Electable candidates are finally winning GOP primaries again, but the party must do more than just keep embarrassments out of general elections to get its first majority since 2006.
Mourdock. Akin. O’Donnell. For political junkies, these Republicans are famous for throwing away winnable Senate seats in recent election cycles. For Republican operatives, they are the stuff of nightmares, mistakes never to be repeated and the fuel animating a massive effort to put good candidates on ballots across the country.
Judging by the results of last week’s Senate primaries, Republicans appear to have figured out how to avoid unforced errors this time around. Establishment Republicans were justifiably delighted with their “mini super Tuesday,” which capped off a strong string of primary results for the GOP this spring. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell held off a challenger whose election would have made Kentucky’s Senate seat far more vulnerable. In Oregon and Nebraska, Republicans got some fresh faces in Monica Wehby and Ben Sasse, and in North Carolina and Georgia, electable names have made it to the fall ballot or at least to a runoff.