The GOP’s Candidate Recruitment Problem

by evanmcmurry

Via AP:

The vote is more than 18 months away, so it’s early. But candidate recruitment efforts are well underway, and thus far Republicans have been unable to field a top-tier candidate in Iowa or Michigan.

[snip] So far there’s been a combination of no-thank-you’s from prospective Republican candidates in Iowa, slow movement among others in Michigan and lack of consensus elsewhere over a single contender.

[snip] Strategists are conducting exhaustive research on would-be candidates, making hard pitches for those they prefer and discouraging those they don’t, to the point of advertising against them. The hope is to limit the number of divisive primaries that only stand to remind voters of their reservations about Republicans.

“It’s more about trying to get consensus and avoid a primary that would reopen those wounds, rather than the party struggling to find candidates,” said Greg Strimple, a pollster who and consultant to several 2012 Republican Senate campaigns.

The article doesn’t go in depth into why candidates are accepting or declining, so I’ll fill in the blanks: anybody halfway reasonable doesn’t want anywhere near a tea party-spiked primary (“Question: Where do you stand on Agenda 21 and the UN’s plot to force us all into a one-world currency? Oh, I’m crazy?”), and anybody who does has special thought bubbles about rape.

Fortunately, all the right lessons are being learned:

But others say that the meddling from Washington stifles the voices of voters, who they say ought to be in charge of shaping the party’s future, even if the primary is loud and divisive.

“It’s a truer reflection of where the Republican Party needs to go,” said Iowa Republican Doug Gross.

Looks like it’s heading there whether it needs to or not.

UPDATE: Meanwhile:

With Eggman’s announcement, House Democrats now have candidates lined up in about half of the Republican-held seats that Obama also carried in 2012, part of the DCCC’s concentrated effort to get an early start on recruiting this election cycle after redistricting kept potential candidates on the sidelines until relatively late in the process in 2012. (via)