EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, the incoming chairman of the Senate Republican campaign committee, says he will do “whatever it takes to make sure we have a Republican majority” as he seeks to regain control of the chamber in the election cycle from 2024. .
That appears to include the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) becoming involved in contested Republican primaries, which would mark a significant shift from his predecessor on the committee.
“I’ll tell you this. If I’ve heard anything since the last election a little over a month ago, the Republicans are sick of losing and we’ll do whatever it takes to win. We want to make sure we have candidates who can win the general election,” he replied. Daines when asked if the NRSC would run in the Republican primary.
“The stakes are too high in the 2024 election. This is for the future of the Supreme Court, circuit courts, tax cuts, spending, border policies. We will do whatever it takes to make sure we have a Republican majority. Daines emphasized in an exclusive interview with Fox News.
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While the NRSC in previous cycles participated in Republican Senate primaries and even occasionally endorsed candidates, Florida Sen. Rick Scott, who was chairman during the recently concluded 2022 cycle, kept the committee neutral in nomination battles within of the party
Republicans needed a net gain of just one seat in this year’s midterms to regain the Senate majority they lost two years ago. However, the expected wave of red did not materialize, and the Democrats gained some breathing room in the Senate, flipping a seat and winning a 51-49 majority. This despite record inflation, an unpopular Democratic president and nearly three-quarters of Americans who say the country is headed in the wrong direction.
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A chorus of critics in the GOP blame poor candidate quality for Republican losses in Senate races in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and New Hampshire, four crucial battleground states the party targeted heavily and failed to change.
Much of that blame is directed at former President Trump, who shaped many crucial primary battles. In some of these races, nominees reluctantly supported or rejected Trump’s repeated litigation of his 2020 election loss to President Biden and his unproven claims that his loss was due to a “rigged” and “stolen” election. “. Herschel Walker in Georgia, Blake Masters in Arizona, Adam Laxalt in Nevada and Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, who won their primaries thanks in part to Trump’s endorsement and support, all fell in defeat.
Daines told Fox News that “it’s no secret that I have a good relationship with President Trump. As NRSC Chairman, my singular focus will be on electing Republicans to the Senate. I will work with President Trump and many Republican leaders. To to do that.” And Daines noted that Trump “helped our party raise a lot of money. He energized our base.”
Republicans are looking at a very favorable Senate map in 2024, with Democrats defending 23 of the 33 seats up for grabs. Three of those seats are in red states that Trump held in 2020: West Virginia, Montana and Ohio. Five others are in key swing states that Biden narrowly edged out two years ago: Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Pointing to the map, Daines noted that Senate Democrats have yet to name a chair for the rival Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, adding, “it’s a job I would never take.”
The only states where Senate Republicans may have to play a little defensive are Florida and Texas. However, Florida Gov. Ron Desantis, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Gov. Rick Scott all posted double-digit victories last month.
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“We feel very good about Florida. We feel very good about Texas,” Daines said. “It gives us the ability to really go on offense here in this upcoming election.”
Adding a bit of caution, though, the senator pointed to some veteran Democratic senators running for re-election in 2024, acknowledging that “the map looks good. But I think it’s important that we don’t fall for the map.” Red State incumbent Democrats are hard to beat. I mean, these red state Democrats have won races before and these are going to be tough races.”
Daines was interviewed a couple of days after Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema made big headlines by leaving the party and becoming an independent. Sinema has yet to say whether she will seek another term when she runs for re-election in 2024.
Asked if he would court Sinema to join the Republican Party, Daines said only “we’re keeping a close eye on him.”
Daines, who worked for Procter and Gamble and RightNow Technologies before serving a term in the House, won election to the open Montana Senate seat in 2014. He won re-election in 2020, defeating Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock.
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“That was a $210 million Senate race, the most expensive race per vote in American history,” Daines said.
In addition, he touted that “knowing what it takes to run a great campaign in a nationalized race and succeed,” along with his experience in the business world, “is something I will bring to this new job as NRSC president.”