There have been a variety of fundraising emails in Mississippi the last two weeks from a PAC called the Courageous Conservatives Fund. The PAC, run by New Jersian Steve Lonegan, was most prominent in being the PAC that supported the “Never Trump” efforts in last year’s Republican National Convention.
Now, after losing to Cory Booker in 2014, he’s gearing up for a Steve Bannon/Breitbart-fueled race of his own in 2018.
Courageous Conservatives is out trying to “Draft Chris McDaniel” to run against incumbent Republican Senator Roger Wicker.
Donald Trump has some pretty pointed words about Lonegan in response to a FoxNews story about the “never trump” movement.
“You have a guy named Lonegan,” Trump said. “I’ve known Lonegan for 25 years in New Jersey. “The guy’s a loud-mouth guy. . . . “He’s always lost,” Trump said of Lonegan. “He’s a loser. … Always been a nasty guy. He loses. He’s a loser.”
In Alabama, Courageous Conservatives endorsed Rep. Mo Brooks, which immediately put Brooks in the position of having to defend anti-Trump efforts on from the group. Brooks finished 3rd in a 3 man race. Eventually, the PAC spent a paltry few thousand for Roy Moore, but again endorsed against the Trump-endorsed candidate, Luther Strange.
What does this mean in Mississippi?
In Mississippi, Trump’s approval rating is sky high. He beat Ted Cruz in the 2016 primaries by 11 points. Chris McDaniel campaigned for Ted Cruz against Donald Trump in the primaries. His paid help portrayed Trump in clownface.
With a “Trump Score” of 96%, Wicker has been one of the most reliable Trump votes. In fact, he’s tied for the most reliable vote for Trump in the US Senate (higher than Cruz – higher than Lee).
Roger Wicker, though not super outspoken about his support on Trump early in the primary process, endorsed the nominee – ironically something McDaniel and his team did not do in 2014. Wicker spoke at the convention for Trump at the same time that the Cruz-Lonegan forces were actively trying to steal delegates and contest the convention.
One way or the other, Donald Trump will play a huge role in the election in 2018. It may keep a candidate out, or it may wind up being a focal point of a hotly contested campaign.