Former national Republican Chairman Haley Barbour sees a significant threat to Republican success in this year's elections: Republicans. More specifically, GOP donors who pour money into outside groups that often bloody up other Republicans.
Former national Republican Chairman Haley Barbour sees a significant threat to Republican success in this year’s elections:
More specifically, GOP donors who pour money into outside groups that often bloody up other Republicans.
“Our donors are giving huge amounts of money to these political consultants who are getting rich attacking Republicans,” the former Mississippi governor told The Dispatch today before giving the keynote address to 850 people at the Ohio GOP’s state dinner at the Renaissance Hotel Downtown.
“We can name seat after seat in the Senate that we lost because of it. I hope this year that these outside groups will wear out their welcome with our donors, because our donors mostly want to use their money to elect Republicans over Democrats.”
Citing a Washington Post story, Barbour said independent conservative organizations have spent $9.7 million this year in the primary season attacking Republicans but only $3.6 million pounding on Democrats.
The veteran of the Reagan administration says he still believes the former president’s adage that someone who agrees with you 80 percent of the time “is not a 20 percent traitor.” And Republicans will have to realize that, should Ohio Sen. Rob Portman seek the presidency in 2016, he said.
A little more than a year ago, Portman declared his support for gay marriage because one of his sons is gay. Barbour said such a stance won’t be a litmus test in states such as Iowa — home to the nation’s first primary caucuses — or those in the deep South such as Mississippi, crucial to any national GOP candidate's hopes.
“Everybody that runs for president will have things that they don’t precisely agree with the majority or the prevailing opinion of the Republican Party,” Barbour said.
Gov. John Kasich — who initially backed Barbour for the White House in 2012 — also would make a fine president, Barbour said.
“Kasich had a great career in Washington, and he particularly made his mark as chairman of the House Budget Committee when we had the first balanced budget in a generation,” he said.
But Barbour stressed that Kasich and other Republicans must first concentrate on the 2014 campaign, which will help the party’s 2016 effort.
Kasich didn’t dwell on his re-election campaign in his short speech. But he did say “our country has lost its way,” which means that “this isn’t just about another election. This is about a movement … that they’re watching across the country.”
Daniel McElhatton, communications director for the gubernatorial campaign of Democrat Ed FitzGerald, criticized Barbour, saying he parroted Kasich’s spin without addressing the needs of middle-class families.
“They don’t get the fact that people are really scared about the future,” said. “They see a future that everyday Ohioans don’t see. What John Kasich is selling hasn’t worked.”