Balance of power: Senate Dems mount swing state offense on 'carpetbagger' claims


Join Fox News for access to this content

Plus special access to select articles and other premium content with your account – free of charge.

By entering your email and pushing continue, you are agreeing to Fox News’ Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which includes our Notice of Financial Incentive.

Please enter a valid email address.

Having trouble? Click here.

Democrats are hinging their hopes of retaining the Senate majority on voters’ disdain for so-called “carpetbaggers.”

As Senate Democrats fight to keep several vulnerable incumbents from losing tough races in swing states across the country, their campaign arm and state parties are homing in on Republican candidates’ traits and biographies over policies.

“It’s a time-honored direction for campaigns to go, but it isn’t always effective,” said Republican strategist Doug Heye. “Given the overwhelming concerns about rising prices, the border and the general direction of the country, it may be tough for this to break through.”

GOP SHORES UP MICHIGAN EFFORT AS DEMS LOSE SENATE INCUMBENT ADVANTAGE

Democrats are hoping claims of carpetbagging against Republican candidates can save their vulnerable incumbents in swing states, like Sens. Jon Tester, left, and Bob Casey, right. (Getty Images)

Historically, carpetbaggers were northerners who traveled to the South during the Reconstruction era following the Civil War with the goal of profiting off of the weakened region. In modern politics, it refers to politicians that move to a new area in order to run for office. 

Five Democratic incumbent senators are embroiled in highly competitive reelection battles in Ohio, Montana, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, as the party faces a uniquely disadvantageous Senate election map. 

“Senate Republicans’ roster of recruits is full of carpetbaggers who don’t know the first thing about the states they’re running in and candidates who bring enough financial scandals and baggage to fill a bank vault,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) spokesperson Tommy Garcia said in a statement earlier this year. 

SCHUMER JUSTIFIES CONGRESSIONAL INVITE TO NETANYAHU AMID LIBERAL OUTRAGE

dem sens

Sens. Jon Tester, Jacky Rosen, Sherrod Brown, Tammy Baldwin, Bob Casey (Getty Images: Anna Moneymaker, Drew Angerer, Ethan Miller, Sarah Silbiger)

Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, explained, “After Democrats used this attack, successfully in my view, against Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania last cycle, I think it’s just become kind of an ‘in vogue’ kind of attack, although it’s also by no mean a new strategy.”

Both national and state level Democratic Party entities have parroted the argument, particularly in reference to the Republican Senate candidate in Montana, former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy, as well as Pennsylvania Republican nominee Dave McCormick. 

“Democrats can’t run on their steadfast support for Joe Biden’s agenda of reckless spending, open borders, and chaos around the globe, so they are lying about our candidates and refusing to discuss the pressing issues facing the American people,” National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRCS) spokesperson Mike Berg said in a statement.

Montana is expected to see one of the closest Senate races of the cycle between Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Sheehy, and the former’s campaign has fully adopted the term “carpetbagger” to describe his opponent. The attack has similarly been picked up by the state’s Democratic Party. 

BIDEN ADMIN ACCUSED OF PLAYING POLITICS WITH FLORIDA FUNDING IN PRO-UNION PUSH

Following the state’s primaries last week, Tester’s campaign amplified his insinuation during a TV interview that Sheehy was “trying to buy Montana,” while emphasizing his own roots. 

“I think it’s a very potent argument in Montana,” said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon. 

Sheehy is originally from Minnesota and moved to Montana in 2014 before starting his company there. 

“Let’s face it, Tester’s trying to reach a conservative audience,” Bannon said, noting that references to his generational roots are “conservative” by nature. 

tester sheehy

Sen. Jon Tester, left, and Republican Montana Senate candidate Tim Sheehy, right. (Kevin Dietsch/Louise Johns)

“Montana has an insider vs. outsider dynamic in politics, in part because of a lot of new transplants from other places,” Kondik said. 

Sheehy’s campaign did not provide comment to Fox News Digital. 

McCormick, who is running for Senate as a Republican again after seeking the GOP nod in 2022, was notably born and raised in Pennsylvania, also starting his business in the state. Carpetbagger claims were initiated when it was reported that he owned a Connecticut home, in addition to his Pittsburgh property

“I also think it’s effective in Pennsylvania, because the Casey name is as synonymous with Pennsylvania as cheesesteaks are to Philadelphia,” claimed Bannon, referencing Democratic Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey’s family and its long history in the state’s politics. 

TRUMP VP CONTENDER LEADS GOP EFFORT TO REACH BLACK VOTERS AS BIDEN LOSES GRIP

Kondik remarked, “In the Industrial North, the percentage of residents born in state is higher than it is in the Sun Belt. So maybe these attacks have more resonance — or at least Democrats hope they have more resonance — because of some local specifics, too.”

McCormick campaign spokesperson Elizabeth Gregory said in a statement to Fox News Digital, “Pennsylvanians from across the commonwealth are joining Dave’s movement to send a 7th-generation Pennsylvanian, combat veteran, West Point graduate, and PA job creator to the Senate to deliver new leadership and fresh ideas.”

GettyImages 1240736464

McCormick previously ran for the GOP nomination in 2022.  (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

“Career politician and habitual liar Bob Casey votes for Joe Biden’s failing agenda 98% of the time, fueling a border crisis that has killed over 4,000 Pennsylvanians from fentanyl, violent crime, record inflation and regulations that are killing the commonwealth’s energy sector. On November 5, Pennsylvania will retire empty suit Bob Casey and send Dave McCormick to the Senate,” she added. 

Per Republican strategist Erin Perrine, “Democrats know they are struggling to connect with voters on policy positions, as polling shows they are underwater on top voter concerns like immigration and the economy.” This forces the party to “make an emotional appeal to voters, arguing that they can represent them because they are one of them,” she said.

Bannon claimed that Democrats’ focus on these carpetbagging accusations is motivated by the independent voters they are going after. “The independents who are two up for grabs, they’re more likely to focus on personal traits in the last stage of the election than the voters who’ve made up their mind already,” he explained. 

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The strategy additionally “plays into a larger, familiar narrative in which Democrats attack Republicans as being wealthy and out-of-touch. It’s one part of a larger argument,” Kondik emphasized. 

But according to Perrine, “A homegrown emotional appeal usually isn’t a winning strategy in a general election, when voters show up on Election Day about what matters most to them every day, not where someone is from.”



Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top