOP fundraising event with Trump. But, Toomey will benefit from the funds raised there – and from what the NRSC is doing, too.
Over the summer, Senator Mark Kirk said Trump should “shut up.” This week, he said, “Banning any race or religion, as Donald Trump has suggested, is anathema to American values and should be rejected.” If Kirk was sincere, he’d reject the funds the NRSC is raising from Trump.
In Florida, where there’s an open Senate seat, one of the GOP candidates running, Rep. David Jolly, urged Trump to get out of the presidential race. But, if Jolly secures the GOP nomination, he’ll be benefitting from the money the NRSC raises from the Trump brand.
Ohio’s Senator Portman criticized Trump’s latest racist remarks, but indicated he will vote for whoever becomes the GOP nominee — even if that means Trump. And, of course, Portman is benefitting from the NRSC’s fundraising, too.
In Nevada, Rep. Joe Heck is running to be the GOP nominee in the open Senate seat. He already agrees with Trump on ending birthright citizenship. In August, Heck boldly stated “I don’t talk about Donald.” This week, he managed the weakest possible response to the latest racist outburst – through a spokeperson, no less: “Obviously Congressman Heck does not agree with the remarks.” This race will be a top priority for the NRSC.
The Trump brand and his dangerous policy positions have become toxic around the world. But, not for the NRSC. Instead, its 2016 candidates might as well be wearing the NRSC’s sticker that proclaim: “I’m with Trump”