NRSC Money Crisis Leaves Top Republicans Feuding

Source: RedState

Over the weekend, the New York Times dropped a major story on the money problems at the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Those money problems are creating a real headache for Senate Republicans (and Senate hopefuls in various states) as it leaves them strapped for cash during an election cycle that favors the party.

What the Times story hinted at was growing tensions within the party, particularly between Rick Scott, who chairs the NRSC and is responsible for the digital overhaul that has cost the organization a ton of money, and Mitch McConnell, whose own Super PAC has had to jump in on behalf of candidates like J.D. Vance in Ohio and others.

A new story at CNN shows just how bad the behind-the-scenes drama might be getting.

GOP senators are privately alarmed at the cash problems facing Sen. Rick Scott’s National Republican Senatorial Committee, uneasy over his feud with Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell and worried that their internal issues could undercut their already difficult road back to the majority this fall.

Behind the scenes, GOP senators are maneuvering to make up for the committee’s cash shortfall, with discussions underway to take matters into their own hands to circumvent the NRSC entirely and directly help candidates who need critical resources down the homestretch of the high-stakes campaign, according to multiple GOP sources.

The NRSC’s financial problems are leading Republicans to worry that the money is not going to be there in this last leg of the midterm election cycle.

A new fear among Republicans: The NRSC won’t be able to bankroll its part to target voters with direct mail and urge them to come to the polls in key battleground states, something that the party committee spent tens of millions of dollars to do during the 2020 cycle.

McConnell, meanwhile, has been on the phone with big donors for the past several weeks — going well beyond his traditional call list — in an effort to ensure his high-spending super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, is flush with cash to spend huge sums on TV ads in battleground states in the campaign’s final two months, one senior GOP source said.

In an August meeting with GOP senators, McConnell urged members to transfer money from their leadership PACs to the Senate Leadership Fund even after a presentation showing that Senate GOP leaders had given far less to the NRSC than top House Republicans have given to their campaign arm, a source familiar with the matter said. Just two GOP senators ponied up to the NRSC after that presentation.

AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib

Apparently, along with the funding issues, Republicans are upset that Scott has taken a “hands-off” approach toward the midterms. This has left new or rookie candidates with little candidate training, and some of the rough-around-the-edges candidates (particularly those backed by Trump) really do need it. Scott told POLITICO that he and McConnell “clearly have a strategic disagreement” over candidates. Strategists, politicians, and aides are all worried and, based on the CNN story’s framing, are taking sides.

One of the complaints in the original Times story was that Scott was treating the NRSC as a way to build a national platform ahead of 2024, where there is speculation he wants to take part in the Republican presidential primary. That could be the case, as Scott took it upon himself to unveil a party platform for candidates that took all the focus off the Democrats and their performance running the country and put it squarely on the GOP’s ideas, some of which became distractions from the Democrats’ policies. That plan earned public comments from McConnell, as well.

The problem Scott has created for himself, though, is that he can’t win now. If the GOP doesn’t take the Senate, it will be blamed on the NRSC’s money problems. If the GOP does take the Senate, people will look at the money McConnell and his allies have poured in and will give McConnell, not Scott, credit for the win. Meanwhile, Scott will go down as someone who appears to leave financial crises wherever he goes.

It’s not really clear what Scott has been going for outside of his (supposed) bid to build a platform for himself using the NRSC. However, the drama and division, admittedly not all his fault, nonetheless threatens to kill the GOP’s chances to take the Senate.