Most of them remember Christine “I am not a witch” O’Donnell in 2010 as the poster child for haphazard campaigns that lost them winnable races. Even so, their laissez-faire approach to critical primaries risks saddling them with Republican nominees who blow it in November.
And there’s no agreement on how to get there: Some Republicans think the party needs to actively drum out risky primary candidates, while others believe attempted interventions in primaries would backfire. It’s become a conundrum for a party that has a poor track record of hand-picking candidates, yet worries that doing nothing could cost them a chance at the Senate majority…
Senate Republicans’ heavy-handed approach in 2010 didn’t exactly work either: Just ask NRSC-endorsed Charlie Crist, a Republican-turned-Democrat who lost his 2010 primary battle to now Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Some in the party want to try a different approach: rather than picking candidates in primary fields, they’d like to focus more on calling out risky Republican hopefuls. That way, the GOP could follow through on its pledge not to nominate general election losers.
“Even if [Scott’s strategy] works out, it undoes a decade of work and sets a new precedent for how we operate as a party,” said a person familiar with the committee’s work, granted anonymity to speak candidly given the tension between Scott and McConnell over conservative campaign messaging.