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Democrats ‘meddling’ in GOP primaries hoping to nominate unelectable Republicans

Democrats appear to be spending millions to boost Republican candidates in the primaries they see as easier to beat in the November midterm elections. 

In Illinois, Democrats have spent millions attacking African-American Mayor Richard Irvin, who is the establishment favorite on the Republican side for the governor’s race.

Democrats are trying to boost state Sen. Richard Bailey with the hope that he is potentially too conservative for Illinois and easier for incumbent Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker to beat in November.

Irvin’s campaign contends more than $31 million in TV attack ad advertising props up Bailey, including at least $13 million from the Democratic Governors Association and $6 million directly from the governor, the Chicago Tribune reported.


“Desperate times call for desperate measures — and clearly national Democrats are panicked by the worsening political environment in states run by Democrat governors,” Republican Governors Association (RGA) spokesman Jesse Hunt said.

Democratic Governors Association communications director David Turner defended the practice.

“These elected and formerly elected officials want to deceptively retell their histories, and we’re just filling in the gaps,” Turner told Fox. 

“The RGA isn’t spending money in Illinois,” National Journal columnist Josh Kraushaar told Fox in an interview. “They’re not spending money right now in Colorado. The Democrats are almost taking advantage of the fact that the RGA has a policy not to get involved in any of these primaries. So it’s left them helpless while the Democrats play mischief and may end up winning some of these races in the primary season.” 

In Colorado’s Senate race, a state President Biden won by more than 13 points, an outside Democratic super PAC has spent about $1 million in ads that point out the conservative stances of one candidate, state Rep. Ron Hanks, highlighting his America First values and questioning Biden’s election victory.


Construction company owner Joe O’Dea, who is seen as the more electable Republican candidate in a swing state like Colorado, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) view the tactic as “meddling.”

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Sen. Michael Bennet speaks to voters.

Democrats aim to protect incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., in the November election. 

“It’s a sign that this is a dismal environment for Democrats, that we’re not talking a lot about Michael Bennet’s Senate race. It’s a state that Joe Biden won pretty comfortably. The fact that he is trying to pick a weaker candidate shows that even Colorado, even some of these blue states are going to be competitive in this political environment,” Kraushaar said.

NRSC spokesman T.W. Arrighi said of the ads that “Democrat panic underscores their historic weakness. And, at this point, no amount of money will save them.”

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference Feb. 26, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. 

Republican election committees avoid supporting any particular candidate in an open primary, which may have helped certain candidates succeed against more mainstream GOP politicians. NRSC Chairman Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., has frequently spoken about how he was opposed by Florida’s political establishment before he won two terms as governor and a critical 2018 Senate race. 

The tactic could be risky for Democrats, however, if they boost more conservative candidates who end up prevailing in the midterms.

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